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Mike Stevens | Apr 1, 2010 | 1 Comment

MERCEDES-BENZ has today announced availability of the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet range, on sale from April.

Successor to the CLK Convertible, the two-door open-top the E-Class Cabriolet is scheduled for an international debut at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

Its lines are not a complete surprise: the new Cabriolet was almost fully revealed courtesy of documents leaked from the European trademark office, including photos of a convertible nearly identical to the final production model.

The leaked images followed spy photos of a lightly disguised E-Class Cabriolet testing on European roads earlier in the year.

Mercedes-Benz says the new E-Class Cabriolet was designed to a "four seasons, four personalities" motto, its AIRCAP and AIRSCARF systems developed to provide a high level of comfort whether the the Cabriolet's soft-top roof is up or down.

Styling

Following the styling cues of its Coupe sibling, the E-Class Cabriolet features the same quad rectangular headlights and inverted L-shaped running lamps in the front bumper.

Measuring 4698mm long, 1786mm wide and 1402mm tall, the Cabriolet is slightly smaller than the sedan, but its appearance is every bit as muscular.

Like the Coupe, the Cabriolet's rear sees more imposing 'pontoons' (flared wheel arches) than the sedan.

The grille features the large three-pointed star characteristic of all sporting Benzes and, like the Coupe, an AMG sports package will be available with the range-topping E500 model.

Mercedes has not specified wheel options for the Cabriolet, but like the E500 Coupe tested by TMR, 18-inch six-spoke alloy wheels will feature on the AMG-enhanced model.

Stowed in a special compartment behind the rear panel, the Cabriolet's soft-top can be opened and closed fully automatically within 20 seconds, while driving at speeds up to 40km/h.

Boot capacity falls short of the Coupe's 450 litres, but with the roof in place, boot space is increased by 90 litres to 390 litres.

Interior

As with the Coupe, the dash layout of the Cabriolet sees little change from the Sedan, with a large full multi-function display atop the centre stack and a five-dial instrument cluster set behind the steering wheel.

The Cabriolet sets itself apart from the Sedan with the same narrower cabin of the Coupe, along with revised air vents and a smaller glove compartment.

A traditional gearshift sits in the centre console, rather than the column-mounted stalk of the sedan, minimising storage space in the centre console but maintaining the sporty image the Cabriolet aims to achieve.

With more bolstering than the Sedan's seats, the front seats of the Cabriolet provide ample room for driver and passenger. Both seats are fully electrically adjustable, with steering wheel reach and rake controllable from the steering-mounted switches.

The E-Class Cabriolet features a 2+2 seating arrangement, with entry to the rear seats aided by the sliding front seats.

Equipment

The most significant feature in the E-Class Cabriolet is the AIRCAP and AIRSCARF systems.

The AIRCAP automatic draught-stop system, activated at the push of a button, reduces turbulence in the Cabriolet's interior, creating what Mercedes calls a "sea of warm air".

The AIRCAP system consists of two main components, a wind deflector that can be extended by around six centimetres with a net in the windscreen frame and a draught-stop between the rear seats.

The AIRSCARF system is integrated into the backrests of the front seats and warms the occupants' head and neck areas by blowing warm air through outlets in the headrest.

Models fitted with the multi-function display will include satellite navigation and a digital TV tuner, while the COMAND APS system acts as the hub that ties all the multimedia systems together.

Safety features include rollover protection in the form of two 35mm bars, housed in the rear head restrains in modules behind the rear seat backrests.

A tilting cone sensor detects imminent danger to the occupants based on extreme skidding movements or acceleration caused by impact. With a corresponding signal from the sensor, pre-tensioned pressure springs are quickly activated.

Airbags include front airbags and sidebags for the driver and front passenger, a kneebag on the driver's side and headbags - a first-time inclusion in a Mercedes cabriolet.

Attention Assist drowsiness detection, Pre-Safe anticipatory occupant protection, sophisticated Intelligent Light System, Active Bonnet (pedestrian protection) and Distronic Plus proximity control figure among the E-Class Cabriolet's safety features.

Mechanical

The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet range is offered in Australia with four engine options, made up of one diesel and three petrol engines.

The entry-level E 250 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY Cabriolet is powered by a 1.8 litre four-cylinder turbo-charged petrol engine, producing 150kW and 310Nm of torque. Fuel consumption is listed as 8.3 l/100km, CO2 emissions at 192g/km.

Joining its petrol sibling in the third quarter of 2010, the E 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY is powered by a four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, offering the same 150kW but with a full 500Nm of torque. The most frugal model in the line-up, fuel consumption is listed as 5.6 l/100km, CO2 emissions at 148g/km.

Both BlueEFFICIENCY engines are fitted with a five-speed automatic transmission as standard.

Moving to the more power-minded E 350 Cabriolet, power is provided by a 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine producing 200kW and 350Nm of torque. Fuel consumption is listed as 9.8 l/100km, CO2 emissions at 229g/km.

The range-topping E 500 Cabriolet draws power from a 5.5 litre V8 petrol engine developing 285kW and 530Nm of torque. Fuel consumption is listed as 11.0 l/100km, CO2 emissions at 257g/km.

Mercedes' 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic, featuring normal, sport and manual shift modes, is the only gearbox on offer for both the V6 and V8 models.

Suspension is managed up front with McPherson struts on a three-link front axle, with updated independent multi-link suspension at the rear. Modifications to the 25 year-old rear suspension architecture includes a new subframe, subframe carrier, struts and hub carriers/steering knuckles.

The E-Class Cabriolet range is fitted with Agility Control adaptive dampers, instead of the sedan’s Direct Control system. A sports version of the Agility Control system is also available, offering stiffer springs, speed-sensitive steering, tauter shock absorbers and stronger stabiliser torsion bars.

Although standard with the E 500 Cabriolet, Mercedes also offers a Dynamic Handling package, offering two modes: Sport and Comfort. These modes allow continuously-variable electronic control of the shock absorbers based on seven sensor signals.

Depending on the engine option, brakes discs measure up to 344mm at the front and 300mm at the rear.

Pricing

Launching in April, the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet range kicks off with the V6 and V8 engines. The E 250 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY will be available from May, while the E 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY will join the range in the third quarter of 2010.

  • E 500 Cabriolet - 285kW V8, petrol - $186,950
  • E 350 Cabriolet - 200kW V6, petrol - $139,950
  • E 250 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY - 150kW 4-cyl, turbo-petrol - $105,950
  • E 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY - 150kW 4-cyl, turbo-diesel - $TBA

Prices are Manufacturer's List Price, including GST and LCT, excluding dealer delivery and on-road costs.

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