The Cabriolet is the latest addition to the successful Mercedes-Benz E-Class line-up. The open-top two-door model will go on sale on January 11th 2010. It features a classic fabric soft top, making for a stylistically pure cabriolet feeling. The power-plants for the new E-Class Cabriolet are equally innovative: the new direct-injection diesel and petrol models combine efficiency with effortlessly superior power delivery. Low fuel consumption has not been achieved because of the new engines, but also with a number of practical measures. The new Cabriolet offers the wealth of safety innovations one would expect from a Mercedes model. This is also the first Mercedes Cabriolet to feature handbags. This model marks the debut of a new acoustic soft top, which is fitted as standard, giving the E-Class one of the lowest-noise interiors in the segment for four-seat premium cabriolets with a fabric soft top.
The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet: Four seasons, four personalities
â€˘Comfortable: AIRCAPÂ® automatic draught-stop plus AIRSCARFÂ®
â€˘Quiet: acoustic soft top as standard
â€˘Safe: robust roll-over protection and new headbags
The highly appealing and emotionally charged Cabriolet is the latest addition to the successful Mercedes-Benz E-Class line-up. The open-top two-door model, which goes on sale on 11 January 2010, features a classic fabric soft top, making for a stylistically pure cabriolet feeling. Viewed from the side, the new model is an intriguing proposition - with its clear proportions and a flawless cabriolet silhouette.
In keeping with the motto "four seasons, four personalities", all-year-round suitability was right at the top of the developers` list of priorities. With the new E?Class Cabriolet, the cabriolet season lasts the whole year because, while many cabriolets tend to disappear from the roads of Western Europe in the autumn, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet (length/breadth/height: 4698/1786/1402 mm) provides driving pleasure and comfort whether the roof is open or closed.
New features include:
â€˘The AIRCAPÂ® automatic draught-stop: always on board and easily controllable at the push of a button, it reduces turbulence substantially for all four seat occupants
â€˘The modified AIRSCARFÂ® neck-level heating system
â€˘The acoustic soft top fitted as standard
The soft top can be opened and closed fully automatically within 20 seconds - even when driving at speeds of up to 40 km/h. The cabriolet roof is stowed in a special compartment behind the rear panel. A retractable cover separates the soft top compartment from the boot area; it must be closed in order to close the soft top. If the roof is to remain closed, the cover can be slid rearwards, in which case the boot capacity is increased by 90 litres to 390 litres. A through-loading feature is included as standard for the new Cabriolet, as is EASY-ENTRY - a manually operated entry and exit aid for the rear passengers.
The powerplants for the new E-Class Cabriolet are equally innovative: the new direct-injection diesel and petrol models combine efficiency with effortlessly superior power delivery. The exemplary, low fuel consumption has not only been achieved because of the new engines, but also with a number of practical measures. These include on-demand activation of the steering and fuel pumps, the use of tyres with low rolling resistance and an alternator control system which takes account of the current driving situation and the vehicle`s electrical power requirements, plus the crucial factor of outstanding aerodynamics. The Cabriolet`s cd figure of 0.28 is the best in its class, marking a continuation of the E-Class success story in the field of aerodynamics.
An overview of the engines:
â€˘E 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Cabriolet: 125 kW (170 hp)
â€˘E 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Cabriolet: 150 kW (204 hp)
â€˘E 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Cabriolet: 170 kW (231 hp)
â€˘E 200 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY Cabriolet: 135 kW (184 hp)
â€˘E 250 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY Cabriolet: 150 kW (204 hp)
â€˘E 350 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY Cabriolet: 215 kW (292 hp)
â€˘E 500 Cabriolet: 285 kW (388 hp)
Less turbulence, easier to use: AIRCAPÂ® is a world-first
In 1989, Mercedes-Benz introduced a world premiere in the shape of a draught-stop for the SL model series, followed in 2004 by the AIRSCARFÂ® neck-level heating system to further enhance comfort in open-top models. Now comes another world-first: the AIRCAPÂ® automatic draught-stop, which can be activated at the push of a button, greatly reduces turbulence in the interior of the new Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet, creating a sea of warm air. It is also much easier to implement and use than conventional draught-stops: there is no tricky installation, the two individual rear seats remain free and the Cabriolet`s flowing side lines remain uninterrupted. AIRCAPÂ® is therefore a classic Mercedes innovation: functional, comfort-enhancing, elegant and safe.
AIRCAPÂ® consists of two 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 functions of the two components:
â€˘Elevation of the free flow above the interior
â€˘Net at the front increases the basic pressure in the interior
â€˘Draught-stop at the rear reduces the backflow
As well as enhancing occupant comfort and wellbeing, the reduction in draught when AIRCAPÂ® is activated (it can be activated at speeds of up to 160 km/h and remains in use right up to the car`s top speed) reduces the interior noise level - so passengers in all seats find it far easier to communicate.
The Cabriolet Comfort package includes AIRCAPÂ® with AIRSCARFÂ®. This patented system functions like an invisible scarf, which warms the occupants` head and neck areas. AIRSCARFÂ® is integrated into the backrests of the front seats and provides warm air through outlets in the head restraints.
The Mercedes engineers have modified this unique innovation specifically for the E-Class Cabriolet: in this model, an adjustment wheel pivots the outlet nozzle upwards and downwards by a total of 36 degrees over and above the head restraint height adjustment, meaning that the driver and front passenger can enjoy the unique neck-level heating regardless of how short or tall they are.
Quiet, warm and windproof: acoustic soft top fitted as standard
Thanks to its acoustic soft top, fitted as standard, even the closed E-Class Cabriolet has one of the quietest interiors in the segment for four-seater premium cabriolets with a fabric roof. The soft top`s exceptionally high-quality insulation brings about a clearly noticeable reduction in the interior noise level compared to conventional fabric soft tops. Exterior noise caused by other vehicles and wind noise are therefore absorbed more effectively. On the road, the difference is audible from speeds of just 80 km/h, for example when driving through a tunnel or overtaking a convoy of trucks. At higher speeds, the benefits of the acoustic soft top are even more tangible. For instance, it is possible to have a perfectly normal phone conversation in hands-free mode even when travelling at a speed of over 200 km/h.
The soft top is of course waterproof and windproof. Plus it can be put through an automatic carwash without any hesitation. With a total thickness of 23.5 mm, the fabric soft top offers excellent thermal insulation, meaning that the E-Class
Cabriolet is also ideal for use in winter.
Safety: robust structure, anticipatory protection and windowbags
The new Cabriolet offers the wealth of safety innovations one would expect from a Mercedes model. Highlights of the open-top two-door model include roll-over protection, the A-pillars reinforced by two additional tubes and the plug-in B?pillars. This new model is also the first Mercedes cabriolet to feature headbags.
The roll-over protection consists of two robust bars, each with a diameter of 35 mm, which are housed in the rear head restraints 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. If this sensor then sends a corresponding signal, pre-tensioned pressure springs are activated by pyrotechnic means, i.e. extremely quickly.
Consequently, both roll-over bars in the rear head restraints are extended. They reach their highest point and are locked automatically within a fraction of a second. In combination with the robust A-pillars, each of which is reinforced with two high-strength steel tubes, the steel bars provide highly effective roll-over protection.
The plug-in B-pillars are extremely robustly connected as they engage in the side skirts, thus offering highly effective protection in the event of a crash. A shoe made from ultra-high-strength steel braces the inside of the B-pillar against the rear seat crossmember.
With seven airbags fitted as standard, belt tensioners and belt force limiters for all seats, not to mention crash-responsive head restraints for the driver and front passenger, the new E-Class Cabriolet offers the most extensive safety equipment package in this vehicle category. The airbags, which can deploy in milliseconds in the event of an accident, include front airbags and sidebags for the driver and front passenger, a kneebag on the driver`s side, and headbags. The latter, which appear in a Mercedes cabriolet for the first time, are housed in the door panelling in the beltline area. Covering a wide area - around 0.7 x 0.5 metres with a volume of 17 litres when deployed - the airbags provide extremely effective protection for occupants large and small in the event of a crash. The three-part side protection system - comprising headbag and thoraxbag - optimises the level of protection afforded to individual parts of the body. Rear sidebags are available as an option.
Further exemplary safety equipment available for the E-Class Cabriolet includes ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection, PRE-SAFEÂ® anticipatory occupant protection, the sophisticated Intelligent Light System, the Active Bonnet and DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control.
The E-Class range: four attractive models
An innovative family at the heart of the brand:
â€˘Complete: the Cabriolet is the fourth model in the E-Class range
â€˘Innovative: all variants are characterised by ground-breaking new products and features
â€˘Successful: the E-Class is the clear leader in its market segment
In March 2009 Mercedes-Benz embarked on the renewal of the E-Class model family - one year later, with the market launch of the Cabriolet, the portfolio will be complete. A number of technical innovations have been incorporated into the new E-Class which no other car in this class is able to offer - from drowsiness detection to automatic emergency braking when an accident is recognised as imminent, and from Adaptive Highbeam Assist to the active bonnet. The E-Class is one the safest vehicles in its segment, a fact which has also been proven by independent crash tests and the specialist press.
In addition, there is a wide selection of powerful and efficient engines which is set to be systematically extended over the coming months. Depending on model, these range from the innovative E 200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY producing 100 kW (136 hp) up to the E 500 producing 285 kW (388 hp). There are also AMG versions producing 386 kW (525 hp) and the all-wheel drive system 4MATIC. Exemplary aerodynamics are yet another feature of the model range: with a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.25, the saloon is the most aerodynamically efficient four-door car in the world, while the model range`s CoupĂ© achieves the best overall figure for a series-production car with a Cd figure of just 0.24.
"The renewal of the E-Class model family at the heart of the Mercedes brand has come at precisely the right time. The success of the new E-Class shows that even in what are now economically turbulent times, Mercedes brand values such as safety and efficiency, combined with exciting design, enjoy particular significance among discerning customers", explains Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
As such the E-Class is the clear leader in its market segment: in Germany the E?Class Saloon enjoys a market share of around 60 percent in its respective segment, while in Western Europe (excluding Germany) its share is more than 40 percent.
The four models in the current Mercedes luxury class series:
â€˘The E-Class Saloon: the benchmark in the luxury class. Market launch: March 2009
â€˘The E-Class CoupĂ©: excitement can be this efficient. Market launch: May 2009
â€˘The E-Class Estate: intelligent (E)state-of-the-art. Market launch: November 2009 and
â€˘The E-Class Cabriolet: the 4-seater for all 4 seasons. Market launch: March 2010
Besides the innovations which all of the models of this family share, the individual variants have a number of new products and features to enhance the comfort, safety and appeal which are specific to this model. With the new AIRCAPÂ® feature, enhanced AIRSCARFÂ® and also the standard acoustic soft top, the new E-Class Cabriolet for example provides all-year-round comfort which is unique in the segment of open-top vehicles. "The development of AIRCAPÂ® is an example of the perseverance and tenacity of our engineers and technicians: convinced of the customer benefit of an automatic draught-stop, our specialists have finally found the Mercedes solution, which at the press of a button helps to significantly reduce turbulence in the car`s interior for all passengers - it is easy to use and always there. In this way we are enabling our customers to enjoy comfortable, open-top driving all year round", says Dr. Thomas Weber, Daimler Board Member for Corporate Research and Head of Development of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
For its part, in addition to air suspension with self-levelling at the rear as standard, the Estate model also provides unique new load compartment management features.
"Never before have we had such an effective presence with our E-Class model series as we have with today`s range. Saloon, Estate, CoupĂ© and Cabriolet all share the same winning gene, yet appeal to our customers in a very individual way. This mixture has been extremely well received by our customers. With the new Cabriolet we are complementing our successful E-Class family with yet another particularly emotionally appealing model, in which our customers can continue to enjoy the Cabriolet season even longer thanks to the unique automatic draught-stop", confirms Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Head of Sales and Marketing of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
Aerodynamics: Only the aerodynamicist knows the answer
â€˘Efficient: the more streamlined the design, the lower the fuel consumption
â€˘Quiet: low air swirl means low noise
â€˘Exemplary: the E-Class of 1984 - and today`s modelIn 1984, the E-Class (model series W124) achieved an aerodynamic landmark, posting a cd figure of 0.29. It became, and remains, the benchmark against which all saloons have to be measured - a benchmark that very few manage to match. Design elements such as smooth surfaces, an inwards-drawn rear end and a clear spoiler lip on the boot lid remain at the heart of good aerodynamic design to this day.
Since then, Mercedes has been working tirelessly to reduce this figure by yet more crucial hundredths. After all, lowering the cd figure by 0.01 is equivalent to a reduction of one gram of CO2 per kilometre (NEDC) or two grams in the case of average real consumption (MBVT) and as many as five grams of CO2 per kilometre at 150 km/h.
The new E-Class family is the new benchmark in the automotive world. Although the base tyres are becoming increasingly wide - not necessarily to the delight of the aerodynamicists - and the wheels are becoming increasingly large, the Saloon version is one of the world`s most streamlined four-door models, with a cd figure of 0.25. And the CoupĂ© model`s cd figure of 0.24 is a new record for production cars.
The detailed work behind this development is highlighted by the following examples:
â€˘The louvres behind the radiator grille are mainly closed when there is no particular demand for cool air, thus reducing pressure losses at the front of the vehicle and air swirl on the underbody. Here the payoff is an improvement in aerodynamic drag to the tune of five percent or a 0.01 reduction in the cd figure
â€˘Small spoiler lips on the tail lights homogenise the airflow at the rear. The airflow is forced to break away at a clearly defined point. There is therefore a uniform spoiler lip across the entire rear end
â€˘The contours of the spokes and the rim flanges have been optimised to ensure levels that were only previously achievable by using smooth-surfaced hub caps
â€˘The underbody panelling has been optimised, while the spare wheel well is designed as a diffuser
â€˘In isolation, tweaking the shape of the spoilers in front of the wheels, the rubber sealing sections or the underbody panelling only brings about a minimal improvement in each case; however, when combined, these measures contribute to the world-leading cd figure
The new E-Class Cabriolet also benefits from all of these measures. Naturally, the fabric soft top cannot quite match the closed sheet-metal design of the CoupĂ©. But the fabric and the contours of the folding top have been optimised to such an extent (see the section entitled "The roof" in this press kit) that the Cabriolet likewise achieves the best aerodynamic performance in its segment with a cd figure of 0.28.
Calmness itself: acoustic optimisation right from the start
Wind noise is another discipline of aerodynamics. Key requirements for a low wind noise level in the interior include draughtproof door and window seals. This requirement especially applies to cars with frameless side windows such as the new E-Class CoupĂ© and Cabriolet.
Measuring tools such as dummy heads and directional microphones enable even the slightest weakspots to be pinpointed. These can then be eliminated by implementing the best possible technical solutions. At a very early stage in the development of the new, sporty E-Class model, a three-metre concave acoustic mirror was used to optimise the exterior shape of the A-pillars and the shape of the exterior mirrors in the wind tunnel.
The Cabriolet model marks the debut of a new acoustic soft top, which is fitted as standard, giving the E-Class one of the lowest-noise interiors in the segment for four-seater premium cabriolets with a fabric soft top. It is therefore possible to have a perfectly normal phone conversation in hands-free mode at speeds of over 200 km/h. Further details can be found in the section entitled "The roof" in this press kit.
A further innovation is likewise designed to enhance comfort: now the front seat belt straps no longer run horizontally but, instead, are turned 35 degrees towards the occupants` shoulders. The advantage of this modification is that the wind pressure on the outside of the belt strap prevents annoying belt flapping when driving with the roof down. This dreaded "shoulder-knocking" effect has been reduced substantially at speeds of up to 120 km/h.
Design: The stuff of which cabriolet dreams are made
â€˘Classic: elegant cabriolet silhouette thanks to soft top
â€˘Family ties: twin-headlamp face and muscular stature
â€˘High quality: refined interior surfaces
From the very first drawings onwards, the Mercedes designers were sure of one thing: only a classic fabric soft top can convey a stylistically pure cabriolet feeling. Consequently, the new E-Class Cabriolet, which combines an elegant appearance with a high awareness of tradition, had to have a soft top. Viewed from the side, the two-door model therefore offers an enticing mix of clear proportions and a flawless cabriolet silhouette, including a long bonnet, wide doors, a high beltline with elongated side windows, a lowered soft top contour, and a short rear overhang. This look is complemented by the powerfully muscular section in the side wall at the rear axle and a slender C-pillar.
As well as sharing family traits with the other E-Class models, the new Cabriolet has its own, distinct identity characterised by a greater sense of passion. The arrow shape of the entire front section from front bumper to radiator grille to bonnet, the more extreme interpretation of the twin headlamp face and its more sinewy build give it a racier and more dynamic presence. At the same time, the close family ties with the E-Class CoupĂ© are clearly apparent.
The powerful styling accentuates the sleek, flowing lines
A special characteristic of the contemporary Mercedes design idiom is the creative interplay of edges and surfaces. Taut, sharply defined lines, which grow out of surfaces organically and disappear into them again equally gently, structure the sides of the Cabriolet. The high shoulderline, a prominent, downward-pointing feature line (another contemporary Mercedes styling element) and a second structuring line delimit the sensitively sculpted surfaces. Alternately concave and convex, these create a sleek yet sharply defined flow of lines which creates a fascinating interplay of reflected incident light.
Arrow-shaped front and dominant radiator grille
From the front bumper to the radiator grille to the bonnet, the pronounced arrow shape of the front section emphasises the sporty character of the Cabriolet. A central crease in the bonnet picks up this shape and trails back towards the windscreen. A wide, upright radiator grille with two louvres, striking chrome strips, a powerful chrome surround and the central star testifies to status and self-assurance in time-honoured Mercedes style. The grille makes an effortlessly superior, expressive statement of the brand`s identity.
The traditional twin headlamp face is based on that of the new E-Class Saloon, but has its own identity. Longer, more sharply inclined and flatter, the headlamps have a more dynamic look which is unmistakable. With their elaborate, high-tech interior and quadrant-shaped indicators, they add a sparkling finishing touch to the front of the vehicle.
A distinctive front apron with large air intakes gives the vehicle a strong, powerful presence. Two vertical struts in the front apron provide visual support for the radiator grille and give it a substantial formal base. Depending on the model version, the bumper houses either the fog lamps or the daytime driving lights and fog lamps side by side. In the versions with bi-xenon headlamps, L-shaped daytime driving lights based on LED technology give the vehicle an expressive look.
Powerful rear with innovative lights
"Powerful and not afraid to show it" could be the motto for the rear section of the new E-Class Cabriolet: the rear wings spanning the rear axle are sculpted to create a powerful, muscular form which visually enhances the vehicle`s width. The distinctive feature line - a characteristic Mercedes styling element - is continued skilfully around the back of the vehicle and into the tail lights, thereby forming a link between front and rear.
The LED tail lights are split and extend from the boot lid far into the side wall. In so doing, they emphasise the width and dynamism of the vehicle. Their innovative lighting technology is particularly noteworthy. An LED background lighting system provides indirect illumination of the three-dimensional back cavity in both light units and in this way sets the basic background lighting tone. Twin light arrays with twin LED light guides stand out against the background lighting. These light arrays accommodate the tail lights and the brake lights, while the reversing lights and an additional LED fog lamp are integrated in the boot lid light units.
The narrowness of the gap between the light unit on the boot lid and that on the side wall, as well as the extremely precise bevelling of the adjacent light lenses allows light transmission between the two sections. As a result, the night design of the new Cabriolet maintains the perceived width and harmonious appearance of the rear section.
Interior with sporty lines and high perceived value
In the interior, the designers have continued the taut, sporty design idiom of the exterior. The compelling interplay of surfaces and clearly defined lines creates an interior whose elegance and high perceived value are evocative of modern architecture. The cockpit is structured horizontally with a dark upper section in order to avoid unwanted reflections. Interior appointments in two colours - in keeping with the logic of the two-level structure - create intriguing contrasts.
With its sporty look and feel, the cockpit design is clearly in keeping with the agile character of the new Cabriolet. The instrument cluster with five tubes for the dials and a central display has a slender look, while the dials themselves are clearly laid out and have high-quality chrome surrounds as well as a silver backing for the scales. The background colour of the dashboard is silver or black, depending on the choice of trim elements. The three-spoke steering wheel with multifunction buttons is available in a number of different versions and colours in order to match the interior appointments.
Next to the instrument cluster - and therefore in the primary field of vision of the driver and front passenger - is the display area for the control and display system for the radio, navigation system and other functions. The system is operated by means of a rotary and push-action Controller which falls conveniently to hand in front of the asymmetrically split armrest between the front seats. This armrest also serves as a handrest when operating the Controller. This is also where the control buttons for the soft top and AIRCAPÂ® are to be found.
The horizontally structured dashboard flows into a centre console with a dynamic, arrow-shape where the air-conditioner control unit is to be found along with other features.
Sporty individual seats for the rear passengers, too
The new E-Class Cabriolet is an out-and-out four-seater and also has sportily designed individual seats in the rear. The front integral seats with pronounced, faceted side bolsters and transverse piping on the seat cushion have a light, contemporary look and immediately create a distinctly sporty impression while offering excellent seating comfort. Another notable characteristic of the seats is the high-quality, hand-stitched workmanship featuring discreet flat-felled seams. Further highlights include the audio system`s loudspeakers housed in the soft top compartment cover, which add an extra visual touch, especially when the roof is open.
The whole interior is dominated by pleasing surface finishes. Trim elements made from valuable, authentic materials emphasise the high-quality of the new Cabriolet. The sporty two-door model is equipped as standard with brushed aluminium trim elements with a sporty spin finish. Customers can also choose from fine woods: burr walnut, high-gloss black ash or the graphic linearity of pine. In all cases, the trim elements have a thin chrome strip along their upper edge.
The roof: Exemplary quiet-running
â€˘Quiet: acoustic soft top as standard for all versions
â€˘Safe: exceptional all-round visibility thanks to slender C-pillars
â€˘Hard-wearing: soft top can be put through an automatic car wash without hesitation
Thanks to its acoustic soft top, fitted as standard, the E-Class Cabriolet has one of the quietest interiors in the segment for four-seater premium cabriolets with a fabric roof. The soft top`s exceptionally high-quality insulation brings about a clearly noticeable reduction in the interior noise level compared to conventional fabric soft tops. Exterior noise caused by other vehicles and wind noise are therefore absorbed more effectively. On the road, the difference is audible from speeds of just 80 km/h, for example when driving through a tunnel or overtaking a convoy of trucks. At higher speeds, the benefits of the acoustic soft top are even more tangible. For instance, it is possible to have a perfectly normal phone conversation in hands-free mode even when travelling at a speed of over 200 km/h.
Three new developments enabled the Mercedes-Benz engineers to reduce the interior noise level substantially: the outer fabric coating on the soft top has been acoustically optimised, while a butyl layer in place of the previous neoprene layer on the inside acts as a water barrier. Finally, the intermediate felt layer is structured differently to that of the previous model. This layer also ensures that the elegant silhouette is not disturbed by bows visible from outside.
The E-Class Cabriolet likewise sets new standards when it comes to all-round visibility - important for both looks and safety. The soft top fabric in the C-pillar area is extremely slender thanks to the sophisticated kinematics of the rear windscreen which, rather than being rigidly welded in place, moves out of the soft top fabric when the roof is opened and closed. Special water pockets prevent moisture ingress at the sides.
Of course, the soft top itself is also waterproof and windproof. Plus it can be put through an automatic car wash without any hesitation. With a total thickness of 23.5 millimetres, the fabric soft top offers excellent thermal insulation, meaning that the E-Class Cabriolet is also ideal for use in winter. The heated rear windscreen is made of glass and is therefore scratchproof. The soft top is available in black, blue or beige.
Supreme ease of use was a key criterion when developing the soft top, which is hydraulically operated by means of seven cylinders pressurised by an electric pump. Fully automatic opening and closing of the roof takes around 20 seconds and is possible at speeds of up to 40 km/h. A pull on the control element on the centre tunnel is all it takes. Alternatively, the roof can be controlled remotely by pressing a button on the key. The soft top engages automatically at the front roof crossmember.
The soft top is stowed in a special compartment behind the rear panel. A retractable cover separates the soft top compartment from the boot area; it must be closed in order to close the soft top. If the roof is to remain closed, the cover can be slid rearwards, in which case the boot capacity is increased by 90 litres to 390 litres.
Differences between the exterior and interior air pressures can cause a ballooning effect on certain cabriolet models when travelling at high speed. But not in the case of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet: a special zip fastener is used to fasten the soft top firmly to the frame over all three bows. This fastening and the short fabric lengths between the supports are effective at preventing ballooning of the roof when travelling at high speed. Sophisticated test equipment was used to measure and document this effect during the road-testing phase.
The cabriolet specialists at Mercedes-Benz also attach great importance to the durability of the fabric soft top. Hence the roof is designed for 20,000 load cycles - the highest figure in this competitive environment - equivalent to opening and closing the soft top once on every day of the year for over 25 years. In the unlikely event of the fully automatic closing mechanism failing, for example due to a flat battery, Mercedes-Benz has seen to it that E-Class Cabriolet drivers will not be left in the rain, since the hydraulic system can be depressurised quickly, enabling the soft top to be closed and locked by hand.
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