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Topless E-Class arrives in SA

2010-04-16 13:28
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Mercedes-Benz
Model E350; E500
Engine 3.5l V6; 5.5l V8
Power 200kW @ 6 000 r/min ; 285kW @ 6 000 r/min
Torque 365Nm @ 5000 r/min ; 530Nm @ 4800 r/min
Transmission Seven-speed automatic
Zero To Hundred 6.9 seconds ; 5.3 seconds
Top Speed 250km/h
Fuel Tank 66l
Fuel Consumption 10.1l; 11.0l
ABS Yes with Brake Assist and ESP
Front Suspension Three-link suspension, anti-dive, coil springs, gas-filled shock absorbers
Rear Suspension Multi-link suspension, anti-squat and anti-dive
Price R 770 000 ; R 900,000

Sergio Davids

First unveiled at the 2009 Detroit Motor Show, Mercedes has taken the top off its E-Class to produce a soft top aimed at capturing that open-air feeling.

The E-Class cabriolet launched in SA features two model derivates, namely the E 350 and E 500. Both models sport an acoustic soft top as standard. The soft top can be opened and closed automatically within 20 seconds and in case drivers are ever caught out in the rain, cabin can be closed driving at speeds of up to 40 km/h.


The E 350 Cabriolet is powered by a 3.3-litre V6 engine. This six-cylinder powerplant develops 200 kW at 6 000 r/min and provides peak torque of 350 Nm from 3 000 r/min.

The more potent E 500 is powered by a V8 engine that develops 285 kW at 6 000 r/min and has a peak torque figure of 530 Nm at 4800 r/min. Both engines are mated to a 7 G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission, but the flagship matches power, torque and agility to rocket the soft-top E from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds.

Travelling away from Cape Town up the coast towards Gordon's Bay, the E-Class Cabriolet was in its element, translating regular open-top cruising into a more visceral driving experience.
Power delivery is near-instantaneous and the grunt from the V6 and V8 engines comes to the fore brilliantly in this car. Automatic gear shifts are smooth and intuitive, while manual paddle shifts are available, too.

The adaptive suspension system used on both models is dependent on road conditions and adjusts the damping force for each wheel individually. When driving normally, a softer damper setting is best for maximum comfort, but if you decide to hurry things along, damper settings can be firmed up for a more dynamic performance.

Drivers can change the handling characteristics of the cabriolet by switching to Sport Mode. With this function engaged, the hydraulic forces of the shock absorbers are increased to allow even better directional stability and reduce understeer at speeds of up to 120 km/h.


Mercedes-Benz launches its E-Class Cabriolet with its new AirCap draught reducing system. The AirCap consists of two components: a wind deflector that can be extended with a net in the windscreen frame and a draught-stop between the individual rear seats.
When activated the AirCap significantly reduces airflow to the interior of the car, especially towards the rear seats. The system is activated either by pushing a button on the centre console or when rear passengers buckle up.

The AirCap system also serves to reduce that often irritating vacuum created in the interior of cabriolets by redirecting airflow away from the cabin. It also works in conjunction with the vehicle’s Pre-Safe function that, if an imminent collision is detected, will retract the AirCap back into the windscreen frame.

The Airscarf

Another addition to the E-Class Cabriolet is the Airscarf system, first introduced on the SL roadster. The Airscarf features air outlets integrated into the backrests of the front seats to warm occupants' head and neck areas when activated.

I found the Airscarf to be a great feature and with it, the air cap and climate control engaged you should never feel as though you have to either slow down to avoid chilling winds or raise the roof, even while travelling at high speeds.


The E-Class Cabriolet is decked out with all the bells and whistles you would expect from a vehicle straining towards the R1m barrier. The interior contains a mix of plush leather and chrome highlights. Controls have been simplified, especially concerning climate control and the roof functions.


The new E-Class Cabriolet features a host of safety features. 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 one of the most extensive safety equipment packages in its class. The E-Class convertible is also the first Mercedes cabrio to offer head airbags.

Mercedes-Benz SA has no plans to launch a diesel derivative of the E-Class Cabriolet. While there will also be no AMG variant of the Cabriolet, Mercedes-Benz has added an optional AMG sports package for the model. The AMG package costs R30 000 and adds changes to the rims, different front and rear bumpers as well as stiffening the suspension and altering the shift characteristics of the 7G-Tronic transmission.

Share your thoughts on the new E-Class Cabriolet here!

E 350 Cabriolet - R700 000
E 500 Cabriolet - R900 000

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