Nestled among numerous other Mercedes debuts at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the all-new E-Class Cabriolet is the latest addition to the manufacturer’s recast W213-generation midsize segment. Not surprisingly, it pretty much looks just like the prototype cabrio we drove about a month ago in Arizona, minus the few bits of camouflage still festooned to the pre-production car that, as far as we can tell, didn’t really hide anything revolutionary.
Compared to the previous-generation car, the new droptop is a touch longer at 4826mm and wider at 1860mm. It’s a bit higher as well, though it sits around 15mm lower than the current E-Class saloon. Optional adjustable dampers offer a wide range of settings, while multi-chamber air suspension offers three firmness settings to accommodate cruising or B-road blasting. The optional Dynamic Select system allows drivers to customise everything from suspension settings to throttle response and gearshift points.
The cabrio gets the same 329-horsepower, 3.0-litre biturbo V6 and 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic found in the E-Class Coupe. As with its convertible C-Class and S-Class siblings, power can be shuffled to either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive platforms. Mercedes hasn’t released performance figures, but we estimate rear-wheel drive models to reach 62 miles per hour in roughly 5.5 seconds. Expect the all-wheel drive version to take a bit longer.
There are no real surprises inside the cabrio, which pulls directly from the coupe for inspiration. That means jet-inspired air vents, LED ambient lighting with 64 colours, numerous colour choices for leather, even more choices for interior trim, and a suite of Mercedes luxury that includes the standard 12.3-inch display, or an optional digital instrument cluster. Should you desire a chilly top-down sprint across town, the manufacturer’s Aircap and Airscarf systems are available to both deflect wind and keep warm air nestled in the cabin. Our time in the cabrio prototype didn’t involve cold weather, but we can attest to the lack of wind in the cabin with the roof down.
The big news obviously is the fabric soft top, which gives the cabrio all the coupe’s sex appeal when up and plenty of smooth Mercedes style when down. The roof retracts in less than 20 seconds and can be operated at speeds up to 30 mph. The top is available in four colours – dark brown, dark blue, red, or black – and it’s protected in the 385-litre boot via retractable cover when down (reducing boot capacity slightly, to 310 litres).
Pricing hasn’t been released, but it shouldn't stray too far from the current model’s £42,045 tag. A special 25th Anniversary model that Mercedes says is “aimed primarily at collectors” will feature numerous aesthetic upgrades and likely cost a fair chunk more: sadly, it's not coming to the UK. The E-Class Cabriolet will be available in the UK by the end of the year.
Gallery: 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet
Open-air driving pleasure
Stuttgart. Mercedes-Benz is completing its E-Class family with the new E-Class Cabriolet. This open-top four-seater combines puristic, sensuous design with long-distance comfort for four occupants and the latest E-Class technology. This includes comprehensive Smartphone Integration and available Inductive Wireless Charging, a widescreen cockpit and the latest driver assistance systems. A powerful engine and comfortable suspension ensure a sporty and luxurious driving experience. The Cabriolet is available with AIRCAP® and AIRSCARF® neck-level heating system to enhance comfort when driving with the roof down. For the first time, E-Class the Cabriolet is also available with 4MATIC all-wheel drive.
The new Cabriolet is the newest member of Mercedes-Benz's new E-Class family, which has been entirely renewed within the last year. At the same time, the Mercedes-Benz brand is continuing its tradition of high-caliber cabriolets with a classic fabric soft top. "The passion for extraordinary vehicles, which we share with our customers, is reflected in our new E-Class Cabriolet in a unique way. It is a car that lets people enjoy comfort and luxury in the open air," says Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management at Daimler AG with responsibility for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales.
When the soft top is up, the E-Class Cabriolet has a silhouette similar to that of the E-Class Coupe and displays the same expressive proportions. The close ties between the two models are likewise apparent in the pure design with an emphasis on surfaces with clean lines and sensuous forms. The ‘hot and cool’ design idiom represents both elegance and intelligence, and shapes the appearance of the Cabriolet, which nevertheless exudes a unique character - especially when the soft top is down.
A striking front section with a low-positioned diamond-block grille and centrally located star, LED headlamps (or optional LED Intelligent Light System), a drawn-out hood with power domes and fully retractable side windows underline the sportiness of the Cabriolet. The tautly-stretched soft top flows harmoniously into the muscular-looking rear. Its elongated, sensuously sculpted shoulders and two-piece, extremely slim LED taillamps emphasize the sporty character of the four-seater. In addition to this, the taillamps exude a glow reminiscent of that given off by a jet engine. As a new feature with the optional LED Intelligent Light System, the taillamps also put on a special light show for the driver when they approach or leave the car.
Suspension that is 0.6-inches lower than that of the Sedan likewise emphasizes the luxuriously sporty character of the E-Class Cabriolet. The car thus demonstrates its sporty credentials even with the standard 18-inch wheels.
Premium-class fabric soft top
Available in dark brown, dark blue, red or black, the fully automatic acoustic soft top comes as standard. Its multi-layered structure with sophisticated insulation reduces wind and driving noise, which makes it easy for the occupants to hear each other talk, even when driving at higher speeds. The soft-top structure has an equally positive effect when it comes to climate comfort and makes the Cabriolet suitable for use all year round.
Derived from the S-Class Cabriolet, the soft top also meets high quality standards in terms of durability and operation. It can be fully opened and closed in 20 seconds when travelling at a speed of up to 30 mph. After opening, it folds down quietly and precisely and is stored in the soft-top compartment in the trunk. A retractable cover separates the soft top from the remaining trunk space. Thanks to the fully electrical control included in the available Cabriolet Comfort package, the driver does not have to stop to operate the trunk separator manually. The trunk capacity offers all the right ingredients for a high level of everyday practicality. The all-new 50:50 folding rear seat backrests create a through-loading feature in the interior – another advantage when it comes to everyday practicality.
Interior – sophisticated style and sporty luxury
The interior of the new E-Class Cabriolet has a clear basic form. The upper section of the dashboard appears to be hovering and rests against generously proportioned trim elements which flow sensuously into the front doors. The exceptionally high-quality materials and finish emphasize the car's sporty, stylish character and exude outstandingly high-class appeal.
A 12.3-in COMAND® display is equipped as standard. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is optionally available--a unique selling point in this segment–and is merged beneath a shared glass cover creating a widescreen that appears to be floating in thin air while simultaneously blending in smoothly between the upper and lower sections of the cockpit. The driver can choose from three different styles for the virtual instruments in the instrument cluster: Classic, Sport and Progressive.
The driver has multiple options for operating the instrument cluster, multimedia system and other functions: Touch Control Buttons in the steering wheel, a touchpad that recognizes handwriting and the controller in the center console, voice control and direct-access buttons for controlling functions such as the air conditioning and activation and deactivation of certain driver assistance systems.
Distinctly sporty highlights include air outlets in Silver Shadow with a shape inspired by turbine engines.
The luxurious seats for all four occupants have a sportily sculpted individual-seat character. The sport seats feature sturdy side bolsters, organically integrated head restraints and available AIRSCARF® neck-level heating. Standard-fit automatic belt presenters for the front seats help the occupants to fasten their seat belts. The rear seats now provide a through-loading feature, further enhancing the car's suitability for all-year-round use and its claim to be a fully-fledged four-seater.
High-grade materials and contemporary color landscapes come together to create a sporty, contemporary luxury. The attractive appointments in Yacht Blue in combination with Macchiato Beige lend the Cabriolet a cool, exclusive yachting look. Leather upholstery, available in four different colors, is equipped as standard, while optionally available Nappa leather comes in three different colors. There are seven different trim options to choose from, including two Natural Grain wood trims.
The interior lighting makes exclusive use of durable, energy-saving LED technology. The same applies to the enhanced ambient lighting with 64 colors and a special feature in the shape of a rear light in the roof liner of the Cabriolet soft-top.
Summer heat a constant companion
Customers opting for a cabriolet like to drive with the top down as often as possible. Maximum open-air comfort is possible in the E-Class Cabriolet thanks to the available AIRCAP® and the AIRSCARF® neck-level heating, which make the fresh air much more enjoyable even at low outside temperatures. The AIRCAP system was developed specifically for Mercedes-Benz cabriolets and consists of an electric wind deflector module inconspicuously integrated into the roof frame and an electric wind blocker behind the rear seats. At the press of a button, this system reduces the interior turbulence for the rear passengers, too. The combination of AIRCAP and AIRSCARF neck-level heating for the driver and front passenger allows enjoyment of open-air driving by circulating warm air around the neck area when temperatures are low outside.
Larger and more luxurious
Compared with its predecessor, the new E-Class Cabriolet has grown in length, width and wheelbase: with a vehicle length of 190-in, a width of 73.2-in and a height of 56.2-in, the new E-Class Cabriolet is by far the larger model. The principal beneficiary of the wider track, with 63.3-in at the front and 63.5-in at the rear, is the driving dynamics. Its considerably larger footprint benefits passengers in the rear in particular. On each of the four high-quality seats - which all feel like individual seats in their own right - the driver and all passengers can all enjoy true comfort even on long journeys.
With a 3.0L V6 biturbo engine, the new E-Class Cabriolet will be available for the first time as a 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive vehicle. Equipped as standard with a 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission, the new Cabriolet allows for faster gearshifts and lower engine speeds.
Suspension: sporty, agile and comfortable
The suspension on the new E-Class Cabriolet is designed to offer agile driving pleasure as well as a highly comfortable ride. A sporty, lowered suspension with adjustable damping is available as a stand-alone option. With this suspension, the driver can modify the vehicle's damping characteristics using the switch for the DYNAMIC SELECT system. There is a wide range of adjustment options available between the Eco, Sport and Sport+ modes, as well as an Individual mode.
AIR BODY CONTROL multi-chamber air suspension
The Cabriolet also has the option of AIR BODY CONTROL multi-chamber air suspension, as already seen on the E-Class Sedan and Wagon. Thanks to three chambers of different size in the spring struts of the rear axle and two in the spring struts of the front axle, the driver can control the firmness of the suspension in three stages. In this way, the occupants enjoy soft basic suspension, along with the secure feeling of good handling stability at higher speeds.
The multi-chamber air suspension is augmented by an electronically controlled adaptive damping system. It adjusts the damping at each individual wheel automatically to suit the current driving situation and condition of the road – such as in the case of evasive maneuvers or on rough roads. The system therefore delivers good ride comfort along with excellent driving dynamics.
Using the DYNAMIC SELECT switch, the driver can also select different suspension characteristics in combination with the AIR BODY CONTROL system: Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport+ and Individual.
DYNAMIC SELECT – choose your own driving characteristics
The DYNAMIC SELECT system not only makes it possible to select the suspension characteristics in combination with AIR BODY CONTROL, it also enables the driver to influence other vehicle settings – such as the throttle response, ECO Start/Stop function, shift points of the automatic transmission and more. Depending on the equipment level, DYNAMIC SELECT provides the following transmission modes: Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport+ and Individual. "Individual" allows the driver to configure their own preferred transmission settings.
Light and safe body shell
In a cabriolet, the lack of a roof often results in reduced body rigidity. Mercedes engineers employed specific measures to counteract this during development. For instance, they made the body shell structures at the front end and on the floor exceptionally stiff, allowing a high level of driving dynamics.
Intelligent lightweight construction in aluminum hybrid design - a feature of the Coupe - has been retained. Most of the body shell components are made of die-cast aluminum and sheet steel. The front fenders, hood and trunk lid are made of sheet aluminum. The Cabriolet not only meets all current national and international crash requirements, but also the more stringent internal Mercedes-Benz safety standards.
In the event of an accident, the high structural safety of the body and the extensive array of restraint systems offer optimum protection. These include:
Pyrotechnic belt tensioners and belt force limiters on all front and rear seats
PRE-SAFE® reversible belt tensioner on the front seats
Front airbags for driver and passenger
A knee bag on the driver's side
Thorax/pelvis bags for driver and front passenger
Side bags in the rear
The roll-over protection system has been developed specifically for the Cabriolet. It consists of two cartridges that are fully retracted behind the rear seats and therefore invisible. If a roll-over is imminent, these cartridges are pyrotechnically fired, whereupon they shoot out to provide a survival space together with the A-pillar.
All E-Class innovations on-board
As a member of the current E-Class family, the new Cabriolet offers all the familiar features from the E-Class Sedan, Wagon and Coupe. Active Brake Assist comes as standard and is able to warn the driver of an imminent collision, provide optimum support with emergency braking and, if necessary, can also assist in applying the brakes. In addition to slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles, it can also detect pedestrians crossing in the danger zone ahead of the vehicle.
MAGIC VISION CONTROL with Cabriolet function
MAGIC VISION CONTROL® - the intelligent and highly efficient wash/wipe system for the windscreen – is integrated into both sides of the wiper blade and supplies cleaning fluid to a point just in front of the wiper blade lip. It allows ideal cleaning of the windscreen without the familiar splash of water that can briefly disrupt the driver's field of view. Furthermore, when the soft top is down, the Cabriolet’s electronic control system reduces the amount of water, supplying just the required amount of water, mainly on the downward stroke of the wiper arm. In this way, the windscreen can be conveniently cleaned at any speed and with the roof open - without any of the water spraying into the vehicle’s interior. The complete system, including the wiper blades, is heated when the outside temperature falls to prevent snow or ice from sticking in winter.
The Cabriolet already comes with a high equipment specification as standard, augmented by a wide range of individualization options. The AMG Line is available to underline the sportiness of the Cabriolet with differences in the design of the bumpers, side skirts and larger wheels with AMG body styling. The dots in the diamond-block grille are chrome-plated, while the brake discs on the front axle are perforated.
Cabriolet suitable for use all year round
The E-Class Cabriolet boasts an exceptionally high level of everyday practicality. It is suitable for all seasons and all weather conditions thanks to the available AIRCAP® and the AIRSCARF® neck-level heating as well as a number of other features:
Acoustic soft top insulated to protect against heat and cold
Heat-reflecting leather in conjunction with leather appointments
Individually folding rear seat backrests with through-loading feature
Available 4MATIC all-wheel drive
Full Smartphone Integration
The standard COMAND® Navigation system heralds a new era in networking and digitalization. It enables effortless integration of the smartphone into the system by means of wireless charging for compatible mobile phones. It is possible to use Apple's smartphone-based infotainment system CarPlay® as well as Google's Android Auto™.
mbrace® Concierge: personalized attention
A further comfort highlight is the mbrace® Concierge Service, which is available on all carlines for customers with mbrace® Connect and mbrace® Secure. For participating customers, the range of services includes a host of personalized assistance options: from making a restaurant reservation to obtaining tips about tourist routes, information on cultural and sporting events and bookings to sending navigation destinations directly to the vehicle.
Access is straightforward - registered mbrace® subscribers can call up the Concierge Service either via the iCall button in the vehicle or on the Mercedes me app. The personal assistant takes care of everything else.
A proud history: "25th Anniversary" special edition
Mercedes-Benz launched a fourth body variant in the medium-size segment in spring 1992 – the 300 CE-24 Cabriolet. Today this open-top four-seater has become something of a coveted collectors' item.
25 years later, Mercedes-Benz is honoring this first Cabriolet in the E-Class family by launching the "25th Anniversary" model, aimed primarily at collectors and lovers of unique cars. Highlights of the luxurious and exclusive "25th Anniversary" Edition include 19-inch 10-twin-spoke alloy wheels, Cabriolet Comfort package, Natural Grain Light Brown Elm wood trim, illuminated door sill panels with Mercedes-Benz lettering, velour floor mats with "25th Anniversary Edition" embroidery and the MAGIC VISION CONTROL® system. The interior features high-grade designo appointments in the new color combination of Macchiato Beige/Tizian Red. An elaborate diamond pattern with carefully positioned perforation underlines the luxurious character of the new E-Class Cabriolet. The new exterior paint color Rubellite Red metallic is combined with a red soft top; the unique standing of the special model is further emphasized by "25th Anniversary" badges on the front fenders and on the center console.
The all-new 2018 E-Class Cabriolet will have its World Premiere at the 2017 Geneva Auto Show in March, and will go on sale in the U.S. by the end of the year.