The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet: Four seasons, four passengers - PART III


Stuttgart, Germany, Mar 08, 2010

Design: The stuff of which cabriolet dreams are made

- Classic: elegant cabriolet silhouette thanks to soft top
- Family ties: twin-headlamp face and muscular stature
- 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 than the Saloon. At the same time, the close family ties with the E-Class Coupé are clearly apparent.

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 distinct 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 car.

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 car 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 car's width. The distinctive feature line – a characteristic Mercedes styling element – is continued masterfully 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 the LED‑fog lamp are integrated in the boot lid light clusters.

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 parts. 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. Beneath this are the control buttons for the soft top and AIRCAP®. The horizontally divided dashboard merges into a dynamic, arrow-shaped centre console in which the air-conditioning controls, for example, are integrated.

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.

Fine materials

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 parts 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 parts have a thin chrome strip along their upper edge.

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