Car reviews - Mercedes-Benz - E-class - E250 CGI Cabriolet
20 May 2011
By PHILIP LORD
MERCEDES-BENZ will offer a turbo-diesel-powered cabriolet for the first time in its E-class soft-top range that is being progressively rolled out to round off the W212 E-class range with the sedan, coupe and wagon.
An innovative open-top design and enhanced safety features are other highlights of the new model, which – despite the E-class moniker – replaces the CLK Cabriolet.
However, prices have moved up a class to match the E-class shift, rising between $2000 and $16,000 over the superseded car.
Mercedes-Benz Australia has cherry-picked four models from Europe’s seven-model line-up for local release: the E500 Cabriolet, E350 Cabriolet, E250 CDI Cabriolet and E250 CGI Cabriolet.
While the E350 and E500 Cabriolets go on sale in April – just three months after the Cabriolet’s global debut in Europe – the E250 CGI will arrive in May and the E250 CDI Cabriolet is expected in June.
The E-class Cabriolet shares the same key measurements as the coupe, including a 4698mm length and 1786mm width.
Central features of the new Cab include an ‘acoustic’ folding fabric roof, side head airbags, the latest version of the pioneering ‘Airscarf’ neck-heating system that originated in the SL, along with a wind deflector called AirCap that Mercedes says reduces buffeting and heat loss when the roof is down.
The draft-reducing AirCap feature is switchable and consists of two components: a windscreen-mounted wind deflector that can be extended 6cm and a draught-stop between the rear seats.
Operating at up to 250km/h, the system aims to make the cabriolet more usable in cold climates with the top down – but it increases the aerodynamic drag and, accordingly, fuel consumption.
While AirCap is standard on all models, the Airscarf feature is standard on only the E350 and E500 models and option on the others.
The soft top can be activated at up to 40km/h, and closes in 20 seconds. It also features a through-loading system as standard, plus a manual ‘Easy-Entry’ system for rear-seat passengers.
Mercedes-Benz says the soft top can be put through an automatic carwash, while the 23.5mm thickness provides a measure of thermal insulation.
When the roof is retracted, boot space is 300 litres with the roof up it gains a further 90 litres.
The new Benz cabriolet features specific chassis reinforcement measures including a unique windscreen frame and ‘plug-in’ B-pillars, along with two 35mm-diameter pop-up rollover bars behind the rear head restraints and, in a first for Mercedes, new 700x500mm head airbags housed in the doors.
Torsional stiffness is up 30 per cent over the outgoing CLK Cabriolet.
All E-class Cabriolets will also have an extensive safety menu as standard with a total of nine airbags, including twin front, twin front-side and a driver’s knee airbag, and seatbelt tensioners and force-limiters for all four occupants.
Also fitted to all models is ABS Brakes, stability and traction control, Brake Assist System (BAS), Adaptive Highbeam Assist Adaptive Brake Lights, ‘Attention Assist’ driver fatigue detection system, Intelligent Light System, Distronic Plus radar-guided cruise control with Brake Assist Plus, Pre-Safe anticipatory occupant protection system, Neck-Pro crash-responsive head restraints for driver and front passenger and a reinforced occupant structure.
Mercedes-Benz says that the E-class Cabriolet the most aerodynamic convertible in its class, although, at 0.28Cd, its aerodynamic drag coefficient is 0.04 points less slippery than that of the E-class Coupe, which is said to be the world’s most aerodynamic production car.
The two four-cylinder models also feature fuel-saving features, such as on-demand activation of steering and fuel pumps, low rolling resistance tyres and an alternator control system that charges according to the vehicle's electrical power requirements.
The E250 CGI engine is a 1.8-litre direct petrol injection turbocharged 16-valve double overhead cam alloy design that develops 150kW of power at 5500rpm and 310Nm of torque at 2000 to 4300 rpm.
According to Australian official fuel figures, the E250 CGI Cabriolet consumes an average of 8.3 L/100km, while its CO2 output is 192g/km.
And accelerates from rest to 100km/h in 7.8 seconds. Like all E-class Cabriolets, top speed is electronically limited to 210km/h.
The E250 CDI engine is a 2.1-litre common rail diesel injection, two-stage turbocharged 16-valve unit that develops a peak 150kW of power at 4200rpm and 500Nm of torque at 1600 to 1800rpm.
Combined fuel consumption is 5.8L/100km and CO2 output is 153g/km, according to European figures (local fuel consumption and CO2 output figures are yet to be confirmed). The diesel’s 0-100km/h time is 7.8seconds.
The E350 Cabriolet is powered by a 3.5-litre port fuel-injected petrol 24-valve V6 engine that produces a peak of 200kW of power at 6400rpm and 350Nm of torque at 2400-5000rpm. Combined fuel consumption is quoted as 9.8L/100km, with CO2 output 229g/km. The 0-100km/h-acceleration figure is quoted as 6.8seconds.
The E500 Cabriolet employs a 5.5-litre port fuel injection petrol 32-valve V8 that develops a peak of 285kW of power at 6000rpm and 530Nm of torque at 2800-4800rpm. Combined fuel use is 11L/100km and CO2 output is 257g/km, while the rest-to-100km/h time is 5.3 seconds.
Standard features for all E-class Cabriolet models include electrically adjustable front seats with memory function, two-zone automatic climate control, adaptive brake with hold function, priming function, brake drying function in the wet and hill-start assist, automatic on/off lights, automatic front seat belt feeders, multifunction steering wheel, Comand APS multimedia system with a high-resolution 17.8cm (7-inch) colour display, fast hard-disc navigation with map display (Birdview, 3-D points of interest) for digitised areas of Australia, six GB memory (Music Register) for compressed audio files (MP3, WMA, AAC), PCMCIA adapter slot for memory cards, DVD video, Linguatronic voice-operated control for audio, telephone and navigation, tyre pressure loss warning system, Bluetooth, cruise control and Speedtronic variable speed limiter.
Two now-familiar Mercedes-Benz trim levels are available – Elegance and Avantgarde. The Elegance has burr walnut wood trim, light colour roof lining, instrument cluster with tubular design in black, while Avantgarde features black ash wood trim, black roof lining and an instrument cluster with tubular design in silver.
The E250 CGI Cabriolet has 17-inch alloy wheels, parking assist, daytime running lights and Avantgarde trim.
The E350 Cabriolet has, in addition auto-fold side mirrors, 18-inch alloy wheels and rear-view camera.
The E500 Cabriolet has as standard the ‘Entertainment’ package (optional on other models), which consists of a Harman/Kardon Logic 7 surround system, Keyless-Go keyless start-stop system and TV tuner with both digital and analogue reception and the AMG Sports package.
The E500 Cabriolet gets the dynamic handling package as standard, while it is an option on the other models.
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