by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte
e-mail: mercedesbenzblog@gmail.com

The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet (A 238): Open for intense pleasure

Open-top luxury models are the pinnacle of exclusivity in the automotive industry. With the all new E-Class Cabriolet of the A 238 model series, Mercedes-Benz builds a historical arch through time from the very first open-top E-Class variant represented by the 25-year old A 124 generation up to the first modern iteration of the E-Class Cabriolet, built on a technical platform derived from the BR213 series. The fifth model of the new E-Class range will be officially premiered in March, at the Geneva Motor Show 2017.

The new A 238 version is not solely a drop-top version of the E-Class Coupe, but a car which delivers an impressive statement on design and innovation. The exterior styling features plain surfaces and muscular shoulders, which further accentuate some of the striking details of the E-Class Cabriolet, such as slim LED tail lights with star dust effect and the diamond grille with the centrally located three-pointed star.

The sporty character is further underlined by the reduced ground clearance and the enlarged wheel arches which accomodate the high-diameter alloy wheels in several appealing designs. What's more, the new E-Class Cabriolet introduces a brand new exterior paint job called rubellite red metallic. Various interior combinations are possible, among which worth mentioning are the tizian red/macchiato beige leather upholstery (offered as standard on the special 25th Anniversary special edition model) and the yacht blue/macchiato beige leather upholstery, which can be combined be with open-pore or high-gloss light wood trims.

In addition, the A 238 model series offers an extensive range of convenience systems in order to enhance the level of comfort. First is the new MAGIC VISION CONTROL wiper system with Cabriolet system which sprays the optimal amount of water on the windscreen as to ensure passengers stay dry even when the roof is down and the car is running. Second come the AIRCAP wind deflector and the AIRSCARF heating solution already known from the SL and SLC, which prevent unwanted drafts of air and contribute to the optimal climate of the neck area in order to deliver a pleasurable ride as if the top would be up.

The premium soft top is made up of fabric and offers perfect thermal and acoustic insulation. Going from coupe to convertible takes only 20 seconds and can be done at speeds of up to 50 km/h. For more exclusivity, the cloth roof can be ordered in one of the four colours available: dark brown, dark blue, dark red or black. All the technical and safety advancements seen on the new E-Class Limousine W 213 are to be found on the new E-Class Cabriolet as well - the Widescreen Cockpit, the Touch Control buttons on the steering wheel, the MULTIBEAM LED headlights and the COMAND Online are just a few of them.

For greater variability as well as to improve comfort, the new E-Class Cabriolet can be optionally equipped with the AIR BODY CONTROL suspension, which can also be mated with DYNAMIC SELECT as to further personalize the riding style. For the first time in history, the E-Class Cabriolet will also be offered with 4MATIC all-wheel-drive traction. The 9G-TRONIC automatic gearbox will be standard on all engine variants. At the start of sales, four distinct versions of the A 238 will be available: E 200 with 184 hp, E 220 d with 194 hp, E 300 with 245 hp and the high-end E 400 4MATIC with 333 hp.

For more detailed information on the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet, please consult the following press release.

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE

Stuttgart - Mercedes-Benz is completing its E-Class family with the new E-Class Cabriolet. This open four-seater with a classic fabric soft top combines puristic, sensuous design with high long-distance comfort for four occupants and the latest technology. This includes comprehensive smartphone integration with a wireless charging and key function, a widescreen cockpit and the latest assistance systems. Powerful engines and comfortable suspension systems ensure a sporty and luxurious driving experience. On request the Cabriolet can be equipped with the AIRCAP electric draught-stop system and the AIRSCARF neck-level heating system – to enhance comfort when driving with the roof down. For the first time, the Cabriolet is also available with 4MATIC all-wheel drive.


The new Cabriolet is the fifth and youngest member of Mercedes-Benz's E‑Class family, which has been renewed entirely within the space of one year. At the same time, the brand with the star is continuing its tradition of high-calibre 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 Coupé and displays the same expressive proportions. The close ties between the two models are likewise apparent in the puristic design with the emphasis on surfaces with clean lines and sensuous forms. Hot and cool in equal measure, the design idiom represents elegance and intelligence. It is what 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 radiator grille and centrally located star, LED High Performance headlamps (or optional high-resolution MULTIBEAM LED headlamps), a drawn-out bonnet with powerdomes and fully retractable side windows underline the dynamism of the Cabriolet. The tautly-stretched soft top with window flows harmoniously into the muscular-looking rear. Its elongated, sensuously sculpted shoulders and two-piece, extremely slim LED tail lamps emphasise the sporty character of the four-seater. In addition to this, the tail lamps exude a brilliance reminiscent of the glow given off by a jet engine. As a new feature, the tail lamps also put on a special light show for the driver when they approach or leave the car.

With the roof open, the harmony between exterior and interior design becomes apparent, uniquely accentuating the high-quality details. A visual entity comprising anodised, polished aluminium (AMG Line in matt aluminium) is created by the trim frame on the A-pillar and front windscreen along with the shoulderline trim strip and a wide trim finish that surrounds the soft-top compartment. The third brake lamp with clear-lens cover is harmoniously integrated into this frame.

Suspension that is 15 millimetres lower than that of the Saloon likewise emphasises the luxuriously sporty character of the E-Class Cabriolet. The car thus demonstrates its sporty credentials even with the standard 17-inch tyres.

Premium-class fabric soft top

The fabric soft top is available in the colours dark brown, dark blue, dark red or black. A 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 high speed. 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 50 km/h. After opening, it folds down quietly and precisely and is stored in the soft-top compartment in the boot. A retractable cover separates the soft top from the remaining boot space. Thanks to the fully electrical control included in the optional Cabriolet Comfort package, the driver does not have to stop to operate the boot separator manually. The boot capacity of 385 litres (310 litres when the roof is open) 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 plus point 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 emphasise the car's sporty, stylish character and exude outstandingly high-class appeal.

Two optionally available high-resolution 12.3-inch displays (31.2 cm, 1920 x 720 pixel resolution) – a unique selling point in this segment – merge beneath a shared glass cover to create a widescreen that appears to be floating in thin air but nevertheless blends 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 entry-level model combines two round dials and a 7-inch colour display cluster (17.8 cm, 1000 x 600 pixel resolution) with a central display with 8.4-inch screen diagonal (21.3 cm 960 x 540 pixel resolution). The dials, instrument cluster and central display are installed in a single frame with a high-gloss piano-lacquer look.

Distinctly sporty highlights include air outlets in Silvershadow with a shape inspired by turbine engines. The driver has multiple options for operating the instrument cluster, multimedia system and other functions: touch controls in the steering wheel for finger-swipe control, a touchpad that recognises handwriting and the Controller in the centre console, LINGUATRONIC voice control and direct-access buttons, e.g. for controlling the air conditioning and for convenient activation and deactivation of certain driver assistance systems.

The avant-garde and luxurious seats for all four occupants have a sportily sculpted individual-seat character. The integral-look sports seats feature sturdy side bolsters, organically integrated head restraints and optional AIRSCARF neck-level heating. Standard-fit automatic belt extenders for the front seats help the occupants to fasten their seat belts. The rear seats now provide a through-loading feature as standard and are also heated, 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 colour 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. The optional appointments include heat-reflecting leather in five colours. There are also nine different trim options to choose from, including two pale finishes in innovative high-gloss open-pore wood.

The interior lighting makes exclusive use of durable, energy-saving LED technology. The same applies to the optionally available enhanced ambient lighting with 64 colours 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 optional AIRCAP automatic draught-stop system and the AIRSCARF neck-level heating, which make the fresh air much more enjoyable even at low outside temperatures. The AIRCAP draught-stop system was developed specifically for the Mercedes-Benz cabriolets. It consists of an electric wind deflector module inconspicuously integrated into the roof frame and an electric draught stop behind the rear seats. At the press of a button, this system reduces the interior turbulence for the rear passengers, too. AIRCAP is part of the Cabriolet Comfort package, which also includes AIRSCARF neck-level heating for the driver and front passenger by circulating warm air around the neck area when temperatures are low outside. The combination of these two pieces of equipment allows enjoyment of the open-air feeling on cold days, too.

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 4826 mm, a vehicle width of 1860 mm and a height of 1428 mm, the new E-Class Cabriolet is by far the larger model. The principal beneficiary of the wider track, with 1605 mm at the front (+67 mm) and 1609 mm at the rear (+68 mm), 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 will be able to enjoy true comfort even on long journeys.

Powertrain

At the market launch, there is initially a choice of powerful and efficient petrol and diesel engines, including versions with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive for the first time. Further engines will be added to the line-up in due course. As standard, all models are equipped with the 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission, which allows fast gearshifts and lower engine speeds. This has a particularly beneficial effect on efficiency and noise.

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. Comfort-tuned DIRECT CONTROL suspension with an amplitude-dependent damping system, which is 15 millimetres lower than the Saloon's suspension, is fitted as standard.

The likewise lowered DYNAMIC BODY CONTROL suspension with adjustable damping is available as an optional extra. 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 "Comfort", "Sport" and "Sport+" modes.

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 Saloon. 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 hardness 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 manoeuvres or on rough tracks. 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

However, the DYNAMIC SELECT system not only makes it possible to select the suspension characteristics in combination with DYNAMIC BODY CONTROL or 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 bodyshell

In a cabriolet, the lack of a roof often results in reduced body rigidity. The Mercedes engineers employed specific measures to counteract this during development. For instance, they made the bodyshell structures at the front end and on the floor exceptionally stiff, allowing a high level of driving dynamics.

The intelligent lightweight construction in aluminium hybrid design - a feature of the Coupé - has been retained. Most of the bodyshell components are made of die-cast aluminium and sheet steel. The front wings, bonnet and boot lid are made of sheet aluminium. The Cabriolet not only meets all current national and international crash requirements, but also the more stringent internal Mercedes-Benz safety standards, which are based on what actually happens in real-life accidents.

Safe protection

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 kneebag on the driver's side
- Thorax/pelvis bags for driver and front passenger
- Optional: curtain airbags integrated into the top edge of the front door panels to protect the head in the event of severe side impacts (headbags)
- Optional: sidebags 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 the 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 Saloon and Coupé. Active Brake Assist comes as standard. It is able to warn the driver of an imminent collision, provide optimum support with emergency braking and, if necessary, also autonomously apply 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.

Further highlights include the Driving Assistance package with the further developed Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC including Active Steering Assist: on all roads, it is not only able to keep the car the correct distance behind vehicles in front, for the first time it can also follow them automatically at a speed of up to 210 km/h.

MAGIC VISION CONTROL with Cabriolet function

Optional extras include MAGIC VISION CONTROL - the intelligent and highly efficient wash/wipe system for the windscreen. Its water ducts integrated into both sides of the wiper blade supply the cleaning fluid to a point just in front of the wiper blade lip every time, according to the direction of movement of the wiper. 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 function's electronic control system reduces the amount of water, supplying the required amount of water to a point just in front of the wiper blade lip, 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 interior. The complete system, including the wiper blades, is heated when the outside temperature falls to prevent snow or ice from sticking in winter.

Individual highlights

The Cabriolet already comes with a high equipment specification as standard, augmented by a wide range of individualisation options. The AMG Line is available to underline the dynamism of the Cabriolet. The main differences compared with the standard AVANTGARDE line are the bumpers, side skirts and larger wheels with AMG styling. The dots in the diamond radiator grille are chrome-plated, while the brake discs on the front axle are perforated. The interior boasts such features as seats in high-grade ARTICO/DINAMICA in black with grey contrasting topstitching, the Seat Comfort package and an AMG leather sports steering wheel.

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 optional AIRCAP automatic draught-stop system 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 optional leather appointments
- Individually folding rear seat backrests with through-loading feature
- The option of having a trailer coupling fitted to carry cycles, for example
- An optional, programmable auxiliary heater
- Optional 4MATIC all-wheel drive


Full smartphone integration

The optional COMAND Online infotainment system heralds a new era in networking and digitalisation. It enables effortless integration of the smartphone into the infotainment system by means of capacitive aerial coupling and wireless charging. In this way, compatible mobile phones can be charged wirelessly and connected to the vehicle's exterior aerial. Using Near Field Communication, the customer's smartphone becomes the digital vehicle key with which the car can be locked and unlocked as well as started.
If the vehicle is equipped with COMAND Online, it is possible to use Apple's smartphone-based infotainment system CarPlay® as well as Google's Android Auto™.

Internet and Live Traffic Information even in the basic version

The infotainment system Audio 20 USB is available as an alternative to COMAND Online. Like COMAND Online, this comes with a Bluetooth® hands-free system and also has internet capability with a Bluetooth®-capable mobile phone with mobile phone card and data option. In conjunction with the GARMIN® MAP PILOT SYSTEM, the Audio 20 USB and COMAND Online are able to receive current and precise traffic information from Live Traffic Information in real time. With COMAND Online, a new "Free Flow" technology uses green lines to make it visually clear to the driver where the clear routes are. It also takes account of traffic reports away from the main roads and depicts them visually.

Mercedes me connect Concierge Service: personalised attention

A further comfort highlight is the new Concierge Service, which is available in all E-Class models in combination with Mercedes me connect. Subscribed customers can take advantage of a number of assistance options: from making a restaurant reservation to obtaining tips about tourist routes, information on cultural and sporting events and bookings through to sending navigation destinations directly to the vehicle.
Access is straightforward: registered Mercedes me connect users can call up the Concierge Service in 20 countries across Europe either via the iCall button in the vehicle or on the Mercedes me app. The personal concierge takes care of everything else.

Sensitive climate control for open-air driving

Specially developed for cabriolets, the climate control system responds to whether the vehicle is being driven with the top up or down. In contrast to conventional systems, the climate is controlled fully automatically. This means that the driver does not need to select a mode for closed or open top, nor is it necessary to save a temperature setting for these driving conditions. An overlapping function performs the considerable feat of achieving an unnoticeable transition between closed and open top (and vice-versa) for maximum climate comfort.

A proud history: "25th Anniversary" special model

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. The German car magazine "auto, motor & sport" attests to this in its internet edition: "It's been a while since the 124-series Cabriolets were an insider tip. They're now widely regarded as one of the best investments."

25 years on, Mercedes-Benz is honouring 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 20-inch 5-twin-spoke alloy wheels, the Cabriolet Comfort package, open-pore elmwood trim, the AIR BALANCE package with the exclusive "DAYBREAK MOOD" fragrance, illuminated door sill panels with Mercedes-Benz lettering, velours floor mats with "25th Anniversary Edition" embroidery, ambient lighting, and the MAGIC VISION CONTROL wash/wipe system. The interior features high-grade designo appointments in the new colour combination of macchiato beige/tizian red. An elaborate diamond pattern with carefully positioned perforation underlines the luxurious character of the new E-Class Cabriolet. There is a choice of exterior paint finishes - the new colour rubellite red metallic or iridium silver - both in combination with a dark red soft top. The unique standing of the special model is emphasised by "25th Anniversary" badges on the front wings and on the centre console.

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Credits: Daimler AG / Mercedes-Benz

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