First Drive 2011 Mercedes


The new E-class Mercedes Benz cabriolet amply recalls all those old Mercedes ragtops in a much better way that those two generation CLK could. In order to encourage you to keep that thickly insulated fabric soft top down, Mercedes has successfully improved air scarf, front seats grille vents, headrest that blows warm air coming from the heater. The top lowers or raises in just 20 seconds. This can even be done when you are rolling at a speed of 25 mph. With top down, there is less of trunk space as with other SLK and other convertibles, where you need to fix the trunk blocker which cuts the trunk space.

A big feature, is Mercedes Air Cap, a delightful but over engineered panel which is electrically operated and runs with the width of windshield header. It immediately pops out from the header as you flip open the panel cover present on the centre console. It works best when the windows are up and it showed marginal difference, when tested from the back seat at  60 to 70 miles per hour.

First Drive 2011 Mercedes First Drive 2011 Mercedes

Mercedes says that its convertible has about 0.27 drag coefficient which is quite impressive. It deteriorates to 0.31 on top down and comes to 0.35 to 0.36 with Air Cap. It can be activated by the driver at the speed of 100 mph, though it will definitely stay put there in its place till 155 mph.

Like coupe, E350 Cabrio has been equipped with 267 cubic inch 3.4 litre V-6 engine, attached to seven speed automatic transmissions. The E550 has 382 horsepower 5.5 litre V-8 and a seven speed box. E-class V-6 can get an update to a new gas direct inject version by summer 2011, which will be rated at 290 horsepower.

There are performance brakes in E350, 18 inch wheels, sport button which successfully changes the shift algorithm and paddle shifters. There is an optional sports variant for 550 which adds aluminium paddles, contour seats and three spoke steering wheel. There is no sports button on E350, but has steering wheel shift paddles, AMG wheels and three spoke wheel. This three spoke wheel can make a nice netro touch but you won’t require sport equipment.

Though the V-8 successfully make this car a straight line hot rod, the V-6 is powerful too. Just boot the throttle and you’d get sufficient oomph for launching this carbio on the freeway while its seven speed makes effortless and silky shifts.

First Drive 2011 Mercedes 1 First Drive 2011 Mercedes

The car is fine, but its weight, size and most importantly its attitude will not invite the mountain road slaloms. Good steering benefits achieved in this car due to new found interest of Benz in the road feel and its weight makes the combination just right. If you want through the wind in the hair dynamics, just leave couple of second behind and purchase Mercedes SLK or BMW Z4 or still better, a Porsche Boxster.

2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet
Base Price $57,000-$64,000 (est)
Vehicle layout Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door, convertible
Engines 3.5L/268-hp/258-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6; 5.5L/382-hp/391 lb-ft DOHC 36-valve V-8
Transmission 7-speed automatic
Curb weight 3800-3900 lb (mfr)
Wheelbase 106.9 in
Length x width x height 185.0 x 73.6 x 55.2 in
0-60 mph 5.1-6.3 sec (mfr est)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 15-17/23-26 mpg (MT est)
CO2 emissions 1.0-1.1lb/mile (est)
On sale in the U.S.


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