MAJORCA, Spain -- The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-class two-door Cabriolet will be priced similarly to the smaller CLK convertible it replaces despite the Cabriolet’s bigger size and added equipment.
Mercedes-Benz expects the E-class soft-top to cost about $56,000 for the V-6 E350 and about $65,000 for the V-8 E550 -- about $8,000 more than the coupe on which the Cabriolet is based, a spokesman said.
Mercedes is withholding pricing information until the Cabriolet goes on sale May 10. It is the third variant in the new-generation E-class family that launched last June with a sedan and coupe. A station wagon goes on sale in June.
Mercedes-Benz opted for a fold-down soft top for the E-class convertible rather than a hard top. The CLK convertible and coupe were based on the smaller C class. They were discontinued at the end of the 2009 model year with the launch of the new E-class coupe last June.
The Cabriolet uses the E-class coupe platform. The Cabriolet is 185 inches long -- seven inches shorter than the E-class sedan but two inches longer than the defunct CLK.
Christian Frueh, chief engineer for the coupe and convertible, said the new convertible is a “four seasons, four people” car despite its soft top, because of added comfort features. The Cabriolet has a new electric wind deflector -- Mercedes calls it an “air cap” -- that reduces wind turbulence for all four passengers. The 2.5-inch deflector with a net is electronically controlled and sits on top of the windshield frame.
A second deflector is between the rear headrests. Mercedes said the air cap also reduces wind noise when the top is down.
The front seat headrests have an optional “air scarf” heating system.
The United States will get only two models -- the E350 with 268 hp and the E550 with 382 hp. Both will have a seven-speed automatic transmission. The E550 comes standard with AMG exterior sport styling and interior trim. The car has a standard electronically controlled suspension, shift paddles and larger brakes.
Seven airbags are standard, including a front head restraint. Rear side airbags are optional.