2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class cabriolet
2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class cabriolet. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Grant Yoxon

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2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class cabriolet

Palma de Mallorca, Spain – In February, the temperature on Mallorca remains close to 15 degrees Celsius, rarely varying more than a couple of degrees, day or night. So reliable is the weather that European cyclists regularly train here. A tourist can even rent a carbon fibre racing bike to travel around the island. For a winter weary Canadian, it is perfect biking weather or more to my inclination, perfect top down weather. But you wouldn’t describe it as ideal for a convertible.

When the wind starts blowing around, 15 degrees can feel a bit chilly. You might even be inclined to turn the heat and fan up. But with AIRCAP, a standard feature on the new 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet, you shouldn’t feel the wind – not in the front seat and not much in the back. With AIRCAP, a power spoiler rises from the top of the windshield frame with a net stretched between the spoiler and frame. The spoiler causes air to flow through and over the spoiler, diverting the air flow over the passenger compartment. In addition, there is a more traditional, though power operated, wind blocker mounted between the rear seat headrests. The height of the wind blocker depends on whether or not there is a passenger present in the back seat. Together, the system is designed to provide the calmest open air driving experience for both front seat and rear seat passengers.

2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class cabriolet
2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class cabriolet
2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class cabriolet. Click image to enlarge

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet is the final variation of the E-Class that was fully redesigned in sedan and coupe versions for the 2010 model year. Since its introduction last year, Mercedes has also brought an AMG version, the E 63 AMG to North America. While that brute is powered by a 6.2-litre, 518-hp V8, the new cabriolet will come with the same power choices as the E 350 and E 550 sedans and coupes – a 268-horsepower, 3.5-litre V6-powered E 350, or a 382-horsepower, 5.5-litre, V8-powered E 550 (E 500 in Europe).

The E-Class sedan and coupe have been widely praised for their radical exterior designs – and criticised by some as too radical – but no one disagrees that the new E-Class nailed Mercedes-Benz’ desire to have the most elegant and technologically advanced mid-sized luxury car available. After driving the new E-Class Cabriolet around the island of Mallorca, I have to agree that the E-Class is also one of the most elegant convertibles I have ever driven. And with its standard AMG styling package, the Cabriolet looks as sporting as a convertible should.

In one of the most upscale locations in the world, where the sight of expensive and rare automobiles is not unusual, the 2011 E-Class Cabriolet attracted quite a bit of attention from pedestrians and passing motorists. Perhaps it was the clean lines of the fabric-topped car, good looking with top up or top down, or simply the fact that we were driving top down on a day when most citizens of Mallorca wore woolly sweaters and down filled jackets.

2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class cabriolet
2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class cabriolet
2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class cabriolet. Click image to enlarge

Technologically, it is as advanced as its coupe and sedan siblings and maybe even a bit more so because it is a convertible. Take, for example, the appropriately named AIRSCARF, which funnels warm air from the floor behind the front seats, heats it up and directs it to vents situated just below the head rests, blowing warm air around your neck.

Even when the outside temperature dropped as the sun sank into the water while driving along a windy ridge overlooking the Mediterranean, with hats, heated seats, dual zone climate control and AIRSCARF, we were as cozy as we would be in a closed car, but enjoying the open air experience.

My co-driver and I lamented that we could find no place to pull over and park so that we could walk to the edge and admire the stunning views. But this is common on this island where private property rights seem predominant and where public access to the water is rare and difficult to find. But if one needs to put the top up quickly there is no need to stop. The Cabriolet’s top can be raised or lowered at speeds below 40 km/h and will complete the task in less than 20 seconds. Controls for the top, AIRCAP and four-window auto up and down are located together in a pod on the centre armrest just behind the display screen controller.

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