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by Tim Beissmann

The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet has been unveiled today ahead of its official debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

The new Cabriolet will be offered in E350 and E500 variants when it goes on sale in the US in May 2010.

Power outputs remain the same as the current sedan and coupe models, the 3.5-litre V6 in the E350 producing 200kW/350Nm and the 5.5-litre V8 from the E550 puts out 285kW and 530Nm of torque.

Both are mated to Mercedes’ seven-speed automatic transmission.

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Visually the car shares much with the E-Class Coupe.

The interior is mostly unchanged and the main differences can be observed from the rear with the unique panelling of the boot and roof.

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Mercedes has resisted the hard-top trend, instead opting for a 23mm thick cloth lid which saves space and weight and can be raised or retracted in less than 20 seconds at speeds of up to 40km/h.

The headline act on the new E-Class Cabriolet is AirCap – the combination of an air diverter blade that rises from the top of the windshield and a three-position mesh draft-stop between the rear seat headrests.

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The result is one that tricks the laws of aerodynamics and dramatically decreases turbulence and air noise in the cabin when the top is down, working best between 50-240km/h.

Air normally rolls off the top of the windscreen down into the cabin but the deflector bends the air to take a similar shape to when the roof is up.

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Further adding to the comfort of front seat top-down passengers is Mercedes’ headrest-embedded AirScarf neck heating system from the S-Class.

The E-Class becomes the German brand’s first convertible to offer head airbags and safety is increased by reinforced A-pillars and other braces.

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Expect pricing to increase marginally over the outgoing CLK Cabriolet, which currently retails at $139,916 for the CLK350 and $170,634 for the CLK500 (manufacturer’s RRP not including dealer, statutory and on-road charges).




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