A bare year after the presentation of the Coupé models, a new E-Class Cabriolet also celebrated its world premiere at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) held in Detroit, USA, in January 2010. Like its closed brother, the convertible not only featured a striking design, but also a wealth of technical innovations in the areas of engine, chassis control, safety systems and infotainment.
As in the case of the Coupé, the exterior of the open-top two-door model featured traditional stylistic features such as the typical sports radiator grille with large three-pointed star, while at the same time citing the lines of the E-Class Saloon, for example on the front of the vehicle and the rear wings. This resulted in a family resemblance that was recognisable at first glance.
In the interior, whose essential design elements reflected the design idiom familiar from the Saloon, but interpreted in a sportier way, the significantly increased space was striking. Based on the E-Class instead of the C-Class - as had been the case with its predecessor, the CLK - the Cabriolet offered significantly more generous space in terms of length and width. Newly developed seats with electric adjustment were fitted as standard, and their easy-entry function made it possible to reach the individual rear seats with ease. There was also a through-loading feature between the luggage compartment and the interior under the centre armrest in the rear.
The elaborately lined folding roof of the Cabriolet opened and closed electrically within 20 seconds. When open, it was stored in a soft top compartment separated from the luggage compartment by a roller blind. When the roof was closed the blind could be opened, thereby adding an additional 90 litres to the available boot capacity. Special emphasis was placed on increasing noise comfort in the design of the roof. The so-called acoustic soft top, which came as standard, was 23.5 mm thick and, with its particularly high-quality acoustic and thermal insulation, ensured a significantly lower interior noise level in the closed state than had previously been the norm in the four-seater convertible segment, while at the same time providing the greatest possible comfort in the winter season.
To raise open-top comfort to a new level, the Mercedes-Benz developers created an innovative wind deflector system called AIRCAP®, which extended electrically at the touch of a button and consisted of a wind deflector module in the front of the roof frame and a wind deflector between the rear head restraints. It almost completely suppressed unwelcome air turbulence in the interior and at the same time ensured a noticeable reduction in the noise level. Together with the already familiar, but further developed and now swivelling AIRSCARF® headroom heating system, AIRCAP® formed the Cabriolet Comfort Package, which was available as an option.
At the start of sales in January 2010, the new E-Class Cabriolet was available with five different drive units: two diesel and three petrol engines. The 2143 cc four-cylinder engine used in the E 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY and the E 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY came from the new OM 651 diesel engine generation and produced 125 kW/170 hp and 150 kW/204 hp respectively, as well as a maximum torque of 400 and 500 Nm. Its average fuel consumption (combined according to NEDC) was 5.6-5.8 l/100 km. The 3.0-litre V6 from the OM 642 series with common-rail direct injection and turbocharging remained the top-of-the-range engine among the compression-ignition models. In the E 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY, it was initially configured to 170 kW/231 hp and had a combined average consumption of 7.0-7.2 l/100 km in the current driving cycle.
The range of petrol engines began in the E 200 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY and the E 250 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY with the newly developed four-cylinder M 271. The 1.8 litre turbocharged direct-injection engine was configured to 135 kW/184 hp or 150 kW/204 hp and was combined with different power transmissions as standard: in the E 200 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY with a 6-speed manual transmission and in the E 250 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY with a 5-speed automatic. In both cases, the engine provided sports car-like performance with modest average fuel consumption in the 8 l/100 km range. The mid-range power segment in the E 350 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY Coupé was covered by the 3.5-litre V6 from the M 272 series with spray-guided direct petrol injection of the latest design. The power output of the naturally aspirated engine of 215 kW/292 hp came with an average standard fuel consumption of a maximum of 9 l/100 km. As in the predecessor models of the CLK-Class, the 5.5-litre V8 with 285 kW/388 hp used in the open-top E 500 ensured particularly superior power delivery and maximum drive comfort.
In terms of the suspension, the four-seater Cabriolet exploited the available dynamic handling potential at all times in a safe and sportily comfortable manner. The AGILITY CONTROL suspension with automatic shock absorber system was fitted as standard, the effect of which automatically adapted to the prevailing driving conditions and ranged from sportily agile to comfort-oriented. An AGILITY CONTROL sports suspension was available as an option, which featured damping characteristics with a sporty focus and was complemented by a speed-sensitive sports steering system with a more direct ratio. Further refinement was offered by a Driving Dynamics Package, also available as special equipment, with an electronically controlled, wheel-selective damping system and the two selectable driving modes "Comfort" and "Sport".
As is always the case with Mercedes-Benz, extensive safety and assistance systems were also used in the new E-Class Cabriolets to significantly increase the safety margin for all passengers and to take the strain off the driver in the best possible way. The open-top two-door benefited from the far-reaching new developments for the E-Class Saloon introduced the year before. Standard equipment included the ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection system and PRE-SAFE® preventive occupant protection. The Intelligent Light System was also available as special equipment for the Cabriolet, optimising road illumination in all traffic situations with the aid of Adaptive Highbeam Assist and based on bi-xenon headlamps. Also available as an option was the DISTRONIC PLUS assistance system, already familiar from the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, with adaptive cruise control, Brake Assist Plus and PRE-SAFE® Brake. It intervened - autonomously if necessary - in the driving situation in order to prevent or at least reduce the severity of a collision with an obstacle ahead.
The safety equipment of the E-Class Cabriolet set a new standard in the segment with seven airbags, including head airbags for the first time, seat belt tensioners, belt force limiters on all seats and crash-active head restraints on both front seats. Increased use of ultra-high-strength steel alloys and sophisticated deformation structures ensured that the body could withstand high impact loads even without a steel roof, thus offering passengers the best possible protection.
The Mercedes-Benz developers paid particular attention to the convertible-specific safety equipment. The best possible rollover protection was provided by two roll bars measuring 35 mm in diameter, which could pop up pyrotechnically in an emergency and were housed behind the rear head restraints. The A-pillars also were reinforced by two additional integrated high-strength tubes, while the so-called stretched B-pillars, engaging directly with the side sills, were supported on the inside against the rear seat cross-member, thereby further optimising the structural crash safety. Care was also taken to protect other road users: the new E-Class Cabriolets were equipped with an active bonnet whose rear end lifted by 50 mm in the event of an accident with the aid of a spring system, thus increasing the deformation space for pedestrians or cyclists.
The infotainment equipment represented the state of the art. At the heart of the operating concept already proven in the S-Class, with multifunction steering wheel, colour display in the instrument panel and Direct Select buttons, was the controller positioned on the transmission tunnel. This controlled, for example, all audio functions, telephone and navigation. Standard equipment included the Audio 20 system, consisting of a radio, CD/DVD player, eight speakers and Bluetooth interface. The COMAND APS multimedia system was available as an option, featuring hard-disc navigation, a DVD changer, an extensive music register and voice control. The acoustic experience was further intensified by a 500-watt sound system, a media interface and a tuner for digital radio reception.
Even at the time of the market launch of the new E-Class Cabriolet, the range of available engines, suspension variants, equipment lines, colours and wheel/tyre combinations offered extensive possibilities for individualisation. The optionally available AMG Sports Package with front apron, side sill panels and rear apron in AMG outfit set a decidedly sporty accent here. Also included were 18-inch AMG light-alloy wheels with 235/40 R 18 tyres at the front and 255/35 R 18 tyres at the rear, as well as the AGILITY CONTROL sports suspension. The interior trim in black ARTICO man-made leather and the AMG sports steering wheel in 3-spoke design created an appropriate interior ambience.
To mark the start of production, Mercedes-Benz launched a limited "Prime Edition" of the E-Class Cabriolet, as it had done for the Coupé, which featured particularly exclusive equipment details. The scope here included, among other things, the special tenorite grey metallic paint finish as well as 18-inch AMG titanium grey light-alloy wheels. Among other things, a two-tone designo interior in nappa leather gave the interior a special flair. The equipment package was available for all models.
The gross list prices of the new Cabriolet models started at 45,815.00 euros for the E 200 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY and went up to 71,519.00 euros for the top model E 500.
Until late spring 2011, the engine range remained unchanged. Then, with the new E 300 BlueEFFICIENCY model and, in parallel, with the E 350 BlueEFFICIENCY, the transition from the previous V6 of the petrol engine series M 272 to the newly developed M 276 was also completed for the open-top two-door models. The engine had a cylinder bank angle of 60° instead of 90°, as had been the case with its predecessor. In the E 300 BlueEFFICIENCY, which narrowed the gap between four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines, the new V6 direct-injection engine - with an identical displacement of 3498 cc - produced 185 kW/252 hp. The 350 version was now rated at 225 kW/306 hp, offering fuel economy benefits in the region of 20% over the previous generation of engines. Both models also featured the new 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission with seven gears, which from now on was also successively installed in the other E-Class Cabriolets as standard or as special equipment. The additional designation CGI, which referred to direct injection, was also dropped from the corresponding petrol engines from this point on.
The top version with diesel engine, the E 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY, also benefited from an increase in power at the start of the 2011 convertible season: Instead of 170 kW/231 hp as before, the 3.0-litre OM 642 V6 now delivered 195 kW/265 hp and yet still consumed around 10% less fuel, with a maximum of 6.2 litres per 100 km for the combined average in accordance with the applicable measuring standard.
The comprehensive activities to reduce consumption and thus also CO₂ figures similarly extended to the top-of-the-range E 500 model. In the run-up to the Frankfurt Motor Show 2011, both the Cabriolet and the Coupé were given the additional designation BlueEFFICIENCY for the first time and were also equipped with a direct-injection V8 from the M 278 series. The engine, which had been used for the first time the year before in the S-Class (model series 221) and the CL Coupé (model series 216), was characterised, among other things, by a reduced displacement of 4663 cc and the use of two exhaust gas turbochargers. This resulted in an increase in output to 300 kW/408 hp in both E-Class two-door models, combined with a further 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption compared to the previous engine, which had a displacement of just under 5.5 litres.
In contrast, there was hardly any movement in the gross list prices until the first far-reaching facelift of the two-door E-Class in March 2013: the range started at 46,380.25 euros for the E 200 BlueEFFICIENCY Cabriolet petrol model; only the open-top E 500 BlueEFFICIENCY, which had been fundamentally updated on the drive side, was invoiced at almost 5% more than at market launch just three years earlier and cost 74,583.25 euros.
By then, a total of around 78,000 E-Class Cabriolets had come off the production lines. The open-top E 300, built since 2011, remained particularly rare, with only 280 units produced by the time of the facelift. The most popular model was the E 350 Cabriolet, of which a total of 13,606 vehicles were produced during this period.