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Mercedes-Benz’ opulent new E-Class cabriolet is slowly hitting dealership lots and pricing information is being released at the same time. The six cylinder E350 Cabriolet will start at $56,850 while the V8 powered E550 cabriolet will come in at $64,880. Having done away with the CLK nomenclature for the newest generation of mid-size Mercedes two-doors, the company is hoping to position the E-Class Cabrio as a more luxurious and dare we say premium alternative to their topless Teutonic rivals, the BMW 3-Series and 6-Series convertibles as well as the Audi A5 and S5 drop-tops. While consumers are likely to cross-shop the cars against one another, there’s little doubt that each vehicle attracts a specific sort of buyer, and Mercedes should have no trouble pushing every E-Class ragtop it can make, especially in the wealthy sunbelt areas, where an open-air Grand Tourer is the perfect way to enjoy the sunny skies.
GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet
Rag top Merc to be offered as both E350 and E550 models
Mercedes has just released full details and a large selection of photos of its latest model, the E-Class Cabriolet, which will officially debut at the Detroit Auto Show in just a few weeks – a very convertible unfriendly time of year.
Like the E-Class Coupe, the Cabriolet model is actually based on the smaller C-Class platform and will initially offered with two engine choices: an underwhelming 268-hp 3.5-liter V6 and a robust 382-hp 5.5-liter V8. Mercedes has also opted to go with a conventional rag-top, rather than a hard top, in order to keep the weight gain to a minimum. The top drops in roughly 20 seconds and can be operated at speeds up to 25 mph. Soft tops are also supposed to provide more trunk space, but that doesn’t appear to be the case here with just 3.2 cubic feet of space available with the roof down. Top-up, there is plenty of room, with a total of 13.8 cu.-ft.
A new item included in the E-Class Cab is what Mercedes has dubbed the AirCap. The system includes a wind deflector mounted to the top of the windshield as well as draft stops inside the cabin. It can be deployed at the push of a button and doesn’t require fiddling or installation; plus it also doesn’t block off the rear seats like some wind deflectors do. And along with keeping a more balanced temperature inside the cabin, it also reduces interior noise.
The AirCap can also be paired with Merc’s Airscarft, which blows air out of the front headrests and right onto the neck of the driver and front passenger.
As with all new E-Class models, the Cabriolet comes with an extensive list of safety features, as well as pop-up roll-over bars and the company’s first use of headbag airbags.
We’ll have our first up-close look at the E350 Cabriolet and E550 Cabriolet at the Detroit Auto Show in just a few weeks and the car will arrive in dealerships in May. Until then, check out the huge gallery of photos below.
GALLERY: 2011 Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet
Official release after the jump: