New drop-top Mercedes to rival Lexus and BMW
27 July 2009

Mercedes has been testing the new E-class cabrio against its main rivals, the drop-top BMW 3-series and Lexus IS250C, ahead of its Frankfurt debut.

One trick Mercedes hopes will create a new benchmark in drop-top refinement is a retractable wind deflector atop the E-class’s windscreen.

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The small spoiler on the top of the windscreen is designed to direct wind over the top of the passenger compartment, eliminating buffeting and reducing noise with the roof down.

Another application could be to improve aerodynamics by keeping the air flowing over the car. Convertibles are often less aerodynamic than their hard-top cousins and Mercedes’ new innovation may help.

The coupe version of the new E-class is the world’s most aerodynamic production car with a Cd of 0.24, and Mercedes is keen to use slippery shapes to improve efficiency.

It is likely the deflector can be raised or lowered to give a more traditional wind-in-the-hair experience.

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Mercedes is also rumoured to be working on a warm air 'scarf' system for both the front and rear passengers.

The car has already been testing at the Nurburgring and it would appear that the Stuttgart firm is viewing the new Lexus convertible and BMW’s 3-series as the car’s competitors. Engineers have been comparing the three models for refinement and performance.

When the E-class cabrio arrives next year it will have the same range of four, six and eight-cylinder engines as the latest E-class saloon and coupe, including the twin-turbo four-cylinder E250 CDI. Most models are expected to get the seven-speed automatic transmission.

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