Sunday, 30 June 2013

Mercedes Benz E350 Cabriolet: Exhilaration, Super drive Freedom

-by GB Bajaj, CEO & Strategist at GB Luxe Life for Stylefluid Trendz

VVRROOMMMM, just saw couple of Gallardos zipping by at Marine Drive and followed by Ferraris, Aston Martins, Porsches, Rolls Royces, Bentleys etc, well just in time, Sunday noon, The Supercar Run had just begun and I caught up them, well lucky me top down in the Merc E350 Cabrio, as I capture these exotic adrenalizing moments on my Nikon, see them zoom by with the loudest of growls of the Lamborghinis. Well off we go, as I enjoy the scenic drive of Marine Drive on the hot trail of these exotic beauties.

The E350 Cabriolet is practical and a cool cabrio with racy contours on the side, sitting on 18″ 5-spoke alloy wheels, front 245/40 R18 and rear 265/35 R18, glossy white paintjob, gleaming under the sun and blending with the exotic beauties zipping about. The front sporting Merc logo with chrome detailing on the grill, simplistic with twin sets of headlights as the sporty arrow-shape of the front end extends from the radiator right across the entire bonnet.

As I am seated on the multicontour front seats behind the sporty 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel in nappa leather, the cabin is spacious and comfortable with leather upholstery and Memory Package electrically adjustable white leather seats, very well relaxed and feeling luxurious, heated front seats now standard.
The front seats with standard-fit NECK-PRO head restraints are ergonomically shaped, providing  the front passenger optimum support, even when the driving style is dynamic. A lumbar support with two air chambers in the back area and in the seat side, bolsters of the backrest plus a chamber for extending the seat cushion length ensure superb adjustment of the seat to your sporty and orthopaedic needs.

The centre of the console has the 5.8” colour display with Audio 20 incl. CD changer with a Media Interface including consumer cable set and the THERMATIC 2-zone automatic climate control with digital display, strong aircon system for tropical weather. The controller situated in front of the centre armrest, operated intuitively, used for controlling the audio and multimedia functions. The 2-zone automatic climate control THERMATIC automatically keeps the temperature constantly at the desired level for the driver and front passenger, cooling is with the help of sensors, as they record the interior and exterior temperatures.

The clear skies and sea cool breeze running through your hair, sun shining bright as ever and the exotic cars  racing each other, only the view from the E350 Cabrio and the feel of it is superb. 

With a flick of the switch, one can raise the top in 20 seconds and it still looks sporty. The soft rooftop has sound-dampening material with high-quality insulation, for the E-Class Cabriolet, a luxurious soft-top cabriolet.
The E-Cabrio is derived from the E-Class platform and the styling remains sensational. The sportiness is accentuated by having just two doors and with enough space for four adults, I agree, it is a bit cramped up seated behind, less leg space, my friends are sitting behind, enjoying the techno music of Armin Van Buuren, so they are not complaining. To provide comfortable rear seating, the backseats are angled upwards to provide more knee room space. The rear seat passengers do have permanently fixed cup holders at the centre. To enter the seats behind, just drop the driver’s or front passenger’s seat and slide through.

The softtop is sleek and does add weight to the car, approx 32kgs, at 1765kg , and I did notice quiet a lot of wind noise when top is up and windows too, not very silent, unless you are blasting the techno music on the Harman Kardon® Logic 7® surround sound system, with 12 loudspeakers, including a subwoofer, 450-Watt Dolby Digital 5.1 system. The boot space is reduced, due to the soft top stowing into the trunk, the luggage capacity is reduced to 390 liters, still can do the inter sate trips.

For a smooth airflow and to curtail the wind turbulence/flow and wind noise into the cabin, Mercedes has developed for the cabriolet, a new feature called AIRCAP which simultaneously improves the aerodynamics of the car as the wind slips through above from the open cabin and exits faster to the rear. AIRCAP can be activated upto 160 km/h and can remain in use right up to the car's top speed of 250kmph while reducing the interior noise level to have great conversation/gossip for four passengers.

The working of it is with a flick of a switch and a motorized wind deflector extends from the windshield heater by 6 cms and is synchronized with the power-actuated rear wind blocker that rises with the rear headrests.

After Marine Drive, negotiated the serpentine roads of Walkeshwar and come down the lush greenery of Hanging gardens, negotiating the s curve and the dip, blasting to Armin Van Buurens music, as couple of Ferrari 458i and 360 with an Aventador raced past by me, the thunderous sound and strong breeze blowing into the car with the sound of the engine, wow what a feeling, extremely adrenalizing.

Well chasing the V8’s and V12’s aint easy with the  – V6-petrol powered engine, the state-of-the-art technology forms the basis for the drive system in the E 350, with 4 valves per cylinder, variable intake and exhaust camshaft adjustment, a two-stage intake manifold and a balancer shaft. The 3.5-liter delivers 272 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 355nm of peak torque between 2400-5000 rpm, not enough hp to chase the 400hp + but in this cabrio categeory, very punchy and quick, just love the sound of the engine through the oval twin-pipe chromed exhaust system, in S mode and it’s a rear wheel drive system and all that power is delivered through the 7G-Tronic transmission. The seven-speed is perfect and smooth.  I am well safe with the essential safety measures like electronic brake force distribution, traction control, stability control, etc for high speed chasing, in this case.
7G-Tronic transmission                                                         V6-petrol powered engine  
It can do a 0-100 kph in 6.9 seconds and top speed of 250kmph, it is robust enough to turn heads with top up too. It is only at the sea link the exotic cars just flying by, I could floor the throttle and experience the drive with the top up. As you rev all the way to its 7,000 rpm redline, the vertical curve surge of torque really made it an aspiring spirited drive and to catch up the exotics & the engine is efficient delivering a mileage of 10 to 12 kmpl on the highway and about 8-9 kmpl in city traffic.

The AGILITY CONTROL suspension with selective damping system which is electronically controlled, the suspension is constantly and variably adjusted to suit the terrain conditions and your driving style or just press the button needed to switch to S(sports) mode and that will stiffen the suspension, quicken the gear ratios and the ESP and the brakes are more sensitive for high speed driving, braking and maneuvering. The traction control is continuously active to protect you from and minimize damage if you skid or you make a sudden swerve, panic swerve.

The chassis and suspension in the new E-Class Cabriolet is tuned to both comfortable and sporty driving styles.There are two driving modes offered for your driving style, E and S. While the E stands for Efficiency, the S mode, ofcourse for Sport.
ADAPTIVE BRAKE ensures more ride comfort and safety. With the ABS system it helps drivers to master critical braking and panic maneuvers. When at an upward slope, rolling back is prevented and if you press the brake pedal a second time the HOLD function keeps the vehicle securely in its place.
This is the best way to enjoy nature, scenic drives and pleasant weather, exhilarated.
Being a cabriolet, with top down, the damage during an accident is prone to be a lot more, so Mercedes has equipped with best outstanding technology safety features, the roll-over protection systems. It works as fast as the airbag control system detects a collision, thereby protecting the occupants. 

In addition to the roll-over protection and roof frame, the use of different steel grades further increases safety in the E-Class Cabriolet. The standard ABS, ESP is available and always vigilant, the ATTENTION ASSIST keeps drivers alert from falling asleep or sense of drowsiness detection and the PRE-SAFE® predictive occupant protection, a system realizing a crash is inevitable and activates various systems instantaneously to protect occupants, the Active Bonnet and the intelligent light system among others. Other safety features to protect the front occupants Pelvis airbag, Sidebag in rear left and right, Anti-theft protection package, Tyre pressure loss warning system and Memory package. The Active Bonnet can reduce the risk of injury to pedestrians or cyclists if they are involved in a collision with the bonnet. To better cushion the blow, the bonnet can raise approximately five centimeters at the rear by means of spring force, as shown below in the right picture.The new E-Class Cabriolet is tuned to both comfortable and sporty driving styles, as shown below in the left picture.

The other critical comfort features include automatic seat belt feeders, making it more convenient for the seat belt closer to be worn, less effort, when the car is switched on and the soft top which can be raised or lowered at speeds up to 40kmph in just 20 seconds.
As we come to the traffic signal, bumper to bumper traffic, all admired with envy.

Range of body colors to choose from, in NON-METALLIC PAINTS black, fire opal and calcite white and in METALLIC PAINTS obsidian black, indigolite blue, tanzanite blue, tenorite grey, iridium silver, palladium silver, sanidine beige and diamond white BRIGHT. 

Driving the E350 Cabrio with the top down is so attention grabbing and senses are heightened too. Always Keep an open mind and the E350 Cabrio is an all four-seasons luxury vehicle.

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