Positive signals underline the Mercedes-Benz presence at the 2010 North American International Auto Show. The highlight of the opening day today was the debut of the new E-Class Cabriolet, which is celebrating its world premiere in Detroit.

The four-seater, year-round cabriolet completes the successful E-Class family and presents a world first in the shape of the AIRCAP® wind deflector, which considerably reduces air turbulence when the top is down. One further “eye-catcher” on the Mercedes stand is an automobile sculpture that uses a stunning approach to communicate the notion of the car as a new art form, and offers a glimpse of the future Mercedes design language. The stars of Detroit also include the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, as well as the ML 450 HYBRID and the globally successful S400 HYBRID, which set benchmarks for efficiency in their segments and demonstrate the brand’s expertise in hybrid technology.

“The new E-Class Cabriolet offers unique driving pleasure for four people and I am certain that it will further strengthen our successful E-Class family, plus deliver even more emotional momentum to the brand,” said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars at the Mercedes-Benz press conference. “It is our stated objective to continue to expand the leading position held by Mercedes-Benz in the luxury segment – with new, stunning models and intelligent solutions for sustainable mobility that we have in the pipeline and will bring to market in quick succession.”

The success of this course is confirmed through positive sales development worldwide – in the last quarter of 2009, Mercedes-Benz was the fastest growing premium brand in the world and also the strongest German premium brand in the U.S. In December, Mercedes-Benz reported an increase of 8.2 percent compared with the same month the previous year, with sales of 20,000 vehicles making it the best monthly performance of 2009.

The new E-Class Cabriolet: “Four seasons, four people”
The new Cabriolet sees Mercedes-Benz complete the successful E-Class family. Thanks to its classic soft top, the convertible four-seater delivers that unadulterated cabriolet feeling. True to the motto “four seasons, four people”, it combines comfort, elegance and year-round usability. This is helped along by features such as the AIRCAP® automatic wind deflector that can be deployed at the touch of a button to significantly reduce turbulence in the vehicle’s interior. It also dispenses with the assembly required for conventional wind deflectors and leaves the side profile of the Cabriolet undisturbed. Equipment on board also includes the next generation of the AIRSCARF® neck-level heating system integrated into the back rests of the front seats. It blows warm air from adjustable air vents in the head restraints and warms the neck area of the driver and front seat passenger like an invisible scarf.

The production standard sound-dampening soft top comes with extremely high-quality insulation to deliver comfortable travel with the top up. Thus, the closed E-Class Cabriolet offers one of the quietest interiors in the segment of four-seater premium soft-top cabriolets. The top can be open or closed at the touch of a button in only 20 seconds – even while driving at speeds of up to 25 mph (40 km/h).

Excellent safety on a par with the E-Class Sedan
Like all E-Class models, the Cabriolet also offers an outstanding level of safety. Standard equipment includes the ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection system, PRE-SAFE® predictive occupant protection, the intelligent light system and the DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control. Drive is supplied courtesy of state-of-the-art engines that combine high efficiency with refined performance.

Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Sales & Marketing: “Our E-Class Sedan is already the global best-selling vehicle in its segment. I am certain that the new Cabriolet will further strengthen this positive trend.”

Pure driving dynamics – Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
The highest levels of automotive fascination and high-tech are expressed in the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, which will go on sale spring 2010. The super sports car stuns with its clean design, lightweight construction and outstanding handling.

Developed in-house by Mercedes-AMG, the SLS AMG offers a unique technology package. Alongside its aluminum spaceframe bodyshell is the 420 kW (563 hp) AMG 6.3-liter V8 front-mid engine, the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and the sports suspension with aluminum double wishbones at all four corners. The SLS accelerates to 60 mph (96 km/h) in less than four seconds, reaching an electronically-limited top speed of 196 mph (317 km/h).

Inspiring sculpture combines art and automotive design
Alongside the E-Class Cabriolet and the SLS AMG, Mercedes-Benz also has an artistic automotive sculpture on display in Detroit. It shows a vehicle body emerging smoothly from a level plane, expressing the form of the automobile in an artistically exaggerated and cryptic way – as an exclusive, sensuous element. Dr. Zetsche: “Creativity and inspiration are always the driving forces behind outstanding engineering achievements. With this work of art, we want to express the characteristic Mercedes-Benz design and, at the same time, convey an impression of our forthcoming new models.”

Groundbreaking and successful – hybrid technology from Mercedes-Benz
With the ML 450 HYBRID and S 400 HYBRID models, which are enjoying great success in the U.S., Mercedes-Benz is clearly demonstrating in Detroit its outstanding expertise in the field of “green” driveline technology. “Both models set benchmarks for efficiency in their segments – this is combined with refined performance, first-class comfort and excellent safety,” says Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Development Mercedes-Benz Cars.

One example of this is the S 400 HYBRID. It made its debut in summer 2009 as the first hybrid passenger vehicle from a European manufacturer and the world’s first hybrid model with innovative lithium-ion battery technology. With its fuel economy of 26/19 mpg (highway/city), the 295 hp S 400 HYBRID is the world’s most fuel-efficient luxury sedan with a gasoline engine. Dr. Weber: “Our highly efficient hybrid models are convincing evidence that, even in economically challenging times, we don’t make any cuts in our development budget. Instead, we continue to implement our strategy of innovation, and along three avenues in parallel. With our high-tech internal combustion engines, state-of-the-art hybrid drives and electric vehicles with battery and fuel cell drive, we can – in contrast to others – offer the right solutions for diverse customer requirements across the globe.”

Source: Daimler AG