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Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014
Autos

Mercedes' cure for bad hair blues

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 03:46 AM

I know all about sexy four-seater convertibles. I have a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible taking up every inch of my garage at home. Think of it as a Carnival cruise ship on wheels.

With the top down and the side windows raised, driving it on a balmy Florida night is one of the great joys in life.

But ask a couple of friends to share the joy from the comfort of the Caddy's massive rear bench seat, and the smiles last maybe, er, a quarter-mile.

That's because at speeds over 40 mph, it's like sitting with the back of your head to a Delta 767 jet on take-off. Follicles fly every-which-way like Janis Joplin with static.

The folks at Mercedes-Benz know all about hair, or rather air, management. The brand new 2011 E-Class Cabriolet, hitting showrooms right around now, simply annihilates back-seat bad hair.

Its secret is called AirCap. It consists of a small airfoil that can be electrically raised from the top of the windshield to redirect airflow over all four seats.

So drop the three-layer, inch-thick cloth top, power-up all four windows along with the small glass screen between the rear seat headrests, and with the AirCap raised the in-car tornado is no more.

And it really works. At a steady 75 on I-275, you can hold a conversation, listen to tunes and generally feel extremely comfortable and unruffled.

For those frosty winter days - remember those? - the new E-cab also comes with Mercedes' brilliant AirScarf which blows toasty warm air to the back of the necks of those sitting up front. Pity you can't switch to cold air for Florida summers.

This fun-to-drive, gorgeous-to-look-at E-cab comes as either an E350 ($56,850) with a 268-hp V6, or an E550 ($64,800) with a honking 5.5-liter 382-hp V8.

Either way, both cars are a true breath of fresh air.

Tampa-based auto writer Howard Walker can be contacted at walkweb@verizon.net.

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