The sound system in the new E-Class Cabriolet does not (yet) know which favourite track the driver wants to listen to next. But it does know whether the roof is open or closed, as the Mercedes-Benz audio specialists have programmed this model with settings for both roof configurations. If the soft top is opened, the CAN-BUS informs the sound system so that the equalizer can adjust the sound accordingly. "Whether a cabriolet roof is open or closed has a major influence on the interior acoustics," says Gerhard Franke, the audio development engineer responsible at Mercedes-Benz. "That's because, when the soft top is closed, the sound is reflected by the rear windscreen, for example."
The acoustics were excellent to start with, since the standard-fit acoustic soft top and the AIRCAP® automatic draught-stop make the two-door model one of the quietest cars in its segment, regardless of whether the roof is up or down.
The new model has a total of eight loudspeakers fitted as standard: combined woofers/mid-range speakers in the doors, tweeters in the mirror triangles and, in the rear, woofers/mid-range speakers in the side panels and tweeters at beltline height. All of which means that the Mercedes aim of providing the same outstanding audio quality for all occupants can be achieved.
Features of the Audio 20 CD radio, fitted as standard, include a CD player (with MP3 capability), a dual tuner for FM/MW/LW/SW, automatic station search, RDS function (for FM reception) and a 4 x 25-watt amplifier. Alternatively, the Audio 50 APS system, available as an optional extra, includes a car radio, a DVD player for audio DVDs and a Europe-wide map-based navigation system. Mercedes customers who opt for the version with integrated six-disc DVD changer also receive the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system.
All of the devices include speed-sensitive volume control, a keypad for entering telephone numbers and radio frequencies, a colour display in the centre of the dashboard, and a Bluetooth® interface to connect a mobile phone to the hands-free system wirelessly.
Cinema- and concert hall-like listening experience: the surround sound system
The "Logic7" surround sound system , developed by Mercedes-Benz together with the audio specialist Harman Kardon®, offers unique three-dimensional listening enjoyment. A 360-degree musical experience is assured for all occupants, regardless of whether the music is stored on DVD or CD and regardless of whether the source was recorded in 5.1 surround or normal stereo.
The music signals are distributed by a 450-watt amplifier connected to 12 high-performance loudspeakers. Also on board are a centre loudspeaker on the dashboard, two surround loudspeakers behind the rear head restraints and a woofer under the centre armrest in the rear, which uses the boot as a resonance volume.
The sheer attention to detail is clearly apparent in the enhanced loudspeaker mounting system. The centre speaker and the two surround speakers are mounted so that they are decoupled from structure-borne sound, meaning that the structure-borne sound transmitted by the loudspeaker into its surroundings is reduced substantially.
COMAND APS with more functions
The E-Class Cabriolet is available with the Mercedes-Benz-developed COMAND APS multimedia system as an option. This system includes a DVD player for audio and video as well as a Europe-wide navigation system whose data are stored on a hard drive, allowing fast access to the navigation data and, compared to DVD-based navigation, even faster route calculations. The high-resolution map appears on the 17.8 cm (7-inch) colour display in the centre of the dashboard.
In addition, COMAND APS includes a MUSIC REGISTER for around 1200
compressed music tracks in MP3, WMA or AAC format, which can be downloaded from memory cards via the PCMCIA adapter slot, as well as the Gracenote CD database for naming audio files. Mercedes-Benz includes the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system as standard if COMAND APS is ordered.
Optional digital radio
Mercedes customers can combine the infotainment devices in the E-Class with further optional systems: a Media Interface in the glove compartment can be used to connect an iPod®, USB stick or other external audio devices to the infotainment system. These can then be controlled from the steering wheel or via the COMAND Controller. A separate DAB tuner (DAB = Digital Audio Broadcasting) and additional aerials allow passengers to receive digital radio stations in CD quality. The system switches to analogue reception automatically when the DAB signal is too weak.