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The Convertible in Winter: CLK Class Offers Ideal Thermal Comfort
Even in the cold of winter, Mercedes-Benz’s successful CLK-Class convertible offers the highest levels of comfort. The extensive, multi-layer padding used in the fabric top insulates the convertible’s four-seat interior and keeps it warm even when the temperature plunges outside. And tests conducted with a thermographic camera prove just how well the insulation works.
Minus 17 degrees Celsius and a freezing wind. At the Flüela Pass near Davos, Mercedes experts are getting together with specialists from the Gesellschaft für Sondermessungen und Ingenieurwesen (Society for Special Measurements and Engineering) in Düsseldorf to conduct an unusual test: In the extreme winter cold of Switzerland’s upper Alps, they plan to use thermographic photography to check the insulation provided by the CLK convertible’s fabric top.
First, the temperature within the Mercedes-Benz’s interior is set at 24 degrees Celsius. Then, the experts aim the highly sensitive special optics of a thermographic camera that costs about 50,000 euros at the vehicle. Seconds later, a colour image appears on the control monitor. The camera sweeps over the car body’s outer surface and displays the infrared radiation, which is normally invisible to the naked eye, as a colour spectrum: Yellow, light yellow, and orange show the zones that are emitting the most heat radiation. These include the windows, exhaust system and the radiator grille. Dark blue and black, on the other hand, mark the areas radiating the least heat.
The CLK convertible’s fabric top is among the areas in these dark thermal zones. The bonnet and boot cover are, too. And that means the top looses very little warmth to the outside environment. In other words, the extensive padding used in the fabric top provides ideal insulation for the interior and enables the CLK-Class convertible to take on the chills of winter.
Close-up thermographic images confirm that this is the case. Even the edges of the CLK’s fabric top, the C pillars and the suspension mounts on the front window frame are dark blue or black on the radiation images. According to the experts, these are areas that often lack sufficient insulation and lower the temperature inside a convertible.
Six layers of non-woven fabric
The insulation of the CLK convertible is provided by a 25-millimeter-thick, six-layer padded mat made of non-woven fabric that covers the entire roof surface, the inside portion of the C pillars and the areas beside the large rear window. It provides not only warmth-preserving insulation but also reduces noise levels. In fact, teamed up with other aero-acoustic measures, the padded mat used in the convertible’s fabric top proves to be a highly effective sound-proofing material.
In addition to the padded matting, the weather-proof, three-layer top cover and the inside roof lining, which also stretches across the entire roof surface of the Mercedes convertible, also provide heat insulation and sound proofing.