When Mercedes-Benz unveiled their brand-new Aircap technology in their 2011 E-Class Cabriolet at last February's NYC Fashion Week, I knew I wanted to check it out for myself. As someone who always saw the appeal of convertibles as spoiled by hair whipping in my face, I was curious to see if it actually worked. I had the perfect opportunity when Mercedes lent me the E-Cab for a day trip to the Barnes Foundation (a spot I highly recommend visiting) outside of Philadelphia, PA.
Activated with just a push of a button in the center console, the Aircap technology makes the smooth and luxurious ride that you'd expect from the luxury car all the more so for all of its passengers. While the experience isn't completely wind-free, the small windshield spoiler and rear screen creates a pleasantly breezy and more quiet interior for chatting, listening to music, talking on the phone over the built-in Bluetooth, or just communing with the open road.
The feeling of joy and freedom that comes with driving is what the device is really all about—cruising down the highway, with the wind licking at your hair (not blowing it in your face) and sunlight pouring in the car. For lead-foots like me, Aircap automatically adjusts according to speed, significantly decreasing the wind flowing through the cabin, even at speeds over 60 mph.
With the new technology, you might be inclined to keep the top down all year long. Fortunately, Mercedes thought of that too. In cooler weather, Aircap also works to keep cold air out of the cabin, and combined with Airscarf, a heating system at the often-ignored neck level, you can still keep warm while getting all the benefits of owning a convertible.
Available only from Mercedes-Benz, Aircap can be found in the new E-Class Cabriolet, with a sticker price of a little over $56,000 (give or take a few thousand for various customizations). Airscarf is also available in the E-Class as well as other models.