After a 45 years hiatus Mercedes builds another top-of-the-line S-Class convertible with four seats: the Mercedes S-Class Convertible. In keeping with its now ubiquitous strive for perfection, Mercedes points the new luxury liner straight at the very best: Bentley and Rolls-Royce. First drive report with the 455 hp S 500, courtesy of Auto motor und sport.
At the very top of the current convertible Mercedes line-up returns a dream car, one many fans did not even dare to dream of. But even if the new S-Class Convertible’s asking price in S 500 guise is 15,351 euros higher than the Coupe’s (at least 139,052 euros), it is almost a bargain.
For a well-maintained copy of its last predecessor, the 280 SE 3.5 (1969 to 1971), prices often head north of 200,000 euros, while the new model naturally has much more to offer in terms of technical sophistication over its vintage father.
Finally, breaking apart from the usual progress of five decades, the new S-Class Convertible also claims to be the most luxurious and comfortable drop-top in the world. To close the warmed acoustically insulated top (up to 50 km / h) you’d need just 20 seconds and as soon as you the roof envelops the occupants like a cocoon. When the roof is open, an extendable spoiler above the windscreen together with the automatic wind deflector behind the rear seats reduce turbulence in the rear noticeably. Wait, that’s not all. The additional thermal comfort package with heated armrests and steering wheel as well as the heating function for the neck ensure top levels of comfort.
Air suspension, supreme comfort
The ride comfort offered by the new S-Class convertible is at the absolute peak, technology-wise – the sovereign response of the adaptive air suspension on the smooth rolling optional 20-inch wheels is discretely complemented by the massage seats with active curve support.
Only in Sport mode, the Airmatic suspension becomes somewhat surly, while legroom in the back and the boot volume (closed 350, open 250 liters) could be a bit more generous given the ample 5.03 meters in length. But despite the lush exterior dimensions and the 2.1 tonnes of unladen weight, the pleasant direct steering makes handling sprightly and concrete.
Accordingly, the S 500 Convertible can brag about its superb propulsion: an enormously powerful 4.7-liter V8 biturbo with 455 hp and 700 Nm, which bonds a highly relaxing and accurate connection with the swift new nine-speed automatic gearbox. If you push it to show its full potential, the engine will trumpet determinedly (but ultimately delicious) from its two tailpipes, catapulting the occupants swathed in the supreme electrically adjustable leather seats in only 4.6 seconds from zero to 100 km /h. This is what the factory specifications promise, and there is little reason to doubt it.
If the gearbox might casually seem too relaxed in its nature (if left in Auto), the driver can easily have its own way via the shift paddles conveniently grafted on the steering column. There is no alternative anyway – except for the AMG variants S 63 4Matic (V8, 585 hp, 900 Nm) and S 65 (V12, 630 hp, 1,000 Nm) which are matted to a particularly fast switching seven-speed automatic Speedshift transmission. No sweat! In the end, the S 500 is a steam hammer with velvet cover and the all-encompassing comfort experience can be significantly spiced up in Sport plus mode with just the right extra dose of thunder and drama. Just in case the tranquility and the calm are too perfect for the given mood.
Source: Auto motor und sport