A first-drive impression by Wayne Gorrett, Silverstone.
Originally published in Beautiful South Magazine.
The 2017 S 500 cabriolet is the sixth and final model of the current S-Class family, which joins the existing saloon, coupé and performance-oriented Mercedes-AMG variants in the range.
It is the marque’s first open-top luxury four-seater since the W-112 series which ceased production in 1971.
The S 500 cabriolet shares many of its styling features with the S-Class coupé, including its front-end design and LED headlights. It features a fabric roof which can be opened or closed in 20 seconds, at speeds of up to 37mph.
The sumptuous interior shares its architecture with the S-Class coupé. Frankly, it is the best cockpit of any Merc I’ve driven or even seen. The dashboard has not one, but TWO 12.3-inch TFT screens in parallel that display all the critical information required. There are three arrays of exquisite switchgear; to one side of the instrument cluster – underneath the four central air vents – and arranged in a bowl formation ahead of the ‘Comand’ controller.
Standard interior equipment is generous; full leather upholstery, heated, cooled and massaging front seats, heated rear seats, an Airscarf neck-warming system and an intelligent climate control system. With the roof up, boot space is 350 litres, reduced by 100 litres with the top folded away.
On the road, the S 500 cabriolet offers a truly faultless ride. The standard air suspension strikes a perfect balance between comfort and body control. With its double-glazed windows, doors that have a unique sealing method to reduce wind noise and enough sound-deadening to smother traffic racket, the result is a car that is the very epitome of effortless cruising. It wafts along, never once transmitting a single surface imperfection
When you up the pace, it is enormous fun to drive with enthusiasm. The 4.7-litre bi-turbo V8 engine propels the car’s 2,115kg with contemptible ease. With an intoxicating soundtrack emanating from the twin exhausts, the S 500 cabriolet hurtles forward aided by the super-slick nine-speed automatic.
The steering is smooth and precise and while a little roll will be experienced in quickly taken bends, the S 500 thrills when asked to link together a series of tight, rural twists at speed.
The S 500 cabriolet was the 52nd car I’ve reviewed this year so far. For the preceding 51, my pencil has had just cause to venture into the negative column for varying reasons. However, after an all-too-brief time I spent with the S 500 cabriolet, I could find no fault. Not one. Even the price of £110,120 is reasonable given the sheer magnitude of car you get to take home.
Barring two or three niche market exceptions, I can’t think of a more luxurious, class-oozing way in which to partake in an enjoyable spot of topless motoring. It is available to order now, with first UK deliveries expected in September.
Would I buy one? Quicker than you can say ‘BMW 650i MSport convertible’.