The last time Mercedes-Benz built a flagship convertible was 44 years ago. The 1971 280 SE cabriolet was the king of its day, with a stately silhouette and a 230 hp, 3.5-liter V-8 engine. Now the large luxurious drop-top has a spiritual successor in the form of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet, unveiled for the first time at this year’s Frankfurt auto show.
Based on the current S-Class coupe platform, the new S550 Cabriolet shares the same engines with its hardtop counterparts. For example, the S550 uses a 4.7-liter biturbo V-8 that produces 449 hp and 516 ft lbs of torque, paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission.
Its AMG counterpart, the S63 4MATIC Cabriolet, is powered by a 5.5-liter V-8 biturbo engine good for 577 hp and 664 ft lbs of torque and a zero-to-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds. The model features all of the usual AMG upgrades, including a 7-speed sport automatic transmission, standard air suspension with adaptive damping, a sport exhaust, and unique body trim.
An automatic soft top for both the S550 and the S63—available in black, beige, dark blue, or dark red—can open or close in less than 20 seconds when the car is moving at speeds below 37 mph. A three-layer design helps to insulate the cabin from outside noise and maintain the top’s shape. When the top is down, a built-in wind deflector and extendable draft stop help to keep the cabin quiet and calm. Interior and safety features include those available on the current S-Class Coupe, including napa-leather upholstery in a range of colors, automatic steering assist, and automatic collision prevention.
Addressing the classic issues that plague convertibles—mainly, weight and compromised rigidity—engineers created several new components made of aluminum and added additional bracing to the S-Class Cabriolet. The car also features a new automatic rollover protection system, which deploys roll bars using a gas generator instead of springs.
The new S63 will arrive first in the United States, with an expected delivery date of late spring. Pricing for the S-Class Cabriolet lineup has not yet been announced. (mercedes-benz.com)