Top-down land-yacht offers ultimate luxury and pace
- Enormous pace and presence
- Strong roof-down refinement
- Beautiful cabin
- Surprisingly well equipped
- Restricted engine choice
- No diesel or hybrid unlike saloon
- Quite large to thread through town
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet is a luxury soft-top with a hard edge – a bonnet-full of old-fashioned, big-displacement brute force.
Blasting down a country lane with the roof down and the cabin full of V8 or V12 bluster is a distinctly retro experience brought straight from the pages of The Great Gatsby or The Wind in the Willows.
Enormous pace and luxury
Despite the four wheels and engine, it’s easier to think of the S-Class Cabriolet not as a car but as a combination of land-yacht and intercity train – the fine-grained wood dashboard inserts and body-hugging leather armchairs set against a sub-five second 0-62mph time, whichever of the three massive engines you pick.
Here you can have a V8 in 4.7-litre or 5.5-litre flavour, or the full powder-keg 6.0-litre V12. It goes without saying that none are slow, and that the larger motors use notably more fuel.
Linked to the engine choice is the roster of standard equipment – there aren’t any trim levels to speak of, just an increase in gadgets and luxury as you climb the ladder of S500, S63 and S65.
Three levels of standard kit
Top of the tree is the S65 which comes with baffling luxuries including 47 Swarovski crystals in each headlight, larger 20-inch alloy wheels and exclusive nappa leather upholstery, plus an upgraded Burmester 3D surround sound stereo.
There are many options, as you’d imagine, from carbonfibre exterior trim to a collection of roof colours and a top speed hike from 155mph to 186mph.
Ultimate ride comfort
Keeping the two tonnes of metal and leather pointed in the right direction is a trick air suspension set-up that levels-off bumpy roads and stops the bodywork from swaying too badly in fast corners.
AMG cars are set up a little stiffer but they still provide a sublime ride on all but the most broken tarmac. Better yet, when you’re pushing on they offer even better body control for a tied-down feel.