Mercedes S500 cabriolet
Hello Mercedes S500 cabriolet £111,215 OTR/£126,520 as tested
Over half the Mercs sold in the UK are A-Classes. Hooray for the afordable lease. And MB is making headlines with F1-derived hypercars and an all-electric ofshoot range. So it’s almost easy to forget that the classic, most deliciously overt expression of the big, brash Benz still exists. Which is why we’re spending a few months looking after an S-Class cabrio. This can’t possibly be a worthwhile, relevant piece of kit in 2017, can it? Actually, it might be among the most gloriously charming cars to come out of Germany in the past few years.
Now, strictly, TopGear’s S500 cabriolet is “the old one”. No sooner had the £111,000 leviathan made port in the ofce car park than Mercedes had facelifted it, rebadging the entry-level S500 as an S560 (for goodness knows what reason) and adding subtly tweaked bumpers and lights, plus the updated S-Class cabin tech: new steering wheel with milled cruise control buttons, a fush bezel for the enormous twinwidescreen instrument layout, and more advanced autonomous driving capability. I think we’ll manage, somehow.
Why not an AMG? Because the S500 is so much sweeter. Relieved of snoutier bodykit, it wears its huge length with true grace. There are no pretensions of this überGT transforming into a roadster at the touch of a button, as that’d be like an ocean liner being ftted with an outboard motor and nosing down some white water rapids. The S500 cabrio is designed to be coaxed along smoothly. Easy does it.
That said, it’s not lacking in power, thanks to one of the fnest and most unsung engines in the entire Merc toybox: 447bhp and 516lb ft comes courtesy of a twin-turbo 4.7-litre V8, driving the rear wheels alone via a 7spd slushmatic. The power is kept in reserve, like a nuclear deterrent. It’d be vulgar and irresponsible to deploy it all, but you really wouldn’t mess, just in case.
£2,860 of active headlights encrusted with 47 Swarovski crystals each are one of a few choice driver-assist and interior options, teasing the price above £126k. But with no DB11 Volante or new Conti GTC to worry about yet, it has this late summer all to itself. The quintessential modern Merc? Please let the forecast be kind…
Ollie has turned into Medallion Man ever since this arrived...