Mercedes S500 cabri­o­let

Hello Mercedes S500 cabri­o­let £111,215 OTR/£126,520 as tested

Top Gear (UK) - - GARAGE - OL­LIE KEW

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...

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