Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet (2016) Review
Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet (2016) At A Glance
Sitting at the top of marque’s model range, virtually everything bar the kitchen sink has been thrown at this big convertible. From powerful engines to an air suspension system that tries to defy the laws of physics, the driving experience is an event in itself. Yet a high-quality interior and wealth of standard technology help the S-Class impress before it even turns a wheel. Only compromised practicality – thank the need to accommodate a folding roof – is a major drawback here.
Mercedes-Benz produces a range of impressive convertibles and roadsters, but not all of them are created equal. For the buyer who must have the best drop-top model the company builds, there is simply nothing like the S-Class Cabriolet.
From launch in 2016, the S-Class Cabriolet has established itself as one of the prime picks for luxury motoring. The degree of quality and refinement on offer is far beyond this being a scaled-up version of an E-Class Cabriolet. Be warned though, the S-Class saloon origins mean this is a seriously big car. At more than five metres in length, be sure to measure your driveway to ensure the big Benz will fit.
Despite the substantial exterior dimensions, though, the S-Class Cabriolet manages to be less than fully accommodating on the inside. While front-seat passengers will bask in luxurious seats, those in the back get a slightly less premium experience. Legroom will be tight for taller adults, although headroom is not an issue, even with the roof in place.
The folding fabric roof is a contributor to the limited rear space, along with having an impact on the boot. Given the size of the S-Class, a luggage capacity on par with a family hatchback might be something of a shock. Storage space shrinks even further when the fabric roof is lowered.
Watching the roof fold itself away to leave a smooth rear deck makes for a special piece of street theatre. It can be lowered or raised in just 18 seconds, and operates at speeds of up to 37mph. Refinement is impressive with the roof up, and cabin draughts and buffeting are kept to a minimum when the hood is down. This is thanks to the clever Aircap, a wind deflector system that works to keep hairdos looking pristine.
Dropping the top will also allow members of the public to gaze enviously at the plush interior found within the S-Class Cabriolet.
Swathes of wood and leather are matched with metal detailing, with all components feeling expensive to touch. A widescreen digital dashboard and multimedia display dominate the cabin, and come packed with the latest infotainment options. Top specification models have a Burmester surround-sound system that has to be experienced to understand how loud it can be.
The S-Class Cabrio is more than just an objet d’art, however. All the engine choices are supremely powerful, with a twin-turbocharged V8 being the entry-level pick. Performance is effortless whichever engine is chosen, with the AMG S 65 and its V12 there for those who need to outdo everyone else in the car park.
A clever air suspension setup means the topless S-Class can both handle and ride with aplomb. It offers a range of settings depending on the situation, letting the driver pick between comfortable cruising or a two-tonne sports car.
Aside from the limited space in the rear seats and boot, the S-Class has very few drawbacks. Running costs are understandably large, and the sheer physical size of the car can make city driving a more challenging affair. The high cost of entry means a small customer base, but the lucky few will be rewarded with one of the best cabriolets on the road.