Europe to Australia in 21 days and only one fuel stop. Well, the new Mercedes-Benz S-class Cabriolet is an accomplished machine but not quite that smart…
Car-with-superyacht is Merc’s way of introducing one of its many stars from the recent Frankfurt motor show into the… we hesitate to say ‘real world’ but you know what we mean.
Something a bit special – possibly even a little bling – was called for in view of just how significant this car is. It is of course the first Mercedes open-top four-seater limo since the sun went down on the wonderful old Merc 300 SE W112, the last ’S-class’ convertible, in 1971 (though of course it wasn’t called S-class at the time).
The W112 always was a bit of a supercar in convertible form – great style, lashings of wood, chrome and leather, self-levelling air suspension, all-disc brakes, 125mph in final V8 form – and the new car lives up to its forebear, even if some of the allure for the super-rich like the Swarovski crystal lights might be a tad too sparkly for some.
Performance should certainly go down well with everyone: the top S63 AMG version’s biturbo 5.5-litre V8 puts out 585hp, enough to deliver the 0-62mph sprint in a hair-raising 3.9secs. Well, it might be hair-raising, hood-down, but for the extraordinary lengths the engineers have gone to to ensure all the sunshine with none of the chilly breeze.
Airscarf neck-level heating, heated armrests (as well as heated seats and steering wheel) and a super-clever climate control system that maintains your chosen temperature whether the hood is up or down, are all S-class cabrio features. As is the new Aircap: a deflector that extends out of the windscreen frame to reduce turbulence.
What if it rains you ask? Well there comes a point, even with a convertible as fully featured as this, when there’s no option but to close the roof. It’s a multilayer soft top – the biggest hood going – that can swish into the closed position in 20secs at speeds up to 35mph. Like the S-class coupe on which the cabrio is based, the luxury soft-top is credited by Mercedes as being exceptionally quiet with the hood up, though there is plenty of competition here from the likes of Bentley and the new Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn – see more on that here.
Hood up, you don’t even have to forego a convertible’s fresh country smells. You can turn on the in-car fragrancing system and enjoy a new whiff called Pacific Mood. We wonder, is there one called Sussex Farmyard…?
You can imagine the rest of it: all the luxury and technology that Mercedes’ best brains can come up with, and in a more aluminium-intensive structure which, coupled with a magnesium rear bulkhead, results in the torsional rigidity of the previous-gen coupe while weighing no more than the current one.
The S-class cabrio goes on sale in the UK from next spring, at prices to be announced. A super-rich must-have if ever there was one.
And a classic too? Possibly, but here at GRR we will stick with the 1960s cabriolet – who among us hasn’t lusted after one of those? There were five versions between 1961 and 1971, the W111 220 SE, 250 SE and 280 SE, and the glitzy and exclusive W112 300 SE, with the 3.5-litre V8 280 SE 3.5 as a last hurrah for what was, in its time, a cabrio just as fast, clever and sexy as the new one.
And now of course just as valuable as the new one, and in some cases rather more valuable. In 10 years the prices have taken off; RM Auctions sold an excellent-condition 280 SE 3.5 last year for $429,000…
That’s cheaper than a superyacht though. And if you really must know about that… it’s the Australian-built 77m Silver Fast, launched in 2015, and with 27 knots it’s the world’s largest and fastest superyacht of its type (aluminium hull, prop-driven). There’s luxury accommodation for 12 guests (as well as presumably less luxurious facilities for the 16 crew and eight staff), and the sun deck features an outdoor cinema and an eight-person jacuzzi. Plenty to amuse you and your guests on that 21-day jaunt down under.
And it’s for sale. It can be yours for €79.5m. And no, the Mercedes S-class Cabriolet is not included…