By: IOL Motoring Staff
Stuttgart - The landed gentry now have a new way to soak up some sun on those cruises around Monte Carlo, or Camps Bay for that matter, with the release of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet.
This is the first four-seat open-top Mercedes to compete in the large premium segment since 1971 and it claims to be the most comfortable convertible in the world.
In addition to inheriting its tin-top sibling's technological entourage, it treats its occupants to a range of smart new climate and wind protection systems.
The intelligent climate control has been specifically adapted to its convertible application and it takes into account whether the three-layer soft top is up or down, and in the latter instance you can also call on heated armrests, heated seats (in the rear too) and the Airscarf neck-level heating to beat off those winter chills.
Keeping out the wind noise is an optional Aircap automatic wind protection system that consists of an automatically extending wind deflector and draught-stop.
The soft top is available in four colours (black, dark blue, beige and dark red). Similarly the yacht-inspired cabin offers a choice of six colour concepts, including the maritime-inspired combo of deep sea blue and porcelain, and there's a carefully matched selection of materials available, including real metal and chrome options.
Mechanically the Cabriolet offers all the expected S-Class platform perks, and without the weight penalty the open-tops often bring thanks to the use of additional lightweight materials.
As for engine choices, you can opt for a hairstyle-destroying S 63 4Matic model, with AMG's 430kW/900Nm 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 powering all four wheels through a seven-speed MCT sports transmission or the tamer S 500 with a 335kW/700Nm twin-turbo 4.7-litre V8 feeding the rear wheels through a nine-speed autobox.
To ensure you waft along in cloud-like comfort, the S-Class cabriolet is fitted with Airmatic semi-active air suspension with variable damping control.
But will it be here before next winter? We're currently awaiting word from Mercedes-Benz SA on the ifs and whens of its local introduction.