“2017 Mercedes-Benz S550 Cabriolet”
First four seat open top flagship in 46 years
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz S550 Cabriolet is the fourth variant of the current S
Class U.S. market stable. It is the first four seat convertible flagship to appear since1971. It delivers an elegantly exclusive design that’s distinctive yet understated and it’s loaded with the latest state-of-the-art technology. The new Cabriolet provides the S-Class lineup with a return to the joys of open-air motoring, without any of the weather related discomfort normally associated with drop-top vehicles.
The convertible top operates in just under 20 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph. A graphic of the top operation stage progress appears in the driver information center. The windows also lower with the top and there’s a switch to raise all of the windows after the top is back in place. Opening and closing the soft-top is possible from outside the vehicle by using the vehicle’s key. The soft top is available in black, dark blue, beige and dark red.
Despite its open car structure, the new S-Class Cabriolet is exceptionally rigid, thanks to Innovations such as the luggage compartment bulkhead’s aluminum and magnesium construction as well as the aluminum rear floor, which contributes to lowering the bodyshell weight to equal that of the S-Class Coupe. The standard roll-over protection system behind the rear head restraints features pyrotechnic initiation of actuators for the first time, in addition to the roll bars, which are moved into position by a gas generator.
The Mercedes-Benz S550 Cabriolet may well be the world’s most comfortable convertible when seaated up front. Climate comfort is enhanced by MBZ’s automatic wind protection systems AIRCAP®, and AIRSCARF® neck-level heating, heated armrests, seat heating for both front and rear passengers along with intelligent climate control, which In contrast to conventional systems, the climate is controlled automatically.
When the three-layer soft top is opened, it stows in the luggage compartment. It is separated from the remaining luggage compartment space by means of an electrically-operated retractable cover which encloses the soft top. This luggage compartment partition extends automatically during opening of the soft top. The partition will not activate if the luggage compartment is loaded with objects intruding into the partition’s area. When the soft top is closed, the luggage compartment partition may be retracted by pressing a button in the inner paneling of the trunk lid, allowing for more available luggage space.
In terms of its design and visual appeal, the S550 Cabriolet embodies luxuriousness in a special and sensual way. Up front, the car’s centerpiece is the black diamond radiator grille featuring the Mercedes star logo and a single louver in silver with chrome inserts. The hood appears with two powerful character lines and the front bumper incorporates large air intakes in the middle and at the sides. A sporty finishing touch is exemplified by chrome trim. An LED Intelligent Light System may be ordered with optional exquisite Swarovski® crystal turn signals and daytime running lamps further enhancing the car’s elegance.
In profile, the side design displays a dynamic coupe-like persona when the soft top is closed. Side styling features include a sleek, low greenhouse, with the dropping line of the quarter panel descending towards the rear and fully retractable side windows.
Moving to the rear, the S-Class Cabriolet’s impression of width is underscored by flat LED tail lamps and muscular shoulders. The soft-top compartment lid is framed by a wide chrome trim element, while the rear bumper with diffuser-look lower section, two visible tailpipe trims and horizontal chrome trim element finish off in a sporty flair. The Mercedes star on the trunk-lid is hinged and performs several functions: it serves as a handle for manual opening of the trunk lid and is also the cover for the rearview camera and the optional Surround View System.
The cabin interior showcases refined quality materials and decorative stitching. With the top open, the S550 Cabriolet creates the ambience of an open-air lounge. Colors and materials are thoughtfully and skillfully matched, and high-quality controls are executed in genuine metal or in a chrome look highlighting the highly and exclusively expressive character. Enabling individualization, a choice of nappa leather or designo® Exclusive Nappa leather plus six different interior color concepts is available, including a yachting-inspired blend of deep-sea blue and porcelain.
The Mercedes-Benz S550 Cabriolet is powered by a 4.7-liter, DOHC, 32-valve biturbo V8 with ECO Stop/Start. The longitudinally mounted front engine produces 449 horsepower in a range from 5,250-5,500 rpm, while developing 516 pound feet of torque from 1,800-3,500 rpm. Motive force reaches the rear wheels via a 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The S-Class Cabriolet rides on standard AIRMATIC® semi-active air suspension that features infinitely variable damping control.
The new Cabriolet is available with a host of assistance features and Intelligent Drive systems such as: PRE-SAFE® Brake with pedestrian detection, DISTRONIC PLUS® with Steering Assist, BAS® PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Highbeam Assist and Night View Assist® PLUS. In addition to a distance and collision warning function in conjunction with Adaptive Brake Assist, which offers collision protection from speeds as low as 5 mph, the standard COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS system also features the added function of autonomous braking at speeds of up to 65 mph. At speeds of up to 31 mph the system also brakes in response to stationary vehicles, and is able to prevent rear-end collisions at up to around 25 mph.
The PRE-SAFE® preventive occupant protection system has been upgraded to PRE-SAFE® PLUS.
My test 2017 Mercedes-Benz S550 Cabriolet sported an Anthracite Blue metallic exterior finish, while the designo® interior was executed in Porcelain and Deep Sea Blue exclusive Nappa leather with polished Black Poplar wood trim accents. The base price of my test vehicle was set at $131,400., while options and value added packages elevated the final purchase price to $160,375.
SUMMARY: Piloting the MBZ S550 is a delight. The biturbo V8 cranks out stunning acceleration, with braking prowess to match.
The ride quality is luxurious, which should not to be confused with overly soft. It is compliant, but solid with controlled and planted stability. Handling is highly responsive and sport-like and grip is provided by staggered size Pirelli P-Zero rubber mounted on 14-spoke cast alloy AMG wheels. Changing gears may be accomplished automatically, via the console lever or with the steering wheel paddle shifters. The 9-speed automatic transmission shifts with velvet preciseness in all selectable modes, Sport being the most responsive.
With only a week for evaluation and assessment, it was not possible to become familiar and proficient with all of the S550 Cabriolet’s systems, features and controls. It has a lot to offer in every aspect of performance, luxuriousness and convenience. There are massing, heated and cooling seats with articulating supportive side bolsters and so much more. Essentially, if the S550 isn’t equipped with it, chances are that you really don’t need it or perhaps even want it.
Bottom line, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz S550 Cabriolet represents a welcome addition to the flagship S-Class lineup. It is a gorgeous and luxurious automobile with the advantage of open-air motoring and the benefit of high performance attributes. It is a highly desirable vehicle.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Mercedes-Benz S550 Cabriolet
Base Price: $131,400.
Price as Tested: $160,375.
Engine Type and Size: 4.7-liter, DOHC, 32-valve biturbo V8 with ECO Stop/Start.
Horsepower (bhp): 449 @ 5,250-5,500 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 516 @ 1,800-3,500 rpm
Transmission: 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
Drive Train: Longitudinally front mounted engine / Rear-Wheel Drive.
Suspension: Front – Independent multi-link suspension with air spring, single-tube shock absorber with continuously adjustable damping and tubular torsion bar.
Rear – Independent multi-link suspension with air spring, single-tube shock absorber with continuously adjustable damping and tubular torsion bar.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs, ABS, BAS, ESP and Collision Prevention Assist Plus.
Tires: Pirelli P-Zero 245/45 R19 x 8.5” 99Y front / 275/40 R19 x 9.5” 102Y rear mounted on 14-spoke cast alloy AMG wheels.
Wheelbase: 115.9 inches
Length Overall: 197.9 inches
Width: 74.8 inches – w/o mirrors.
Height: 55.8 inches
Curb Weight: 4,819 lbs.
Turning Circle: 38.0 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 21.1 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 17 mpg city / 25 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.29
0 – 60 mph: 4.5 seconds – Top speed electronically limited to 155 mph.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.