An F-Type rally car, the world's fastest SUV and TG telly's return.....
You are here
Now that’s what I call a yacht. Quite. It’s the new Mercedes-Benz S500 Cabriolet and this is our maiden voyage in it in the UK, right-hand-drive and flying the red ensign. Is it shipshape? And Bristol fashion. A big, soft, decadent cruiser done with unswerving conviction. Is it really an S-class?
Yup, with all that comes with the territory. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the technology. In the end you just have to relax, let it take you in its well-upholstered arms and caress you into the sunlit dreamlands. Sunlit dreamlands? I thought you said you drove it in Britain. OK, it was a grey day in Northants. But the feeling of well-being was palpable. Be more specific please. How about heated armrests? Warm air blown to the back of your neck? Heated rear seats? It takes its convertible duties seriously. And when the weather’s too grim even for those ameliorations, you can put the hood up and forget it’s a convertible at all, so effective is the insulation from the rude sounds of the car’s rush through the air. Looks a bit breezy in the back though. Er, probably. If you spent any time in the back on a motorway, you’d end up distinctly tousled. But kids will like it, and feel well chuffed as you cruise more lazily. Grownups will be worrying more about being cramped than being blustered, though. The Cabrio, like the Coupe, has 90mm less in the wheelbase than the regular S-class saloon. Does it drive like a boat too? It’s softly sprung, and glides over Britannia’s squally roads like a well-stabilised cruise ship. It really is a lovely ride. But there’s also enough damping control to cope with the speed you can conjure up with the 455bhp twin-turbo 4.7-litre V8. But it’s £110,120. Why not just push the boat out and get an AMG? Well there are two AMGs above this non-AMG 500. The AMG S63 is a V8 and the S65 a V12. But only half a second separates the three of them in the 0-62 run. The AMGs are harder suspended, generally more brutal rather than wafting. So should I option-up the S 500 instead? Probably. Some of the safety kit that ought to be standard on even an A-class is extra. Like blind-spot warning. So tick the Driving Assist package for £2580 and get blind-spot, plus 360 degree cameras, and the near-autonomous Distronic Plus set-up and more. And £2860 nets you headlights with 47 Swarovski jewels embedded in each one, for “striking visual highlights emphasising the unique nature of the vehicle”. Sorry, that least detail carries a whiff of vulgarity. OK, The S Cab is a bit of a showboat. But even if it’s not to your taste, you can be sure that if you see one, the people inside will be feeling very pleased indeed. They’d have every right to. It’s an extremely fine car.