After offering up a few teaser images, Mercedes-Benz is finally revealing the new ragtop version of the big S-Class, the fourth variant of its flagship line set to make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in barely two weeks’ time.
The launch of the 2016 S-Class Cabriolet will mark the first flagship convertible from Mercedes since 1971, and in keeping with its position in the line-up, the German maker says the new model will be one of the most lavishly equipped in the S-Class family.
“Two years after its launch, the S-Class family is complete,” proclaimed Thomas Weber the Daimler AG board member in charge of passenger car development for Mercedes-Benz.
To offset the extra weight of the complex cabriolet assembly required for such a big vehicle, Mercedes engineers have adopted a new aluminum and magnesium bulkhead between rear seat passengers and the cargo compartment, as well as an aluminum rear floor. The revisions are claimed to improve body stiffness, a challenge when cutting the top off a vehicle as big as the S-Class.
A new pyrotechnic rollover protection system has been added for the first time, mounted behind the rear seats It pops up instantly if the vehicle detects it may flip.
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To keep passengers comfortable and permit the use of the new Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet in al fresco mode on a cool day, the new model will feature not only a wind blocker but the Airscarf system that blows warm air on the back of the next. Not only the seats but the armrests of the Cabrio also are heated.
The exterior of the S-Class Cabriolet undergoes a few modest tweaks to distinguish the convertible from sedan models. That includes a unique black diamond radiator grille with a single louvre in silver and chrome inserts. There are large front bumper intakes, and the accent lines of the body sides reflect the shape of the folding roof.
The retractable top is available in four colors and can be operated by a single switch in the vehicle speeds up to 37 mph. Despite its size, it can be fully raised or lowered in just 20 seconds.
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Mercedes claims the three-layer design of the top, and other revisions will help hold down noise inside the cabin with the top up.
A unique new climate control system, meanwhile, relies on 12 separate sensors and 18 actuators to monitor and control temperature and other settings. The system can detect whether the top is up or down and adjust itself automatically.
In S550 trim, the new S-Class Cabriolet is motivated by a 4.7-liter V-8 making 449-horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque through a 9-speed automatic transmission.
The Mercedes-AMG S63 4Matic Cabriolet will up the performance level with a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 pouring out 557-hp and 664 lb-ft. This model can launch from 0 to 60 in just 3.9 seconds.
The semi-active air suspension allows a driver to choose from several different driving modes, from Comfort to Sport.
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Mercedes has not confirmed pricing or the official on-sale date. Those details could be revealed during a preview in two weeks at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.