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First drive: Mercedes-Benz S 560 Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-Benz.

First drive: Mercedes-Benz S 560 Cabriolet
Waft-tastic luxury from the updated Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet. Maaaaaahvellous.

 



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Mercedes-Benz S 560 Cabriolet

5 5 5 5 5

Since we last drove a non-AMG Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet, the German company has updated both the soft-top Sonderklasse and its Coupe sibling, too. And when we sampled that S 500 Cabriolet two years ago, we gave it five stars. So how can the updated S 560 improve upon that? The answer is easy: fit an AMG V8 and don't bother making a big song and dance about said fact. Fantastic!

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz S 560 Cabriolet AMG Line
Pricing: S-Class Cabriolet range from 117,760 for S 560; car as tested 135,535
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol
Transmission: rear-wheel drive, 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic
Body style: four-seat convertible
CO2 emissions: 228g/km (VED band 226-255: 1,760 first 12 months, then 450 per annum years two-six of ownership, then 140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 27.7mpg
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
0-62mph: 4.6 seconds
Power: 469hp at 5,250-5,500rpm
Torque: 700Nm at 2,000-4,000rpm
Boot space: 250-350 litres (roof down-up)

What's this?

It's a facelifted Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet and the use of old Karl's surname in the model make-up tells you this is not a convertible handed over to Affalterbach... a pertinent point, but more on that in a short moment. In brief, then, this 2019MY S-Class soft-top has all the accoutrements of the midlife facelift announced this year. It comes with revised bumpers front and rear, new exhaust outlets, OLED light clusters at the back of the car, different wheel designs and colours, and some updates to the luscious interior, not least that magnificent Widescreen Cockpit - made up of two pin-sharp 12.3-inch TFT screens - which is making Mercedes' cabins the best in the business (sorry Audi, but it's true...). All fairly mild tweaking of what was an already damn fine automobile.

Also, on this particular model, the boot badge has changed. Gone is the S 500 nomenclature, to be replaced by S 560. On paper, the headline power output increase of 14hp doesn't look like much, nor does the fact the same 700Nm peak torque is now delivered slightly higher up the rev range - the S 500 churned out its maximum grunt at 1,800-3,500rpm, whereas the S 560 shifts that band out to 2,000-4,000rpm. Even the 0-62mph time remains unchanged, at a respectably brisk 4.6 seconds (it's so incredibly respectable because the S 560 clocks in at a robust 2,150kg).

So, what's really changed? Ah. Well, quite a bit, actually. You see, the S 500 was a 4.7-litre twin-turbo V8, whereas the S 560 has lost around 700cc to be rated as a 4.0-litre biturbo V8. But that collection of specifics should alert you to where this 'new' engine comes from: that's right, AMG. It's basically the unit used in anything that has recently issued forth from Affalterbach with a '63'-badge proudly displayed on its rump, which means that despite this being a Mercedes-Benz, it should perform and sound quite a lot like a Mercedes-AMG. We like.

How does it drive?

In as beautifully a refined and dignified fashion as the old S 500, only now it sounds completely tremendous in its more aggressive modes. There's no mistaking the raw growl of that 4.0-litre AMG unit, which is only amplified by the lack of a solid roof above the S 560's cabin. Furthermore, the exhausts will spit unburnt fuel down the pipes at any given opportunity (downshifts, lifting off the throttle etc etc), at which point the elegant S-Class Cabrio will crackle and pop like the most demented AMG product you can think of. It's like hearing someone who lives in a country manor and dresses almost exclusively in tweed talking in a broad Estuary accent and uttering every threatening expletive under the sun; the juxtaposition of it is hilariously appealing.

Thus, performance is not something for which the S 560 lacks. With the 9G-Tronic automatic 'box, it'll just pick up and go very swiftly when you demand anything above about 30 per cent throttle. It's merely that, now, it sounds much more mischievous and potent in equal measure. Yet everything that held true about the pre-facelift S-Class Cabriolet is retained - the interior is sublime, the exterior looks are graceful and well-proportioned, there's about enough space onboard that you could imagine four people sitting in the S 560 (for short journeys, at least) and the level of refinement it can summon up, hood in place or stowed, is genuinely remarkable. Honestly, the ride is nothing short of faultless on its Airmatic suspension with adaptive dampers; faultless, we said. So while this update, on the face of it, might look like nothing more a '6' replacing a '0' in the boot badging, it's quite a comprehensive overhaul that only further enhances the S-Class Cabriolet's already-glittering reputation.

Verdict

As luxurious, open-top grand tourers go, the Mercedes-Benz S 560 is incredibly hard to beat. It's not the sharpest-handling thing in the world and it, like so many high-end premium automotive products, commands a hefty six-figure bill. Yet it'll make you feel a million dollars when you're behind its wheel, hood down, revelling in its unsurpassed luxury and feelgood factor, and listening to that 4.0-litre V8 making all the right bangs and rumbles.

5 5 5 5 5 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

5 5 5 5 5 Comfort

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Driving Dynamics

5 5 5 5 5 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 17 Dec 2018









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2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-Benz.

2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-Benz.








 

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