With a claimed drag coefficient of 0.29, Mercedes says the S-Class Cabriolet is the most aerodynamically efficient car in its class. It has also developed a new sealing process for the doors and provided its latest model with double-glazed side windows in efforts to match the competition for outright refinement.
As with the latest S 63 Coupé launched in the UK last year, the S 63 Cabriolet runs AMG’s twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 petrol engine. The 90deg unit produces 577bhp, giving it 129bhp more than the twin-turbocharged 4.7-litre V8 in the S 500 Cabriolet but 44bhp less than the recently upgraded twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 found in the S 65 Cabriolet.
Power is delivered to all four wheels via AMG’s seven-speed automatic Speedshift gearbox and a 4Matic four-wheel drive system engineered to provide a nominal 33/67 front-to-rear torque split. There are three driving modes to choose from: Controlled Efficiency, Sport and Manual.
The S 63 Cabriolet is underpinned by a uniquely tuned version of Mercedes-Benz’s air sprung Airmatic suspension with adaptive damping, offering the choice between Comfort and Sport modes. AMG has focused quite a bit of attention on the underpinnings, providing the front wheels with added camber and adopting a larger-diameter roll bar than that of the standard S 500 Cabriolet up front. The rear also receives a stiffer subframe.
The ride height can be raised by 30mm at the press of a button. The chassis then lowers again automatically when switched to Sport mode at speeds of more than 75mph.
What's it like?
Driving the Mercedes-AMG S 63 Cabriolet is an event, whether you’re running with hood down along a sun-drenched boulevard on the French Riviera or pushing it to the limit on a lonely back road on one of the mountain passes used for the Monte Carlo Rally. For sheer opulence and sense of occasion it is right up there with the Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible.
In terms of outright performance and overall dynamic ability, though, it goes one better than its most closely matched high-end soft top rival, delivering a truly heady combination of pace and handling prowess – the likes of which I suspect few potential owners are ever likely to sample in full effect.
The sturdy reserves of the AMG-assembled engine make light work of the big open-top's 2110kg kerb weight, propelling it with effortless verve and truly muscular qualities. Huge levels of low-end shove endow it with terrific flexibility around town and consummate cruising ability out on the open road. Mechanical refinement is magnificent and the whole drive process operates with silken smoothness.
Open the taps to release the full quota of power along with a sturdy 663lb ft of torque and it also proves to be captivatingly rapid and engagingly boisterous. This Jekyll and Hyde persona is very much at the root of the appeal of the new Mercedes-AMG model, which is produced alongside other S-Class models at Mercedes-Benz’s main manufacturing site near Stuttgart in Germany.
The S 63 Cabriolet looks and sounds better with its multi-layered fabric hood folded away under a tonneau cover behind the expansive four-seat cabin. The large structure can be opened in just 20 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph.
The overall effectiveness of the S 63 Cabriolet’s V8 engine, seven-speed automatic AMG Speedshift gearbox and 4Matic four-wheel drive system is displayed in Mercedes-Benz’s claimed 0-62mph time of 3.9sec. This is 0.5sec faster than Bentley quotes for the 2495kg Continental GT Speed Convertible. The Mercedes’ top speed is capped at 155mph.