Cars

Up close and personal: Mercedes-Benz S500 Cabriolet Designo

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It was a Friday morning that i decided to take an up-close and personal look at the Mercedes-Benz S500 Cabriolet. I love cabriolets, and on top of that, it was a three-pointed star. And that’s a good enough reason to skip everything else that i had for the day.

I saw this at the 2016 Auto Expo, but “seeing” is different from up-close and personal. This particular model had ‘Designo’ bits on it. These include hand-sewn leather upholstery, climate-controlled seats, wood trims, LED Intelligent Light System and Night View Assist Plus.

The soft-top fabric can be had in black, blue, beige and dark red. It takes about 17 seconds to operate and at speeds of up to 50 km/h. There’s also that popular Aircap system, that deploys a wind deflector above the windscreen to extend, together with a draught stop behind the head restraints.

The moment you sit inside, you feel like you’re in a yacht. Not just because its a big car. The lines on the dashboard which flows on to the doors will make you feel you’re in a yacht. I spent a good amount of time searching for that roof button, and then found out that it hidden inside the box behind the touch pad. It hidden probably for a good reason. In order to operate the roof, you need to start the engine. That’s when i noticed how incredible the sound insulation is, you can barely hear the engine when the roof is up. Refinement is at its best.

Speaking of the engine, the 4.7 litre (4663 cc) V8 biturbo petrol sounds creamy smooth when you start it. It makes 455 hp @ 5250 – 5500 rpm and 700 Nm of torque @ 1800 – 3500 rpm, paired to a 9G-Tronic transmission.

The COMAND display on the inside can be controlled via that touch pad on the central console and with the swivel wheel. A Burmester surround sound system will keep you entertained while you cruse. Other kit includes 360 degree camera, adaptive windscreen wiper and ambient lighting. Besides airbags and ABS, there is ESP, Brake Assist System (BAS), Attention Assist, Crosswind Assist, Parking Assist, adaptive brake lights and so many more for safety.

The S500 also comes with Airmatic suspension. The suspension level can be raised by 30 mm to increase ground clearance. At high speeds the suspension is automatically lowered by up to 20 mm. With the “Comfort” and “Sport” settings, Airmatic can be configured for more comfort or sportiness.

Last but not the least, the boot space. It isn’t all that big, because remember it has to accommodate that massive roof as well. But, there is no problem for two large travel suitcases at all, and besides, if you’re not carrying any kids in the rear seat, you can use that to keep some handbags.

The S500 Cabriolet rides on a massive 19-inch light-alloy wheels.

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