Test Drive: A magnificently grand cruiser

The Mercedes Benz S-Class is a much beloved car across the world and it also comes as a two door coupe, the S500 Cabriolet, which is something special. 

Being an S-Class this is a large coupe – over 2m wide, over 5m long and weighing more than two tonnes. This is a car that is hard to miss, not only for its dimensions but for how elegantly it combines its size and modern S-Class design in a coupe. Very different to others and very unique on its own right, the S500 wears the AMG line exterior that enhances the visual appeal.

Chrome is cleverly used to highlight the car’s lower front apron. It is also used in the boarders of the  diamond radiator grille with chrome coloured pins. The intelligent LED light system with Swarovski crystals, used for the indicators and running day lights, give added clarity in a smart looking design. A long bonnet the bulges out covers the turbocharged heart of the S500.

The side profile looks simply curvaceous and the chrome belt line nicely separates the body from the soft top to give a two tone theme. The soft top is made out of extremely hard wearing quality fabric and feels very durable while also looking very wholesome, solid and sturdy. Rear brake lights are beautifully stretched horizontally in the corners for clear visibility and sitting under a chrome boot line that separates it from an integrated boot spoiler.

The lower diffuser is painted the same as the car for a clean and continuous look. Also integrated are the rear horizontal exhaust chrome tips that are nicely tucked into the lower black cluster and continues the two tone theme of the car.


The 20 inch AMG multi-spoke light alloy wheels compliments the qualities mentioned above and suits the cars stance perfectly.

For a coupe, there is a vast amount of fine materials in the S500 cabin including Designo exclusive Nappa leather, which covers the door interiors and seats. The instruments cluster is surrounded by brown high gloss burr walnut wood trim. The headliner is made of a soft micro suede material that also covers the A-pillars and the sun visors.

All the leather trim looks and feels great, beautifully stitched together and very appealing to sit in the extremely comfortable chairs, that have a wide range of movement to get the perfect seating position and are climatised and have a very useful cooling option. When on the move the side bolsters automatically and dynamically adapt to the cars movement to provide an extra support on winding roads.

Information for the driver is shown in a high resolution 31.2cm colour display screen that has another central splitview screen of the same size, which display the rear view camera and also a very detailed Navigation map, as well as all the other car features.

Thermotronic automatic climate control works very well cooling the cabin quickly and for the cabriolet it has an intelligent climate control. The operating button for the soft top is located in the centre console and can be accessed from both the driver’s and passengers’ side. Opening and closing the roof on the move can be operated at a speed of up to 50 km/h. Th 23 speakers used by the Burmester High End 3D surround system is superb and can entertain the occupants for hours on end and it can be appreciated in any kind of genre. When the roof is down the rear compartment shows off two artfully perforated stainless-steel speaker grilles in the hard tonneau cover  to add an extra aural and visual bling to the cabriolet.

A Mercedes Benz is at its core about integral safety for its passengers and in this cabriolet it offers all the latest in safety from the Active Blind Spot Assist, Collision Prevention Assist Plus and Attention Assist; that monitors the steering input for any drowsiness or severe loss of attention. This system can give a visual and audible warning to alert the driver. ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) and BAS (Brake Assist) are part of the Pre-Safe system that continuously evaluates sensor data. All part of the high safety standard that Mercedes Benz always strives for.

The S500 uses a 4.7 litre V8 twin turbocharged engine, good for 455 hp @ 5,250 to 5,500 rpm. And an impressively low end torque in the tune of 700Nm between 1,800 to 3,500 rpm.

Mated to an impressively smooth 9 speed automatic transmission, the 9G Tronic, it can handle a very wide range of driving condition. It changes gears in a very quick and smooth manner that will leave most unaware of the changes made in an instant.

Seat positioning on this S500 is nicely upright for a coupe, which makes visibility very good and getting to know where the coupe's boundaries are made simpler by the easy to control steering with precise inputs.

Even though it may feel a bit heavy at times, this cabriolet has all the power and torque it needs to feel like a sports cruiser.

In an instant the Sports suspension button and the Sport mode on the 9G can be activated to take full advantage on whats on offer on this S500 to become a very rapidly quick.

Combining all of the power and transmission to the ever effective permanent all wheel drive 4Matic system and air suspension system Airmatic, the S500 has excellent ride quality and will glide over any road imperfections and give a very reassuring presence while driving down any road.

A leasurly cruise down the Muttrah corniche or a spirited drive around some of the twisty roads are easily achievable in the S500.

The car does a good job of hiding its weight and controls the body roll very well with the 4Matic system in play. Easy steering controls and comfortable ride quality makes driving an effortless task when driving on more twisty road sections. It does feel very quick if climbing up some sharp corners as  a vast amount of low end torque makes it feel very accessible and dispatches the S500 into the horizon in an almost alarming rate! It has a very good amount of grip to feel brave, and the always reliable brakes are confidence inspiring as this is a car that has no problem reigning in its speed and distance in very quick succession.

Manoeuvring the S500 is a simple and rewarding experience as long as there is respect given for its weight and high power output, as the power ban is very vast and feels very much always giving when demanded.

This cabriolet is super quiet when the top is fixed, and wind noise mainly coming from the side mirrors and not the vast canvas overhead. Top down in a mere 25s and the S500 transforms into something that looks impressively handsome and elegantly designed to be an all round king of cruising machines.

It has the ability to outperform and outmatch most cars around. It will also impress while cruising on the highway, while parallel parking or even by being parked in the shopping mall. It has the looks, the pedigree, the feel and the presence of a great coupe. To drive it as a coupe is great, but to drive it with the top down is something special all together. This S500 cabriolet is a marvelous piece of automotive machinery from Mercedes Benz. 

Test Drive: A magnificently grand cruiser
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