The last time that Mercedes offered its most luxurious car in convertible form, Richard Nixon was the US president, Intel was putting the finishing touches on its very first ever microprocessor and Simon and Garfunkel were the world's biggest group.
Four decades later, the world is a very different place, but luxury is still luxury and the new S-Class convertible, detailed on Wednesday ahead of its real-world reveal at the Frankfurt motor show on September 15, proves that Mercedes still understands this better than any other mainstream carmaker. "The S-Class sets the pace on the global market when it comes to safety, efficiency and comfort," said Daimler board member Prof. Dr Thomas Weber.
The car is overflowing with features designed to quite literally cosset the driver and passengers -- such as individual ‘air scarves' that blow warm air around passengers' necks, all-around double-glazed windows and integrated wind and noise deflectors. Unless it's raining, an owner will be hard pressed to tell whether the roof is up or down.
"After 44 years we are once again able to offer Mercedes aficionados an open-top car in the S-Class. The new S-Class Cabriolet symbolizes our passion for individual and timelessly exclusive mobility," said fellow board member Ola Källenius.
The company hasn't just taken the car's hardtop sibling -- the S-Class Coupé -- and started cutting, even if in silhouette they're almost identical. The convertible has been re-engineered with strong yet light aluminum and magnesium to ensure rigidity and road-holding without extra weight. The floor has also been given an aerodynamic overhaul so that performance levels roof up or down are on par with the coupé.
Everything about the car is state-of-the-art in terms of safety, performance or comfort, from the acoustically optimized three-layer roof to the Thermotronic climate control system that uses sensors to automatically maintain cabin temperature with the roof down and can even stop things like exhaust fumes from other vehicles annoying your nostrils.
But all of this is necessary if the S Class is to attract Bentley or Rolls-Royce convertible clients to its wares.
And the company is taking no chances. As well as the S 500 model -- which boasts a 449bhp V8 under its hood, Mercedes will also be taking the wraps off a much sportier S 63 AMG version. It will boast a bi-turbo 577bhp V8 engine, a 3.9 second 0-100km/h time, and carbon ceramic brakes so it stops as quickly as it goes.