Auto Nsider Review: 2017 Mercedes Benz S550 Cabriolet

I could try to be all nonchalant and make like I test $160K vehicles everyday, but hey…..I don’t.    And I bet you don’t either, right?   It’s a world to which I’m not accustomed.

 

In fact, it’s a world that’s as much about lifestyle as it is the car.

 

But let’s start with the car and just take a minute here and look at what all you get with something on four wheels that’s priced like a modest home.

 

For one, you get a convertible.    Well, heck….you might say that should be obvious, no?

 

Well…..no.    At least not from the inside.    Why?    Let’s start with quiet…..real quiet.     More quiet than you’re probably accustomed to in a traditional hard-topped vehicle.

 

The S550’s convertible top is a rigid, thickly-padded and finely-finished affair that soaks up sound like the proverbial sponge.    With the top up, you’ve got that cradled-in-a-cocoon feeling.    Pure luxury.    No wind noise whatsoever.

 

And when the top’s down, Mercedes protects your hair and hearing with its’ “Aircap” system. It’s basically an airfoil that deploys from the top of the windshield + a see-through backseat windscreen that does a great job of giving you top-down draft-free driving.

 

Dual-pane laminated glass is another reason for the quiet.   Not many manufacturers go to the trouble or expense of laminating two separate panes of glass together just to better isolate you from road noise.    Mercedes Benz does.

 

A big 4.7 liter twin turbo, 449 HP V8 is standard…as is a 9-speed automatic.   Mercedes Benz claims this is good for a 0-60 sprint in 4.6 seconds.    I believe it.

 

But if that’s just not urgent enough for you, Mercedes has high-performance AMG versions of their S550 Cabriolet available from around $176,000 on up to the quarter-million mark.

 

Once you’re into six-figures, you’re going to expect a lot out of a vehicle….and here’s where Mercedes steps it up.

 

“Big Brother”…..excuse me….”Attention Assist”….monitors you literally 70 ways from Sunday.   It sends you gentle nudges and alerts if it senses that you’re falling asleep….or just not paying attention in general.    It’s a real good thing.

 

“Crosswind Assist” helps you counter those big high-speed sideways shoves that passing 18-wheelers create.

 

Active exhaust is exactly that….an exhaust system that delivers a bit more “joy de vivre” when you set the dial on “Sport”.   Sure, Teslas can be interesting, but they just doesn’t unleash my “Animal Spirits” quite like this big V-8 at play.

 

“Parkmatic”, again, does as you’d suspect with a name like that.   It’ll help you both measure a space…and then parallel park and exit that space.

 

And Mercedes’ “Airmatic” suspension raises and lowers the front or rear or the entire vehicle depending upon the load…keeping you level for max performance and safety.

 

As with all high-end German luxury vehicles, it’s easy to add a whole “car’s-worth” of options….and on a vehicle like this, there’s some you’ve just gotta’ go ahead and order.

 

The $3,250 saddle brown quilted Nappa leather seating is going to be hard to resist.

 

But two options really stand out as “must-haves”.    One is the heated front center armrest, heated left door armrest + heated rear seating and a museum-quality wood and leather steering wheel.   Who else offers heated armrests, I ask?   Yours for $1,990.

 

And the other “must” is the bargain $3,500 you’ll invest for your personal masseuse.   Mercedes’ “Active Contour” front seats have what seemed to be something like a 20-point massage system.    We’re not talking about a seat that maybe vibrates a bit or something.    No….Mercedes’ front seat massage system will work you and your passenger over with an almost infinite number of upper / middle / lower / left / right / center back options.    It’s so thorough that you’ll want to leave a tip on your seat when you exit.

 

Frosting on the cake is the heads-up display and “Surround View” that you get with that package.

 

If you’re beginning to get the flavor of this vehicle, it’s all about “reward”.   The stereotypical S550 Cabriolet buyer is an empty-nester who’s done well.

 

They probably spent  20 – 30 years raising their precious brood….and hearing more than their share of “awww….do we have to?   Not now…..pleeeeease.    I’ll do it tomorrow….really I will…….

 

Or they’ve spent decades in business…negotiating and compromising daily.

 

So after a lifetime of “taking one for the team”….of delayed gratification after delayed gratification….. the immediate, elegant excess of the Mercedes Benz S550 Cabriolet could well be considered a fair reward.

 

It’s YOUR turn now.      Go….stop….corner….coddle….whatever your request, the Mercedes Benz S550 Cabriolet serves it up to you instantly.    Finally…you get to have it YOUR way.

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