Getting its full reveal at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet is the first drop-top version of M-B's flagship model since 1971. Aimed squarely at the Bentley Continental GTC and BMW 6 Series Convertible, it will arrive here next spring in two distinct variations: the S550 Cabriolet and Mercedes-AMG S63 4Matic Cabriolet. "Two years after its launch, the S-Class family is now complete. We have never offered six models worldwide in the luxury class before -- and never before have we enjoyed such success," noted Thomas Weber, Member of the Daimler Board of Management responsible for Group Research and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. "The S-Class sets the pace on the global market when it comes to safety, efficiency and comfort."

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Opening up to new possibilities

Sharing a good deal of mechanical and design elements -- including 60 percent of its bodyshell components -- with the S-Class Coupe, the new Cabriolet does feature bespoke iterations of the front/rear fascia treatments as well as unique rear sheetmetal to accommodate its one-touch power activated soft top and dual pop-up rollover bars that for the first time on a Mercedes-Benz deploy -- when required -- via a pyrotechnic gas generator. Whether in S550 guise or the more aggressively styled S63 AMG spec, the Cabrio's three-layer acoustic top can be cycled in less than 20 seconds and at speeds of up to 37 mph. When retracted, it tucks neatly beneath a hard tonneau cover. To maintain full structural integrity, the 2017 S-Class Cabrio models introduce a number of new design elements highlighted by a unique aluminum rear floor and supplemental aluminum and magnesium stiffening/reinforcing panels aft of the passenger compartment which help keep torsional rigidity on par with the Coupe while still offering a convenient pass-through opening to the trunk.

State-of-the-art temperature control

As one might expect, the interior of these new S-Class Cabriolets are richly appointed and feature standard Nappa leather upholstery, a Burmester Surround Sound audio system and Comand telematics with navigation and touchpad control plus a fully-automatic Thermotronic 4-zone climate control system that works with M-B's Airscarf neck-level heating setup to provide set-it-and-forget-it convenience. Key options include a 1,540-watt Burmester 3D Premium sound system as well a Head-up display and massage seats, both of which are standard on the S63. The long list of S-Class Cabrio safety features that includes Collision Prevention Assist Plus and Parktronic with Active Parking Assist can be augmented with the Driver Assistance Package that adds Active Lane Keeping Assist; Distronic Plus adaptive cruise with Steering Assist & BAS Plus with Cross-Traffic Assist; and Pre-Safe Brake with Pedestrian Recognition.

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Two flavors of fast

Like their Coupe counterparts, the 2017 Mercedes S-Class Cabriolets feature twin-turbo V8 engines and automatic transmissions. The S550 packs a 4.7-liter that makes 449 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque matched with a 9G-Tronic that will take it from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. The AMG S63 4Matic Cabrio gets a handbuilt 5.5-liter AMG-spec alternative that cranks out 577 horses and 664 lb-ft of peak twist backed by an AMG Speedshift MCT 7-speed sport cog changer. Working in concert with its AMG-tweaked 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, the S63 model needs just 3.9 ticks to hit the 60 mph benchmark. All versions of the new S-Class Cabriolet come with Airmatic full air suspension, and here too, the S63 variant gets a unique version with full adaptive damping and Sport/Comfort modes as well as high-performance composite-ceramic brakes.

Pricing for the S-Class convertibles is still being finalized. However, based on the Coupe, we expect the 2017 Mercedes-Benz S550 Cabriolet will open in the $125,000-$130,000 range with the S63 AMG version likely starting closer to the $200K mark. Still no word on whether we'll see a V12-powered S65 version turn up here at a later date.

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