DETROIT — The Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet unveiled at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show represents the inevitable melding of the brand's range-topping S-Class convertible with its most powerful AMG engine. It will almost certainly have the highest base price of any Mercedes when it goes on sale late summer of 2016.
Like every other "65" AMG model, the S65 Cabriolet boasts a 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V12 engine good for 621 horsepower and a mammoth 738 pound-feet of torque. It's all sent to the rear wheels via a specially tuned AMG seven-speed automatic transmission resulting in a Mercedes-estimated 0-60-mph time of 4 seconds. The standard AMG Driver's package raises the top speed to 186 mph, which should be helpful in the event you ship the car to Germany for a quick spin.
A sport-tuned version of the S-Class' Airmatic suspension is standard and, as usual, features multiple driver-selectable settings. These also alter steering characteristics and stability control intervention. Carbon ceramic brakes are optional.
Normally, removing the roof of a car necessitates an increase in heavy body reinforcements to counteract, though rarely sufficiently, the decrease in body rigidity. Not so the S65 Cabriolet. Mercedes claims that its body shell achieves the same torsional rigidity as the S-Class Coupe. Its curb weight is also on par due the use of lighter weight aluminum and magnesium in the body panels. This should, in theory, bridge the dynamic gap that typically results between coupe and convertible models.
You'll be able visually distinguish the S65 Cabriolet by its AMG-specific design elements, V12 bi-turbo badge, the extensive exterior use of high-sheen chrome and its exclusive 20-inch, 16-spoke forged alloy wheels that feature a screw-on center bolt cover reminiscent of a center lock. Inside, there is a three-spoke, flat-bottomed steering wheel, AMG-specific gauges, and sport seats in designo Exclusive nappa leather (optional on other S-Class models).
As for its convertible elements, the S65's three-layer acoustic fabric soft top opens and closes in around 17 seconds and at speeds of up to 37 mph. The luggage compartment partition, which in most convertibles must be physically lowered into place before lowering the roof, is done automatically once the car detects there is no luggage in the way.
Once the roof is lowered, occupants will be able to enjoy Aircap (a wind deflector that deploys from the windshield header) and Airscarf (heat vents in the seats that blow warm air on your neck). The Warmth & Comfort package further adds heated armrests and rear seats. The climate control system also recognizes when the roof is open or closed and adjusts itself accordingly.
Other standard equipment of note includes LED exterior lighting, a 360-degree parking camera, automatic parking assistance, a Burmester sound system and the Driver Assistance package Plus that includes the full range of Mercedes' impressive accident avoidance tech. Really, that's just the tip of the iceberg for this technological tour de force.
Expect this range-topping Mercedes-Benz to compete quite favorably with a Bentley Continental GT convertible. There really aren't any others that fly in this rarified air.
Edmunds says: The Mercedes-AMG S65 represents the ultimate in high-speed, high-luxury top-down motoring.