Mercedes-Benz introduced two new convertible models at this year’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, including one that becomes the first in the company’s history to combine open-air motoring with a V12 engine.
That’s the Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet, which chops the top off the coupe model of the same name, and retains a 6.0-litre biturbo V12 engine that’s good for 630 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. Forget about fuel efficiency: this car is a very efficient way to put wind through your hair.
Or is it? Benz says its AIRCAP wind protection system assures “maximum climatic comfort,” along with the AIRSCARF neck-warming system, heated armrests, heated rear seats, and intelligent climate control that automatically adjusts its performance based on whether the top is up or down.
Unsurprisingly, the S65 Cabrio also brings some of Benz’s top safety kit, like the company’s “intelligent drive” suite, which includes pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with steering assist and stop-and-go function, cross-traffic assist, adaptive high-beams, collision prevention assist, and night view assist. The car also recognizes when a rear-end collision is imminent and turns on the hazard lights in order to alert the approaching inattentive driver of the obstacle (that being your car). The car will also lock its brakes and activate seatbelt pretensioners to help reduce the risk of whiplash.
The AMG S65 is slated to arrive in Benz dealerships this May.
The other new member of the S-Class family is the AMG S63 ‘Edition 130.’ Named not-so-modestly to commemorate the 130th anniversary of Karl Benz’s invention of the automobile, Mercedes will produce just 130 examples of the car.
Powered by a 5.5-litre, 585-hp turbocharged V8 shared with other S-Class models, the Edition 130 is distinguished by unique nappa leather upholstery, carbon/piano black interior trim, red brake calipers, and floor mats trimmed in red or grey.
Finally, Mercedes rounded out its topless procession with the SLC roadster, the latest model to adopt the company’s new naming strategy. Replacing the SLK, Mercedes says the SLC name more closely links the car to the C-Class sedan with which it shares its architecture. Along with the new name, the car gets a refreshed look, and “significantly optimized technology.”
Active brake assist is new to the standard features list, and is an autonomous braking system that aims to reduce the severity of high-speed rear-end crashes, and help avoid lower-speed crack-ups altogether.
Optional stuff includes high beam assist, “intelligent” LED headlights with five different modes to adapt to different driving and weather conditions, traffic sign assist, and a backup camera that can be augmented by a parallel park assist function.
Two new variants join the roadster’s lineup, too: at bottom end is the SLC 180, but with just 156 hp, we doubt it will see the light of day in power-obsessed North America. On this continent, the AMG SLC 43 is a more likely addition, effectively replacing the former SLK 55 with its 367-hp 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 and new nine-speed automatic transmission.
As with the SLK before it, the SLC’s roof is a folding hardtop that stows in the trunk, but leaves some useful cargo space even with the top stowed.
SLC prices will be announced later this month.