by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

SPY: The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet (A 217) scooped on the test track

With the new S-Class, Mercedes-Benz wants to shape out a competitive luxury lineup which can also be regarded as the top example to follow in the automotive industry. Given the discontinuation of Maybach, which came into force during summer 2012, earlier than the initial date, the Stuttgart-based constructor will develop a comprehensive range of new models for the future S-Class generation, comprising at least five, if not six different versions. One of the long expected offerings is the new S-Class Cabriolet (A 217), recently spotted in Germany during the ongoing development process.

Back in 2007, Mercedes-Benz made sensation when the company unveiled the Ocean Drive Concept a study of a 4-door convertible for the luxury segment. Immediately after the Detroit Motor Show, the automotive press began the speculation saga on whether Mercedes-Benz is planning to introduce a similar series version in the near future. After such a warm welcome from the public and media, the decision to produce a street-legal open-top S-Class passed the executive board seamlessly as the Daimler heads approved the project.

As the W 221 series has already been on the market since 2005, as well as the C 216 CL-Class, officials decided to award the company the needed time to deliver a brilliant concept. The first convertible S-Class since the classic W 111 generation the will be revealed towards the end of 2014 and feature a 2-door architecture, instead of a 4-door body like the show prototype, and a fabric roof.

Internally known as project A 217, the future S-Class Cabriolet will display a striking appearance given its impressive length and proportions visible from the spy shots. The overall styling will remain as classic as it can be, with just a subtle dose of dynamism. Together with the forthcoming S-Class Coupe (also in for the development phase in the next period), the two models must be immediately recognizable as proud members of the same family, so design is crucial attribute that defines their rich, luxurious character.

Engineers will implant the latest technology both underneath and inside the future S-Class Cabriolet. The car will sit on Merc's new rear-wheel-drive MRA platform which is certain to offer a refined ride. The new infotainment system called @yourCOMAND will improve the digital experience of the driver and passengers, while the multiple safety assistants will make sure travelling in this car is a safe business. The Collision Prevention Assist and the PRE-SAFE package will be standard equipment for the S-Class Cabriolet. At request, the new S-Class Cabriolet can also be fitted with the radar-scanning MAGIC RIDE CONTROL management system, the Night View Assist Plus or the Autonomous Driving Pilot, complete premieres that make their official debut on the S-Class limousine in a few months from now.

Mercedes-Benz will supply V8 and V12 petrol engines for its open-top S-Class as basic powering choices. A high-end diesel-powered V8 unit with over 350 hp might also be possible after the launch, as well as a hybrid variant sporting a combined output of over 400 hp. The range-topping sports AMG variants, the S 63 and S 65, could follow through 2015 and 2016 and be capable of 571 hp and, respectively, 630 hp.

Given the level of sophistication and the select customers it is aimed for, the price for the new S-Class Cabriolet should decently exceed 100,000 euros in Europe.

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