Dad bought a new Cadillac Eldorado convertible in 1976. GM touted it as the last of the big droptops, a majestic parting shot seemingly designed to transport prom queens, grand marshals, and Boss Hogg types into an increasingly *dystopian, gas-rationed future. Dressed in triple red with every option, including fuel injection, automatic high-beams, power everything, and a hard tonneau “parade boot,” that 18.7-foot luxo-barge weighed 5231 pounds and was motivated via an 8.2-liter V-8 under a hood so long you could land an Airbus A380 on it. No one can say that Cadillac let the convertible go g*ently into that good night.
What no one could have imagined back in 1976 was that big *convertibles would exist at all 40 years later, much less as 500-plus-hp chariots for the same well-to-do neighborhoods that Cadillac once owned. In a world of $2.50 gas and ever-growing stock portfolios, the parade car has returned. Using a big, thirsty, open-air sled to declare “I’m rich and deserve this” is again possible without having to resort to the classic-car market.
After a four-decade hiatus, Mercedes is back to building full-size convertibles. Save your letters; we’re not counting the E-class–based 1993–95 cabriolet because it did not achieve true pulchritude. In no dimension, except maybe build quality, does it measure up to this S-class–derived four-seater. Available in three flavors, Merc’s convertible is a leather-packed bullet aimed squarely at the Bentley Continental GT convertible. Constant updates have kept the now 12-year-old Continental as relevant as any car costing more than $200 large can credibly be.
2017 Bentley Continental GT Convertible vs. 2017 Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet ? Comparison Test ? Car and Driver