Test Drive: Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet
Mercedes new S65 Cabriolet makes so much power, and so much noise, that it might just drown out the very existence of boring, whisper-quiet electric vehicles entirely.
What to make of the Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet?
Of all the strangely angry-sounding words in the German language, it seems there isn’t one for “overkill”. Which is strange, given there are almost 800 words for sausage, which itself feels a lot like overkill. Besides, you’d think they could spare just one of them.
Anyway, to help Mercedes’ German engineers with its meaning, let’s use it in a sentence; stuffing a gigantic twin-turbocharged V12 engine into a two-door convertible is absolute, unadulterated – and glorious – overkill.
A car that doesn’t so much rebel against the wave of eco-electrification currently washing over the world as it does bury it under a thick cloud of burnt petrol, the Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet is arguably both the world’s most ludicrous and luxurious convertible.
The ferocious 6.0-litre V12 engine lurking under the bonnet has been hand-built by AMG, producing a frankly ridiculous 463kW and 1000Nm – enough to push this 2.2-tonne, five-metre-long land yacht to 100km/h in a blistering 4.5 seconds.
All of which makes the fact that there is currently an S65 Cabriolet parked outside the famed Nobu restaurant in Malibu – engine humming, exhaust burbling, deep-grey paintwork glinting in the late Californian sun – a Very Good Thing. Even better, the key for said S65 is nestled safely in my pocket.
While the crawling, traffic-clogged streets of Los Angeles rarely feature on the list of fabulous driving destinations (largely because it’s often quicker to walk – or hop, even – to your destination), just outside the city limits there lies a wonderland of fast-flowing canyon roads just waiting to be explored.
Point the Mercedes’ shapely snout in the direction of any one of them, and bury your right foot into the plush carpet of the cabin, and the S65 Cabriolet pauses for the briefest of moments, almost as though it’s struggling with the enormity of what’s about to happen, before it launches forward with such ferocity that you can actually feel the skin of you face climbing toward your hairline.
In the briefest of seconds, 100km/h has flown by the windows. Then 150km/h. If your courage holds, the big Mercedes will keep climbing to 300km/h. Though, needless to say, ours didn’t.
And the sound. My god, the sound. Without the pesky metal roof to obstruct it, the full raucous roar of that V12 engine is fired directly into the cabin, and it only seems to gather in strength and volume as it bounces off the canyon walls and into your eardrums. It’s marvellous, and even more so given that, here in California, you might never need to close the roof again.
This is Mercedes’ most luxurious model – and one expected to wear a price tag of around $550,000 – so there’s no shortage of over-the-top features on offer in the Nappa leather-wrapped cabin.
The optional driver-energising system, for example, which pairs with the stereo, cabin lighting and even a perfume dispenser to create a mood of your choice, be it of vitality, joy, warmth or comfort. Still not relaxed enough? Activate the hot-stone massage function in the driver’s seat. It’s glorious.
Finally, though, an apology. A slightly officious German from Mercedes has just informed that they do, in fact, have a word for overkill. It’s Übermaß. And they cant’ get enough of it.
Published 12 February, 2018