Mercedes-Benz has taken the wraps off its range-topping S-Class Cabriolet.
“After 44 years we can again offer friends of our company an open variant of the S?Class. The new S-Class Cabriolet symbolises our passion for individual and timelessly exclusive mobility, which we share with our customers,” remarks Ola Källenius, Board Member of Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales.
With the new S-Class Cabriolet, Mercedes-Benz is said to be setting itself the standard of building the most comfortable cabriolet in the world, with the latest model offering the AIRCAP automatic wind protection system, along with the AIRSCARF neck-level heating system. To up the ante, the armrests and rear seats are also heated. Rear seat passengers also get their own fully automatic climate control system to ensure they travel in comfort.
The new S-Class Cabriolet is carrying the long and successful tradition of Mercedes-Benz luxury-segment cabriolets into the future. Even back in the 1920s the luxury cabriolets from Stuttgart combined the freedom of open-top motoring with the comfort and safety of a Mercedes-Benz Saloon. From the start of post-war production the top models from Mercedes-Benz were also available in the particularly exclusive variant as a cabriolet. These included the 170 S (W 136) from 1949, the 220 (W 187) from 1951 and the 300 S (W 188) from 1952.
After the “Ponton” cabriolets 220 S (W 180) and 220 SE (W 128) built from 1956 to 1960, in 1961 the 220 SE Cabriolet of the model series W 111 was launched, a particularly elegant, open-top four-seater, whose design is still considered timeless to this day. In this ten-year production period Mercedes-Benz offered five different models in these model series: the 220 SE, 250 SE, 300 SE (W 112), 280 SE and, as a late top model, the eight-cylinder 280 SE 3.5 – in total 7013 units of these five cabriolets were manufactured in Sindelfingen. For the time being there was no open-top luxury-segment car in the Mercedes-Benz model range to follow this generation: rather, it is the new SL from model series 107 which cultivated the tradition of open-top motoring in the Stuttgart brand’s cars – as a two-seater.
The cabriolets from Mercedes-Benz are today amongst the most sought-after classic cars – and the prices have developed accordingly. Examples of this are the cabriolets from model series 111 whose values are cited by the renowned American Hagerty Insurance’s price guide. In its estimation a 280 SE 3.5 from the final year of construction, 1971, in condition 2 today has a value of around US$290,000 – ten years ago the figure was some US$115,000. But that is by no means the pinnacle: for instance, a specimen of this model in excellent condition was auctioned last August by RM Auctions for US$429,000.
The last six-cylinder 280 SE model (1969) in the same condition is valued today by Hagerty at approx. US$75,000 – about US$ 45,000 ten years ago. Early 220 SE models are around the same level, with a current value of some US$84,000.