Having spent a whole week traveling Canada coast to coast in some gorgeous droptop Mercedes models as a way to celebrate the country’s 150th birthday, it has become clear that the German automaker certainly knows how to cross a country in style. While you may not be considering a Mercedes convertible for its long-haul capability, there are more than a few reasons to rethink that. Mercedes has thought of just about everything when it comes to making convertibles more livable. Here are six features found in Mercedes convertibles that are perfect for road trips.
Remote Open and Close
Let me be clear: There was really only one time when we put the roof up during the entire trip from the most Eastern point of Canada (Cape Spear, Newfoundland and Labrador) to the most Western point of Canada (Victoria, B.C.), and that was in Saskatchewan when it was raining and I wanted to get pictures of the car next to a giant sculpture.
But I always raised the roof when we had to park, ensuring no one would jump in and make a mess of the car or take any of our belongings. A cool feature on all Mercedes cabrios is the ability to raise or lower the roof remotely using the key. By holding down the lock or unlock button, the car will initiate the roof operation while the car is parked and turned off. It was a pretty big time saver — you could lower the roof as you walk closer or raise it as you walk away. More importantly, it also looks like you’re a magician! Or maybe you can use it to convince onlookers that you’re one of those man-machine cyborgs who is wirelessly connected to all nearby objects like a sci-fi superhero!
While Iron Man is probably flying around in a very warm metal suit, non-superhero types like you and I can still get cold from the rush of air flowing around the open cabin. Fortunately, Mercedes knows that you’re a feeble human and not a superhero and has “AIRSCARF” in many of its convertibles. Air Scarf blows hot air onto your neck via a headrest-mounted fan and has three settings, making you feel nice and toasty even on brisk days. Combine this awesome feature with the heated seats and powerful HVAC system in the cars and you’ll be warm and comfortable through whatever messy Canadian weather you drive through (including snowy routes in Calgary).
Convertibles have issues with wind buffeting, which is when pesky turbulent air flows over the windscreen and assaults the cabin and its passengers. It leads to a lot of noise and can be harsh on your ears. While you can slam the lid on this turbulent air by raising the roof, that kind of defeats the purpose of having a convertible in the first place, doesn’t it? Mercedes has you covered here as well with a new feature called “AIRCAP,” which extends a windshield deflector behind the passenger area. This helps direct air around the vehicle and limits wind buffeting.
Not all Mercedes convertibles have the same AIRCAP capabilities, though. In the C-Class and S-Class Cabrio, it’s an automatic feature that’s enabled by toggling a switch in the cabin. Doing so extends the windshield bit and raises the rear deflector as well. In the SL, you only get the rear deflector, while SLC models don’t have an automatic function at all — instead, there are two plastic triangles behind the headrests that swing inwards to help direct air above the cabin. It was much less effective than the other implementations of AIRCAP.
ALSO SEE: 2017 Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet Review
This feature slightly diminishes the sleek lines of the car, but at least you can’t see it while driving. Additionally on the S and C-Class vehicles, the front windshield extension has a slight net in it as well, which captures all the swarms of bugs you’ve been driving through, which means when you come to a stop, they come tumbling down the windshield, which is really gross the first time you experience it.
If you get caught on a grueling eight or nine-hour day in a Mercedes SL or S-Class convertible, don’t sweat it. You can get massage seats that will help loosen up your inevitable stiffness from sitting still for so long.
Sport + and Exhaust
Then again, there’s also a chance you’re in one of the many V8 or AMG convertibles that are available through the Mercedes lineup. There’s two flavors of AMG models now. There’s the 43 series and 63 series. The 43 models such as the C 43 AMG and SLC 43 AMG we drove featured a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine that made 362 horsepower and can send these vehicles to highway speeds in under 5 seconds. We also had our hands on the crazier AMG C 63 S, which uses a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine making 503 horsepower. The trick to AMGs is that they sound fantastic, a trait that’s much more appreciated with the roofless models. These models all have unique exhaust notes to help people understand that this isn’t a mere Mercedes droptop but one of the more hardcore AMG models.
The SL and S 550 models we drove don’t use special AMG motors or exhaust, but also feature a nice soundtrack when pushed hard, thanks to a 449 horsepower, 4.7-liter turbocharged V8 engine under the hood. Select the Sport + driving mode and the car holds onto gears a bit longer, so you can hear the sweet (although muted when compared to the AMGs) soundtrack of those eight cylinders.
Magic Sky Control
One final piece of wizardry is the Magic Sky Control feature, which is found in the SL-Class models. These vehicles feature hardtop roofs with glass panels, like a moonroof or sunroof. However, a press of a button will make the glass go transparent or opaque depending on how much sun you want to come through. Like mentioned before, every time we left the SL, we’d put the roof up, and the car always triggered the Magic Sky Control when it was all done, helping to shield the interior from the sun to help keep the car cooler.