RE: Mercedes-Benz S560 Cabriolet: PH Trade-Off!

RE: Mercedes-Benz S560 Cabriolet: PH Trade-Off!

Sunday 23rd December 2018

Mercedes-Benz S560 Cabriolet: PH Trade-Off!

It shouldn't be hard to find a drop-top for half the cost of the S560 we drove last week. But can we find something as good?

The market for the Mercedes-Benz S560 Cabriolet must be vanishingly small. In fact, we'd wager you'll be able to count on the fingers of one hand the number of them you'll see out and about on the roads in a year - if you see any at all.

Part of the reason for that is the eye-watering price. The S560, as Sam noted in his review, is in direct competition with some of the finest cabriolets in the world - so it's a good job it happens to be one of those too.

It is wonderfully smooth, effortlessly powerful and unceasingly opulent throughout - yet it also manages to eschew completely any notions of sportiness (well, with the exception of the aggressive AMG Line bodykit that comes as standard) in favour of a singular focus on comfort. But surely, given how vast its price is, we can find a better-value alternative - a four-seat drop-top that does the job of wafting you around in no-holds-barred luxury and with V8 power for half the price of the Merc?

Our first thoughts turned to one of Mercedes's most obvious rivals. BMW, of course, produces its own four-seat convertible - or at least, it did until recently, when the 6 Series went off sale. And depreciation being what it is, for half the cost of the S560, you can actually afford this M6 Convertible that's just a year old, with 3,000 miles on the clock - in other words, basically a new car. The M6, let's not forget, can boast considerably more power than the Merc - and while it's hardly the last word in handling, it'll go round corners a fair sight more sharply, too. Trouble is, that's not what we're looking for here - and an M6 just can't muster the same line in aristocratic grace as the Mercedes. We'll have to look elsewhere, then.

This Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante, on the other hand, has just that in spades. Granted, it doesn't have a V8 up front, but we reckon a V12 serves as an acceptable substitute. And while this example is steeply priced, it's done just 13,000 miles, which should make it feel incredibly tight, despite its 14-year age. Then again, spending this sort of money on something with Ford Granada air vents still feels wrong; what's more, while the Aston is technically a four-seater, sticking an adult in the back for any length of time is liable to result in a bill for a trip to a chiropractor.

The ideal half-price alternative to this luxurious Merc is, in our book, some sort of Bentley. After all, why have chicken when one can have steak? But we aren't talking about a Continental GT - goodness, no. We're talking about a proper, full-fat, SZ-series model in the form of this glorious Azure.

Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way first, at 22 years old and with 52,000 miles on the clock, the Azure isn't exactly a spring chicken. But on the bright side, that age means its prices are stagnant and, economic catastrophes notwithstanding, should soon be on the way up - whereas the Merc's are only going to be going the opposite direction for a long time to come.

That cash you're saving in depreciation could go toward upkeep which, let's face it, ain't going to be cheap. And with an official average consumption figure of 13.2mpg, you might be well-advised to set some aside for your own personal fuel bowser, too. Ouch.

But what else do you expect from a car that weighs more than two and a half tonnes, and comes with a 6.75-litre V8 and an interior more lavish than your living room? Its haughty stance, vast haunches and sheer presence make the Merc look common-or-garden, and as beautiful as the S560's interior is, it can't compete for sheer opulence with the Bentley's burr this, Connolly that and lambswool the other.

Sure, with the Bentley you'll have to do without modern trimmings like sat-nav and a digital radio, but who cares? With the top down, burbling around the British countryside in summertime, you'll be able to look down on the proles in their S560s and chuckle knowingly. Because you've got the car that's steeped in luxury, that oozes true class, the one that'll make people think you're Lord Wossname-Somethingorother when you rock up at the village pub. And you'll know you that for all this, you've paid half the price - and that you'll be able to sell it on for at least the same figure when the time comes.

So sod the fuel consumption and hang the maintenance costs. Don't buy that S560 you were all doubtless planning on rushing out to slap a deposit down on. Instead, find yourself a neo-classic Bentley; spend half your budget on that instead, and put the rest aside for the moment it bankrupts you. You can't lose. Probably.


Engine: 3,982, V8 biturbo
Power (hp): 469@5,250-5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 516@2,000-4,000rpm
0-62mph: 4.6 seconds
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
Weight: 2,075kg (EU, with driver)
MPG: 27.7 (NEDC)
CO2: 228g/km
Price: from Β£115,855


Engine: 6,750cc V8,
Power (hp): 390@4,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 553@2,000rpm
0-60mph: 6.3 seconds
Top speed: 150mph
Weight: 2,608kg
MPG: 13.2 (official average)
CO2: Lots
Price: Β£56,950




Original Poster:

2,049 posts

138 months

Sunday 23rd December 2018
quotequote all
That Bentley!

There are so many cliches that can be written about a car like this and all thoroughly deserved- carved from a lump of granite, old money, Britishness etc etc. I wonder how scary ownership can be!


6,728 posts

145 months

Sunday 23rd December 2018
quotequote all
I find the tin top variety much more appealing with the large coupes. There's an abandoned W111 hearse close to me crying out for a pick up conversion. This has absolutely nothing to do with this thread.


1,667 posts

94 months

Sunday 23rd December 2018
quotequote all
There's only one other half-price alternative....


147 posts

103 months

Sunday 23rd December 2018
quotequote all
The Maser would get my money but might still have a little bit to drop in depreciation.
Very nice though.


63,406 posts

177 months

Sunday 23rd December 2018
quotequote all
Whilst I have a C300 AMG Line and I am thinking about an E350 Cabrio (still sub 7 to 60).... There is no way in hell if I had 120k I would buy that Merc.....


2,391 posts

142 months

Sunday 23rd December 2018
quotequote all
Well if you're looking at second hand, then why not look a little further, since depreciation is the real killer.

Any of the cars mentioned could include models with a few more years on them.

But for what its worth, I don't really like the heavy cars. I'd be inclined to look at an older Maser maybe, if only for a bit of flair.


897 posts

122 months

Sunday 23rd December 2018
quotequote all
If the Azure and the S560 were the same price I would still have the Azure. What a special car it is . The S is a pleasant modern car, not a special one, which is ironic given the origins of the letter S in S Class.


6,756 posts

104 months

Sunday 23rd December 2018
quotequote all
Azure for me, it's the only truly special one.


493 posts

187 months

Sunday 23rd December 2018
quotequote all
Surely this type of Bentley is more of a realistic comparison?



88 posts

37 months

Tuesday 25th December 2018
quotequote all
Could get a 2011 DB9.... instead of that ancient DB7 😂.
Or a Maserati GT...
And don’t bite my head off but I’d rather have a Conti GTC instead of the admittedly more characterful Azure.

DB9 for me though!

Big GT

702 posts

40 months

Tuesday 25th December 2018
quotequote all
Alternatively you can have the same type of car for nearly half the price


331 posts

74 months

Tuesday 25th December 2018
quotequote all
Big GT said:
Alternatively you can have the same type of car for nearly half the price
That thought had occurred to me. Have it de-badged, chose a colour other than white or black and it’s similarity at first glance to a C or E cabriolet would make it far more discrete to drive around in than a 20 odd year old Bentley wink

And I was considering a C43 cabriolet to replace the M235... laugh


5,830 posts

203 months

Tuesday 25th December 2018
quotequote all


4,287 posts

43 months

Tuesday 25th December 2018
quotequote all
simonrockman said:
That's grim.


9 posts

76 months

Thursday 27th December 2018
quotequote all
Jasandjules said:
Whilst I have a C300 AMG Line and I am thinking about an E350 Cabrio (still sub 7 to 60).... There is no way in hell if I had 120k I would buy that Merc.....
Neither would anyone with all their faculties.… worst you'd go to a broker and get at least 20% off.


78,661 posts

232 months

Thursday 27th December 2018
quotequote all
The Bentley Azure is too Michael Winner for me.


2,522 posts

153 months

Friday 28th December 2018
quotequote all
I'd rather have one of these over all the cars discussed so far. Either in CL63 or CL65 flavour - I'm not fussed!


1 posts

1 month

Friday 1st November
quotequote all
I considered this exact alternative. 2007-2008 Azure vs 2019 S560 Cabrio. I have owned Bentleys and Mercedes both. (For various mechanical and reliability reasons, one should not consider the earlier Azures. There are good reasons the value of the later Azures is $30K higher.) In the end I chose the S560 because I could get it serviced at five places in this metro area and anywhere in the world. There is only one good out-of-warranty Bentley mechanic in my metro and only two in the state. (Bentley dealers are nice, but trained only to do expensive remove and replace procedures; they are not trained to repair anything.). For me, then, ease of ownership trumped cost of ownership. Plus the technology in S560 is really wonderful. And the ride — with 19-inch non-runflat Pirellis substituted — is extraordinary even compared to the Bentley.