THE GOODLike its S-Class compatriots, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz S550 Cabriolet stands out for its exceptional ride comfort. Sophisticated adaptive cruise control handles braking and acceleration even in stop-and-go traffic, and its Burmester stereo delivers detailed music.

THE BADMercedes-Benz badly needs to redesign the S550 Cabriolet’s dashboard electronics from the ground up, as the interface has become a complicated mess. A problem with many convertibles, trunk room becomes very limited with the top down.

THE BOTTOM LINEThe 2017 S550 Cabriolet maintains the strengths of Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicles, showing off a luxury exemplified in driving character and cabin appointments, while offering top-down driving rarely found in its segment.

Ahter a month spent flying back and forth to Los Angeles, my boarding passes a confused jumble in my Apple Wallet app, I finally broke free enough time to drive down from San Francisco. The occasion was the Los Angeles auto show, and my ride would be a 2017 Mercedes-Benz S550 Cabriolet.

Cruising down a California highway, over valleys, mountains and coastal terrain, compared to stuffing myself into an airline seat, shoulder-to-shoulder with some rando? I will take the former any chance I can.

And the S550 Cabriolet made the perfect vehicle for the trip, as it fit right in cruising top-down through Beverly Hills, or drifting over hundreds of freeway miles. Massaging seats eased the strain on my back, the Burmester stereo filled the quiet cabin with pristinely produced music, and adaptive cruise control handled the trials of stop-and-go traffic.

Most of all, though, the S550 Cabriolet, and all the S-Class variants, delivers what I consider the best ride quality of any car on the road today, even the ultraluxury models.

2017 Mercedes-Benz S550 Cabriolet
Mercedes-Benz previously delivered sedan and coupe versions of its flagship S-class, and now adds the drop-top Cabriolet.

Josh Miller/CNET

Mercedes-Benz gave its S-Class sedan a major update for the 2014 model year, in almost every way delivering a vehicle worthy of the brand’s luxury reputation. Following the sedan came an S-Class beautifully styled coupe and now the Cabriolet, the convertible version. To be honest, I prefer a hard top, and like the look of the coupe better, but the Cabriolet certainly earns points for its top-down demeanor. Like the coupe, the S550 Cabriolet gets by with two doors but also room for four passengers.

The comfort

The S550 Cabriolet’s unparalleled ride quality made me look forward to spending hours driving it down the coast, but the plush look of its cabin got my attention when I first opened the door. Prominently displayed Designo labels announce the Mercedes-Benz’s upscale interior brand, while ventilated leather in Porcelain, or white if you prefer, cover the substantial seats.

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