There’s a lot of exciting stuff happening in transportation in 2019, but let’s pause to appreciate the fact that we’re living in a moment at which Mercedes-Benz sells six different classes of convertible cars and 19 different models.
My friend and colleague Justin Westbrook reminded me of this fact while we were having coffee the other day, and I realized, hot damn, Mercedes really respects its customers’ desire to drive around without a roof.
There’s the C-Class Cabriolet, the E-Class Cabriolet (hell yeah, that’s still a thing), the AMG GT Roadster, the S-Class Cabriolet, the SL Roadster, and for at least a little bit longer, the SLC Roadster.
But then there are also several models of each. Ready? Here’s the whole roster:
- C300 Cabriolet
- C300 4MATIC Cabriolet
- AMG C43 Cabriolet
- AMG C63 Cabriolet
- AMG C63 S Cabriolet
- E450 Cabriolet
- E450 4MATIC Cabriolet
- AMG E53 Cabriolet
- AMG GT Roadster
- AMG GT C Roadster
- AMG GT R Roadster
- S560 Cabriolet
- AMG S63 Cabriolet
- AMG S65 Cabriolet
- SL450 Roadster
- SL550 Roadster
- AMG SL63 Roadster
- SLC300 Roadster
- AMG SLC43 Roadster
If you walk into a Mercedes store and say you want a convertible, your salesperson will wonder, hmm, which of those 19 possible models could you be talking about? Nineteen. Nineteen!
There are effectively 19 ragtops in Mercedes’ 2019 lineup and yes, I intentionally omitted the Smart Cabrio and Maybach Landaulet G-Wagen.
So what’s the sweet spot? 20 years ago I would have said SL500 hands-down, as the R129 of the early ’90s was like the default ballermobile back then. But today’s SL isn’t as recognizable or heroic, somehow.
The 2019 V12 S65 convertible, surely, would be the most opulent machine on this list and the AMG GT R Roadster would be the most aggressive. I didn’t even realize a rag roof R existed, but clearly, Mercedes is all about messing up haircuts.
I would probably go for a non-lettered AMG GT Roadster, but it might be nice to enjoy open-air motoring with three other people in an E450.
It’s hard to imagine Mercedes will keep offering this deep a catalog of convertibles into the distant future, and indeed we know the SLC is already in its “Final Edition.” So let’s enjoy the wind while it lasts, I guess.
Meanwhile, I’m going back to Craigslist to look at old $5,000 SLs.