Way back in 2007, Mercedes showcased the concept Ocean Drive at the Detroit Motor Show. At that time, it was simply a design concept for a luxurious 4-door convertible. No details as to the specification and engine options were given.
It's no secret that the all new 2014 S Class will have a cabriolet in its variant lineup as well, and test prototypes sporting two doors are out testing as you read this. So that begs the question: Will there be a 4-door convertible of the world's best luxury sedan?
Mercedes Benz Passion Blog reports that a 4-door cabriolet version of the S Class is out of question and the main reason being that the stability and dynamics of the car would go for a toss.
We feel duty bound to explain some science here. In a normal car, the rigidity or the strength of the structure is achieved partly because of the roof. It connects the front to the rear apart from the sides of the car. If you take away the roof, the only supporting structure would be the floor pan and the sides of the car.
Which is why in modern day cars, manufacturers increase the strength by adding more weight on the sides. Compare any car to its convertible equivalent and you'll find the latter to be heavier (exception being the McLaren MP4-12C spyder).
When you have something as long as the S Class, increasing the strength by adding supporting structures to the sides is a bit of no-go. It would make the car extremely heavy or the dynamics would be ruined, which is the exact nature of the problem the engineers from the 3-pointed star are facing.
Thus, the Ocean Drive will continue to remain a concept. At least for now. That being said, technology is improving at a fast pace and the problem of stability in a convertible could be history. McLaren have done so already with the MP4-12C Spyder. The frame of the car was so strong that removing the roof did no damage to strength.
It's just a matter of time before stronger and lighter materials with advanced manufacturing techniques find their way to regular cars.
Hence the convertible edition of the S Class, at least for the forthcoming generation, is expected to have just two doors.
[Source - Blog.Mercedes-Benz-Passion.com; Images from WorldCarFans.com]