Expert Reviews

First drive: Mercedes-AMG S63

Friday 21 July 2017

First drive: Mercedes-AMG S63
Summary

For years now, the S-Class has crowned Mercedes-Benz’s range of saloons. For 2017, the German manufacturer has spruced the car up, introducing new looks and a huge amount of safety tech. Also new, is this – the ballistic AMG S63, which sits at the top of the S-Class food chain.

Under the bonnet, there’s the same twin-turbocharged V8 that powers the C63 and E63 models. With more than 600bhp and 900Nm of torque on tap, it’s something of a sledgehammer, and allows the S-Class – which is by no means a small car – to hit 60mph from a standstill in less than four seconds.

Looks & Image

You’d be hard-pressed to label the S-Class an unattractive car.  There are new LED headlamps, while scoops and vents really add to its stance. The S63 beefs things up even further, gaining larger air intakes up front and a new diffuser at the back. As with all AMG models, there’s the signature quad-exhausts at the rear of the car, too. People will certainly hear you before they see you.

In the cabin, the S63 is just as luxurious as you would expect it to be. There’s the new widescreen display that appears on the E-Class, and build quality is sound throughout. Passengers in the back will find they are in no way short of space, with excellent amounts of leg- and headroom. They’ll also benefit from heated and ventilated seats.

Space & Practicality

As far as interior space is concerned, the S63 is not going to leave you feeling short-changed in any way, shape or form. Up front, there’s loads of shoulder room and getting comfortable is a piece of cake. The rear seats are where the big Merc really impresses, however. The S-Class is a car designed to appeal to those who prefer to be driven rather than drive themselves, so naturally there’s an abundance of room in the back. That said, with that ballistic V8 under the bonnet, we’d wager most would prefer to drive the S63 themselves.

Boot space sits at 510 litres. The compartment is square in shape and deep, meaning it’s perfect for weekend bags and suitcases. Unlike most cars, however, the rear seats can’t be folded flat, which does limit practicality somewhat.

Behind the Wheel

As you would expect from any Mercedes-AMG vehicle, the S63 has been thoroughly reworked to provide an exhilarating driving experience. The engine, suspension and gearbox have all been uprated, and the end result is a car that has dynamic abilities that beggars belief.

The engine is responsive and the gearbox sharp and despite the car’s size it handles impressively through the corners, with a noticeable lack of body roll.

Now, an S-Class wouldn’t be an S-Class without an extensive range of safety features, and the S63 is no different. There’s a number of new autonomous assistance systems, such as Active Distance Control and Active Steering Assist, which provide the driver with support on the motorway by adjusting the steering and throttle, and can also adjust the car’s speed in anticipation of a bend in the road. If a pedestrian walks in front of the car, the Active Emergency Stop Assist system will automatically bring the car to a halt.

Value for Money

The toys you get with the S-Class will certainly impress. There are heated and ventilated front seats, which also include a massage function. A new and improved 12.5-inch screen is now easier to use, and the leather in the cabin lives up to the car’s premium image.

However, there is a price to pay for all of that kit and all of that performance. The S63 is expected to start at £125,690 – which is a hefty sum. At the end of the day, the S63 won’t appeal to everyone, with many buyers likely to opt for the regular diesel and petrol S-Class models over the fire-breathing AMG car.

Who would buy one ?

The S-Class is a car that has been designed to appeal to those buyers who prefer to be chauffeured than drive themselves. The S63, on the hand, will appeal more to those who want to get out and drive themselves. Overall, the S63 is an mighty impressive car – it might be expensive, but the level of craftsmanship and performance go a long way to making up for this.

Facts at a Glance

Model: Mercedes-AMG S63

Base price: £125,690

Engine tested: 4.0-litre turbocharged V8

Power: 612bhp

Torque: 900Nm

Max speed: 155mph

0-60mph: 3.3 seconds

MPG: 31

Emissions: 203g/km CO2

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