The opulent opportunity
It’s not often that we get the opportunity to review two top models of a brand and the AMG versions of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupé certainly qualify for this description. A few months ago I reviewed the three million Dollar plus Bi-turbo V12 S65 AMG and now I’ve had a go in the slightly cheaper Bi-turbo V8 S63 AMG.
“Cheaper” is probably the wrong term when used in conjunction with such cars as the monetary difference between these two leviathans is a cool N$571,600; without options. That said, these cars have every imaginable safety and comfort feature; optional extras are space-age goodies at silly prices.
If that sounds disgustingly wasteful and opulent, my inner capitalist would like to remind you that the buyers of such cars aren’t bank robbers or lotto winners, they’re hard-working entrepreneurs and savvy business folk who provide countless jobs, products and services to you and me. And can you imagine their tax bill?
They also had a choice of cars above the two million Dollar mark and I’d imagine that they shunned Ferraris and Rolls-Royces because (a) those are already parked in their garage or (b) they wanted a car that combines the Fezza’s performance with the Roller’s comfort. A Mercedes S-Coupé AMG.
The S-Coupé is also a more reserved choice, although its amazing new looks carve a bold direction in terms of Mercedes design. I’m still getting used to the blunt nose and rear number-plate position but these cars cut a simply beautiful figure. They’ll also look less ostentatious than a 458 Italia in the CEO’s parking spot.
To finally compare the two models I drove, visually they were almost identical with only minor differences in bumper and exhaust tip styling. Mercedes offers quite a few paint, trim, wheel and package options to individualise your vehicle, our test car showing off red brake calipers (N$10,000) and the N$83,800 AMG Carbon package.
It’s the same story for the interior’s colour and trim with only a handful of optional extras to choose from. Both test cars had the “Magic Sky” glass roof (N$60,000) which changes transparency at the touch of a button. Multi-stage massage seats and two giant TFT monitors? Check.
Double glazing and adaptive windscreen? Yup. Self-closing doors and seatbelt butlers? Of course. You also get automatic and powered everything, infra-red night vision and 360° parking cameras, selectable air fragrance and multi-colour mood lighting. Among many, many others.
For people who want only the best, these AMG’s won’t disappoint.
Besides any safety equipment and driver aid you care to mention, an AMG S Coupé also has adaptive suspension with three response settings including the mesmerizing “Dynamic Curve” mode which makes the vehicle lean into corners like a motorbike. Each car also had selectable, two-stage active seat bolsters.
Ride comfort is superb, thanks to the adaptive “Magic Body Control” suspension. This system scans the road ahead and attempts to flatten out bumps and other road imperfections. I typed “attempts” because it either flattens speed bumps completely, or half of one, or nothing at all. Unfortunately it’s a bit random…
As for power delivery, these two AMG’s come in tornado or hurricane strength. Perilous or Terrifying. The S65’s 462kW (628hp) V12 is probably a bit smoother than the S63’s 430kW (585hp) V8 yet they’ll both get you into huge trouble if you’re not careful. Especially in the wet, it’s impossible to use full throttle.
Our performance runs (on a dry, level road) revealed a best 0-100km/h time of 4.89 seconds for the S63 AMG vs. its claimed time of 4.2 and our S65 best of 4.47 seconds (claimed 4.1). So yes, the 65 is faster but these numbers highlight both cars’ traction issues as we struggled to put all that power down cleanly.
In daily traffic, that translates into ridiculously effortless performance. Both cars never exceed 2,000rpm when driven sensibly and after an hour-long economy run in the S63 AMG Coupé, I managed to achieve Merc’s average consumption claim of 10.1L/100km. I think I was also overtaken by a granny. On a scooter.
But that’s not what these cars are about. As with the gurgling V12, my favourite style of driving in this S63 was to use about quarter throttle and shift manually to let the V8 howl a bit higher into its rev range. Add a few suburban stops, hills and traffic light grands prix to reach our average consumption of 15L/100km.
Yet again that seems excessive but I can’t stress enough how big, comfy and powerful these cars are. It’s actually quite amazing. My inner accountant doesn’t see any value here and would probably look at the S500 Coupé but that isn’t the top model. For people who want only the best, these AMG’s won’t disappoint.
0-10km/h: 0.70 seconds
0-20km/h: 1.28 seconds
0-30km/h: 1.74 seconds
0-40km/h: 2.16 seconds
0-50km/h: 2.58 seconds
0-60km/h: 2.96 seconds
0-70km/h: 3.43 seconds
0-80km/h: 3.92 seconds
0-90km/h: 4.42 seconds
0-100km/h: 4.89 seconds
0-110km/h: 5.52 seconds
0-120km/h: 6.18 seconds
0-130km/h: 6.83 seconds
0-140km/h: 7.54 seconds
0-100m: 6.06 seconds @ 118.04km/h
0-200m: 8.68 seconds @ 154.48km/h
0-300m: 10.87 seconds @ 175.68km/h
0-400m: 12.39 seconds @ 193.83km/h
Maximum acceleration G-force: 0.83G
All data captured by Racelogic® Performance Box