The important question
‘n Huis se prys. Not only did my most recent test car grab the crown for the priciest car I’ve ever driven, it also sparked furious debates about the unsavory question of price and value. Three million bucks is what the brand-new S65 AMG Coupé will cost you, without options of course.
And while you could get yourself a pretty decent abode for that kind of cash, there are a few things you should know. For a shocking start, this isn’t even the most expensive Benz available – that honour goes to fully armour-plated versions of other big Mercs and they tend to cost at least double this. Yes, double.
Secondly – and I find this quite important – the S-Class Coupé is a car for the filthy rich. Double-platinum rock stars, Oscar-nominated actors, oil tycoons, property moguls, investment bankers and anyone else who’s long passed the point of complaining about DSTv or converting to energy-saving light bulbs.
Another consideration is the car’s maintenance which should be palatable under its 6-year/100,000km warranty and maintenance plan but be warned that these leviathans cannot be run on a shoestring budget. A rear tyre costs N$4,775. The shock absorbers are N$28,000. Each.
The shock absorbers are N$28,000. Each.
The 65 AMG version is for the über-mega rich who want to make the ultimate statement of excess while enjoying the best technology and performance that Mercedes-Benz can offer in a two-door coupé. Order their new AMG GT if you want even more sportiness but get this massive coupé for crossing continents with three friends.
Just don’t forget your trust fund’s holding company’s platinum petrol card as the 6-litre 36-valve twin-turbo V12 uses at least 12L/100km to produce 463kW (630hp) or 1,000Nm from 2,300rpm. With a 92L tank, that translates into a 760km range on the open road and about half of that around town.
Why? Twelve cylinders use a lot of juice, even under partial load and when they grant you this level of performance, you simply have to indulge in it. Drop all four windows to hear a hoarse, tug-boaty gurgle in the lower rev range or stomp on the far right pedal for a sonorous 12-pot growl; and white knuckles.
Even with 285mm wide lawn rollers for rear tyres, this car struggled for grip in first and second gear, only unleashing its biblical thrust from 120km/h onwards. Our best 0-100km/h time was 4.47 seconds (claimed 4.1) but passing the 400m mark is way more revealing: just 12.6 seconds at almost 190km/h.
The AMG Speedshift MCT 7-speed automatic transmission can even get stroppy during such hooliganism, popping or crackling between gears in Sport and Manual mode (with beautiful metal paddles). In its default “Comfort” mode, unless you drive like a complete moron, the big AMG coupé feels composed and surefooted.
You need to be alert on full throttle but – trust me on this – it never lasts more than a few seconds. And after the novelty of wincing passengers wears off, you’ll soon discover that half-throttle forays are more enjoyable for more of the time. They will also bring consumption back under 25L/100km. No jokes.
…that wonderful feeling of tapping from a bottomless barrel.
The Mercedes S65 AMG Coupé may be over-motorised yet that’s its biggest party trick – riotous power reserves and that wonderful feeling of tapping from a bottomless barrel. Its air suspension also offers three modes – Comfort, Sport and Dynamic Curve for leaning into corners like a motorbike. Yet again, no jokes.
Paired to massive tyres, countless selectable driving aids and adaptive suspension with road scanning, you can enjoy excellent comfort, superb grip and good turn-in from the half-alcantara AMG steering wheel. Point its massive nose at a highway and the S65 Coupé impresses even more.
If you’re new in town and looking to make friends, this car can help.
Perhaps I should finally talk about this car’s design which is so far removed from Mercs of old that people stop in traffic to take photos, make random u-turns and give chase or – when parked – drape themselves over the car for some selfies. If you’re new in town and looking to make friends, this car can help.
Our test mule got maximum attention due to its matt grey designo paint (N$52,500), matt black 20-inch AMG wheels (no cost option), Swarovski crystals (N$47,900) in the intelligent LED headlights, Magic Sky roof (N$60,000) and the only option worth having in a 300km/h car – carbon-ceramic brakes (N$120,900).
The exterior’s bold lines are contrasted well by the softer, more gently flowing interior. The huge AMG front seats are exceptionally comfortable and offer active cornering lumbar support, heating, venting or multiple massages. Alas, the rear pews aren’t as generous nor do they offer the same amount of leg room.
Over and above stuff like powered and auto everything, an S65 Coupé also spoils you with gigantic TFT (split-view) infotainment and instrumentation screens, Keyless Go, Night Vision, changeable perfume and ambient lighting, 3D navigation and a high-end Burmester surround system.
Those are just a few of the many, many standard features in this car as Mercedes-Benz fitted every single automotive luxury to the S65 AMG Coupé. Combined with its stylish looks, supercar power outputs and unbelievably clever chassis, this vehicle probably represents the pinnacle of modern motoring.
Does that justify its outrageous price? Yes, I think it does. Would I buy an S65 two-door? No, I’d rather buy a C-Class and a very nice house. But to be completely honest, I am not the clientele this car is aimed at. They have five companies, thirty fleet C-Classes and three holiday homes.
0-10km/h: 0.46 seconds
0-20km/h: 0.90 seconds
0-30km/h: 1.16 seconds
0-40km/h: 1.55 seconds
0-50km/h: 1.94 seconds
0-60km/h: 2.34 seconds
0-70km/h: 2.82 seconds
0-80km/h: 3.44 seconds
0-90km/h: 4.06 seconds
0-100km/h: 4.47 seconds
0-110km/h: 5.12 seconds
0-120km/h: 5.75 seconds
0-130km/h: 6.42 seconds
0-140km/h: 7.20 seconds
0-100m: 5.66 seconds @ 117.13km/h
0-200m: 8.30 seconds @ 151.57km/h
0-300m: 10.46 seconds @ 171.95km/h
0-400m: 12.64 seconds @ 189.40km/h
Maximum acceleration G-force: 1.61G
All data captured by Racelogic® Performance Box