What’s Hot: Utterly seamless performance, stunningly handsome good looks, superb interior presentation.
What’s Not: Interior doesn't feel all that spacious.
X-FACTOR: Oh yes, you pay for it, but Mercedes-Benz's two-door flagship has everything you'd ever want or need in a coupe - and then some.
Vehicle Style: Large luxury performance coupe
Price: $409,000 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 430kW/900Nm 5.5 turbo petrol 8cyl | 7sp automatic
Fuel Economy claimed: 10.2 l/100km | tested: 16.4 l/100km
Cars like the AMG S 63 are terribly hard to assess.
Here at TMR we like to test cars in an objective manner that's sympathetic to the target buyer. In other words, we try as hard as possible to put ourselves in a potential owner's shoes and see the car from their perspective.
But cars like the thunderous, immensely capable and equally immensely expensive S 63 are bought by rich people. Very, very rich people.
This writer rarely looks at his bank account (the disappointment is crippling), but the typical S 63 buyer likely has no such fiscal challenges.
So, lacking real cash, I did my best Rich Uncle Pennybags imersonation instead (Monopoly’s mascot, in case you didn’t know) and tried to think like the one-percenters who could actually buy one of these hugely expensive monsters.
THE INTERIOR | RATING: 4/5
- Nappa leather upholstery, heated sports seats with power adjustment and bolster adjustment, electric steering column adjustment, head-up display, panoramic glass roof, dual-zone climate control, soft-close doors, power bootlid.
- Infotainment: 31.2cm LCD display, incorporating sat-nav, digital TV tuner, AM/FM/DAB+ tuner, USB audio inputs and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming.
- Boot capacity: 400 litres minimum.
Opulent doesn't describe it.
The S63's interior isn't just dripping in fine leather, metal and wood, it's crammed with an impressive array of electronic luxuries as well.
The dash is dominated by a pair of 12-inch displays, one for the infotainment and the other replacing a traditional instrument panel.
Much of the dash hardware is lifted straight from the S Class sedan, and that's no bad thing - that car's interior is absolutely delicious to look at and be in.
Tested in Edition 1 spec, our car included Swarovski adornments in its LED headlamps, a pedestrian-detecting night vision camera, microfibre headliner, AMG sports seats and even leather edging for the floor mats.
Other equipment includes dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and ignition, heated, powered and massaging front seats, a head-up display, digital audio tuner, TV tuner, no shortage of connectivity options via USB and Bluetooth and active cruise control.
Though carrying similar styling cues, button layout and the same twin-screen arrangement as its four-door brother, the S-Class coupe's dash design, steering wheel and centre console is unique.
It is also sumptuously-trimmed, with generous expanses of soft leather complementing the hide on the centre console, door trims and seats.
And it's a wonderful environment to be in. The absence of a B-pillar and the fixed glass roof gives the cabin an airy feel despite the low roofline, while the view ahead gives you an eyeful of the S 63's sizable snout.
The front seats, meanwhile, are two of the most comfortable you'll find in a production car.
Adjustable in almost every conceivable direction with pneumatic side bolsters that help keep you planted in corners, they're ideal for long journeys.
It is a gloriously beautiful interior, there's no doubt about that, but we had a couple of qualms.
Firstly, the touchpad infotainment controller is placed right under where your palm rests when using the rotary infotainment controller.
Inadvertent inputs are often the result, which makes navigating through the S 63's many menus a pain at times.
That touchpad/rotary dial combo also impedes blocks the view of the buttons on the left side of the centre console, which control the S 63's drive modes and suspension settings.
Another concern is the somewhat cramped rear seat, with restricted head and knee room.
Considering the S-Class Coupe's immense size, it's odd that there's so little space for backseaters, but at least those relegated to the rear get their own fold-out cupholders and a set of air vents.
Wealthy folk probably won’t be perturbed by the claustrophic rear seats, but the fiddly infotainment infotainment could prove an annoyance.
After all, with cutting-edge technology being such a key part of the S-Class experience, what use is it if you can’t interact with it as easily as you should?
ON THE ROAD
- 430kW/900Nm 5.5 litre twin-turbo petrol V8
- Seven-speed twin clutch automatic. Rear-wheel drive
- Double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension
- Air springs with multi-mode settings
- 20-inch alloy wheels
The AMG S 63 is a big car with an equally big engine, and it delivers big performance.
A monstrous 430kW and 900Nm of it, in fact.
Boosted by a pair of turbochargers, the S 63’s 5.5 litre twin-turbo V8 produces colossal amounts of thrust, with peak torque available from as low as 2250rpm.
That’s 100Nm more torque than the E63 AMG, by the way, which uses the same engine and produces the same number of kilowatts.
And with peak power arriving at 5500rpm, it's not really a high-revving motor. Of course, with so much torque spread across its rev range it doesn't need to be.
Disable the traction aids, and wheelspin can be had at virtually any speed (we really don't recommend you do that though).
Keep the aids on, dial up the AMG’s Race Start feature and all of that power and torque converts into a 4.3 second 0-100km/h time.
The seven-speed Speedshift transmission occasionally stumbles though, particularly on the 1-2 shift at low speeds and on the occasional downchange.
However it's great when moving quickly, with snappy gear changes and tall ratios that exploit the engine's generous low-end power delivery.
It’s just those crawl speeds that expose a few flaws with the transmission.
Drive at a sensible pace, and the S 63 changes its personality. Turning the dial from Sport to Comfort is like putting asking Superman to put his glasses and suit back on, and it transforms the car from superhero to mild-mannered in an instant.
The air suspension irons out anything you can throw at it, and in Clark Kent mode is beautifully supple.
Thanks to a system Mercedes dubs “Magic body control”, the S 63 can also actively lean in towards corners by up to 2.65 degrees.
It’s a neat party trick when pressing hard along a mountain road, not only keeping you from sliding off the well-padded leather pews, but delivering a tangible handling benefit too by actively resisting body roll.
For a car that’s so massive - empty, it weighs just over two tonnes - it’s got a tenacious grip on the tarmac.
The air suspension erases bumps and irons out choppy roads with incredible ease, allowing the S 63 to glide over surfaces that would rattle fillings otherwise.
Criticism? It doesn’t feel all that dramatic from the inside. We understand that refinement is crucial for a car with an S-Class badge on the back, but there are certain things we expect of something bearing the AMG label - such as a thunderous soundtrack.
It’s certainly loud enough from the outside, but unless you’re in the habit of driving with all windows down, very little of that gloriously bassy V8 note makes its way into the cabin.
Given the outlay required to get into an S 63 Coupe, we expected a slightly more dramatic experience.
ANCAP rating: Not tested
Safety features: Stability control (switchable), traction control (switchable), ABS, EBD, brake assist and a full complement of airbags are standard on the S-Class Coupe.
Our car also had plenty of active safety aids, including a forward night vision system, adaptive cruise control, 360-degree parking camera and blind spot monitors
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
Having $409,000 to spend gives you plenty of options in the luxury space, but in terms of super-coupes there’s less choice than you’d think.
The W12 version of the Bentley Continental GT is the only real direct competition, while a Ferrari California will cost about the same but deliver a much sportier - but less cosseting - drive experience.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Adopting the mindset of a wealthy motorist ain’t easy.
For example, while the S 63’s average fuel economy had me sweating about the prospect of paying for a tank of premium unleaded, no S 63 buyer would ever be concerned by such a trivial expense.
They also value different things. For some buyers, the appeal of cars like the S 63 doesn’t only lie in their speed, comfort, quality or beauty, but also in the sheer exclusiveness of the price tag.
The AMG S 63 is a statement car, and the statement it makes is, “You can’t afford this, but I can”.
It’s an awfully nice machine though, and a perfect showpiece for Mercedes-Benz - and those lucky enough to have one in their garage.
PRICING (excludes on-road costs)
- S 500 Coupe - $319,000
- S 63 AMG Coupe - $409,000
- S 65 AMG Coupe - $499,000