Mercedes AMG S63

Damien Reid en­joys the new fea­tures of the Mercedes AMG S63

Gulf Business - - CONTENTS -

As the auto in­dus­try con­tin­ues to broaden its sen­sory hori­zons; it would ap­pear that ‘smell’ is go­ing to be the next big thing in car crea­ture com­forts.

While most of the car de­sign world is in the midst of an in­te­rior am­bi­ent light­ing war to see who can out-daz­zle and out-mood ev­ery­one else with rain­bow coloured LED light­ing, Mercedes-Benz has just lifted the game to a whole new level with its face lifted S-Class.

While we were driv­ing around the Swiss Alps in the range-top­ping S63 AMG and S560 vari­ants, I no­ticed the ‘en­er­gis­ing com­fort’ menu which is de­signed to cre­ate an in­te­rior am­biance via au­dio, light­ing, seat mas­sag­ing – and fra­grance.

The menu of­fers the op­tions of re­fresh, vi­tal­ity, joy, well­be­ing and train­ing, and can also tap into your mu­sic col­lec­tion so long as the beats per minute are ap­pro­pri­ate to the aro­matic themes.

It’s an ad­di­tion that com­ple­ments a midlife makeover for the S-Class, which her­alds new en­gines, in­te­rior and ex­te­rior tweaks as well as en­hanced au­ton­o­mous driv­ing fea­tures taken from the E-Class.

Its cruise con­trol works off GPS info and can now ad­just speed for cor­ners, in­ter­sec­tions and speed limit changes. It’s a weird feel­ing as the car slows for bends and then ac­cel­er­ates out the other side with no driver in­put. In­deed, it even car­ries more cor­ner speed when you’re in the sport and sport+ modes.

When it’s in the de­fault com­fort driv­ing mode, the cruise con­trol slows the car down quite sig­nif­i­cantly for the curves – more than the car tail­ing us from be­hind and we were ex­pect­ing. The fast ac­cel­er­a­tion back to the set speed will prob­a­bly not give your driv­ing prow­ess the best rep­u­ta­tion – es­pe­cially among those driv­ing be­hind you who may want to over­take. So we pre­ferred to keep it in sport or sport+ mode, which car­ried the ex­tra mo­men­tum through the cor­ners.

Our test car for the most part was the S63 AMG that now uses the 4-litre V8, down from 5.5-litres, but is still twin tur­bocharged and puts out a very wel­come 603bhp de­vel­oped at 5500rpm and 900Nm of torque from as low as 2750rpm.

The big news on the en­gine front, how­ever, is for a unit we prob­a­bly won’t see – the all­new, in­line six-cylin­der plug-in hy­brid, which fea­tures no drive­belts thanks to elec­tri­cally pow­ered wa­ter pumps, air-con com­pres­sors, tur­bocharg­ers and an al­ter­na­tor in­cor­po­rated into a 48-volt sys­tem with the starter mo­tor.

The S63 is the big at­trac­tion for the Mid­dle East and at Dhs642,880 it doesn’t dis­ap­point, fir­ing like a canon when the right foot is planted. Sprint­ing from zero to 100kmh in a blind­ingly quick 3.5 sec­onds, it now uses the nine-speed auto shared with the other mod­els, in­stead of the seven-speed box in the pre­vi­ous ver­sion.

For a car so large and ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing four peo­ple, its ac­cel­er­a­tion time is firmly in Porsche 911 turbo ter­ri­tory but like the re­spon­si­ble Ger­man it is, its top speed has been limited to a re­spectable 250kmh.

Leave it in com­fort and it drops three or four gears to fire away but se­lect sport or sport+ and it au­to­mat­i­cally locks out the top two gears as it plants its co­pi­ous power through all four wheels.

The main changes in­side in­clude a new three- spoke steer­ing wheel that’s flat bot­tomed for the AMG mod­els with lash­ings of Nappa leather through­out. The dash car­ries over the up­dated look from the new E-Class by bring­ing the two 12.3-inch TFT screens to­gether be­hind one sheet of glass across the dash. And the seats re­main the best in the busi­ness – for driver and pas­sen­gers, front and rear.

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