MERCEDES-AMG S63

The Herald Magazine - - CONTENTS - JACK EVANS

MERCEDES has brought a re­freshed S-Class into the mar­ket. With up­dated looks, as well as a host of new safety tech­nolo­gies, it’s an at­tempt to bring the big, ul­tra-lux­u­ri­ous sa­loon into 2017. We’ve driven the top-of-the-range, fire-breath­ing AMG S63 model. It packs the same twin-tur­bocharged V8 as in the cur­rent C63 and E63, with over 600bhp and a stag­ger­ing 900Nm of torque. Fit­ted within the S-Class, it trans­forms the car from a stan­dard sa­loon into one that can hit 60mph in un­der four sec­onds – frankly as­tound­ing for a car of this size.

There’s no deny­ing the S-Class is a hand­some look­ing beast. All vari­ants get new LED head­lamps and there are var­i­ous scoops and vents added to make them look more mus­cu­lar. The S63 re­ceives larger air in­takes at the front to in­crease air­flow to the ra­di­a­tors, while there’s a large dif­fuser at the rear. Four ex­haust pipes give some in­di­ca­tion of the car’s per­for­mance, but it’s an over­all sub­tle af­fair – though thanks to the noise the ex­haust makes, it’s un­likely many will miss it ap­proach­ing.

In­side the S-Class is more lux­u­ri­ous than ever. It ben­e­fits from the widescreen dis­play we’ve seen on the E-Class and there’s an over­all solid feel­ing to the cabin. Those in the rear are the best off – they get ex­cep­tional lev­els of leg and head­room, as well as heated and vented seats.

The seats in the front of­fer plenty of shoul­der room and it’s an easy place to get com­fort­able. As men­tioned ear­lier, the rear of the car is more than spa­cious enough – which is good, con­sid­er­ing the S-Class’ ap­peal to those who would rather be driven than drive them­selves.

The boot space re­mains un­changed at 510 litres. It’s deep and square, mean­ing it’s ideal for stor­ing suit­cases. The rear seats can’t be folded flat, so un­for­tu­nately the stan­dard boot size is all po­ten­tial buy­ers have to work with.

There are few com­pa­nies as ac­com­plished at chang­ing stan­dard cars into per­for­mance ma­chines as AMG. The S63 is no dif­fer­ent, with its en­gine, gear­box and sus­pen­sion all ex­ten­sively worked upon and tuned, chang­ing it into a car that cov­ers ground im­pres­sively quickly. The en­gine is re­spon­sive and light changes in throt­tle travel are greeted with changes in pace, while the nine-speed gear­box shifts crisply. The 900Nm of torque on of­fer also make it a re­lax­ing car to drive slowly, with plenty of low-down shove mak­ing for swift and sim­ple over­tak­ing.

It’s re­mark­able a car of this size feels quite so light on its feet, and it cor­ners with an im­pres­sive lack of body roll. It’s worth men­tion­ing the ex­ten­sive range of new safety features fit­ted to this lat­est-gen­er­a­tion S-Class.

De­signed to bring a new level of au­ton­o­mous as­sis­tance to the car, it now features Ac­tive Dis­tance con­trol and Ac­tive Steer­ing As­sist, which work to­gether to sup­port the driver when trav­el­ling on mo­tor­ways.

It as­sists the per­son with steer­ing and throt­tle in­puts, and even au­to­mat­i­cally ad­justs the car’s speed to com­pen­sate for a bend. Ac­tive Emer­gency Stop As­sist is now fit­ted too, and this can ap­ply the brakes should it de­tect a pedes­trian in the road, as well as as­sist­ing the driver when avoid­ing po­ten­tial haz­ards in the road. The sys­tem can also recog­nise speed limit signs and ad­just the car’s speed, should the driver choose this func­tion.

The new 12.5-inch screen is clearer and more user friendly. On top of this, the S63 packs blis­ter­ing per­for­mance in a car that you just wouldn’t ex­pect it from.

How­ever, prices for the S63 are ex­pected to start at £125,690 and that’s a huge amount of cash for a car that, in all re­spects, never set out to be the last name in per­for­mance.

It’s an im­pres­sive pack­age, but one that will not be for ev­ery­one. The S-Class comes with a more stan­dard range of petrol and diesel en­gines, and it’s likely the vast ma­jor­ity of buy­ers will opt for these.

How­ever, for those who re­ally want to stand out from the crowd as well as be able to give sports car own­ers a fright from the lights, then the S63 is the one to go for.

The Mercedes-AMG S63 comes with a whole new level of au­ton­o­mous as­sis­tance, mak­ing this not only a car with blis­ter­ing per­for­mance but su­pe­rior safety

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