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