Mercedes-amg S63 L

Newly fet­tled S-class hasn’t lost its air of un­ruf­fled su­pe­ri­or­ity

Evo - - DRIVEN - Antony In­gram (@evoantony)

IT’S FAIR TO SAY THE EX­PE­RI­ENCE most Mercedes-amg S63 own­ers will en­joy dif­fers some­what to that of a mea­grely paid mo­tor­ing mag­a­zine staff writer spend­ing a mere week with the car in or­der to de­con­struct its abil­i­ties.

Their house will be worth more for a start. And they probably won’t have to spend ten min­utes driv­ing around look­ing for some­where large enough to park their S63, squeez­ing close enough to a kerb to avoid block­ing a nar­row road but far enough away so as not to scour a di­a­mond-turned wheel rim.

It al­ways comes as some­thing of a shock just how enor­mous the S-class feels when do­ing nor­mal-car things given the rate at which it moves when do­ing evo- car things. Now us­ing AMG’S ubiq­ui­tous 4-litre, twin­tur­bocharged V8 in place of the old 5.5-litre unit, and a nine-speed trans­mis­sion in­stead of the old seven-speeder, the S63 still re­turns fig­ures to ri­val smaller mod­els in the AMG range: 604bhp, 664lb ft, and the abil­ity to hit 62mph in 4.3 sec­onds from rest.

Sink pedal to car­pet as you pass a na­tional speed limit sign and you’ve just a mo­ment to con­tem­plate what’s next be­fore the AMG Speed­shift ’box kicks down and ve­hi­cles turn from dots on the hori­zon to streaks past your side win­dow, like hit­ting hy­per­drive on the Mil­len­nium Fal­con. On slip­pery win­ter tar­mac the trac­tion con­trol strug­gles to con­tain all that brawn, but the long wheel­base (you can’t have this en­gine with the short wheel­base) en­dows the S63 with a sta­ble feel­ing even when the rear end be­gins to step out.

The brakes are pow­er­ful, even if the pedal feels set up more for ease of op­er­a­tion than max­i­mum feed­back and mod­u­la­tion. There’s also strong grip, though the S63 doesn’t hide its size as well in turns as it does un­der ac­cel­er­a­tion. You’re al­ways aware of how wide the car is for a start – of­ten by the dis­tant ‘tuk… tuk… tuk…’ of cat­seyes un­der your offside tyres. Se­lect Sport or Sport+ and body con­trol is very im­pres­sive for such a large ve­hi­cle.

It’d be a push to de­scribe the S63 as ag­ile, and on slip­pery roads the car’s mass and rel­a­tively quick steer­ing rack can some­times over­come turn-in bite, lead­ing to a brief mo­ment of push from the front end. Steer­ing ac­cu­racy is hard to fault, though once again iso­la­tion has been pri­ori­tised over in­ter­ac­tion.

But that’s just fine. There’ll al­ways be the ques­tion of ‘why?’ sur­round­ing a car like the AMG S63, to which the coun­ter­ar­gu­ment will for­ever re­main ‘why not?’ The most im­pres­sive thing isn’t its per­for­mance (barely be­liev­able though it is), but that its ba­sic in­gre­di­ents en­sure it re­mains one of the world’s best lux­ury ve­hi­cles in spite of AMG’S fet­tling. The ride shades vir­tu­ally any­thing else on the road, while the en­gine is ef­fec­tively in­audi­ble un­less you wake it up with a heavy right foot or the ex­haust but­ton on the cen­tre con­sole.

The S63 is a thrill more for its in­con­gru­ous speed than any­thing more tac­tile, but you’re un­likely to be­grudge it this when slip­ping into its cabin with a long jour­ney ahead. Wher­ever you at­tempt to park it when you get there…

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