Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe

The dark side

"The right ingredients are still there"

"The car can be optionally fitted with 47 Swarovski crystals in its headlamps"

"The S63' cabin is magnificent with real Nappa leather and Alcantara"

"When you step on the accelerator, the car barely pauses for a breath"

AMG: three little letters that need no introduction. ArabWheels sampled Mercedes' latest S63 AMG Coupe in Italy and found out that all the right ingredients are still there.

Exterior
Around the AMG exclusive treatment that includes the usual less chrome and darker details, bigger and wider wheel/tire combination, more sinister touches and four rear exhaust pipes, the new S coupe is every bit as regal as its sedan counterpart. It is gorgeous, mesmerizing, yet utterly and thoroughly modern and up to the moment. It also looks like it went into production from the concept - shown 15 months ago and which won first place prize for the most beautiful concept car - with little changes. As usual, Mercedes cars take everything one step further and the car can be optionally fitted with 47 Swarovski crystals in its  headlamps, each featuring 17 angular crystals form the flare-shaped daytime running lamps, with 30 round-shaped crystals making up the turn indicator lamps!

Interior
As with the sedan and S500 coupe, the S63' cabin is magnificent with real Nappa leather and Alcantara covering everything with superb detailing and the use of real or fake metal in every button and switch. AS the exterior, the treatment here is sporty with dark hues and sport seats. Our only gripe here was a smallish rear seat, which was a surprise from such a big car.

As equipment goes, the S coupe might be the most decorated car in the industry with comfort and safety features that can easily fill a couple of A4 papers, but a couple of them are worth mentioning like the air-balance perfume automatic atomizer, front active multicontour seats with heating/cooling and energizing massage function, a Burmester high end 3D surround audio system with an output of 1540 watts working through a 24 high performance speakers and 24 separate amplifier channels, and lastly magic sky control, which is a panoramic roof extending over two-thirds of the entire roof and whose transparency - light to dark and vice versa -  can be adjusted at the push of a button.

Driving Impressions
The 63 AMG version of the S coupe shares with its S500 twin the same twin-turbocharged V8, but it is here with a bigger displacement: 5.5 liter instead of 4.7-liter in the S500. It's a mighty engine developing 585 horsepower and 900 Nm of torque compared with 455 hp and 700 Nm for the S500. And this alloy power plant really delivers the goods. The exhaust rumbles louder than the S class sedan and the coupe feels quicker to accelerate, shift, and shed speed.

When you step on the accelerator, the car barely pauses for breath. Automatic gearshifts pop off one after another, but the onward rush is hardly interrupted. From the moment the car lunges away from rest with a sharp squeal of rear wheel spin until the 250 km speed limiter gently restrains its charge, this AMG baby rushes forward on an unstoppable tide of torque as the V8 produces most of its torque from a mere 2200 rpm and sustains that level to 3700 rpm, so each of the seven gears provides relentless thrust throughout its range. 

When driven in a sporty manner, the 2070 kg S63 will reach 100 km just 4.2 seconds and top speed is restricted to 250 km, but we are sure that the car can easily reach 280 km or even more without the electronic limiter. And what is magical about this S63 is the absence of the usual clues relating to high speed, so once high speeds have been reached, there's little noise from the drivetrain, tires or wind passing by to alert the driver to what is really happening, but the car makes itself noticed with a higher more angry exhaust sound and more alert and lively chassis than those in the S500.

The previous CL was a great car to go from one point to the other in a straight line, but wasn't good at cutting corners. The new S coupe changes that with a host of new advanced electronic trickery mainly active curve tilting, which is a function of the active suspension system that works up to 180 km. This system scans the road up to 18 meters ahead with a stereoscopic camera and then hydraulically adjusts each spring perch independently to compensate for body motion versus the standard air suspension.

After our stint behind the steering, we can report that the system really works and made handling more predictable. And for those who don't like technology that removes essential feedback from the driving experience, curve tilting can be turned off, and the Comfort and Sport settings of the magic body control suspension deliver what they promise. The S63 was developed to go faster than the S500, but drives better when the driver digs deep into its bag of tricks. 

Verdict
With a tad harder suspension, lower ride height and wider tires, the S63 digs into corners with a surprising amount of bite and enthusiasm. The Benz also has a wonderful talent for inhaling large bumps and exhaling them as mere nudges to the cabin. Ride comfort is superb, but we found the steering is a tad numb during hard cornering, though has good on-center feel. The brakes were also superb with short braking distances every time, and from the first time, even the rotors were hot as a result of hard braking. 

Pros: Mercedes' grand coupe, stylish inside and outside, locomotive thrust, great active suspension
Cons: cramped rear legroom
Rivals: Bentley Continental GT Speed, Ferrari FF

Specs

Engine: 5.5 liter, Twin turbocharged, V8, 585 hp, 900 Nm
Transmission: rear wheel drive, 7 speed double clutch transmission with manual shifting and paddle shifters
Performance: 0-100 km (4.2 seconds), top speed (250 km)
Economy: 10.3 liters/100 km
Weight: 2070 kg
4.5 stars

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