With the recent debut of the new Mercedes S-Class, no one had expected that AMG would release a performance version of the saloon so soon. From the looks of things AMG have done their homework perfectly. AMG has downsized the engine and has also managed to squeeze more horses out of the cylinders. As a result, the new S63 AMG is the most powerful high-performance saloon in the luxury segment at the moment (the S65 will definitely take that podium soon enough).
|Mercedes S63 AMG|
Aggressive AMG looks
The high-performance saloon’s design is defined by the impressive blend of hallmark Mercedes sensual forms, classic architecture and a sleek silhouette with classic AMG design features. A large, upright and distinctly three-dimensional radiator grille underlines the special status of the S63 AMG – with an exciting contrast to this being provided by the front bumper with three large air intakes. The front bumper, with a grille painted in high-gloss black, displays the stylised “A” that is a hallmark of AMG vehicles. The bumper also emphasises the exclusivity and power of the S63 AMG. The three-dimensional front splitter, painted in silver chrome, reduces lift. Side sill panels, with three-dimensional inserts painted in silver chrome, create dynamism along the sides together with Mercedes’ hallmark “Dropping Line”. Large light-alloy wheels are another trademark AMG feature: they afford a clear view of the S63’s high-performance brake system. “V8 BITURBO” lettering on the front fenders identifies the power unit under the bonnet. The design is drawn to a powerful conclusion by the black diffuser insert, painted in silver chrome, and the two chromed AMG sports twin tailpipes that incorporate flaps.
|More aggressive than a normal S-Class|
AMG Lightweight Performance
Thanks to the use of AMG forged light-alloy wheels, a lightweight lithium-ion battery and a weight-optimised AMG high-performance composite brake system the new S63 weights an impressive 100kg less compared to the outgoing model. Furthermore, the entire outer skin of S63 AMG, including the roof and the front end of the body, is made of aluminium. The reduction in weight boosts the overall power-to-weight ratio figure. Factor in the reduction in weight plus the power from the AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine and the result is effortless superior performance. Although the hand built 5.5-litre heart produces 430 kW (585 hp) and a torque of 900 Nm, it remains one of the most efficient series-produced V8 engines. The fuel consumption of the new Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG is 0.4-litres per 100km – that’s 10.3-litres/100km – lower than that of the predecessor model, even though the engine output has been increased by up to 30 kW (41 hp). Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes 4.0 to 4.4 seconds, depending on model variant, and the top speed is 250 km/h (electronically limited). Mated to the hand built power unit is the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission. The transmission’s three modes – “C” (Controlled Efficiency), “S” (Sport) and “M” (Manual) – provide each driver with a personal set-up.
|Downsized V8 heart|
Superior sporty soundtrack
The AMG sports exhaust system in the S63 AMG has automatic logic-controlled exhaust flaps in both rear silencers. When the transmission is in “C” (Controlled Efficiency) mode, the flaps remain closed. In which case the eight-cylinder biturbo power unit’s ‘voice’ is more understated – perfect for long trips and a comfortable ride in the rear. In “S” (Sport) and “M” (Manual) modes, the exhaust flaps open earlier and more spontaneously, especially if the driver prefers a dynamic driving style. The result is a fuller, emotional, hallmark AMG engine soundtrack.
|Large air intakes at the front|
4MATIC all-wheel drive
The new S63 AMG is now available with AMG’s 4MATIC all-wheel drive (introduced first on the E63 AMG). The all-wheel drive system distributes the engine torque so that 33% goes to the front axle and 67% is sent to the rear axle. The rear-biased power distribution provides for the signature AMG high driving dynamics as well as boosting acceleration from a standing start. Working hand in hand with the 4MATIC system is ESP® Curve Dynamic Assist, which eliminates irritating understeer when turning into corners.
|Full LED headlamps|
Two suspension options
Depending on the model variant, the S63 AMG can be fitted with two suspension systems. The S63 AMG 4MATIC is fitted with AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension. With the redesigned front axle and the special all-wheel-drive set-up (compared to a normal S-Class), the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4MATIC offers impressive driving dynamics. The S63 AMG with rear-wheel drive features AMG sports suspension based on MAGIC BODY CONTROL. With this particular suspension, the S63 AMG can recognise an uneven road surface in advance. If ROAD SURFACE SCAN detects such undulations with the help of the stereo camera, MAGIC BODY CONTROL adjusts the suspension in advance to suit the situation. The electromechanical AMG speed-sensitive sport steering, with variable steering ratio, greatly enhances the S63’s handling and agility while maintaining driving safety at high speeds.
|LED rear lights|
Exquisite and sporty interior
Like the exterior design, the S63 AMG interior is a combination of the sportily characteristics of an AMG automobile with the classic Mercedes qualities. The newly developed AMG sports seats, with electrical adjustment, memory function and seat heating, offer the driver and front passenger more lateral support. Fine nappa leather with lavish perforations and AMG badges in the front and rear seat backrests create an exquisite and luxurious atmosphere on board. Other special touches at the front include the embossed emblem on the armrest of the front centre console and the high-quality analogue clock in IWC design.
The AMG sports steering wheel, with its distinctively contoured rim, perforated leather in the grip area and aluminium shift paddles, allows perfect vehicle control. Another feature displaying the hallmark AMG look is the high-resolution TFT colour display. The TFT screen displays the AMG instrument cluster (with two animated round dials) in addition to the AMG-specific lettering and the needles (that feature a red/silver colour). Other distinct design features of the TFT-screen include the AMG logo in the speedometer with 330 km/h scale (left) and the “V8 BITURBO” lettering in the rev counter (right).
|Combination of luxury and performance|
If you’re lucky enough to be in the market for an ultra-luxury performance saloon, the Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG certainly deserves a spot at the top of your short list. I adore AMG models but this beast just melts my heart. However, I still insist on waiting to see what the S65 AMG will be like. Post comments and questions below. The new Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG celebrates its world premiere in September 2013 at the Frankfurt International Motor Show. The market launch commences in September 2013. Prices start at €149,880.50 (Kshs 16.4 million).