Having introduced the 2018 S-Class facelift earlier this week at Auto Shanghai, Mercedes is now giving us the opportunity to get better acquainted with the updated S63 4Matic version. At a first glance, it’s not that easy to identify the styling changes the high-performance fullsize sedan has gone through because the company’s focus while working on the mid-cycle refresh was actually on something else.
The biggest change is found once you pop open the large hood. Gone is the old biturbo 5.5-liter V8 as instead there’s now a biturbo 4.0-liter V8 occupying the engine bay. Even though displacement has gone down, the 2018 S63 has more power than the model it replaces. Indeed, at 612 hp (450 kW), the new version is 27 hp (20 kW) stronger and offers the full horsepower at the same 5,500 rpm.
As for torque, it has remained the same at a mountain-moving 664 pound-feet (900 Newton-meters). We should point out the 5.5-liter engine offered the maximum amount of torque from 2,250 rpm whereas with the new 4.0-liter unit you’ll have to rev it a bit more and reach 2,750 rpm to unlock the whole shebang.
Besides the engine transplant, Mercedes-AMG’s engineers have also replaced the seven-speed transmission to make room for a quicker nine-speed ‘box. Thanks to these two major changes, the S63 now needs just three and a half seconds to do 0-62 mph (0-100 kph), so it’s half a second quicker than before. In terms of top speed, it continues to be electronically capped at 155 mph (250 kph) or 186 mph (300 kph) if you go for the optional AMG Driver’s Package.
Not like it will matter a great deal to prospective buyers, but the facelifted S63 is substantially more economical as fuel consumption in the combined cycle has been reduced by a little over one liter to 8.9 liters / 100 km. Consequently, CO2 emissions are down from 237 to 203 g/km. One of the reasons why it’s thriftier has to do with the fact the 4.0-liter boasts cylinder deactivation system capable of shutting down half of the cylinders whenever the engine’s full power is not required.
By improving the S63, some will say why pay a lot more for the S65? The answer is still the same as before: the prestige that comes with having the V12 badge.