AMG’s bruiser of an executive sedan is, actually, rather understated for a 577-horsepower machine.
– Detroit, Michigan
More than any of the other tuning wings of big car companies, I think AMG most convincingly gets away with making unlikely vehicles very quick. Does an S-Class sedan need 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque? Of course not… but don’t be dull. With “regular cars” catching up with elite marques in terms of build, safety, entertainment technology, and even interior materials in some cases, performance remains a real luxury.
In other words, sometimes a message like “the best or nothing” more poignantly resonates when presented by way of a turbocharged V8, and the big wheels.
Restraint. The S-Class in general, and this S63 in corporate black in particular, is just the right combination of buttoned down with a whiff of a threat about it. This styling is aging very gracefully to my eyes, with just enough visual interest in the curved bodysides to look pretty swank, and those classic five-spoke wheels teasing out the potency of the engine under the hood. The only improvement I might consider would be a good old-fashioned debadging – lose the “V8 Biturbo” markers on the front quarters, even – with just the red calipers and wheel/tire package left to tell the world about the impending acceleration.
A very gracious dragster. The S63 may be all elegance and manners in appearance, but the blown 5.5-liter V8 stands ready to do rude things to the pavement. Mercedes quotes a believable 3.9-second 0-60 time for the all-wheel-drive sedan, meaning it’s no big deal to shock the 7 Series driver pulled up next to you at a red light. I enjoy that you can hear the power by way of a rather pretty exhaust note, too, but only when you dig all the way into the throttle.
The backseats you need. I’ll admit to being wowed (and nearly wooed) by some of the more posh rear seating areas available in the S-Class range (Maybach and otherwise). But the truth is that I, like most Americans, drive myself everywhere. So the rear chairs in my test S63 – fantastically trimmed with quilted diamond leather – are more than comfortable enough, and with all the legroom any normal-sized passenger could want. Plus, in a version of a big sedan this “sporty,” you’re not going to want to doze off.
Tough neighborhood. The BMW Alpina B7 and Audi S8 are both very nice to drive, very quick, and very luxurious sedans. Those competitors also undercut the S63 by anywhere from around $7,000 (Alpina) to nearly $20,000 (S8). Neither of the options have quite as much grunt (re: torque) as the AMG, it’s true. But Mercedes doesn’t have the only game in town.
There’s no autobahn in my city. Cool as it is, the S63 is really a car designed on the premise of glass-smooth highways, peppered with frequent speed-deregulated sections. I sure do enjoy making a full-length sedan shoot to 60 miles per hour in under four seconds, but it’s a temporary thrill; If I keep my foot to the floor for much longer, I risk losing my license. With that said, it seems wiser to spend six-figures (or less) on a car that is both fast and a bit more agile on a thrilling road. At least in America, that means a deposit on the upcoming E63 sedan (or wagon!), or even the C63 would seem to return more grins per dollar.
Photos: Seyth Miersma / Motor1.com