by Chris Wall
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class offers quite a few models; all with that typically amazing German build quality and refinement, some even making really good power resulting in good performance. For buyers that want more of, well, everything there’s the AMG-fettled models. You don’t get much better luxurious open top driving than with the Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet, especially when all 577 horses produced by the twin-turbocharged V8 under the hood can propel you to 60 mph in under four seconds. The car has it all; looks, power, an all-wheel drive drivetrain and most importantly, that little badge on the carbon fiber engine cover with the name of the single technician who built the engine. Expect to pay dearly though.
The cabin of the Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet is more akin to a work of art than a car interior. The 12-way power adjustable AMG sports seats are among the best looking in any car these days, they feature high bolsters to keep you firmly in place during hard driving sessions – a must in an AMG. If the air is cold out with the top down, the seats feature Airscarf to warm your neck, they’ll even massage you. Dual 12.3-inch screens do duty as the instrument cluster and the screen for the infotainment system, giving the cabin a space-age look and feel, especially with the right color ambient lighting chosen. The Comand system and touchpad controller sits on the transmission tunnel and is also futuristic looking. It takes some time to get used to the functionality, but a few hours is all you need. Seating is for four, and even though the rear gets optioned entertainment screens, it’s no place for the tall. Trunk space is ok, 12.4 cu.ft with the top up and 8.8 with the top down.
The entry trim for the S-Class is already a powerful and fast car that features all the right technologies to keep you safe while breaking speed limits, but in the Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet everything has been sharpened and fine-tuned to ensure you get the absolute best driving experience. The powerful motor is responsive almost to the point that you need to be aware of what you’re doing, but the driver aids will try keep you in check if you’re careless. The combination of the 4Matic all-wheel drive system and the AMG adaptive sport suspension with adaptive damping means traction is always a priority and is so good it can inspire confidence in even the most mediocre driver. The AMG Speedshift transmission is lighting quick in the right drive fast mode and is seamless in operation. Brakes are also on point, and if for some reason they don’t live up to the promise, carbon ceramic bits can be optioned.
The normal S-Class produces 449 hp from it’s twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 and can run 0-60 mph in just 4.6-seconds. For this Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet version the capacity of the V8 is bumped up to 5.5-liters and the turbos run on better boost, and so we see the figures climb to a massive 577 hp with a high 664 lb-ft of torque. This equates in a 0-60 mph run of just 3.8-seconds making is the fastest of the S-Class convertibles. The 7-speed MCT transmission is as good as it gets, there’s no way to fault it no matter the drive mode selected. It can be smooth and slow with imperceptible shifts or it can be hard and purposeful when chasing down supercars.
The equipment and spec of the new cars in the Mercedes-Benz range is much the same across the board, so in the Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet you get things like Attention Assist to keep you awake and alert during long drives, a Pre-Safe system that closes windows and tightens seatbelts if the sensors think an accident is immanent, an array of ten airbags and a host of active and passive safety systems. Standard spec in AMG-badged cars is higher than in most, but you can still option more like the AMG head-up display, a Burmester high-end 3D surround sound system that can to be amazing at $6,400.
There is little place to fault the Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet. It’s a long, stylish and sleek cabriolet that has all the best features possible, and more. Space is great and it’s one of the few cabriolets that affords enough space to fit a pair of adults in the rear seats (as long as they don’t play for the NBA). It’s the fastest of the S-Class cabriolets thanks to a brilliant twin-turbocharged V8 and a lightning fast 7-speed transmission and the AMG-tweaked 4MAtic all-wheel drive system. It’s not cheap, but then buyers in this segment aren’t cheap either.