by Karl Furlong
The current Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe marks the end of an era. This posh two-door grand tourer won't be receiving a direct successor, and what a pity that is. Blending timeless coupe styling with a fabulously luxurious interior and effortlessly powerful engines, those qualities aren't enough to keep it alive in a segment that has lost ground in recent years. Even BMW decided to stop selling the M8 Coupe for the 2021 model year, although we now know that it will return for 2022. But, if you represent the small percentage of customers who still want a car like this, the S63 is one of the best. Its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 produces 603 horsepower to send this lounge on wheels to 60 mph in only 3.4 seconds. It is a smooth and utterly refined cross-country cruiser, and there's loads of technology on board; you'll need deep pockets, of course. Still, we lament the imminent departure of the S63 Coupe, which will no doubt exit the market as gracefully as it wafted in.
For 2021, the S63 Coupe now comes with the standard Premium package that includes luxuries like front massaging seats and a surround-view camera system. The only other change is that Cirrus Silver has been added to the color palette.
See trim levels and configurations:
|AMG S63 4MATIC Coupe||
4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
The S-Class Coupe has always been a stunning piece of design, and the bold AMG touches haven't gone too far to spoil that. That wide, long stance remains as alluring as ever, and the pillarless profile is a classy throwback to large Mercedes coupes from decades gone by. Some of the AMG's enhancements include the broad vertical-bar grille, quad-exit exhaust tailpipes, and 20-inch AMG wheels. Costing north of $170k, the S63 gets premium features like all-LED exterior lighting, OLED taillamps, and a panorama roof.
The S63's ample dimensions equate to a length of 198.9 inches, a 115.9-inch wheelbase, and a height of 56 inches. With the mirrors included, it is a significant 83 inches wide. The BMW 8 Series Coupe is slightly wider with its mirrors included, but the S63 is bigger in every other key dimension. Far from a lightweight, the S63 Coupe has a hefty curb weight of 4,586 pounds. Just as well, then, that it also has over 600 horsepower.
The V8 engine is living on borrowed time, it seems. For now, the S63 Coupe appreciably continues with what is one of the best engines ever bolted together by AMG's technicians. This handcrafted 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8 generates 603 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque. Merc's 4Matic Plus all-wheel-drive system is standard, as is a refined AMG Speedshift nine-speed MCT (multi-clutch technology) automatic transmission.
The results are explosive. From rest, the S63 will hit 60 mph in only 3.4 seconds on its way to a limited top speed of 186 mph. That's even quicker than the 626-hp Bentley Continental GT W12, which needs 3.6 seconds for the 0-60 run. It's remarkable how easily the AMG's V8 shrugs off the weight of the big S63; be it high-speed cruising or surprising more agile sports cars in the city, the S63 Coupe can do it all.
The S63 may have an AMG badge on the back and a true AMG power plant in front, but there is only so much that can be done to contain over 4,500 pounds when blasting through a series of curves. It's far from a needlessly floaty boat to drive, though. Grip from the AWD system is good and the steering is accurate, if not bristling with feel. However, cornering is not this car's forte. As we found in our last AMG S63 Coupe review, it's much more at home munching up the miles with devastating ease, a task that is only interrupted by frequent visits to the pumps. The AMG adaptive sport Airmatic suspension does a wonderful job of ironing out bumps in Comfort mode, while Sport mode is adept at resisting body roll, but firms up the ride to a level that an S-Class Sedan driver would find unwelcome. But there is enough variability in the settings to find a balance that suits you, and overall, Mercedes-AMG has come up with a dynamic balance that suits the car's character.
Considering its power and weight, the S63's fuel consumption is not actually horrendous. It'll manage 16/26/19 mpg combined on the city/highway/combined cycles. By comparison, the more powerful but slower Bentley Continental GT W12 will return gas mileage figures of only 12/20/15 mpg, and last year's BMW M8 Coupe was also worse, with estimates of 15/21/17 mpg. Equipped with a large 21.1-gallon gas tank, the S63 should be able to attain a mixed range of around 400 miles.
Mercedes may have launched an all-new S-Class sedan with a sensational cabin, but the 2-door S63 Coupe's interior feels nothing short of opulent and expensive. No matter where you sit, you'll find plenty of soft-touch materials and plush Nappa leather seats. Of course, those in front get more space to stretch out, but the back seat is actually quite comfortable too as long as you're not over six-feet tall. The only real concern here is a lack of foot space, so one does feel a bit confined over longer distances. Both front seats come with heating, ventilation, massaging, and 12-way power-adjustability. It's a bit trickier climbing into the back, but that's true of any sports coupe or sports car, and at least the soft-close doors are a convenient and upscale touch. Owners should also watch out for those long doors in tighter parking spots.
The S63 has a reasonable trunk size measuring 14.1 cubic feet. That's enough for essential activities like visiting the grocery store or for a weekend away for two, but it's also not a massive amount of space considering the sheer size of the coupe. In the cabin, there are some useful storage options for small items such as the door pockets, a small drawer in the center console in addition to the center console armrest compartment, and cupholders for both front and rear occupants. The glovebox is a decent size and rear-seat occupants have their own fold-down armrest with an integrated storage compartment.
The new AMG S63 luxury coupe has a long list of standard features that would be more than what most of us are used to in a car, but at the price, it's what we'd expect. We'll start with the truly luxurious front seats; they're 12-way power-adjustable, can massage your tired posterior, and are both heated and ventilated. The rear seats can also be heated, but this is an optional extra. S63 drivers typically want to expend as little energy as possible on mundane vehicle functions, which explains why this coupe has a garage door opener, hands-free access, soft-closing doors, keyless go, remote start, and a power sunshade for the large panorama roof. Modern Mercedes models have always dazzled with their interior ambient lighting, and the S63 is no different thanks to a 64-color LED ambient lighting system.
A plethora of safety gear includes blind-spot assist, rear cross-traffic alert, an active parking assistant, and a surround-view camera system. Despite all these standard niceties, we imagine that many owners would choose to tick the box for adaptive cruise control. For the discerning customer, Swarovski crystal accents for the headlights, night vision, and heated front armrests are on offer.
The older COMAND infotainment system is still used in the S63 Coupe, and while it requires some familiarity, the combination of a touchpad controller, hard keys, and a rotary knob allow you to navigate its many functions quite efficiently. This system is linked to a 12.3-inch color central display and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with vivid graphics. We like that this display can mimic a traditional round gauge cluster, instead of BMW's edgier but less legible design. Mercedes has loaded its infotainment offering with nearly every feature in this car, which means you get Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth audio streaming, navigation, two USB ports, HD Radio, and SiriusXM satellite radio. The standard Burmester sound system has 13 speakers, but a more powerful 3D system with 25 speakers can be equipped. Other features include an SD card reader, a head-up display, and wireless charging. About the only thing that's missing is a wi-fi hotspot, but this is available as an optional extra.
J.D. Power's rating for the 2021 Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe is 75 out of 100, including a 74/100 score for quality and reliability. The BMW 8 Series has a better overall rating of 83/100. Some 2017-2021 S63 Coupes were affected by a widespread Mercedes recall for a faulty eCall system that sends out the wrong location to emergency responders following a crash.
There's a lot that could theoretically go wrong with such a complex vehicle, but Merc's four-year/50,000-mile basic and drivetrain warranty provides some peace of mind.
Neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA has yet published a crashworthiness review for the AMG S63 Coupe and, as it costs over $150,000, it's unlikely these agencies ever will. With all its safety systems, the S63 should provide excellent protection if the worst happens, though.
There are no less than 10 airbags including front knee airbags and curtain airbags for occupants in both rows. The usual systems like tire-pressure monitoring and electronic stability control are expected, but you also get attention assist, blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors with parking assistance, crosswind assist, adaptive high beams, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and a head-up display. A surround-view camera system enhances visibility. On the options list, you'll find advanced safety gear like adaptive cruise control, automatic speed takeover, and evasive steering assist.
It's easier to appreciate something when the end is in sight, but even if we knew that a new-generation S63 Coupe was on the way, that wouldn't take away from what a superb grand tourer the current model still is. Inside and out, there are no wrinkles; this is still an absolutely gorgeous luxury coupe. There's real substance to go along with its A-list appearance, though. The powertrain is potent and emits a nice growl, even if it's wrapped in a refined veneer that accompanies every S-Class model. For extended road trips, we can't easily think of a better vehicle to drive this side of a Bentley or a Rolls-Royce, so comfortable and effortless is this Merc. It's lavishly equipped and can be laden with even more features if your budget allows. If you have the money for one, the S63 is worth buying even if just to place it in storage and look back in 20 years at what a high-performance, V8-engined grand tourer was all about in 2021, before electrification took over.
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG S63 Sports Coupe is almost $2,000 pricier than it was last year, with an MSRP that now stands at $173,100. That excludes tax, licensing, registration, and a destination charge of $1,050. This makes it one of the priciest coupes on sale in the US, and if that's not close enough to a Bentley Continental GT for your liking, you can always tack on every available option. Doing so will increase the price of the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe to over $215,000.
As there is only one trim to choose from, Mercedes has already made the decision for you. However, assuming you can afford a new S63 Coupe, a few options wouldn't hurt. We'd have ours in the stunning designo Cashmere White Magno matte paint along with the 20-inch AMG forged 10-spoke wheels. Inside, the designo Porcelain/Titian Red exclusive Nappa leather interior is something special, and we'd also tick the box for the Driver Assistance Package to get adaptive cruise control. Including destination, our total comes to $185,300.
Surprisingly, these two super luxurious competitors aren't as far in price as you may expect considering the positioning of the Bentley brand. The Continental GT begins at just over $200,000, and perhaps the biggest factor in its favor is that illustrious badge. Your neighbor's A-Class may share a three-pointed star with the S63, but there is no such comparison to compact models if you own a Bentley. The "entry-level", V8-powered Continental GT isn't quite as rapid as the S63, but it's not terribly far behind. As much as the S63's interior delivers quality and style in spades, the Bentley is another cut above with its unrivaled craftsmanship. Both coupes are heavy but with enough 'sport' dialed in to make them feel surprisingly confident on a twisty road. The Mercedes has more features as standard and can be equipped with even more tech, but the Bentley's array of available materials and the customization potential are astonishing. At this level, it's all about making a statement, so we'll side with the Continental GT.
For the 2021 model year, BMW elected to stop selling the M8 Coupe and M8 Competition Coupe in the USA. That's unfortunate, as its sportier feel offered an interesting alternative to the more sumptuous Mercedes. However, you can still order the M8 Gran Coupe. It offers two extra doors so is more practical than the S63, and at $130,000, it's much cheaper. The BMW's specs are impressive; with 600 hp as standard, the M8 Gran Coupe will hit 60 mph in three seconds dead, an exceptional time. It's not as isolating as the S63 but is more engaging to drive. The BMW also comes with four-zone climate control, heated front armrests, and more widely adjustable front seats. However, the Mercedes feels grander from behind the wheel, with a much more welcoming cabin than the M8's conservative design. These two are different enough to make a direct comparison challenging, but we're going to choose the classier S63.
The most popular competitors of 2021 Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe: