by Roger Biermann
In the hierarchy of automotive naming, few names are more deified than that of the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe – combining Mercedes-Benz’ historic 63 engine denomination with the benchmark letter in the large luxury segment, with origins harking back to the original SL. The Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe takes the hallowed legend and ups the ante – placing it in the elite company of the Bentley Continental GT and Rolls-Royce Wraith. Based on the latest generation S Class Coupe, for 2018 the AMG variant downsizes its engine – but when AMG downsizes, the result is still magical, and the luxury coupe should be even better for it.
Few manufacturers offer refinement as Mercedes does in the S63 Coupe. Entry to the S63’s cabin is easy thanks to long, wide door apertures, though their length can be troublesome in narrow parking spaces. But once inside, there are few that offer this level of opulence. Gorgeously sculpted seats offer heating, ventilation, massage function, and 12-way power adjustment, upholstered in a range of soft Nappa leathers. The seats are lush and comfortable, and head and leg room are ultra generous. Even the rear seats in the 4 seat coupe offer generous space – though the coupe roofline may impede taller occupant’s headroom a little.
The wide sweeping dash features a now signature cluster of 4 round air vents in the center, beneath an infotainment screen that stretches across to integrate as one into the driver’s instrumentation cluster. This latest version of COMAND looks exceptional, though the functionality isn’t particularly intuitive.
With air suspension based on the standard S Class Coupe, AMG has tweaked the system for supreme support and handling. The result is a balance between slight body roll and supreme handling that openly defies the S63 Coupe’s 4 600+ pound mass. The optional magic ride control is eerily brilliant, utilizing a stereo camera system to read the road and adjust the suspension to compensate for bumps and leaning into corners to counter body roll. But by reducing roll, it reduces communication to the driver – and it’s difficult to feel when the S63 Coupe reaches its limits. Nevertheless, when you reach them, 4MATIC all-wheel drive and a long wheelbase make the breakaway progressive and controllable. Standard brake-based torque vectoring is equipped too, to help negate understeer and keep the S63’s handling crisp.
Despite the performance ability, the S63 Coupe is a large GT first, dynamic performer second. As such, it’s comfort bias is undeniably present and shouldn’t be overlooked.
For 2018, Mercedes-AMG says goodbye to the 5.5-liter M157 V8. In its place, they’ve transplanted the new favorite child that is the 4.0-liter hot-vee twin-turbo V8. Power outputs climb, despite the smaller displacement, up by 26 horsepower to 603hp, with the torque figure sitting at a monumental 664 lb-ft. Power gets directed to all corners – no rear-drive option exists for the S63 Coupe – via an AMG-tuned version of Mercedes’ 9-speed automatic gearbox. It may be a luxury coupe, but the folks at AMG claim incredible performance figures with a 0-60mph sprint of a scant 3.4 seconds.
The 2018 S63 Coupe gets new OLED taillights and a fresh ‘Panamericana’ grille from the AMG GT R, but beneath the exterior bravado the spec remains impressive. Standard kit includes soft-close doors, a cabin fragrance system, a heads-up display, in-car Wi-Fi, and a built-in 10 GB hard drive. Optional features include a Burmeister 3D sound system, heated rear seats, and heated front arm rests. Safety technology includes a surround camera, collision prevention, multi-stage stability control, and ABS brakes, with optional carbon ceramic brake discs, blind spot assist, lane keep assist, and pedestrian detection. The AMG S63 Coupe has not been crash tested on US soil.
The AMG S63 Coupe exists for the wealthy few who like to enjoy their luxury cars from the driver’s seat. Immensely capable, yet with the duality of ultimate refinement, there are few cars that offer this level of luxury without flaunting it like a bragging 5 year old with a new toy.