by Adam Lynton
The Mercedes-Benz S Class has been the flagship Benz for decades – the car upon which they base all others, the template that gets miniaturized for every other sedan model. But where other Mercedes models get AMG variants with 43, 45, and 63 variants, the Mercedes-AMG S65 stands alone at the top of all AMG models – the V12 flagship luxury sedan to rule them all. It may not be remarkably quicker than the S63, but buying an S65 signifies that you're a cut above the average S-Class owner, the average AMG buyer – you're a man, or woman, of taste and of class.
6.0-liter Twin-Turbo V12 Gas
Every other Mercedes product derives its design elements from the S-Class. It's the top tier of luxury, and the interior offers class and refinement second to none. The elegant design boasts dual-screen displays and the materials are all rich and luxurious – from soft leathers to glossy wooden veneers. The front AMG sports seats offer standard heating and ventilation, and their wide range of electronic adjustment along with the power adjustable heated steering wheel allow for a perfect fit in the perfect driving position. Head, leg, and shoulder room are plentiful for the driver and front passenger, as they are for those in the rear. The lengthy wheelbase affords enough legroom to spread out and enjoy a chauffeur driven rocket-ride, and head room is generous enough that even the standard panoramic roof doesn't impede head room. The rear outboard seats feature powered adjustment and heated too, with rear sunshades and soft-close doors.
AMG Active Sport Suspension takes care of maintaining a fine balance between ride and handling. Despite the AMG badge on the trunk, this is after all an S-Class and should ride as such. The ride is pliant and soft – comfort settings providing a spongy ride that soaks up the bumps. Magic Body Control uses a camera-based system to evaluate the road and adjust the suspension at each corner accordingly, pre-empting suspension adjustments. This doubles for performance, leaning the S65 AMG into corners like a motorcycle, defying body lean, but at the same time removing the layer of communication lean can offer into the available grip levels. But it also helps the nearly 5 000 pound sedan handle adeptly for its size – supporting it through corners, and enabling swift changes of direction without upsetting the apple cart too severely. The standard brake-based torque vectoring sharpens turn in and helps negate understeer.
All AMGs – genuine AMGs, not those semi-AMG 43 models – feature handcrafted engines built in Affalterbach. In the case of the AMG S65 sedan, it's a 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V12 that lies beneath the lengthy hood. Outputs are a suitably monumental 621 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque. Twist is directed at the rear wheels via a 7-speed automatic transmission, enabling a 0-60mph sprint of 4.2 seconds. It may have more power and torque, but this sprint time is nearly a full second slower than the smaller S63 – though that matters little in this class where luxury is top priority.
Built for comfort – front and rear – standard kit is luxurious, with the Executive Rear Seat Package including massage function, heating, and power adjustment. Heated armrests and steering wheel are also standard, as is 4-zone climate control and a power footrest for the passenger side rear occupant. The Driver Assistance Package is also standard to aid safety, incorporating blind spot monitors, rear cross traffic alert, lane keeping assist, speed limit assist, and Distronic Plus distance pilot. The S-Class has not been tested by local authorities, but European counterparts scored it top marks.
The Mercedes-AMG S65 is a true king of its class – one without false pretense or inflated ego. It may be slower than an S63, but it's not about sheer speed – it's about luxury, and the silent knowing that you're quite simply a cut above the rest.