European luxury sedans tend to chase ever loftier horsepower figures in an attempt to rule the segment and the Mercedes-AMG S 63 is one of the most powerful options out there.
It combines sports car levels of acceleration and power with superb luxury and the 2018 models receive a range of updates both inside and out and there is now a more powerful (yet smaller) engine and some desirable new features.
The current generation S-class has been around for a few years now but the interior remains a class act with a very high level of materials and excellent ergonomics. The front seats offer the kind of comfort and support that you would expect of a premium luxury sedan and the recently updated infotainment system is intuitive to use. The overall ambience is a cut above its natural Audi and BMW competitors.
While most sports cars with similar levels of power either feature vestigial rear seats or none at all, the S 63 pays particular attention to the rear passengers. Multi-adjustable settings, plenty of head and legroom and a range of available options such as an executive reclining right rear seat, power footrest and massage function make travelling in the rear even more comfortable than sitting up front.
This may be an AMG product but the ride quality and supreme cabin refinement levels have not been compromised. The quality of the ride over even the bumpiest road surfaces remains smooth and unflustered, the large diameter AMG alloy wheels do little to upset the comfort levels.
When it comes to hustle this heavy sedan around some challenging roads the S 63 rises to the occasion with surprising ability, its sheer size and weight do work against it and the electronics have their work cut out to keep the power contained but handling levels are impressive nonetheless.
You may find more finesse behind the wheel of a sports car but not much in the luxury sedan segment offers such an accomplished mix of luxury and performance.
The 2018 AMG S 63 comes fitted with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, smaller than the 5.5-liter unit it replaces but power is still up by 26 horsepower to 603 hp and torque is a serious 664 lb-ft. It comes fitted with a 9-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive so acceleration off the line is seriously rapid.
A 0-60 mph time of 3.4-seconds is up there with some very quick sports cars and leaves just about every four-door sedan in the dust too, this includes the rear-wheel drive only 621 hp S 65 and last year’s S 63 too. The 9-speed transmission manages the massive power with impressive smoothness and the relentless thrust can become addictive, consumption figures are claimed to have improved over the old 5.5-liter V8 but this is still no Prius.
The S-class has long been the forerunner of modern technologies and the 2018 update introduces some cutting-edge new systems, standard specifications still cover just about every base and a few notable luxury items are dual 12.3-inch display screens, Burmester surround sound audio system, 3-zone ambient LED lighting, inductive wireless charging, ventilated and massaging front seats with a full leather interior.
A new addition is the Energizing Comfort Control system which coordinates the climate control, air fragrance, lighting, audio and massaging and seat heating systems to provide a range of 10-minute programs to relax and refresh the occupants.
Safety systems include attention assist, active parking assist and intelligent LED lighting among many others and available items include active lane change assist and evasive steering assist.
Back seat drivers can benefit from a range of packages that offer heated and cooled rear cupholders, multi contour massaging seats, 4-zone climate control, DVD entertainment system and a power right rear footrest.
The refreshed Mercedes-AMG S63 sedan moves the goalposts once again in the executive luxury sedan category. It even eclipses the V12 AMG S 65 in just about every category too making it the thinking (rich) man’s choice in the range.
Few other cars manage to so successfully combine such towering performance with equally lofty luxury levels, picking whether to drive or be driven will be a daily trauma that most owners will have to get used to.