Since 1972, the S-Class has been the flagship for Mercedes and it has continued to lead the way in terms of passenger comfort and safety ever since.
Currently in its sixth generation, the limousine is considered to be one of the most luxurious available and for most, the S-Class experience will include sitting in the back being ferried around by a chauffeur.
But we got behind the wheel of the AMG-fettled S63, which comes with a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, yet still offers a supremely comfortable experience when you want it to.
The aforementioned V8 engine develops an impressive 612bhp and 900Nm of torque – allowing the S63 to get from 0-60mph in just 3.3 seconds. Mercedes has limited the top speed to 155mph. The engine is paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission, which offers swift shifts and directs all the power to the rear wheels.
As with most other AMG models, the entire powertrain has been tuned to be incredibly responsive and able to get the car up to speed very quickly. You don’t need to use a lot of input to get the car into full flow, as even the slightest pressure on the throttle will mean you’ll hear the burble of the V8 and see the numbers on the speedo rise. With the high levels of torque, overtaking and getting away from a standstill is easy as well.
Ride & Handling
The S-Class has always been a car that can carry people in supreme comfort and despite the addition of serious levels of oomph from AMG, the S63 does that too. The suspension has been tweaked to cater for more performance driving, but that hasn’t ruined the overall feel of the car at all.
It’s no secret that the S-Class is quite a big car, but it certainly doesn’t feel it – as Mercedes and AMG have managed to make the S feel very light on its toes and corner with little to no body roll. Ride comfort is virtually uncompromised as well, so flying along a motorway or weaving down smaller roads will feel equally comfortable.
Mercedes has also fitted the S-Class with a series of autonomous assistance systems to help drivers, such as active distance control and active steering assist to aid motorway travel, while active emergency stop assist is added to bring the car to a halt if it detects a pedestrian in the road ahead.See Available S-Class deals
Interior & Equipment
Passenger space is not lacking with the S-Class, as head and legroom for all is really quite good – especially if you go for the long-wheelbase option that adds even more room to the cabin. As the seats come with electric adjustment in the rear, you can’t fold them flat as with most other cars, so you have to cope with the 400-litre load space in the boot for carrying your bags – but that will be more than ample for most.
The S-Class comes well-specced even on the entry trim level, but here in the S63, Mercedes fitted 20-inch alloy wheels, chrome and black detailing, LED headlights with longer range highbeam, a sports steering wheel with perforated leather trim, nappa leather upholstery on the sports seats, ventilated and heated front seats, a Burmester surround sound system and two 12.3-inch screens combined into a widescreen display.
For the entry level S 350 d in AMG Line trim, prices start from £74,435 for the S-Class – putting up against the likes of the Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series. But the AMG-fettled version we tried starts from £128,075, which quite a large sum of money for a car that isn’t necessarily built to be sporty.
The S63 isn’t particularly efficient as it comes with a quoted fuel economy of 31mpg and CO2 emissions of 231g/km. Other options in the S-Class range can be much more efficient, such as the S 560 e L EQ Power – a petrol-hybrid plug-in that can return less than 60g/km CO2 and more than 113mpg – although the more popular diesel offerings will provide good returns on your investment.
There’s no shying away from the fact that the S-Class is a superb car – whichever option you choose. The S63 is as adept at munching miles on the motorway like almost nothing else, but when you need it to be it can be very serene and quiet. Equipment levels are expectedly excellent, the finish is of the highest quality and passenger space is really good – but it does come with a very large price tag. If you’re after a comfortable cruiser of this size, go for one of the diesel-powered S-Class models – but the power of the AMG is addictive, and rightfully so.