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Mercedes-AMG: Fire-breathing luxury new S-Class Saloon

 

Mercedes-AMG has updated the ludicrously fast and sumptuously luxurious S 63. Jack Evans discovers the technology inside this super saloon.

What’s new?

Mercedes has brought a refreshed S-Class into the market. With updated looks, as well as a host of new safety technologies, it’s an attempt to bring the big, ultra-luxurious saloon into 2017. We’ve driven the top-of-the-range, fire-breathing AMG S 63 model.

It’s packing the same twin-turbocharged V8 as found in the current C63 and E63, with over 600bhp and a staggering 900Nm of torque. Fitted within the S-Class, it transforms the car from a standard saloon into one that can hit 60mph in under four seconds - frankly astounding for a car of this size.

Looks and image

There’s no denying that the S-Class is a handsome looking beast. All cars get new LED headlamps, and there are various scoops and vents added to make it look more muscular. The S 63 receives larger air intakes at the front to increase airflow to the car’s radiators, while there’s a large diffuser at the rear.

Four exhaust pipes give some indication of the car’s performance, but it’s an overall subtle affair - though thanks to the noise the exhaust makes, it’s unlikely that many people will miss it approaching.

Inside, the S-Class is more luxurious than ever. It benefits from the widescreen display that we’ve seen on the E-Class, and there’s an overall solid feeling to the cabin. Those in the rear of the car are the best off - they get exceptional levels of leg and headroom, as well as features such as heated and vented seats.

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S-Class Saloon

Space and practicality

There’s a huge amount of space to be found inside the S 63. The seats in the front offer plenty of shoulder room, and it’s an easy place to get comfortable. As mentioned earlier, the rear of the car is more than spacious enough - which is good, considering the S-Class’ appeal to those who would rather be driven than drive themselves.

The S-Class’ boot space remains unchanged over the previous car, and sits at a respectable 510 litres. It’s deep and of a square shape, meaning it’s ideal for storing suitcases or weekend bags in. The rear seats can’t be folded flat, so unfortunately the standard boot size is all potential buyers have to work with, and this does limit storage flexibility somewhat.

Behind the wheel

There are few companies as accomplished at changing standard cars into real performance machines as AMG. The S 63 is no different, with its engine, gearbox and suspension all extensively worked upon and tuned, changing it into a car which covers ground impressively quickly.

The engine is responsive and even light changes in throttle travel are greeted with changes in pace, while the nine-speed gearbox shifts crisply. The 900Nm of torque on offer also make it a relaxing car to drive slowly, with plenty of low-down shove making for swift and simple overtaking.

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S-Class Saloon

It’s remarkable that a car of this size feels quite so light on its feet, and it corners with an impressive lack of body roll, too. It’s worth mentioning the extensive range of new safety features that have been fitted to this latest-generation S-Class. Designed to bring a new level of autonomous assistance to the car, it now features Active Distance control and Active Steering Assist, which work together to support the driver when travelling on motorways. It assists the person behind the wheel with steering and throttle inputs, and even automatically adjusts the car’s speed to compensate for a bend.

Active Emergency Stop Assist is now fitted too, and this can apply the brakes should it detect a pedestrian in the road, as well as assisting the driver when avoiding potential hazards in the road. The system can also recognise speed limit signs and adjust the car’s speed, should the driver choose this function.

Value for money

There’s no denying that the S-Class is a luxurious car. It comes with front seats that are heated, vented and feature a massage function too. The new 12.5-inch screen is clearer and more user friendly than before, while all of the leather feels of the highest quality. On top of this, the S 63 packs blistering performance in a car that you just wouldn’t expect it from.

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S-Class Saloon

However, prices for the S 63 are expected to start at £125,690 - and that’s a huge amount of cash for a car which, in all respects, never set out to be the last name in performance. It’s an impressive package, but one that will not be for everyone. The S-Class comes with a more standard range of petrol and diesel engines, and it’s likely that the vast majority of buyers will opt for these.

However, for those who really want to stand out from the crowd as well as be able to give sports car owners a fright from the lights, then the S 63 is the one to go for.

Who would buy one?

The standard S-Class is there for those people who would rather spend their time in the back seats rather than the one in front of the wheel. The S 63, meanwhile, is angled closer towards those who like to take control of the driving. It’s an impressive overall package, and one that handles surprisingly well given the car’s overall size. Its price is hefty, but then the sheer level of craftsmanship and technology on board makes it almost justified - almost.

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