Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe S 63 AMG
Bold looks and a clear S-Class family resemblance bring the coupe variant bang up to date
- Impressively refined, allowing quiet progress in urban settings
- Smart auto gearbox delivers near step-free changes with light throttle use
- Rapid pace and surprisingly agile handling despite car's size
- Level of tech-heavy kit offered easily beats rival offerings
- Exterior look could be too subtle for some
- Exhaust and engine note could be louder to justify the AMG badge
- Technophobes will bristle at the amount of kit in the car
- Driving experience lacks the engagement of smaller, more agile AMG cars
Mercedes' CL coupe has always lived in the shadow of its more popular and better known S-Class saloon. As such, sales have been modest and cars like Bentley's Continental GT have cornered the exclusive, high performance market. Mercedes' rebranding policy sees the CL ditched in favour of a more sensible S-Class Coupe, and in S 63 AMG a genuine Bentley rival.
Taking most of its styling cues form the saloon, the S-Class Coupe boasts familiar curves and dramatic sweeping lines. Its streamlined profile does mean that rear seat passengers will need to be more accommodating than most, but the trade of is a car boasting a head-turning road presence.
It's fitting, then, that Mercedes chose to launch the range with a high power AMG variant first. This S 63 AMG model comes with the firm's default 5.5-litre V8 petrol turbo unit, and packs a healthy 585 horsepower. The seven-speed auto gearbox sends all that power to the rear wheels, which means that the driving experience can be as exciting as your right foot allows.
That said, there's a considerable number of active safety systems to help keep you in a straight line, along with some impressive suspension technology to minimise unwanted pitch and roll - usefully when navigating large roundabouts and high speed sweeping bends.
The end result is a car that, on the inside, feels very much like a S-Class saloon but behaves more like a frisky sports coupe. The beauty of the S 63 Coupe is that it's also adept at wafting - just like its saloon relative. However, the two-door layout adds a welcome extra special feeling that the volume-selling saloon can never replicate. And so it should considering the AMG coupe's low six-figure price tag.
Our verdict on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe S 63 AMG
The switch from CL to S-Class Coupe is as much about rebranding as it is ushering in an all-new car for Mercedes. The transition has been a successful one, though, with the big coupe looking and feeling more like its saloon relative. Thankfully this product realignment exercise doesn't dilute the coupe's luxurious cabin ambience. And, contrary to your initial preconceptions, in AMG guise it proves to be a blazingly fast and agile car on the right road.
You don't buy an AMG Mercedes to save money but this car's 5.5-litre V8 is cleaner and more economical than the equivalent Bentley offering, which will at least mean fewer refuelling stops on long journeys. Despite the car's hefty price tag there's still considerable scope to add options, and many run into four figures. The advice is to choose wisely even if you're feeling flush.
Space and practicality
The car's large boot ensures that it can be a practical proposition for more than just shopping trips. That said, the main focus will always be on the cabin, and despite the car's size the primary focus is on the front seat area. There's no shortage of oddment storage spaces - mostly covered - and there's ample head and legroom. Assuming you're agile enough, the rear seats offer similar levels of comfort but you will sacrifice some head and legroom.
Controls and display
With two 12.3-inch widescreen displays to look at, the driver can in theory enjoy one of the most up-to-date dashboards in the industry. The one directly in front of the driver can simulate analogue speed and tachometer dials while the other is tasked with infotainment and navigation duties. The various functions work well and the control surfaces prove intuitive, although the many features will take time to master. The car's main controls are, thankfully, easier to grasp and are reassuringly straightforward.
With its plush seats offering a multitude of electric adjustment, plus the option of heated, ventilated and massage functions, it's easy to get comfortable. The wide cabin ensures that two adults will never rub elbows, and assuming you can get into the rear seats you're met with similar levels of refinement and comfort.
There are no surprises here, but the usual suite of alarm, immobiliser and remote locking functions work seamlessly to keep you and the car safe. The car's keyless system allows you to walk you to the car, get in and push a button to start, which means no unwelcome fumbling for a key when it's dark outside.
Mercedes has built a reputation for innovating when it comes to safety technology and the myriad systems that fill the car from front to back, from Pre-Safe-enabled seat belts that make a huge difference, to passive safety ratings to a wide array of monitoring sensors and warnings that aim to prevent an accident in the first place, are impressive and work well.
It might be a big car but in AMG trim the S-Class Coupe is no slouch. Thanks to the powerful turbo V8 engine, progress is swift, yet the car is also docile when you're not in the mood to go fast. Factor in the car's trick suspension system offering reduced pitch and roll, and the S 63 is impressively agile, if a little remote thanks to all the electronic systems. Still, rapid cruising and sweeping A-roads pose no problems. A louder exhaust note would be welcome when pressing on, if only to add to the otherwise majestic driving experience.
Family car appeal
This is where four-doors will always win, and the S-Class Coupe comes a distant second to its saloon cousin when it comes to being a practical choice. That said, neither car is sensible family fodder thanks to the plush materials used in the cabin.
First car appeal
Unless you are especially rich and don't mind paying a sizeable insurance premium, the S-Class Coupe - AMG or not - will be out of reach financially. That it's a large, fast car won't help.
Quality and image
With this particular S-Class Coupe challenging Bentley, Mercedes is putting pressure on the Crewe firm though the inclusion of better and more advanced technology plus promoting a cleaner and more frugal powertrain. Whether that's enough is down to buyers, many of which still will view the Brit firm's products as more desirable thanks to the prestige of owning an exclusive car.
In coupe form this S-Class offers front sea occupants as access to the cabin. The trade off is a pair of very large doors, which can prove problematic when you've parked in a tight space. The powered boot certainly makes access easy, although the high loading lip discourages the transportation of large or heavy items. Access to the rear of the cabin is possible, but you'll need to be flexible.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
In-car entertainment is a big deal for S-Class Coupe. As standard the car uses a huge 12.3-inch central display for the media interface. Music can be stored on the in-built 'music register' hard drive, an SD card or an external device like an phone or MP3 player. DAB radio and Bluetooth are also standard, while the default speaker layout can be switched for an more advanced set-up. The overall experience is a polished one.
Colours and trim
Dark colours add a sinister tone to the car's character while lighter shades do much to flatter its large dimensions. The isn't much in the way of extra chrome detailing, but the cabin can be specified in a wide variety of upholstery and trim combinations. Stick to lighter shades if you want to add a light and airy ambience.
It might be a big car but you're not short of sensors and cameras to help you park the S-Class Coupe. Rear and over the shoulder vision isn't perfect due to the coupe layout, but the car's steering is light at low speeds to make matters easier.
Emergency repair kit fitted as standard.
Petrol engine options - 5.5-litre (455bhp, 585bhp); 6.0-litre (630bhp). Transmission options: Seven-speed automatic gearbox only, plus seven-speed AMG Speedshift automatic (AMG only). Trim levels: AMG Line, AMG.
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