2013 Mercedes S63 AMG review

  • Mercedes S63 AMG driven in UK
  • 577bhp and 664lb ft of torque
  • On sale now, priced from £119,565

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It hasn’t taken long for the engineers at AMG to get their hands on the latest S-Class, and the result is this – the new Mercedes S63 AMG.

As with most other ‘63 AMG’ models, power comes from a 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine.

Those who find the regular S-Class’s dimensions claustrophobic needn’t worry because the S63 is available only in long-wheelbase form, ensuring plenty of rear legroom.

Possibly the most impressive statistic, though, is the V8's 577bhp, but the 27mpg claimed average fuel economy isn’t too shabby, either. This is due in part to a lighter battery, brakes, tyres and wheels, which together help shave 100kg off the previous S63 AMG’s kerbweight.

What is the 2013 Mercedes S63 AMG like to drive?

Despite the weight saving, the S63 AMG still tips the scales at nearly two tonnes, although you’d never guess from the way it accelerates: 0-62mph takes just 4.4 seconds.

An addictive V8 engine rumble is always present when you're pressing on, although it isn’t as intrusive as in an E63 or CLS63, and disappears almost entirely at a steady cruse. 

Similarly, wind noise is very well suppressed – even on the motorway – although the S63 AMG's relatively low-profile tyres do transmit some road noise into the cabin.

The S63 has bigger wheels and firmer suspension than the regular S-Class, so does fidget slightly more over patchy road surfaces at low speeds. However, it's never uncomfortable, and rides remarkably well at faster speeds.

Switching to Sport mode firms the dampers and weights up the steering. Even so, the ride remains decent enough and the S63 keeps its considerable bulk better controlled in corners. 

The steering is another plus point. It is precise and the S63 turns in quickly, although you do have to apply quite a lot of lock to get around tight bends.

The seven-speed, automatic twin-clutch gearbox is a mixed bag, too. It changes smoothly and reasonably quickly when selecting ratios manually, but left to its own devices it can dither when pulling away from a standstill.

In Sport mode, the gearbox is far more alert, but it sometimes drops more gears than needed considering the monstrous amount of torque on offer.

What is the 2013 Mercedes S63 AMG like inside?

The S63 AMG’s interior features the same class-leading quality as the standard S-Class, albeit with sportier AMG touches.

The cabin is beautifully finished, with high quality metal detailing, a branded clock, bespoke dashboard trims and swathes of double-stitched leather. 

However, it also feels very modern, because the fascia is dominated by two widescreen TFT displays; one has the main instruments for the driver, while the other incorporates sat-nav, vehicle settings and infotainment.

As in other Mercedes, you scroll through the various on-screen menus using a rotary dial that's positioned between the front seats. This time, though, the shortcut buttons for individual systems are by the dial, where they're easy to find and use.

Some of the buttons have been raised to make them even easier to locate, while Braille-like dots help you to tell them apart.

Finding a comfortable driving position is easy, too, thanks to electrically adjustable AMG sport seats that provide excellent lumbar and side support. 

Meanwhile, in the back, you'll find a choice of seating layouts, including a three-person bench or two individual chairs separated by a centre console with aircraft-style fold-out tables and cupholders that can heat and cool drinks.

The S63 gets a generous list of standard equipment, including those sports seats, an AMG sports steering wheel, a panoramic roof, keyless start, Bluetooth, a sat-nav and a 10-speaker surround sound audio system.

The boot is easily big enough to swallow multiple sets of golf clubs, although the boot-mounted sub that's part of the S63's audio system does reduce space slightly compared with other S-Class models.

Should I buy one?

The new S63 AMG has a wide range of talents, combining blistering pace with a supremely classy cabin and a pretty supple ride.

However, the S500 is even more comfortable and refined, also gets a V8 petrol engine and isn’t that much slower. It also brings better fuel economy and costs more than £30,000 less to buy.

Other rivals, such as the Audi S8 and Jaguar XJR, are both similarly quick and offer more adrenaline-pumping noise for much less money.  

That said, if you want proper supercar pace one minute and top-notch comfort and refinement the next, nothing does it better than the new S63 AMG.

 

What Car? says...

Rivals:

Audi S8
Jaguar XJR

Specification 

Engine size 5.5-litre V8 turbo petrol
Price £119,565
Power 577bhp
Torque 664lb ft
0-62mph 4.4 seconds
Top speed 155mph (186mph with Driver's Package)
Fuel economy 27mpg (official combined)
CO2 emissions 237g/km

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