Very fast, and very expensive. Raw performance countered by luxury.

Our Verdict

Mercedes-AMG S 63
The Mercedes S 63 AMG costs nearly £120,000

Never before has supercar performance and opulent luxury blended so seamlessly

3 October 2006

What is it?

It’s an S-class that has been breathed on by Mercedes-Benz’s performance subsidiary, AMG.

Once upon a time, AMG was an independent company and breathed only on those Mercedes it saw fit. But now it’s wholly owned subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler, so it tweaks what it’s told: such as hot versions of the ML and R-Class, and also this: the S-class luxury saloon.

Actually, that’s no bad thing. The S-class is an impressive car in the first place and, despite its all-round two-tonneness, responds well to its AMG enhancements.

What’s it like?

Fairly simple, this bit: it’s like a chuffing great big luxury car with a 518bhp, 6.2-litre V8 under the bonnet.

The S-class’s regular air suspension is only mildly tweaked, so this isn’t a raucous and raw fast car and it still fulfils its original luxury brief pretty well. It’s still immaculately sound insulated (albeit with a noisier engine than usual). Cabin materials, design and fit-and-finish are still all impeccable. It’s still got a big boot, loads of equipment and plenty of space front and rear.

And therein lies part of the problem. It’s perhaps just too much like a regular Mercedes S-class, albeit an apocalyptically fast (0-62mph in 4.6sec) and ludicrously expensive one (around £105,000). Its handling is superior to the regular car's, but it’s not at all agile; it still feels very much like an S-class. So although this is a very special car. It just doesn’t feel quite special enough.

To be fair, AMG knows it might have become a tad over-prevalent (it sold 20,000 cars last year) recently and has put steps in place – special Black Editions, fewer tweaked models – to redress the balance.

Should I buy one?

At the top end of ranges like this, there are buyers who’ll buy the most expensive and fastest models simply because they’re the most expensive and fastest. And although the S 63 is somewhat short of good value, it is very quick and very lovely. So who are we to say no?

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