New, an S65 cost £145,000. Today, you can buy a 2006 example with a solid 200,000 miles under its 19in five-spoke alloy wheels for £17,000 before haggling. Just one owner, too. Keep a few bob back for fuel (expect around 10mpg) and spark plugs. There are 24 and they take four and a half hours to change.
The S65 is actually pretty rare. Not so, the S63. This time, it’s a naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 with 518bhp and 465lb ft under that long bonnet, sufficient for 0-62mph in 4.6sec.
The trouble is, it’s all a bit breathless where the V12 is full-fat torque.
No worries. Mercedes had a plan, which it hatched in 2010 with the arrival of a new S63 fitted with a twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 producing 536bhp but an even more impressive, and appropriate, 590lb ft.
Now that’s more like it and, if you can stretch to one, it’s the version to buy. Not only will it give the S65 a run for its money but it’s also 25% lighter on the juice than the old S63 and cheaper to tax; well, £15 cheaper. It came in long-wheelbase form only whereas the 6.2 was offered in that as well as standard length.
New, the 6.2-litre S63 cost £95,000 before options and today you’ll find used ones from around £15,000 all the way to £28,000 for a late, 2010-reg car with around 50,000 miles. However, if that’s your budget, we recommend you cast around for a 2011-reg 5.5-litre S63. Prices start at around £28,000 for one with reasonable mileage – a useful saving on the £109,000 price when new.
The other big event in the life of the high-performance S-Class came in 2009, when the range was facelifted. In came new driver assist systems, including Night View Assist Plus and Pre-Safe collection protection. Regardless of the car’s age, you can expect to find all manner of luxuries, including wood, full leather, and powered and heated seats. The great thing is that what a clutch of options would have cost you eight years ago could be sufficient to buy the entire car today.