In the same way that the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the flag bearer for the Mercedes range, the AMG-tuned S-Classes are the pinnacle of that luxurious model line. It retains the kit you’ll find on ‘lesser’ S-Class models, but turns up the dial with its pair of stunning, hand-built V-shaped engines.
For 2017, the S-Class range was given a facelift, which stuffed the luxury saloon with more technology and a 48V electrical system helping prepare the limo for an autonomous future, but those changes also saw the engines under the bonnet changed too, with venerable 5.5-litre V8 powering the S63 being replaced.
The S-Class AMG's beating heart
The 'entry-level' as much as a V8 motor can be, is the same 4.0-litre unit found in the E63, AMG GT and the in essence under the Aston Martin DB11 V8's bonnet. In the S 63, it develops 603bhp at 5500rpm, just 1000rpm shy of its redline, while peak twist remains at 663lb ft, which arrives at 2250rpm and plateaus at 3750rpm. It's good for a 4.3sec 0-62mph time (shaving 0.1 second off its predecessor) and a top speed limited to 155mph (or 186mph as part of the £2755 AMG Driver's Package, which also includes driver training), but it's the improved fuel efficiency and emissions that are the biggest news, with the S63 now tangibly able to achieve 30mpg.
The S65 remains on the top of rung powered by a twin-turbocharged, 6.0-litre V12 developing a mammoth 621bhp and 737lb ft of torque. Overall it helps the 12-cylinder AMG reach 62mph 0.1 sec faster than the S63, but at the cost of drinking its fuel at a far more rapid rate. In terms of its place in the market, none of its competition can get close to the power output from the S65, bar the all-paw BMW M760Li.
An AMG S-Class is still all about the luxury
But as good as those engines are, what actually dominates is the sense of money-no-object opulence. Mercedes has left virtually no stone unturned in its pursuit of ultimate luxury. Almost every feature is electrically powered, double-glazed or internet-connected. Most of the facilities are operated via a 12.3in colour screen.
If anything, rear passengers are served even better, with enormous legroom afforded by the long-wheelbase-only chassis configuration. The huge range of options includes a pair of individual seats – a £5000 extra.
A browse through the standard equipment list won't leave many feeling short changed either, with both models getting the same level of equipment as an AMG Line trimmed S-Class. The S63 gains 20in alloys, parking sensors, a reversing camera, adaptive LED headlights and a beefy bodykit fitted as standard on the outside. Inside there is a Nappa leather upholstery, electrically adjustable front sports seats, ambient interior LED lighting, a Burmester audio system and Mercedes' COMAND infotainment system, which includes a two 12.3in screens, sat nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity.