Daimler is betting big on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class brand. At one end of Mercedes’ new super-luxury sub-division is the Mercedes-Maybach S 600; at the other end is the S 63 coupé.

People will come to this car expecting the last word in luxury and refinement. The same people will expect outstanding AMG performance. They won’t be disappointed on either count. They’ll doubtless approve of the cultured, elegant styling, too.

The Mercedes is a serious option, if not the most immediately charismatic one. Highly practical, though

All in, that’s probably 80 percent of what a GT like this ought to offer, covered crushingly well.

If this car had been another Mercedes CL, or had a new identity all of its own, you wonder if Mercedes might have been able to mix more eccentric charm into the cabin, or to aim for a more sporting chassis compromise to better engage the drivers who currently look to Aston Martin or Ferrari.

As things stand, it’s only for an absence of warmth and true driver engagement that we’ll mark the S 63 down. Such things matter much less in an S 350 limousine, but in a GT, they’re key.

For now, it's the Bentley Continental GT V8 S that still commands the highest accolade in this class. It's been given a new lease of life by its splendid V8 and, although it's a heavyweight, it's worth every extra kilo.

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