What is it?
Mercedes Benz’s performance division, AMG, has had a bit of a tinker with its S-class flagship. The changes are mainly cosmetic, with a redesigned, more aggressively beaked grille, LED daytime driving lights unique to AMG, tail-light LEDs arranged in a double C pattern and a body-coloured rear diffuser. There are also gorgeous new 19-inch multi-spoke wheels, but overall, the big S retains a fairly subtle profile.
What’s it like?
Slightly less subtle is the monster performance on offer. The S 63 retains the previous version’s 6.2-litre V8, which gives the two-tonne Merc the necessary poke to reach 62mph in just 4.6 seconds.
Compared to its more refined, genteel S 65 V12 sibling, the S 63 is the swaggering hoodie of the family. AMG boss Volker Mornhinweg describes it as “more sporty, more raw, more loud.” Well, that’s a pretty eloquent description: get hard on the throttle and that V8 transmogrifies a fairly subdued low-speed woofle into a hard-edged, hammering wail as the needle swings to the 7200rpm rev limit. Shifting through that ultra smooth (and quick) seven-speed automatic with the requisite flappy paddles, the S 63’s straightline performance remains titanic.
Which brings us neatly to the new S 63’s most significant dynamic upgrade. Asking a two-tonne lump of steel to go around a corner with anything approaching poise and agility is inevitably a losing battle with physics. However, AMG has invested the S 63 with the amusingly named Torque Vectoring Brake. This brakes the appropriate inner rear wheel during cornering to help the car turn in with more conviction. But while the big S does corner with a reassuring degree of plantedness and security, there’s always that point when you think ‘ah yes. Two tonnes.’
Other fresh mechanical tweaks include a crosswind stabilisation function based on the car’s Active Body Control – sorry, couldn’t find a crosswind to test this one – and a variable ratio steering set up, which felt very natural with first-rate feedback.
Should I buy one
The S 63 is all you’d expect of an S-class – funereal quiet when you’re not playing silly buggers with the throttle, and enough standard equipment to (almost) justify the circa £98,000 price tag.