From £130,7257
Nothing says 'I'm considerably richer than yow' better than an S65 Mercedes-Benz. We drive the Coupe to see if it warrants its astronomical price

Our Verdict

Mercedes-AMG S 63 Coupé

The replacement for the CL grand tourer has some big boots to fill, but does it even come close?

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  • First Drive

    2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe UK review

    Nothing says 'I'm considerably richer than yow' better than an S65 Mercedes-Benz. We drive the Coupe to see if it warrants its astronomical price

What is it?

It's currently the most expensive car in the Mercedes-Benz range, the AMG-fettled coupe version of the firm's trend-setting S-Class.

Providing the muscle is a colossal twin-turbo 621bhp 6.0-litre V12 petrol engine. Of course, 621 is a big number, but 1000 is bigger, which just so happens to be the amount of torque in NM at your disposal. 

Sure, S65s and big numbers go hand in hand, but surely even the most laissez-faire oil baron can't ignore the huge escalations in price across the Coupe line-up. The jump between the £96,000 entry-level S500 and £125,000 S63 might seem steep, but, for an S65, you'll need to find another £57,000.

Upgrading from eight to twelve cylinders doesn't have a dramatic effect on drag race performance, either; the S65 is just 0.1sec quicker to 62mph than the S63. Rather, the extra cash brings a unique front end, more standard equipment and the knowledge that you have the biggest number possible on the boot lid.  

What's it like?

An incredibly capable car, as long as you aren't expecting the final word in dynamism. AMG might have waved its magic wand, but it was never its intention to try and turn the S-Class Coupe into a sports car. 

That's not to say it's useless, because entering corners at speed reveals decent grip, and, as long as you have the suspension in its Sport setting (one of three), a surprisingly well-behaved body. 

The problems lie with the steering. It's a heavy car, this, and it feels it when trying to tuck the nose in to bends, while the steering never really weights up enough to give you confidence. The lack of feedback is almost a given.

Switching the chassis to AMG's Dynamic Curve mode actually helps lean the car into bends before you reach them, but the end goal isn't greater cornering speed, says Mercedes, it's enhanced comfort. It works reasonably well, helping to quell some of the pendulum effect this two tonne Mercedes suffers through fast chicanes. 

That said, even when dialled right back to Comfort mode, the S65 picks up on rivets and broken Tarmac a little more readily on its standard 20in wheels than the lesser S-Class Coupes, and certainly more than an S-Class saloon. Mercedes' impressive Magic Ride system seemed to miss more approaching speed bumps than with the saloon, too. 

The S65's power delivery is more suited to GT continent-crossing than precision back-road blasts, too. Stamp on the throttle from stationary with the traction control switched on and it's a case of computer says no, as it tries desperately to divvy up the huge amount of power and torque. The result is squirming and dithering for the first second or two before the power is put down.

Of course, switch the traction control off, and the rear wheels will spin until their tyres flail away. No, where the S65 is best is from a rolling starting. On the motorway, you can simply pick a car on the horizon, squeeze the throttle and fully expect to be overtaking it before you've chosen which type of massage you like from the driver's seat. Also to be expected is around 15mpg. 

Indeed, if the S65's performance is staggering, its cabin isn't far behind for wow factor. Its quality is some of the best you'll see anywhere, and the standard front seats are some of the most comfortable and adjustable it's possible to sit in. They'll heat you, cool you, focus on massaging your shoulders or your lower back if you so wish. 

Two large 12.3in colour screens sit side-by-side on the dash, displaying the instruments on the right and infotainment on the left. They're beautifully bright and crisp, and controlling the endless features using Mercedes COMAND rotary dial between the front seats is simple enough, even if the system's menus aren't the most straight forward on the market.

There's enough leg room adjustment in the front seats to free up some rear seat knee room, but if the front passengers are over six foot, then it'll be an uncomfortable journey for those in the back. The boot is better, offering 400-litres of space and surprisingly decent access given the Coupe's sleek lines. 

S65 buyers can expect those larger 20in alloy wheels, S65-specific front bumper styling, an AMG sports exhaust, LED headlights with Swarovski crystals, an interior swathed in Nappa leather and an upgraded Burmester sound system in return for braving the considerable financial step. 

Should I buy one?

Most people visit an estate agent to offload £183,000, and then spend 50 years paying it all back. If you're lucky enough to be visiting car dealerships with the intention of spending it, there aren't many 600bhp twelve-cylinder coupes around to make the decision particularly difficult.

The most obvious rival is Bentley's Continental GT Speed. It has less power and torque, is very marginally slower, and has an aged infotainment system, but it offers even more secure all-wheel-drive handling and sports an equally well finished interior. Also, it costs £15,000 less and is similarly well equipped. 

It seems absurd to talk about 'good value' when discussing S-Class Coupes, but it's incredibly difficult to justify spending £57,000 to upgrade to the S65 when the cheaper S63 still offers so much. Bear in mind, though, dear reader, that I type this from my humble desk. Should I be considering it from the top deck of my 150-foot super yacht, just as the typical buyer is likely to do, such trivial matters might be of lesser concern.    

Mercedes S65 AMG Coupe

Location Surrey; On sale Now; Price £183,075; Engine 12 cyls, 5980cc, petrol; Power 621bhp at 4800-5400rpm; Torque 737lb ft at 1500rpm; Gearbox 7-spd automatic; Kerb weight 2185kg; 0-62mph 4.1sec; Top speed 155mph; Economy 23.7mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 279g/km, 37%

Join the debate

Comments
25

20 July 2015
The shut lines between bonnet, nose cone and front wings look poorly resolved, IMHO. Interior reminds me of a Las Vegas casino hotel, but will doubtless appeal to the "more is more" demographic at whom the car is aimed. Take a look at the paint finish below the "V12 Biturbo" badge, where you can see the reflection of the photographer. That's never "orange peel" is it?

20 July 2015
Daniel Joseph wrote:

The shut lines between bonnet, nose cone and front wings look poorly resolved, IMHO. Interior reminds me of a Las Vegas casino hotel, but will doubtless appeal to the "more is more" demographic at whom the car is aimed. Take a look at the paint finish below the "V12 Biturbo" badge, where you can see the reflection of the photographer. That's never "orange peel" is it?

Not sure about the shutlines, but the orange peel is easily corrected at a detailer. Someone who can afford this car isn't going to baulk at spending about 3 or 4k to get it polished to perfection.

20 July 2015
If I spent £180k on one of these, I would be outraged if it turned up with defective paint. The very last thing I would do is pay out more to have it fixed. I'm no expert, but what if the problem is in the paint itself, beneath the lacquer coat? I'm not sure that can easily be polished out. In any event, I thought these press cars were always meticulously prepared, so it doesn't say much for their PDI process. I assumed that the "orange peel" problem was consigned to the past with automated, robotised paint processes and haven't really noticed it on a new car for ages.

20 July 2015
Wouldn't it show up clearly on the whole of the panel when photographed if it was orange peel? Surely that's just the reflection right?

20 July 2015
[/quote]
Not sure about the shutlines, but the orange peel is easily corrected at a detailer. Someone who can afford this car isn't going to baulk at spending about 3 or 4k to get it polished to perfection.[/quote]
I've heard it all...so spending 3-4K to get the finish of a £12K polo is good value when you're loaded? Horseshine. These guys expect the best.

21 July 2015
michael knight wrote:

Not sure about the shutlines, but the orange peel is easily corrected at a detailer. Someone who can afford this car isn't going to baulk at spending about 3 or 4k to get it polished to perfection.[/quote]
I've heard it all...so spending 3-4K to get the finish of a £12K polo is good value when you're loaded? Horseshine. These guys expect the best.[/quote]

It would be interesting to see what the reason for this is. I've seen it on all cars to some degree. Even cars that appear to be blemish free turn out the have subtle orange peel when close up if you really look. There are tons of videos on youtube showing all manner of exotica including Mclarens, Ferraris getting their paint surfaces flattened out.

I very much doubt a VW Polo will be free of it. You could have a paint shade such as white or silver where it isn't so apparent.

21 July 2015
michael knight wrote:

I've heard it all...so spending 3-4K to get the finish of a £12K polo is good value when you're loaded? Horseshine. These guys expect the best.

Blatant straw man.

22 July 2015
winniethewoo wrote:
michael knight wrote:

I've heard it all...so spending 3-4K to get the finish of a £12K polo is good value when you're loaded? Horseshine. These guys expect the best.

Blatant straw man.

I doubt a £12k Polo (can you even get one for that?) is free of orange peel if a £27k Golf 7 looked like the Man from Del Monte had painted the rear flanks. I agree though, at this price, you would expect a peerless finish. If they can do it on the £180k G-Wagen, why can't they on this. I still think this rear end should have been on the C class. I might have gone for one then.

20 July 2015
Daniel Joseph wrote:

The shut lines between bonnet, nose cone and front wings look poorly resolved, IMHO. Interior reminds me of a Las Vegas casino hotel, but will doubtless appeal to the "more is more" demographic at whom the car is aimed. Take a look at the paint finish below the "V12 Biturbo" badge, where you can see the reflection of the photographer. That's never "orange peel" is it?

This 'tin-opener' school of bonnet design seems to be in fashion these days. Maserati Ghibli has similar bonnet shutlines. Look most arbitrary. Without any element to determine the extent of the bonnet opening it could have been moved forward, widened, narrowed etc. Irrespective of performance, a coupe is supposed to showcase styling, but the last elegant big Mercedes coupe is for me the W111 (For medium sized coupe it's the W124)

21 July 2015
abkq wrote:
Daniel Joseph wrote:

The shut lines between bonnet, nose cone and front wings look poorly resolved, IMHO.

This 'tin-opener' school of bonnet design seems to be in fashion these days. Maserati Ghibli has similar bonnet shutlines. Look most arbitrary.

This is due to pedestrian impact regulations. The nose cone and front wing panels are composite plastic; the cut line is to accommodate the different front spoilers which this model is sold with.

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