First Fang: Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe

Opulent CL-successor delivers all-conquering class, but can it also deliver the performance?

Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe review test drive

What is it?

The twin-turbocharged V8 AMG version of Mercedes-Benz’s top-tier two-door coupe, now in its ninth generation and reverting back to historical S-Class nomenclature after being called CL-Class since 1996.

With so many two-doors/coupes/V8s in Merc’s fold, what’s the big attraction?

The S-Class Coupe is Merc’s grandest two-door, pitched squarely at empty-nester ‘captains of industry’ accustomed to S-Class luxury levels but no longer need four or five seats. The appeal of its AMG trapping needs little explanation, though the bent-eight Sixty-Three model is for buyers who find twin-turbo V12-powered S65 version, on sale May, a little too, erm, bourgeois and excessive.

How excessive?

The S65 6.0-litre V12 generates an eye-watering 463kW and – gulp 1000Nm and costs $1000 short of half-a-million Aussie pesos. While at ‘just’ $409,000, the S63 version still pummels with 430kW and 900Nm from its 5.5-litre bent eight.

It’s rationalizing the irrational, perhaps, but the S63 is $90K more affordable yet, at 4.2sec for 0-100km/h, it’s just 0.1sec slower to the magic tonne.

That’s E63 and CLS63 pace, both markedly more affordable…

Sure, but power and speed aren’t the S-Class Coupe’s main attractions. They merely serve an otherwise range-topping sports-luxury experience with all the fanciness that entails.

Climb inside and the S63 Coupe not only makes lesser Mercs feel lower rent, it’s a noticeable design departure from even the S-Class sedans. From the Swarovski crystal console stowage handle to the Nappa leather-edged foot mats, it drips style, opulence and five-star luxury like nothing else this side of Bentley’s finest.

Shorter, lower, just as wide but with more girth across the rear axle than the S sedan, Merc’s ultimate coupe cuts a commanding presence on road. Inside and out, the racey AMG-isms have also been toned down – wood trim rather than carbonfibre, for instance – and this deft touch suits the overall character nicely.   

AMG in just name then?

It’s no athlete. But the urgency and potency under foot as well as sporty ambience is still there. And it anchors its mandate of providing ultimate comfort and luxury while offering an effortless undertow of muscle nicely.

What does it bring to the Merc table?

A lot of the coupe’s bells and whistles are otherwise only available on the S-Class sedan, including the imaginatively named Magic Body/Sky/Vision Control systems.

Exclusive to the coupe, though, is the clever ‘curve tilting’ function, allowing the hydraulic self-leveling suspension to lean the car up to 2.65 degrees into a corner. It’s subtle in practice but far from a gimmick. Instead, it allows keen body control and keen cornering in Comfort mode without resorting to firm Sport damping that otherwise spoils the ride. Clever stuff.  

What’s not to like?

There’s a pause between nailing the throttle and the V8 manning battle stations. And the otherwise superb AMG-spec seven-speed auto is less than silken in low-speed, part-throttle driving. Some of the spec list’s more glamorous features, such as the Swarovski crystal embedded LED headlights or Magic Sky Control (active glass roof tinting), are pricy cost options in a car already at an eye-watering pricepoint.  

Does it live up to its flagship AMG status?

If carving corners is your bag, wise money would be spent on the $319,000 S500 Coupe, leaving enough change for an A45 AMG in the second carspace. But for complete luxo-performance in one package, the S63 AMG Coupe is the suitably complete experience.


Engine: 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8, DOHC, 32v
Power: 430kW @ 5500rpm
Torque: 900Nm @ 2250-3750rpm
Weight: 2070kg
0-100km/h claim: 4.2sec (claimed)
Top speed: 250km/h (claimed, limited)
Price: $409,000


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