- All-new model
- Looks the part
- 4WD and 585hp
- Class Flagship Mercedes Coupe
- 5.5 litre V8, bi-turbo engine
- 664 ft lb and estimated 22.8 mpg
- A new class of speed
+ Pros Turbo engine is a powerhouse | Head turning styling | A real four-seater coupe | Sets the class benchmark in technical innovation
- Cons This much power could be disastrous to a clean driving record
A world-class luxury coupe like the new Mercedes S-Class Coupe is akin to a sports jacket from an haute couture tailor who works with the finest cloth. It must exude gravitas and elegance as well as a relaxed chic. The Italians have the perfect word for this: sprezzatura, the art of effortless superiority.
In design terms, Mercedes is the only player in this segment who has truly succeeded in bringing luxury car design into the 21st century. And this is not purely a cosmetic exercise. In terms of onboard technology, the company has also left its rivals half a generation behind.
Thus, the new Mercedes S-Class Coupe exudes a dynamism that catches your eye in a way that charges the brain with the notion that the car is moving or is about to move even when it's standing still.
The new coupe's low roofline features the traditional Mercedes pillarless side glass, and its squat, purposeful stance is emphasized by the horizontal chrome feature strip that spans the trunk lid and the tops of the rear light clusters.
The big front grille with its huge three-pointed star and single horizontal bar is the epitome of the Mercedes sport grille. But where the grille was flush with the bodywork on the coupe's less sculpted C215 predecessor, it is now a three-dimensional element, thrusting forward into the airstream as part of an organically shaped nose cone that extends downward into a curvaceous front spoiler, flanked by LED headlamps featuring 47 Swarovski crystals in each unit.
Inside, the refreshing approach to cabin design shows an appropriately forward-looking touch underpinned by unimpeachable build quality, and top-quality materials are as pleasing to the fingertips as they are to the eyes. The widescreen electronic displays that sit cheek-by-jowl in the new dashboard are identical to the S-Class limos, and that is no bad thing since they are the class of the industry. To maximize the feeling of light and space, a glass Panorama roof is set into an external roofline dropped by 0.3 inch for a sleeker look. The lack of a sliding sunroof led to a gain of 1.34 inches of extra headroom.
Wind noise at speed is impressively low, and the coupe is even quieter in this respect than the S-Class sedan and the now-defunct Maybach uber-limousine, and 30 percent quieter than the CL. While the S500 Coupe has the same 0.27 drag coefficient as the sedan, careful wind tunnel work around the A-pillars and the pillarless side glass is responsible for its lower wind noise. Hypothetically, you can leave the volume control for the fabulously musical Burmester audio system turned one notch lower!
If anything, the Sport mode is the one that impresses more as it manages to maintain most of the suppleness of the Comfort setting in its secondary ride, whilst delivering iron-fisted control of the car's not insubstantial bulk when pressing on. Rear-wheel-drive coupes are fitted with ABC suspension featuring Magic Body Control, while 4Matic versions have Airmatic suspension with ZF's electronic Continuous Damper Control (CDC). The new Curve Tilt Function that leans the car into bends like a motorcycle is an extra option for ABC-equipped RWD models.
"We benefitted from the complete sea change in the philosophy of the S-Class Coupe compared to the outgoing CL," explained AMG's product planning manager, Oliver Weich. "Where the CL was more or less a short wheelbase two-door S-Class, the physically smaller and lighter C217 S-Class Coupe was designed to be a sportier car from day one.
"It was an aim of both the Mercedes and AMG teams that the S-Class Coupe would not just promise a sporty drive with its sleek design, but actually be able to follow through in its driving dynamics as well."
The amazing thing is how much of the S500's ride comfort is retained by the S63 AMG despite the substantial suspension uprating work. The AMG suspension bushes are between 200 and 700 percent stiffer than the ones on the S500 Coupe depending on location and application, and the front axle has different kinematics for better response and control. The suspension settings are also quite different. The first giveaway is the 1.6-degree negative camber setting for the front wheels, a significant 1.1 degree more than on the S500 Coupe. This gives the S63 AMG better turn-in response, while not being enough to adversely affect the wear rate on the inside of the tires.
The exhaust system is unique to this car and has the obligatory electronically operated flaps to provide a louder soundtrack in Sport and Manual modes. "With the latest electronic control maps for the exhaust, we have given the system more spread beyond the old open or closed option," Oliver explained. "We can now provide different flap angles depending on engine speed and torque output. In fact, we have six settings related to engine speed and another six related to torque output. So even if you are in Comfort mode, the flaps will open when you hit peak torque and peak revs," he said. "The system starts to work over 3,000 rpm and 400 Nm."
As on the S63 AMG sedan, the old concept of standard and Performance Package has been scrapped for the S-Class Coupe. Thus, the S63 AMG Coupe also comes with the full fat version of AMG's M157 direct-injection, twin-turbo V8, with 585 hp at 5,500 rpm and 664 ft-lb of torque between 2,250 and 3,750 rpm. Perfect traction enables the S63 AMG 4Matic to launch itself to 62 mph in a very rapid 3.9 seconds, compared to 4.3 seconds for the rear-wheel-drive-only version. Top speed of both is the usual electronically limited 155 mph with an 186-mph limit as a cost option.
The S63 AMG Coupe is so well damped that I was not sure initially if the small measure of extra firmness over the S500 Coupe was down to the uprated suspension or the optional 20-inch forged alloys shod with 255/40ZR20 and 285/35ZR20 Continental Sport Contact 5P rubber on my test car. And I could not tell that the car I drove was 4WD, so the new front suspension setup obviously works.
With its AMG aero kit and 20-inch forged wheels and an even richer interior with carbon-fiber inserts on the dash, doors, and console, the S63 Coupe looks the part. My test car also had the optional matte paintwork that made it look even more aggressive. The S63 AMG Coupe is a quite different animal from the S500. Aggressive and alive when prodded, it still retains a high level of refinement when you throttle back. In 4Matic guise especially, it really is a practical sports coupe for all seasons.
2015 S63 AMG 4Matic
front-engine, 4Matic AWD
5,461cc, V8 DOHC, direct-injection, twin-turbo
AMG Speedshift MCT 7-speed automatic transmission
6-piston calipers 14.6 inch f, 4-piston 14.2 inch r, ceramic rotor optional
F: Four-link independent, Airmatic, active damping, anti-roll bar. R: Multi-link independent, Airmatic, active damping, anti-roll bar. AMG specific settings with uprated bushes
Wheels & Tires
F: 8.5J x 19-inch alloys with 255/55ZR19 tires. R: 9.5J x 19-inch alloys with 285/40ZR19. 20-inch optional
585 hp at 5,500rpm
664 ft lb from 2,250-3,750 rpm
155mph (electronically limited)
16/24 mpg (est)