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    Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe: Road Test


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    Ameya Dandekar

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    Mercedes-Benz S-Coupe Left Front Three Quarter

    Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG

    For – Performance, exclusivity, tech-laden, easy to live with

    Against – Expensive, poor fuel economy, unresolved ride, spare tyre hampers boot space

    Verdict – An S-Class that is fast, fancy and flamboyant but a bit flawed nonetheless.

    Rating – 7/10

    Introduction

    As you can see in the pictures the Mercedes S63 Coupe is not your regular S-Class limousine. Instead of rivalling the likes of the BMW 7 Series or the Audi A8, Mercedes has tried to build a grand tourer, which can double up as a sports car. This puts the S63 Coupe in direct competition with the might of Bentley Continental. Now that’s a big ask considering Mercedes can’t compete against the Bentley as an aspirational brand. So Mercedes really has to nail it with the S63 Coupe in terms of product to stand any chance. Priced at Rs 2.6 crore, this Coupe is exorbitantly expensive for a car carrying a Mercedes badge. But bearing in mind the Bentley Continental GT is a massive Rs 70 lakh more, this AMG suddenly starts making lot of sense.

    On paper the S63 looks extremely impressive. It is beautifully made and is powered by a searing 5.5-litre 577bhp motor. So does this Coupe feel special enough to justify its outrageous price? Or will Bentley buyers even remotely consider it as a worthy rival? We have put together an exhaustive road test to find answers.

    Design and Style

    A brief glance is enough to establish the fact that the S63 Coupe looks quite special. The signature AMG grille lends the S63 loads of presence and the large air-intakes in the bumper hints at the large engine that is nestling under the long sculpted hood. In profile, Mercedes has kept things simple and the swooping roofline gives the car great stance. At the rear the elongated wrap-around tail lamps dominate and the minimalistic boot surface blends in well with the rest of the design. The aggressive twin tail pipes add some spice and it spouts performance on tap. Although the overall design looks sporty, Mercedes has also managed to retain some subtlety and elegance which makes the car look special.

    As expected the AMG division has tried to keep this mammoth’s weight to as low as possible. This has resulted in a car which is 65 kilograms lighter than its predecessor. This weight saving was achieved largely thanks to the use of a lightweight lithium-ion battery and AMG forged light-alloy wheels. Furthermore, the entire body and the front end are made of aluminium. Despite these weight saving measures the S63 AMG still weighs a hefty 2070kg. That’s a lot for a car with sporting pretensions. But one must remember that even though it is a two-door Coupe, it is just 200mm shorter than the S350 L. Even the wheelbase is just 90mm shorter than the full fledged sedan.

    As you would expect with any S, the AMG version gets loads of gizmos onboard and it is more apparent when it comes to its suspension. The S63 AMG gets the famed magic body control and the curve tilting function. Magic body control basically works with the help of the front mounted camera, which scans the road ahead to prepare the suspension according to the road conditions. The curve tilting function allows this Coupe to lean into corners like a motorcycle which in turn, minimises body-roll and helps mask the heavyweight's mass.

    Interiors

    The S63’s interior design theme leans more towards luxury than being sporty. The dash design is more or less carried over from the standard S-Class, but the AMG division has added carbon-fibre finish on the dash, livelier colour combination and loads of AMG badges. This results in a cabin which still exudes class but now has a lot more youthfulness to it. As with all recent Mercs, the cabin quality is top-class and it is hard to fault it in this respect. The huge front seats are just fantastic and the bolstering can be adjusted infinitely so that you fit just right. They are also ‘dynamic’ – basically the bolstering automatically adjusts to give you more lateral support while hard cornering. Although you can adjust its intensity, it is a bit slow to respond during quick directional changes. As the S63 has just two doors, getting in the back is not the easiest. Although on first impression the back seat looks cramped, there is a decent amount of space and it is quite usable. But the large front seats, a swooping roofline and small windows makes you feel claustrophobic. The boot, at 400 litres, is quite big, but the spare tyre eats into the luggage space and marks it down.

    Safety and Equipment

    The S63 AMG comes with every safety feature imaginable. It gets Attention assist, Brake Assist, brake-pad wear warning, ESP, PRE-SAFE system, tyre pressure monitoring system, crosswind assist, numerous airbags, night vision camera and adaptive brake lights.

    The S63, as expected, is loaded with high-tech features. Apart from regular equipment it gets a night vision camera, 360-degree camera, dynamic curve control, vario roof, a fantastic Burmester sound system and heads-up display.

    Engine, Performance and Braking

    As this is an S-Class and carries an AMG badge, Mercedes has tried to get the perfect compromise between sportiness and comfort. To a certain degree they have succeeded too. But in the effort of having this dual personality, Mercedes seem have fallen in no man’s land. The problem with the S63 AMG is that it neither thrills you like a sports car on a winding road, neither does it cocoon you like a GT car. On most surfaces, the ride comfort is good, but despite the famed Magic body control system it feels relatively unresolved over large potholed city roads. The suspension tends to get caught-out by sharp imperfections and the suspension feels a bit clunky and you are forced to take a cautious approach. As you go faster things get much better and the S63 rides with better consistency and good body control.

    Mercedes has loaded this Coupe with loads of tech to help this two-tonne monster corner like a sports car. In comfort mode, there is more body roll but as soon as you put it in sport, the dampers tighten up and the body movements are well controlled. But it is in the Curve control mode where the car leans into corners where it feels at its best. In this mode, body control is quite exceptional for such a heavy car. The car leaning into corners, which mean the passengers feel less of the G forces and this makes it quite comfy during spirited driving. What is particularly impressive is that the S63 has loads of front end grip which gives you the confidence to push the car harder and the handling balance is quite impressive. But on the downside the steering peculiarly feels vague and lifeless, even though it is ultimately accurate to use. Despite the S63’s massive dimensions it feels very easy and manageable for daily use. Its short 11.9m turning circle makes it easy to manoeuvre and the decent ground clearance makes it ideal for our speedbreaker-infested roads.

    Ride and handling

    Without a doubt, the S63 AMG Coupe is an immense engineering achievement. This Merc has a wide set of talents and that’s where its appeal lies. It is ferociously quick yet it is as usable as any other Merc sedan. The price of Rs 2.6 crore might sound exorbitant but when you consider that its only closest rival is the Bentley, then the S63 AMG suddenly becomes of great value. Sure, it doesn’t have the finesse or appeal of the Flying spur and the ride could have been much better, but for Rs 70 lakh less, this Merc feels special enough. The Mercedes S63 AMG Coupe has all the ingredients to hold its own against the fiercest of rivals.

    Price and fuel economy

    In terms of pricing the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG doesn’t have any direct rivals. The closest rival is the Bentley Continental GT which is Rs 70 lakh more expensive in the base trim. As expected of a 577bhp motor, fuel economy takes a big hit. With fat tyres, a 5.5-litre V8 engine and a not-so-flattering kerb weight, this car feels like it can empty gas stations as you drive by them. For the record, we got 4.5kpl in the city and 6.8kpl on the highway. So, despite the 80-litre fuel tank, you’ll still be visiting fuel pumps quite often.

    Verdict

    Without a doubt, the S63 AMG Coupe is an immense engineering achievement. This Merc has a wide set of talents and that’s where its appeal lies. It is ferociously quick yet it is as usable as any other Merc sedan. The price of Rs 2.6 crore might sound exorbitant but when you consider that its only closest rival is the Bentley, then the S63 AMG suddenly becomes of great value. Sure, it doesn’t have the finesse or appeal of the Flying spur and the ride could have been much better, but for Rs 70 lakh less, this Merc feels special enough. The Mercedes S63 AMG Coupe has all the ingredients to hold its own against the fiercest of rivals.

    Specifications

    CAR NAME Mercedes-Benz S-Class
    Variant S63 AMG Coupe
    ENGINE
    Fuel Petrol
    Installation Front, longitudinal
    Displacement 5461cc V8 turbocharged
    Bore/stroke NA
    Valve gear 4 valves per cyl, DOHC
    Power 577bhp at 5500rpm
    Torque 900NM at 2250rpm
    Power to weight 278.74bhp per tonne
    Torque to weight 435NM per tonne
    Gearbox 7-speed dual-clutch auto
    CHASSIS & BODY
    Construction two-door Coupe, monocoque
    Kerb weight 2070kg
    Tyres 255/55 R16
    Spare Full-size
    STEERING
    Type Rack and pinion, electric assist
    Turning circle 11.9m
    BRAKES
    Front Ventilated discs
    Rear Ventilated discs
    Anti-lock Yes
    PERFORMANCE & BRAKING
    0-20kmph 0.8s
    0-40kmph 1.61s
    0-60kmph 2.44s
    0-80kmph 3.42s
    0-100kmph 4.42s
    0-120kmph 5.73s
    0-140kmph 7.22s
    0-160kmph 9.07s
    0-180kmph 11.24s
    0-200kmph 13.89s
    20-80kmph in kickdown 2.80s
    40-100kmph in kickdown 2.81s
    80-0kmph 28metres 2.4s
    FUEL ECONOMY
    City 4.5kmpl
    Highway 6.8kmpl
    Tank size 80litres
    Range 390km
    INTERIOR MEASUREMENTS
    Front
    Legroom(Max/min) 890/620mm
    Headroom(Max/min) 1000/900mm
    Shoulder room 1450mm
    Seat base length 595mm
    Backrest height 560mm
    Rear
    Legroom(Max/min) 750/510mm
    Ideal legroom 660mm
    Headroom 870mm
    Shoulder room 1270mm
    Seat base length 480mm
    Backrest height 650mm
    Boot 400litres
    Length/width/height 840/920/490mm
    Loading lip height 700mm
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