The new S65 AMG is the third iteration of the flagship V12-powered variant in what is now the sixth generation of Mercedes’ S-Class sedan range. It follows the original S65 AMG of 2003 and the most recent version, produced since 2006.
The new Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG features a revised version of its predecessor’s twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 petrol engine. Maximum outputs carry over at 463kW and 1000Nm, though peak power is now produced between 4800-5400rpm (from 4600-5000rpm). Peak torque is made between 2300-4300rpm, as before.
The biggest mechanical enhancement of the new S65 AMG is the introduction of a seven-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the outdated five-speed of the old model.
The transmission contributes to a 17 per cent fuel economy improvement, down to 11.9L/100km on the European combined cycle. The S65 AMG now also meets Euro 6 emissions standards, emitting an average of 279g/km CO
The new S65 AMG accelerates from 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds, making it 0.1sec faster than the old model. It’s also one-tenth quicker to triple figures than the V8-powered rear-wheel-drive S63 AMG, though the rear-drive-only S65 AMG can’t match the 4.0sec sprint of the S63 AMG with optional all-wheel-drive.
Like the S63, the new S65 AMG replaces the conventional starter and back-up batteries with a lithium-ion battery, saving more than 20kg.
Enhancing the Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG’ performance credentials is the standard AMG sports suspension based on the Magic Body Control system, which uses a stereo camera to scan bumps and undulations on the road ahead, and AMG speed-sensitive steering.
The S65 AMG is also exclusively equipped with 20-inch AMG forged light-alloy wheels with a high-gloss finish, and is available optionally with a high-performance AMG ceramic composite braking system with 420mm-diameter front brake discs.
High-gloss chrome details across the front splitter and intakes, side inserts and rear diffuser further distinguish the S65 AMG from its V8-powered sibling.
The cabin boasts an exclusive diamond-pattern leather upholstery design, as well as distinctive leather lining for the ceiling, dashboard, door panels and grab-handles, and additional wood trim and stainless steel doorsill panels.
A head-up display projects a virtual 21cm x 7cm screen before the driver’s eyes, with vehicle speed, speed limit, navigation, traffic sign and other important information ‘floating’ about two metres in front of the driver.
A new touchpad incorporated into the centre console is designed to make using phone, navigation and entertainment systems easier, allowing S65 AMG drivers to use one- and two-finger swipe and zoom gestures, as well as hand-drawn numbers, letters and symbols, similar to the operation of a smartphone or tablet.
Set to launch in overseas markets from March, Mercedes-Benz Australia does not plan to offer the circa-$500K third-generation S65 AMG sedan, instead waiting for the S65 AMG Coupe that’s expected to arrive in 2015.
The Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG will make simultaneous public debuts at the Los Angeles and Tokyo motor shows on November 20.