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2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Speed Date
Mitchell Oke
By Mitchell Oke
Quick Specs
5.5-litre V8 twin-turbo petrol
Three years, unlimited kilometres
See the full specs Read the full review
Mitchell Oke
By Mitchell Oke

So, where did you go on your date?

Commuted to work, and used it for the usual weekend run-around duties.

Ideal first date?

The morning commute is ALWAYS better in an S-Class of any description, but this S63 AMG version just begs to stretch its legs on a long-distance tour or even a twisting mountain road.

Hot or not?

Pretty toasty. In AMG specification, the S-Class looks quite sinister. Gaping air ducts, big wide wheels and quad exhausts definitely set it apart from the 'normal' S500 L. I’m not sold on the optional matt black wheels fitted to our test car, which felt a little too aftermarket and boy racer compared with the standard items. They looked rather small on such a big car too.

What’s utterly scorching is the engine. It picks up the highest tune of the 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 available in many of AMG’s other go-fast models, and can get the S63 AMG to 100km/h in well under five seconds. The biggest issue is traction, as the 430kW and 900Nm can’t get to the ground effectively through just the rear wheels. The AWD version is only available in left-hand-drive markets, which is a shame. Acceleration is deliciously potent, however, with a serious shift in speed with only a minor prod of the sporty metal accelerator pedal. It’s not exclusively a straight-line performer though; it’s arguably more impressive in corners. It’s astonishing that a car this big can turn corners with the ability of the S63 AMG, while still riding like a limo.

It's what's inside that counts, what do you think of the interior?

Mostly great, with a few caveats. I’m not a fan of the two floating ultra-wide displays, mostly due to the cheap looking glossy bezel around them, but the rest of the interior is a different story. The S-Class cabin is a very cosseting and comfortable place to be, with a premium ambience and exclusivity you don’t feel sitting in an Audi A8 or BMW 7-Series. Sure they are similarly well made, but bear too much resemblance to lesser models in their respective line-ups. The seats are every bit as soft and comfortable as they look, with sumptuous cowhide that feels far superior to your average leather upholstery. They’re beautifully styled, too, with perforated leather in the middle breaking up the design. The AMG badging is a nice touch, just in case you forget you’re in an extra-special S-Class. All the AMG touches are quite tasteful (if there is such a thing with an AMG Merc), but my favourite has to be the Alcantara inserts on the steering wheel, which feel quite special.

Mercedes-Benz’s COMAND entertainment system isn’t the most intuitive interface, with plenty of hidden menus and confusing terminology that makes it more difficult to use than the systems found in its Audi and BMW competition. You get used to it, but it’s never as easy.

The rear seats are just as comfortable as the front, but this is a car you want to drive, rather than be driven in.

Standout features?

It’s kind of obvious, but the standout in the S63 AMG is the engine. It’s so powerful and wonderfully usable, and I couldn’t help but crack a smile every time I tapped into its huge power reserves. Making a limo move this swiftly is seriously good fun. The seats deserve a mention too, they are seriously comfortable.

Annoying habits?

The S63 AMG can thump over sharper bumps, which you don’t really expect from a car wearing a Mercedes-Benz S-Class badge of any description. The boot is surprisingly small too.

Ready for a family?

Sure, though boot space could be an issue on a trip if you wanted to take three or four passengers with you.

High maintenance?

Almost guaranteed down the track. There is so much technology in this car, something will inevitably go wrong. No such issues during my time with the car though.

Any deal-breakers?

Price. A faster and better-equipped Audi S8 is $100,000 less, and will slip under the radar far easier than the S63 AMG. It also feels much easier to drive. Where the Mercedes feels every bit as big as it is, the Audi tends to shrink around you, helped by its extremely direct steering. The S8’s AWD traction and cornering ability are even more impressive than the S63 AMG too.

So, is it serious or just a one night stand?

Afraid it’s a one night stand. I love the bold styling and super-comfy interior, but as a performance limo it just isn’t as accomplished as the Audi S8.

Keeping your options open?

The Audi S8 will give the S63 AMG a run for its money. It's cheaper and arguably handles better.

If it's not for you, who would you recommend it to?

Anyone who wants to make a statement. Few cars say CEO like this one.