2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG - Photos by Jeremy Cliff

2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG

Truly in a class of its own.

By: Andrew Krok

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: July 11th, 2014

The "S-Class" portion of the Mercedes S-Class stands for Sonderklasse, meaning "in a class of its own." For the longest time, the S-Class has stood as the luxury sedan to which all other luxury sedans aspire. It's supposed to be a paragon of coddling comfort, built with nothing but the highest of quality in mind. However, with every new generation of car comes the concern that it might not be as good as the car before it. In a bit of good news for everybody waiting to write a check, the new S-Class is outstanding, and the AMG version makes a fantastic thing even better.

AMG is a collection of madmen, miscreants, and misfits. Its sole job is to shove powerful engines into Mercedes' standard road cars. Right now, the eight-pot du jour is a 5.5-liter twin-turbo unit (M157 in fanboy parlance) that puts out an impressive 577 horsepower and an absolutely jarring 664 lb-ft of torque. That's enough to catapult this pig to 60 mph in four seconds. Your house wouldn't move that quickly if the earth's rotation stopped instantly.

The power is supplied through a seven-speed automatic transmission that's replaced its torque converter with a series of complicated clutches. When the car is left in Comfort, the transmission lazily moves from one gear to the next, starting from a stop in second gear, doing its best to stay out of the way. In Sport, it's livelier, with more active downshifts, unafraid to reach higher in the rev band. However, the transmission is the most unrefined part of the car, occasionally shuddering or jerking on downshifts, as if it's being stretched to the limit of its capability. It's the darkest mark on an otherwise shining example of automotive engineering.

By and large, the most impressive part of the S63 AMG is its interior, especially with the option boxes ticked to include the full Nappa-leather interior. Every single surface is covered in soft material of the highest build quality. It's even better than the interior of our recently-tested Bentley Continental, and this car costs nearly $100,000 less. The seats, despite having awfully wide bottoms, hold on to you very nicely, and if you're feeling extra fancy, you can turn on a multi-stage massage function that will very nearly lull you to sleep in heavy traffic.

Aside from the transmission niggles, the S63 AMG is great to drive. The steering is lively for a car of its size, and, combined with the dual-mode air suspension, it's also awfully agile for a car of its size (it's nearly eight inches longer than a standard-wheelbase Range Rover). The gigantic brake calipers bring the car down from speed with the utmost authority. Not that you'll want to stop speeding in the first place.

Of course, at some point, you will need to stop speeding and refill the gas tank. It's a thirsty girl - the EPA ratings of 15 mpg city and 23 mpg highway assume that you'll be rolling along in Comfort mode, with the start-stop activated, using no more than light pedal pressure, which is almost never the case. If you love the feeling of torque, you're going to be spending plenty of time at the Valero down the street (or sending your assistant to gas it up for you).

Audiophiles will - nay, must - opt for the Burmester 3D surround-sound system. Simply put, it's the best audio system available in any car on sale right now. There are speakers all over the cabin (including overhead), and they emit nothing but crystal-clear sound, even at obscene volume levels. Your author sat one of his music-producer friends inside the S63, and his words were thus: "I don't think I'll ever hear anything this good ever again."

All in all, this is one of the most complete packages you can buy. It's fast, it's luxurious, and it's great at being both without compromising anything. It's not a pure driver's car, like a Porsche Cayman, but for those of us that want to be leading the charge, owning a car that represents the best of everything, the S63 AMG is a hard act to top.

  • Specs & Price

    Engine: 5.5-liter, direct-injected, twin-turbo V-8

    Transmission: Seven-speed automatic

    Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, all-wheel drive

    Power Output: 577 horsepower / 664 lb-ft

    Fuel Economy (mpg): 15 city / 23 highway

    Base Price: $139,500

    As Tested: $163,835

    Available Features:

    Rear Seat Package: Power right rear footrest, four-zone automatic climate control, rising and illuminating seat belt buckles, rear seat belt airbags

    Warmth and Comfort Package: Heated and ventilated rear seats, heated armrests and door panels, heated steering wheel, power outboard rear seats with memory

    Executive Rear Seat Package: Active rear seats with massage function, executive right rear seat

    Executive Rear Seat Package Plus: Dual power rear seats, folding tables, heated and cooled rear cupholders

    Driver Assistance Package: Radar-based active cruise control, active braking, active collision detection, active lane keeping, active blind-spot assist, rear-end collision detection

    Individual Options: AMG Performance steering wheel, heated rear seats, power outboard rear seats with memory, rear refrigerator box, head-up display, electric heated windshield, Burmester 3D surround-sound system, rear seat entertainment, split-view front-seat entertainment, 360-degree cameras, night-view infrared camera, carbon-ceramic brakes

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• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, click here: 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.