Sailing the blacktop seas never felt so right

Merc began production of the full-size S-Class sedan in the early ‘70s, following the official adoption of the “S-Class” nomenclature. Previously dubbed the “Sonderklasse,” or “special class,” this ultra-sleek opulence machine is currently at the halfway-point of its sixth generation. Framed as Mercedes’ flagship four-door and boasting the best that Merc can muster when it comes to style and equipment, a pair of high-horsepower variants from AMG occupies the top of the S-Class pyramid, including the S 63 and even-faster S 65. Both iterations just got a mid-cycle update at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show, with the S 63 gaining a raft of changes affecting everything from the engine, to the transmission, to the AWD, to the styling. By comparison, the S 65 is less new, but still hugely impressive. The party piece is under the hood, where the previous model’s turbo 6.0-liter V-12 engine remains intact, complemented by updates to the S 65’s exterior styling and kit. Meanwhile, the rest of the spec sheet goes unchanged, including the seven-speed automatic transmission, Magic Body Control Suspension, track-oriented AMG options, and tech-heavy safety features.

“The S 65 with its high-torque 6.0-liter V-12 Biturbo engine remains the spearhead of the S-Class models,” proclaims Chairman of the Managing Board of Mercedes-AMG GmbH, Tobias Moers. All told, the AMG S 65 is an exercise in excess, with crazy-fast speed potential and land-based luxury yacht style. Read on to see if the 2018 model year is worthy of retaining its “special” designation.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Mercedes-AMG S 65.

  • 2018 Mercedes-AMG S 65
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V12
  • Transmission:
    AMG SpeedShift 7G-Tronic Plus
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    630 @ 4800
  • MPG(Cty):
    13
  • MPG(Hwy):
    22
  • Torque @ RPM:
    738 @ 2300
  • Displacement:
    6.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.2 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    6.7/10

Exterior

2015 Mercedes S65 AMG High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2018 Mercedes-AMG S 65 High Resolution Exterior
- image 713963

2017 model year Mercedes-AMG S 65 pictured on the left, 2018 model year Mercedes-AMG S 65 pictured on the right.

Though it isn’t a huge departure from the model that came before, the 2018 AMG S 65 does bear a few obvious updates when placed next to the preceding model year. Mercedes says these were designed to “[underscore] the superiority of the high-end 12-cylinder model,” giving it a powerful, yet refined presence on the road.

The biggest changes are in the fascia, where Merc installed brand-new “Multibeam” headlights incorporating LED lighting elements. These new units appear to be squarer and more compact than the headlights on the 2017 model year, and to my eye, don’t have the same sort of refined shape you’d expect on a Mercedes. Rather, they appear to be a bit busy, creating a sense of bluntness to the front end that I would criticize as out of character for a flagship model.

The biggest changes are in the fascia, where Merc installed brand-new “Multibeam” headlights incorporating LED lighting elements.

Of course, that’s nitpicking at the details, and the rest of the design looks in tune with how a 12-cylinder luxury sedan should look. Additional features include larger side intakes for improved cooling, a new front splitter designed to reduce front-end lift (Mercedes likes to call it a “jet wing”), and more than a little high-gloss chrome trim on the grille and lower intake surrounds. Further chrome detailing can be found along the flanks and rear as well.

Speaking of chrome, the lower side skirts get a three-dimensional high-gloss inlay application of the shiny metal, which is specifically designed to make the S-Class appear to sit lower to the ground, similar to a sports car. Filling the wheel wells with purpose are standard 20-inch wheels, boasting a lightweight forged construction. These rollers also get a design that’s exclusive to the S 65, with a ceramic mirror polish and 16 spokes that curl inwards in such a way as to catch the light and “radiate to the centre of the wheel hub.”

The lower side skirts get a three-dimensional high-gloss inlay application of shiny metal, which is specifically designed to make the S-Class appear to sit lower to the ground, similar to a sports car. Filling the wheel wells with purpose are standard 20-inch wheels.

The wheels measure in at 8.5 inches wide in front and 9.5 inches wide in the rear. There’s also a wheel bolt cover made from forged aluminum that’s designed to look like a center lock normally found on racing vehicles. Along the edge of the rim is the obligatory AMG logo. In addition to the 16-spoke rollers seen here, Mercedes is also offering three additional forged wheel designs, all measuring in at the same 20 inches in diameter. Two of the designs are finished with a painted matte black color and high-sheen rim flange.

Moving to the rear, we find a new apron design and new tailpipe trim for the model-specific quad square exhaust tips. A new lower diffuser insert is also in place, complete with a bit of polished garnish.

Further customization options are offered via the AMG Performance Studio.

Further customization options are offered via the AMG Performance Studio, which allows customers to add extra aesthetic enhancements like the Night package, new wheel designs, and the Carbon trim package.

Finally, although Mercedes has yet to announce specifics, the 2018 AMG S 65 should come in a wide variety of hues, most of them understated shades of white, black, and silver, with a metallic finish. A few colors (ruby, blue, green) will also be offered, but won’t shout with the same volume as Merc’s lineup of AMG-tuned sports cars.

Exterior dimensions

Note: figures given are for 2017 model year Mercedes-AMG S 65 sedan.

Height (inches) 58.7
Length (inches) 206.5
Width (inches) 83.9
Wheelbase (inches) 124.6

Competing Exterior

2015 Audi S8 High Resolution Exterior
- image 519714
2017 BMW M760Li xDrive Exterior High Resolution
- image 714779
2015 Audi S8 High Resolution Exterior
- image 519713
2017 BMW M760Li xDrive Exterior High Resolution
- image 714974

Audi S8 pictured on the left, BMW M760i xDrive pictured on the right.

In this arena, your best bet for competition against the AMG S 65 comes from Merc’s neck of the woods – or more specifically, German makes like Audi and BMW.

Let’s start with Audi and more specifically, the S8 plus. Based on the full-size four-door A8, the S8 is essentially a faster iteration designed for more spirited driving. The look is more or less the same as what you get elsewhere in the Audi lineup, with standout features including a large Singleframe grille in the nose divided by horizontal slats and a polished Four Ring badge. The headlights are squared and use LEDs for the main beam and daytime running lights, and LEDs are used for the taillights as well. Quad rounded exhaust tips in back come surrounded in a carbon fiber frame, and 21-inch wheels are equipped as standard equipment.

Next up is the Bavarian’s entry in this segment, namely the M760i xDrive sedan. This full-size also bears exterior styling quite similar to other entries in the BMW stable, incorporating a kidney grille in the fascia (which actively opens and closes for either enhanced cooling or greater aerodynamic efficiency), sporty lower intakes, a performance-oriented stance, and rakish profile. There are four squared-off exhaust tips in the rear, while the headlights get full LED illumination. Aero enhancements include an M-branded rear spoiler, while the exterior accents on the front intake, rocker panel, and rear trunk strip are all finished in Cerium Gray. The wheels are measured at 20 inches in diameter, with a unique 760M style.

While I’m a pretty big fan of the old Merc-AMG S 65’s styling, the new iteration doesn’t quite have the same snap. The front end looks a bit too frumpy with the new headlight design, lacking the sleekness that was offered before.

While I’m a pretty big fan of the old Merc-AMG S 65’s styling, the new iteration doesn’t quite have the same snap. The front end looks a bit too frumpy with the new headlight design, lacking the sleekness that was offered before.

By contrast, the Audi looks like… well, like any other Audi. It’s a handsome piece of design, that’s for sure, but it doesn’t quite have the presence required in a segment like this.

That leaves the Bimmer as the standout winner when it comes to exterior aesthetics. The low-and-wide style works great for a fast full-size four-door, and will surely turn heads no matter where it goes.

Exterior dimensions

Audi S8 BMW 760i xDrive
Height (inches) 57.4 58.2
Length (inches) 202.6 206.6
Width (inches) 83.1 74.9
Wheelbase (inches) 117.9 126.37

Interior

2018 Mercedes-AMG S 65 High Resolution Interior
- image 713969

I’m not gonna lie – I’m a pretty big fan of Merc’s interiors, and the updated AMG S 65 is no exception. It mixes high-tech with high class, finding the right balance for a modern luxury vehicle that doesn’t overload the passengers with buttons to push and knobs to twist. The layout is horizontal and the upholstery is light, giving it a sense of airiness, lightness, and spaciousness.

Heading the list of materials is Nappa leather upholstery, which finds its way onto just about every surface in the cabin. What isn’t leather is a combo of brushed metal, wood, or some other sort of soft touch material. Further trim options include Black Poplar wood, Burl Walnut wood, designo Metallized Ash wood, and since it’s an AMG model, the requisite carbon fiber doodads.

2018 Mercedes-AMG S 65 High Resolution Interior
- image 713970
Heading the list of materials is Nappa leather upholstery, which finds its way onto just about every surface in the cabin. What isn’t leather is a combo of brushed metal, wood, or some other sort of soft touch material.

Complementing the look are embossed emblems on the armrest and center console, plus copious AMG badging. Front and center on the console is an analogue clock with an IWC “ingenieur” design, 3D milled metal hands, and metal appliques on the face, bringing the above-mounted touchscreen back down to Merc’s roots.

Sit in the hot seat, and you’ll be able to enjoy a three-spoke performance steering wheel with a flat bottom, side-mounted paddle shifters, a contoured rim, leather wrapping for the grips at 10 and 2, and a metal insert emblazoned with the AMG logo. Buyers can also option in a steering wheel finished in black Nappa leather and Dinamica microfiber, or wood and leather, if desired.

Dominating the dash is an enormous TFT widescreen color display, measuring in at an impressive 31.2 cm (12.3 inches) and joined by another widescreen display in the side. This screen provides the driver with all the critical info, such as the current engine rpm, road speed, and more.

2018 Mercedes-AMG S 65 High Resolution Interior
- image 713971
Dominating the dash is an enormous TFT widescreen color display, measuring in at an impressive 31.2 cm (12.3 inches).

This screen stretches across the dash, and can be programmed in a variety of different ways. For example, info can be displayed in an analog style similar to a traditional gauge cluster, which is offered as part of three separate display design settings, including “Classic,” “Sport,” and “Progressive.” There’s also exclusive AMG graphics, and the AMG menu was expanded to include stuff like engine oil temperature, transmission oil temperature, lateral and longitudinal accelerometer readings, engine output, torque output, boost pressure, tire temperature, tire pressure, and various other readings. It’s a cool bit of performance data for the nerdy types out there, and it’s stuff that’s usually reserved for performance specials like the Nissan GT-R, but hidden under a few menu options on the AMG S 65, it works.

The Mercedes-AMG S 65 can sit up to five passengers total. Features include AMG-specific power sports seats with more lateral support and a memory function. There is a seat heating functionality, as well as 12-way power adjustability. Further features include an active multi-contour massage function for both front and rear passengers, as well as a ventilation function front and back. Even more comfort can be had with the executive rear seat feature, which will allow one lucky passenger in back the ability to recline his or her seat, and put his or her feat up with a power calf rest.

The infotainment system on board is equally impressive, starting with the standard 3D sound system from Burmester.

The infotainment system on board is equally impressive, starting with the standard 3D sound system from Burmester. There’s also Bluetooth streaming capabilities, HD Radio support, SiriusXM radio with a 6-month free trial, and the option to equip an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot.

Extra ambience is added thanks to standard LED interior lighting, with incorporates roughly 300 individual LEDs to project seven individual color options into multiple cabin zones. Sit in the rear, and you’ll get power sun blinds, plus copious entertainment options thanks to multiple device inputs, DVD players, video game hook-ups, and more. And since everyone might want to enjoy their own entertainment without audio bleed over, there’s also a set of wireless headphones for each passenger.

On top of the AMG S 65 is a standard Panoramic roof, which looks to stretch between the front and rear sections of the car, enabling both sets of passengers to enjoy the extra sky. Dual power shades are also in place to provide appropriate control between the front and rear passengers, depending on their preference for either more or less light. Additionally, buyers can get the optional Magic Sky Control feature, which alters the moon roof transparency instantly using an electric current, thereby varying the light levels entering the cabin. Finishing it off is an optional refrigerator box for rear-seated passengers with a taste for some bubbly.

On top of the AMG S 65 is a standard Panoramic roof, which looks to stretch between the front and rear sections of the car, enabling both sets of passengers to enjoy the extra sky.

Further customization options are offered with the AMG Performance Studio. Delve into the catalogue, and you’ll have the options for black Nappa leather upholstery, a Dinamica-covered Performance steering wheel, carbon fiber and piano lacquer trim, and a whole lot more.

Interior dimensions

Note: figures given are for 2017 model year Mercedes-AMG S 65 sedan.

Front head room (inches) 39.7
Front leg room (inches) 41.4
Front shoulder room (inches) 59.7
Rear head room (inches) 37.4
Rear leg room (inches) 43.7
Rear shoulder room (inches) 59.1
Trunk capacity (cubic feet) 16.6

Competing Interiors

2015 Audi S8 Interior
- image 519725
2017 BMW M760Li xDrive High Resolution Interior
- image 665338
2015 Audi S8 Interior
- image 519727
2017 BMW M760Li xDrive Interior High Resolution
- image 714976

Audi S8 pictured on the left, BMW M760i xDrive pictured on the right.

Like its exterior, the Audi S8’s cabin has a refined, somewhat understated look to it. The control scheme is distilled down to a basic assortment of hard buttons and knobs, while a digital display behind the sporty, three-spoke, multifunction steering wheel relays vital info to the driver. Aluminum shift paddles are mounted at the sides. Carbon fiber trim, wood inlays, and brushed metal are all quite bundant, and like the Merc, there’s an analog clock front and center in the dash. The seats offer attractive contrast stitching, plus 22-way power adjustability, ventilation, and massage features. Four-zone climate control keeps everyone comfy, and further customization can be had with the optional Audi design selection package. Standard spec includes MMI navigation with a Wi-Fi hotspot, as well as a 14-speaker, 630-watt audio system from Bose.

The Bimmer is also rather well equipped, but arrives with a bit more style than the Audi. The console is broken up into multiple layers thanks to a wider selection of colors for the various pieces of trim, upholstery, and console inlays, with leather, wood, and brushed metal all making their immediate presence known. The three-spoke steering wheel gets thumb-length multifunction controls, but drivers can also issue commands via the Gesture Control feature offered with the iDrive 6.0 infotainment platform. Touch displays are also onboard, both up front and in the rear. Go for the Rear Executive Lounge Seating package, and rear-seated passengers will enjoy enhanced comfort thanks to a power calf rest, massage seats, and more. Rear-facing screens are in place for work and play, and a LED-studded glass panoramic moon roof above floods the cabin with the right level of lighting every time. Sixteen speakers from Bowers & Wilkins provide the tunes.

While all three sedans are positively dripping with luxury and opulence, I keep coming back to the Mercedes as the most stylish and best-looking piece of design.

While all three sedans are positively dripping with luxury and opulence, I keep coming back to the Mercedes as the most stylish and best-looking piece of design. While high-tech, it’s also classy and cultured in an old-school kind of way, which is exactly what you want in this segment – new technology, mixed with classic refinement, stirred to an even blend.

Interior dimensions

Audi S8 BMW 760i xDrive
Head room front/rear (inches) 37.2/38.1 39.9
Leg room front/rear (inches) 41.4/38.7 41.4/44.4
Shoulder room front/rear (inches) 59.1/57.8 59.2/57.7
Trunk capacity (cubic feet) 14.2 14.2

Drivetrain

2018 Mercedes-AMG S 65 High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 713976

Pop the hood on the AMG S 65, and the first thing you’ll see is an enormous engine cover filling the bay. This piece is handsome enough, made from carbon fiber, etched with the obligatory AMG badging, and offering a fair amount of under-hood bling.

But the real story is what lies beneath the weave, where Mercedes has mounted a 6.0-liter V-12 devourer of gasoline force fed by twin turbochargers. This handcrafted powerplant is an absolute peach, and one of the last remaining 12-cylinder engines available in the states, which in itself is one of the major selling points for the AMG S 65.

This handcrafted powerplant is an absolute peach, and one of the last remaining 12-cylinder engines available in the states, which in itself is one of the major selling points for the AMG S 65.

Standout features include a diecast alloy construction for the block and the heads, plus a liquid-to-air intercooler, a variable-pressure fuel pump, a rapid-spark ignition system, high-speed engine management, and an AMG-specific exhaust. Boost pressure from the double dose of snails is rated at 22 psi.

But that’s the same set-up you get with last year’s model, and as such, the output goes unchanged, with around 630 horsepower produced at 4,800 rpm and 1,000 Nm torque (738 pound-feet of torque) produced at 2,300 rpm.

Mercedes quotes a 4.2-second sprint from 0 to 60 mph, but if we were to take a guess, the time is more likely around 3.8 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited at 250 km/h (155 mph), but if you decide to equip the AMG driver’s package, that figure will rise to an impressive 300 km/h (186 mph).

Mercedes quotes a 4.2-second sprint from 0 to 60 mph, but if we were to take a guess, the time is more likely around 3.8 seconds.

Speaking in more flowery language, Mercedes says the S 65’s V-12 engine renders “… a feeling of power that seems at once infinitely mighty and absolutely effortless.” Sounds like fun.

Max fuel capacity is rated at 24.6 gallons. Although a V-12-powered luxury yacht probably isn’t the first thing that pops into your mind when considering a car with “green sensibilities,” the S 65 is equipped with an eco mode, plus a standard start/stop feature to help trim a bit of the excess gas consumption from the sides. Here in the U.S., the current S 65 is rated at 13 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway, while those on the Old Continent rate it at a combined 11.9 liters per 100 km. CO2 emissions are rated at 279 grams per km.

Unlike the S 63, which is offered with AWD, the S 65 comes exclusively with RWD. The transmission for the 2018 model year is as it was before, with an AMG-tuned SpeedShift 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic. Taking control of the box are steering wheel paddle shifters, offering a more hands-on feel if required thanks to a manual “M” shifting mode activated when the right button is pushed.

Taking control of the seven-speed automatic gearbox are steering wheel paddle shifters, offering a more hands-on feel thanks to a manual “M” shifting mode activated when the right button is pushed.

Further driving modes alter the character of the rest of the car, making it easy to tailor your experience to whatever the situation might be. There’s “Comfort,” “Sport,” “Sport+,” and “Individual,” each of which affects things like the engine response, transmission shift points, suspension system, steering response, and electronic stability. You can also manually set-up the suspension settings if desired, and if you hit the AMG button, special noise flaps in the exhaust will open up to let the world hear those 12 cylinders with a bit more clarity.

Hit the AMG button, and special noise flaps in the exhaust will open up to let the world hear those 12 cylinders with a bit more clarity.

Let’s look at those separate driving modes a little more closely. Put the S 65 into Comfort mode, and you’ll be enjoying long cruises and low(er) fuel consumption, with minimal-rev shift points, a muffled exhaust note, and less obtrusive gear changes.

Then there’s Sport and Sport+, which do exactly what you’d expect to make maximum fun time behind the wheel. That means sharper throttle response, more engaging gearshifts, faster shift times, rev matching on the downshifts, and, in Sport+ mode, a higher idle speed designed to produce quicker launches.

Engine And Performance

Mercedes-AMG S 65
Engine type twin-turbo 6.0-liter V-12
Power 630 HP @ 4,800 RPM
Torque 738 LB-FT @ 2,300 RPM
0-to-60 mph 4.2 seconds
Top speed 155 mph (electronically limited)
Fuel returns 13 mpg city, 22 mpg highway
Drive type RWD
Transmission type AMG SpeedShift 7G-Tronic Plus

Competing Drivetrains

2015 Audi S8 High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 519732
2017 BMW M760Li xDrive High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 665340

Audi S8 pictured on the left, BMW M760i xDrive pictured on the right.

Mounted behind that large Singleframe grille on the Audi is an all-aluminum turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine with dual overhead cams, 32 valves, and cylinder deactivation technology. Output is rated at 605 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 517 pound-feet of torque at 1,750 rpm. Routed through the standard 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and quattro AWD system (complete with standard sport differential), the Audi S8 can manage a sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. Top speed is limited at 155 mph, but can be raised to 190 mph upon request. Fuel returns look like 15 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

Meanwhile, the Bimmer arrives at this fight with the right number of cylinders, packing a 6.6-liter V-12 with a double dose of turbocharged induction. Standout features include an automatic start/stop function, brake energy regeneration, 48 valves, variable valve control, and direct fuel injection. Lay into the loud pedal, and you’ll be rewarded with 601 horsepower at 5,500 rpm, as well as 590 pound-feet of torque at 1,550 rpm. Mated to the 12-cylinder engine is a standard 8-speed steptronic Sport Automatic transmission, plus BMW’s xDrive AWD system. Flat out, the BMW will hit 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, while heading to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Efficiency is rated at 12 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.

When buying a vehicle in this segment, it’s important to have the appropriate equipment onboard, and in the engine department, more cylinders means more better. That’s why you’ve gotta go with a 12-cylinder.

When buying a vehicle in this segment, it’s important to have the appropriate equipment onboard, and in the engine department, more cylinders means more better. That’s why you’ve gotta go with a 12-cylinder, but which one? The Merc is slightly more powerful than the BMW, but when considering the rest of the drivetrain, including the standard AWD system equipped on the M760i, the Merc looks like it’s falling behind. Throw in a faster 0-to-60 mph sprint, and suddenly, the Bimmer sprints ahead in the performance department.

Engine And Performance

Audi S8 BMW M760i xDrive
Engine type twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 twin-turbo 6.6-liter V-12
Power 605 HP @ 6,100 RPM 601 HP @ 6,100 RPM
Torque 517 LB-FT @ 1,750 RPM 590 LB-FT @ 1,550 RPM
0-to-60 mph 3.7 seconds 3.6 seconds
Top speed 155 mph (electronically limited) 155 mph (electronically limited)
Fuel returns 15 mpg city, 25 mpg highway 12 mpg city, 20 mpg highway
Drive type AWD AWD
Transmission type 8-speed Tiptronic automatic 8-speed steptronic Sport Automatic

Chassis And Handling

2018 Mercedes-AMG S 65 High Resolution Exterior
- image 713962

AMG is typically known for producing hugely powerful, hugely fast cars capable of setting some blistering times at the racetrack. Clearly, with over 600 horsepower and a low-4-second/high-3-second 0-to-60 mph time, those first two criteria are satisfied in the S 65. But what about lap times? Could a massive boat like this full-size sedan actually turn as well as it goes?

AMG certainly gave it the right equipment to do exactly that. First off, the S 65 looks to save weight wherever possible. For example, the battery is a lithium-ion unit, which is lighter than a traditional lead-acid battery. The wheels are made from forged lightweight materials, while the AMG-branded brakes were weight optimized to shave some weight. The body is made from aluminum, including the roof and front fascia, while the spare wheel recess is made from carbon fiber.

The S 65 still tips the scales at a crushing two and half tons, or 4,969 pounds.

Despite these weight saving techniques, the S 65 still tips the scales at a crushing two and half tons, or 4,969 pounds, which makes the 4 kg (8.8 pounds) trimmed by that carbon spare wheel recess kinda laughable, if I’m honest.

Still, Mercedes has plenty of experience making absurdly heavy vehicles handle surprisingly well (hell, AMG’s experience in the SUV segment is evidence enough of that). So how can a two-and-a-half-ton luxury sedan harness over 600 horses at the rear wheels? Five words – Magic Body Control and Curve Tilting.

So how can a two-and-a-half-ton luxury sedan harness over 600 horses at the rear wheels? Five words – Magic Body Control and Curve Tilting.

Let’s start with those first three words, as they’re a good lead in for the last two. The Magic Body Control system is essentially an independent, active suspension that compensates for roll, squat, and dive characteristics – you know, the sort of things that happen when accelerating, cornering, and braking with any kind of vigor. The system incorporates active springs and continuously adjustable dampers, which isn’t that unusual for a leading entry in this segment.

What makes the Mercedes system standout is a system called Road Surface Scan, which is a feature that uses a front-facing camera to actively examine the road surface ahead of the car and anticipate road aberrations, followed by adjustments to the suspension settings to dampen whatever bumps or misalignments or potholes might be looming. These adjustments are done down to individual settings for each corner of the car, automatically increasing comfort and stability as a result. The system will also adapt to the individual driving mode selected, with both increased handling feel and increased comfort added.

Road Surface Scan actively examines the road surface ahead of the car and anticipate road aberrations, adjusting suspension settings to compensate.

Let’s move on to those last two words – Curve Tilting. Curve Tilting is another interesting feature of the S 65, and it’s essentially an active suspension setting that comes online between 15 km/h (9 mph) and 180 km/h (112 mph). When traveling within that speed range, Curve Tilting will literally tilt the car left or right by up to 2.65 degrees, compensating for the normal body roll experienced during cornering to help reduce the “the perceived lateral forces,” thus making for a more comfortable ride. Mercedes likens the system to the lean of a motorcycle rider, and contends the system “enhances the driving fun in particular on secondary roads.” Of course, if leaning into the corners sounds like it would be more nausea-inducing than fun-enhancing, the Curve Tilting function can be deactivated.

Mercedes likens the Curve Tilting system to the lean of a motorcycle rider, and contends the system “enhances the driving fun in particular on secondary roads.

Further adjustability can be had with the ride height, which can be raised by 40 mm (1.57 inches) to help the S 65 make it over speed bumps or up steeply angled driveways without scratching the bumper or undercarriage. Alternatively, the ride height can also be dropped by 15 mm (0.59 inches) when traveling at speed, reducing aerodynamic drag and enhancing handling characteristics.

The steering system is an electro-mechanical speed-sensitive sports set-up with a variable ratio. The rack-and-pinion was specifically tuned by AMG, and was designed to offer solid feedback – not something you’d expect in a car as large and in charge as the S 65. The steering also offers variable levels of assist between the separate driving modes, or, alternatively, drivers can tune the set-up using the Individual mode for more exact specifications. Basically, what you get is greater assist at lower speeds, or more stability at higher speeds.

The steering also offers variable levels of assist between the separate driving modes, or, alternatively, drivers can tune the set-up using the Individual mode for more exact specifications.

As you might expect, the brakes on this beast are appropriately stout and advanced. Features include predictive braking, which will move the brake pads a little closer to the rotor after a quick throttle lift is detected, basically anticipating potentially hard braking to follow. There’s also automatic brake dry, which lightly applies the brake pad against the rotor when it’s raining to sweep the rotor face dry, making for more consistent braking in the wet.

Specs on the actual brake components include “compound” rotors sized at 390 mm by 36 mm (15.4 inches by 1.4 inches), and squeezed by fixed aluminum 6-piston calipers up front. In back, there are 360 mm by 24 mm (14.2-inch by 0.9-inch) rotors with a single-piston floating caliper.

Specs on the brakes components include front rotors sized at 15.4 inches by 1.4 inches, squeezed by fixed aluminum 6-piston calipers. Options include high-performance ceramic rotors, as well.

Options include the usual ceramic high-performance brakes, as branded by AMG. Compared to the normal brake rotors, the AMG ceramic units cut down on unsprung weight by as much as 20 percent, which Merc says helps with the way the car handles and the ride quality. The ceramic compound also provides a “longer service life, higher corrosion resistance and higher thermal stability.”

That bit about higher thermal stability makes sense – these are race-bred brake rotors we’re talking about, after all. However, it’s kinda funny to see such hardcore performance gear touted as a long-term reliability feature.

Anyway, if you do decide to get the AMG ceramic brakes, the front axle will swap the old units in favor of larger 420 mm by 40 mm (16.5 inch by 1.6 inch) rotors, while the rear will get slightly thicker 360 mm by 32 mm (14.2 inch by 1.3 inch) rotors. Additionally, the new brakes add just a hint of extra style as well, with “AMG Carbon Ceramic” neatly printed on the freshly finished brake calipers. Showy, but kinda cool nonetheless.

So how about the driver’s aides? Standard spec throws on electronic stability, which isn’t altogether surprising. However, per usual, the S 65 does it better with three individual settings that affect the way the car handles when pushing the limits of adhesion.

Multiple settings for the ESP make it easier to tune your setup to the situation and skill level that’s most appropriate.

These multiple ESP modes include ESP On for safety, as well as ESP Sport Handling Mode for additional yaw allowed before it kicks in and overrides the fun. Or there’s always the alternative to go full ESP off for all-out track driving. Either way, the ESP will kick back on temporarily when performing hard braking maneuvers.

Finally, the tires are measured at 255/40R20 in front and 285/35R20 in the rear, and incorporate a high-performance rated rubber compound.

Competing Chassis And Handling

2015 Audi S8 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 519715
2017 BMW M760Li xDrive High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 665333

Audi S8 pictured on the left, BMW M760i xDrive pictured on the right.

Audi and BMW both are also in on the game of making enormous cars handle decently. The Audi starts this with lightweight ASF aluminum construction for the body, with the curb weight down to a relatively low (at least compared to the Merc and BMW) 4,685 pounds. Managing all that heft is a five-link suspension set-up in front and a trapezoidal-link set-up in the rear, plus Audi’s adaptive air suspension components tuned specifically for the S8’s performance potential. The steering is an electromechanical power set-up with dynamic feedback, while the brakes use 15.7-inch ventilated discs in front and 14-inch ventilated discs in back. The S8 also gets a standard sport differential, which helps the rear-biased AWD system handle with a sprightlier attitude. Managing it all is the Audi drive select system, which delivers variable settings for the steering, suspension, throttle response, transmission shift points, and sport differential, all of which can be customized to your preferences and given driving scenario.

By comparison, the BMW is a bit portlier, weighing in at 5,128 pounds, despite its Carbon Core construction incorporating carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic, aluminum, and magnesium structural pieces. The suspension is a double-wishbone multi-link set-up in front and an integral-V multi-link set-up in back. Aluminum is used throughout. There’s a Dynamic Damper Control system, Dynamic Stability Control, Brake Fade Compensation, and double-axle self-leveling air components, while the Driving Dynamics Control offers drive modes for eco cruising, track driving, and several stops in between. Like the Mercedes, the BMW will also actively scan the road ahead and compensate for road aberrations through the adjustable dampers, roll stabilization, and more.

So which of these cars is the right choice for the enthusiast drivers out there? Performance cues are everywhere no matter which option you go for, but when it comes to having the most fun behind the wheel, AMG has done its homework.

So which of these cars is the right choice for the enthusiast drivers out there? Performance cues are everywhere no matter which option you go for, but when it comes to having the most fun behind the wheel, AMG has done its homework. The available and standard features both offer more of that high-octane fun compared to the Audi and BMW, and although its unlikely you’ll see this behemoth at a track day, the Merc is the one to get if a high smile-per-mile factor is required on the weekends.

Safety And Convenience

2018 Mercedes-AMG S 65 High Resolution Exterior
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The AMG S 65 certainly isn’t lacking when it comes to technology, and that extends past basic infotainment and performance and into the realm of safety and convenience.

Starting things off is a standard Attention Assist system, which will issue both visual and audible warnings in the event the driver might be getting tired. There’s also a radar active cruise control system that will automatically speed up, stop, and slow the car based on what’s happening with the vehicle ahead. This system also automatically keeps the car between the lanes with steering assist, and it will automatically resume normal driving if the previous stop time is under a second, such as in heavy stop-and-go traffic.

Then there are adaptive LED headlights that’ll point themselves around a corner, which is particularly helpful when navigating winding two-lanes at night. The lights will also switch to low beam when oncoming traffic is detected to keep from dazzling other drivers. LEDs are also used for the daytime running lights and taillights, making for a strong lighting signature no matter what time of day it is.

There are adaptive LED headlights that’ll point themselves around a corner, and switch to low beam when oncoming traffic is detected to keep from dazzling other drivers. LEDs are also used for the daytime running lights and taillights, making for a strong lighting signature no matter what time of day it is.

Further features include crosswind assist, an active blind spot monitor, cross traffic alert, Night View Assist Plus (essentially an infrared camera and thermal imaging system that’ll process the view ahead and project it onto the central screen, even on a moonless night), parking assist with ultrasonic sensors, a surround view top-down parking assist, and smart key entry. There’s also Magic Vision Control, which incorporates the windshield wiper fluid spray nozzles directly into the wiper blade, thus preventing overspray and vision blurring.

Finally, the S 65 uses aluminum and steel in its construction, and comes complete with a full range of standard airbags. As for crash ratings, both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have yet to evaluate the AMG S 65.

Competing Safety And Convenience

2015 Audi S8 High Resolution Exterior
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2017 BMW M760Li xDrive Exterior High Resolution
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When it comes to keeping its passengers safe, the Audi starts with all the usual features, such as a complete airbag system, electronic aides, and electromechanical parking brake. Added to this is helpful tech like Parking system plus, which gets a top-down and corner view camera system to help maneuver the four-door in and out of tight spots. There’s also Audi pre sense plus, Audi side assist, and Audi adaptive cruise control, all of which keep you cruising in comfort and away from danger. A heads-up display relays further info above the gauge cluster, while a night vision assistant projects an infrared and thermal-imaging read-out of the road ahead for enhanced afterhours driving.

The Bimmer is equally well equipped, arriving on the scene with custom settings for the Advanced Vehicle & Key Memory (climate control, mirror position, seat settings, etc.), rain-sensing windshield wipers, Parking Assist, Park Distance Control (both front and rear), and more. There are also active front headrests, programmable LED daytime running lights, and other standard safety features.

Forced to choose just one of these rides as the ultimate winner in high-tech safety and convenience features, I’d have to go with the Mercedes.

When it comes to choosing one of these rides for its high-tech safety and convenience features, it looks like Audi and Mercedes offer a bit more than the BMW, and forced to choose just one as the ultimate winner in this area, I’d have to go with the ultra-modern Mercedes. You could write a book about the S 65’s various features, and while it’s debatable how many will actually see use, it’s nice to know they’re there.

Prices

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Mercedes has yet to announce exact pricing for the updated AMG S 65, but it’s expected to be roughly the same as the preceding model year, which starts at $226,900.

Available packages include the Executive Rear Seat Package Plus, which adds in such features as dual power rear seats, folding tables, and heated and cooled rear cup holders, or the mbrace Bundle, which includes concierge and entertainment services, or finally, the mbrace Secure package, which adds features like an automatic alarm notification, collision notification, SOS emergency call, stolen vehicle tracker, and more.

The Competition’s Prices

2015 Audi S8 Exterior
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2017 BMW M760Li xDrive Exterior High Resolution
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Audi S8 pictured on the left, BMW M760i xDrive pictured on the right.

The Audi S8 starts at $115,900, and is offered with a variety of different packages, including the Cold Weather pack (heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, rear set pass-through) for $750, the Driver Assistance pack (active lane assist, adaptive cruise control, Audi pre sense plus) for $2,100, the Dynamic pack (carbon fiber lip spoiler, front and rear ceramic brakes, higher top speed, sport exhaust) for $11,000, Night vision assistant (thermal imaging and infrared camera feed for the onboard display) for $2,300, and a whole lot more.

Meanwhile, you can get into the BMW M760i xDrive for $156,700, with add-ons including the Driving Assistance Plus Package (Traffic Jam Assistance, Active Lane Keeping Assistant, Active Cruise Control, etc.) for $1,700, the BMW Individual Composition pack (upgraded and customized interior upholstery and trim) for $5,600, and the Rear Executive Lounge Seating Package (multi-adjustable rear seats, 7.0-inch rear Command Tablet, Active Ventilation, upgraded rear entertainment, etc.) for $5,750. Further options include a Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection feature for $2,300, Remote Control Parking for $550, and more.

A Few More Alternatives

We thought we’d toss in a few more options in this segment, just to see what sticks. While not quite as premium as the German entries listed above, the following two sedans still have lots to offer.

Lexus LS 500

2018 Lexus LS 500 High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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2018 Lexus LS 500 High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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If you prefer your land yacht with Japanese rather than Euro roots, you’ve gotta check out the Lexus LS 500. The nameplate has been around since 1989, offering the very best that the brand can muster when it comes to luxury and technology. Lexus just introduced the fifth-gen model at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, unveiling a new architecture, upgraded turbo V-6 powerplant, 10-speed automatic gearbox, and a whole lot of gadgets and gizmos in the cabin. The interior in particular is worth a look, bearing traditional Japanese craftsmanship techniques that stand out next to the somewhat stolid European competitors. Expect a much lower price tag too, starting at around $80,000.

Read the full review here.

Jaguar XJ

2014 Jaguar XJ High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2014 Jaguar XJ High Resolution Exterior
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First put into production way back in 1968, the XJ is a mainstay of the Jaguar brand, proudly flying the Cat Badge as Jag’s flagship sedan since 1970. The current X351 model was unveiled in 2009, bearing exquisite exterior styling by famed British designer Ian Callum, a solid powerplant selection headed by a 5.0-liter supercharged V-8, and both LWB and SWB iterations. Look for classic British luxury inside, with leather, touchscreens, and copious wood trim on the feature list. Pricing starts at $74,400.

Read the full review here.

Conclusion

2018 Mercedes-AMG S 65 High Resolution Exterior
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The S 65 is an outrageous automobile. It’s large, lively, and over-the-top in just about every single way. The luxury on hand is some of the most opulent you can get this side of a Maybach badge, while the turbocharged engine produces silly amounts of power while singing an intoxicating 12-cylinder song. And starting at around a quarter million bucks, it’s also absurdly expensive.

And that’s the real kicker here. Why spend so much when you can get a BMW M760i xDrive and a Jaguar XJ for the same amount of money? Is the S 65 really that much better?

Why spend so much when you can get a BMW M760i xDrive and a Jaguar XJ for the same amount of money? Is the S 65 really that much better?

On paper, no. The S 65 has the same options, the same technology, the same speed, and the same luxury specs. So how does Mercedes justify that price tag, especially when you can get the V-8 powered AMG S 63 (a car that’s actually faster, by the way) for about 80 grand less?

What it really comes down to is this – the S 65 is the Mercedes flagship. This is the tip of the spear, as it were, the snowy peak of Merc Mountain. This vehicle is a statement.

And sometimes, making a statement is more important than saving money.

  • Leave it
    • * Eye-wateringly expensive
    • * Same features offered elsewhere for less money
    • * Do you really need all that performance gear in this segment?

Press Release

New engine, new transmission, new all-wheel drive, new exterior and interior design: On the S 63 4MATIC+ (fuel consumption combined: 8.9 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 203 g/km), Mercedes-AMG has dramatically honed the driving dynamics and looks further. For improved performance with significantly reduced fuel consumption, the AMG 4.0-litre V-8 Biturbo engine with cylinder deactivation replaces the previous 5.5-litre V-8 Biturbo. Despite the smaller displacement, the new engine puts out 450 kW (612 hp) and thus exactly 20 kW (27 hp) more than the preceding model. With a sprint time of 3.5 seconds from zero to 100 km/h, the performance luxury saloon is on par with full-blooded sports cars. The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9‑speed sports transmission replaces the previous 7-speed gearbox. This has enabled more agile response times to be achieved. The fully variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system provides optimal traction.

At the same time as the S 63 4MATIC+, the top-of-the-range model S 65 (fuel consumption combined: 11.9 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 279 g/km) receives a visual update that underscores the superiority of the high-end 12-cylinder model. Its 6.0-litre V-12 Biturbo engine retains its output of 463 kW (630 hp) and peak torque of 1000 Newton metres. Thanks to the highest stage of development of the V-8 and V-12 biturbo engine, both new models deliver more output and torque than the competitors.

New MULTIBEAM LED headlamps and the updated front apron with jet wing underscore the more expressive appearance of both S-Class models. At the rear, the new apron and modified tailpipe trim add distinctive design focuses.

"Impressive power, torque and performance on the road, as well as the expressive design distinguish the new Mercedes-AMG S 63 4MATIC+ and the new S 65. With the S 63, we additionally took a major development step that supports our leadership claim in the areas of driving dynamics, performance, traction, equipment and demonstrative comfort. The S 65 with its high-torque 6.0-litre V-12 Biturbo engine remains the spearhead of the S-Class models“, says Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Managing Board of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

2018 Mercedes-AMG S 65 High Resolution Exterior
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4.0-litre V-8 biturbo engine with twin-scroll turbochargers

The AMG 4.0-litre V-8 Biturbo engine in the S 63 4MATIC+ comes exclusively in the highest performance stage to date rated at 450 kW (612 hp). The peak torque of 900 Nm also represents a new maximum. It is available across a wide rev range between 2750 and 4500 rpm, and thereby provides a sense of superior poise. The sprint from standstill to 100 km/h takes just 3.5 seconds, faster than in any other performance luxury saloon, and the dynamic push in the back does not end before reaching the electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h (with AMG Driver’s Package: 300 km/h).

The further advanced AMG 4.0-litre V-8 Biturbo engine utilises well-proven twin-turbo forced induction, with the two chargers not located outside on the cylinder banks, but rather between them in the V of the cylinders. The advantages of the "hot inner V" are a compact engine design, an immediate response from the turbochargers and low exhaust emissions thanks to optimum airflow to the close-coupled catalytic converters.

Two twin-scroll turbochargers provide even better fresh-mixture cylinder charge. The results are a higher output, more torque already at low engine speeds, and a very spontaneous throttle response.

’AMG Cylinder Management’ cylinder deactivation system

For maximum efficiency, Mercedes-AMG equipped the V-8 engine in the S 63 4MATIC+ with the AMG Cylinder Management cylinder deactivation system. In the partial-load range, cylinders two, three, five and eight are deactivated, which significantly lowers the fuel consumption. With a combined fuel consumption of 8.9 litres and combined CO2 emissions of 203 grams per kilometre, the new S 63 4MATIC+ is among the leaders in its competitive segment.

When the driver has selected the "Comfort" transmission driving mode, the cylinder deactivation system is available in the wide engine speed range from 1000 to 3250 rpm. The AMG main menu on the instrument cluster informs the driver whether the cylinder deactivation system is in use and whether the engine is presently operating in the partial or full-load range. The transition from four to eight-cylinder operation is immediate, fast and imperceptible, so that the passengers do not experience any loss of comfort whatsoever.

2018 Mercedes-AMG S 65 High Resolution Exterior
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Short shift times, high efficiency: the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed sports transmission

For the first time, the S 63 is fitted with the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed sports transmission, which impresses with extremely short shift times, fast multiple downshifts and a rev-matching function. A wet start-off clutch replaces the torque converter of the production model. This saves weight and improves the response to the driver’s accelerator pedal input, particularly during acceleration and load changes.

The extremely high torque of the S 65 is transferred by the proven AMG SPEEDSHIFT 7G-TRONIC PLUS transmission. It delivers convincing tailor-made dynamics and high variability. Whether automatic or initiated by the driver using the steering wheel paddle shifters, upshifts or downshifts are affected quickly and instantly. Especially in the "Sport+“ and in manual driving modes, the transmission is very fast and responsive.

AMG Performance 4MATIC+ variable all-wheel drive

The LHD version of the S 63 4MATIC+ comes as standard with the fully variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system. This intelligent system combines the advantages of different drive concepts: The fully variable torque split between front and rear axle, another first, ensures not optimal traction. What is more: The driver is also able to rely on high handling stability and a high level of safety under all conditions, in the dry, in the wet or in snow. The transition from rear-wheel to all-wheel drive and vice versa is seamless, because the intelligent control is integrated into the overall vehicle system architecture.

An electro-mechanically controlled clutch connects the permanently driven rear axle variably to the front axle. The best possible torque split is continuously computed according to the driving conditions and driver’s input. The performance saloon can thus be driven in a continuously variable way from traction-oriented all-wheel drive to purely rear-wheel drive. Transitions are seamless and based on a sophisticated matrix. Alongside traction and lateral dynamics, the all-wheel drive also improves the longitudinal dynamics for even more powerful acceleration.

The RHD version of the S 63 is equipped with the new engine and the new transmission. It is available solely with rear-wheel drive. The same applies to the S 65.

2018 Mercedes-AMG S 65 High Resolution Exterior
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For a personalised experience: AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes

The four AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes, "Comfort“, "Sport“, "Sport+“ and "Individual“, allow the driver to influence the characteristics of the S 63 4MATIC+ and the S 65 extensively. Each driving mode modifies key parameters such as the response of engine, transmission, suspension, steering, ESP®, and all-wheel drive (in the S 63 4MATIC+). Independently of the DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes, the driver has the option of pressing the "M" button to switch directly to manual mode, in which gearshifts are executed exclusively using the paddle shifters on the steering wheel. If required, the suspension settings can be specially selected as well. The 3-stage ESP® and the exhaust flap can also be switched with a special AMG button.

"Comfort" is the well-balanced driving mode with a comfort-oriented suspension and steering set-up, as well as a consumption-oriented powertrain configuration and early upshifts – including smooth gear changes and a discreet engine sound. Cylinder deactivation (in the S 63 4MATIC+), ECO start/stop function and sailing function (in the S 63 4MATIC+) are active: When the driver releases the accelerator in a speed range between 60 and 160 km/h, the clutch of the MCT transmission disengages and the engine is decoupled from the powertrain. The electronics lower the engine speed to idle and driving resistance is reduced by the compression and friction forces of the engine on overrun.

The DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes "Sport“ and "Sport+“ are designed for high driving dynamics. This is provided by the agile accelerator pedal characteristics with direct set-up and the emotionally appealing gearshifts with shortened shift times and rev-matching function on downshifts. The increased idle speed in "Sport+“ furthermore makes particularly fast start-offs and even better acceleration from standstill possible.

In addition, the S 65 features the "Curve“ driving mode, active in the speed range between 15 km/h and 180 km/h. A curve-tilting function is integrated into the MAGIC BODY CONTROL suspension of the S 65. As a result, the vehicle tilts to the inside of the turn by up to 2.65 degrees, similar to a motorcycle rider. This reduces the perceived lateral forces and increases the ride quality.

2018 Mercedes-AMG S 65 High Resolution Interior
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RACE START now even easier

The RACE START function is now also available in the S 63 4MATIC+. It now has a new and simplified operating logic: In the "Sport“ or "Sport+“ driving modes, the driver only has to press hard on the brake pedal with their left foot while fully depressing the accelerator pedal with their right foot at the same time.

The on-board electronics will then set the optimum engine speed. Depending on the requirements or the road surface conditions, the engine speed can be increased or lowered in a certain range by operating the paddle shifters. As soon as the driver releases the brake pedal, the S 63 4MATIC+ storms forward with optimal traction. The saloon then completes the sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds.

Pure sound: the controllable AMG Performance exhaust system

The S 63 4MATIC+ is fitted as standard with the controllable AMG Performance exhaust system to achieve an even more emotionally appealing sound experience. The infinitely adjustable flaps modulate the exhaust note authentically and directly. The flaps open or close dependent on the selected AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving mode, but can also be controlled individually with a separate button in the AMG DRIVE UNIT on the centre console. In the "Comfort" and "Sport" modes, the low-frequency sound typical of a V-8 emphasises comfort. In "Sport+“ it is of a much more emotionally appealing nature.

Systematic lightweight design: AMG Lightweight Performance

The stringent implementation of the AMG Lightweight Performance strategy also contributes to the high driving dynamics and low fuel consumption. The lightweight construction measures include the use of a lightweight lithium-ion starter battery, AMG forged light-alloy wheels as well as the weight-optimised AMG high-performance compound braking system. Furthermore, the entire outer skin of the S-Class including the roof and the front end of the body are made of aluminium. Installing a spare wheel recess made of carbon fibre, a material used in Formula 1 racing, reduces the weight by a further four kilograms.

2018 Mercedes-AMG S 65 High Resolution Drivetrain
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Specially developed suspension for maximum lateral and longitudinal dynamics

The S 63 4MATIC+ is equipped with the AMG sports suspensions based on AIRMATIC with adaptive damping. Customers can preset the damping to the stages "Comfort“ or "Sport“ ‑ from relaxed long-distance comfort to dynamic sportiness. Rebound and compression are set independently of each other, which optimises the adaptation to the driving status and the quality of the road. The freely programmable mapping furthermore allows a wide spread between minimum and maximum damper forces. The difference between the comfortable and sporty suspension setting is thus more refined and is subjectively even more perceptible – depending on the particular driving situation.

Mercedes-AMG developed special front axle kinematics including a higher wheel camber, bigger stabiliser bar and more rigid subframe mount at the rear axle exclusively for the S 63 4MATIC+. These measures optimise the vehicle’s agility when employing a spirited driving style. In conjunction with the newly developed front axle and the specially tuned all-wheel-drive system, the S 63 4MATIC+ represents a new dimension in driving dynamics in its segment.

S 65: AMG sports suspension based on MAGIC BODY CONTROL with curve-tilting function

The MAGIC BODY CONTROL suspension of the S 65 is focused on driving dynamics and prepares for bumps before the vehicle runs over them. To this end, MAGIC BODY CONTROL combines the active springs of the suspension with continuously adjustable dampers and ROAD SURFACE SCAN. The system precisely scans the condition of the road ahead with the help of a stereo camera to adjust the damping of each individual wheel optimally to the upcoming bumps already ahead of time.

The standard curve-tilting function causes the body of the vehicle to tilt to the inside of a turn by up to 2.65 degrees. This significantly reduces the perceived lateral forces and enhances the driving fun in particular on secondary roads.

Depending on the driving mode, the springing behaviour can be set to comfortable or sporty to suit personal preferences and/or the curve-tilting function can be activated. The active suspension effectively compensates body roll, squat and dive when moving off the line, in curves and during braking. The continuously adjustable dampers enable comfortable basic damping and a speed-dependent firm setting.

The ride height of the vehicle can be raised by 40 mm to increase the ground clearance. At high speeds, it is lowered by up to 15 mm and thereby reduces aerodynamic drag and increases the handling stability.

2018 Mercedes-AMG S 65 High Resolution Exterior
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Direct and with clear feedback: the AMG speed-sensitive steering

The electro-mechanical speed-sensitive sports steering in the S 63 4MATIC+ and in the S 65 has a variable steering ratio. It stands out thanks to the AMG-specific rack-and-pinion ratio with its precise, highly authentic feedback. Power assist varies between the stages "Comfort“, "Sport“ and "Sport+“. The relevant characteristics are automatically activated depending on the selected DYNAMIC SELECT driving mode or can be personalised in "Individual" mode. At low speeds, the driver only needs to provide minimal steering input. At high speeds, he or she is able to rely on solid straight-line stability. The clearly defined steering centre and the authentic feedback likewise contribute to the optimum steering feel.

Good control and fade-resistant: the AMG high-performance compound braking system

The large high-performance compound braking system decelerates the performance saloon reliably and quickly, and is fade-resistant even under high stress. The S 63 4MATIC+ and S 65 are fitted with compound brake rotors of size 390 x 36 mm with 6-piston aluminium fixed callipers on the front axle, and of size 360 x 24 mm with single-piston floating callipers on the rear axle.

The AMG ceramic high-performance compound braking system is optionally available. The weight savings of more than 20 percent reduce unsprung masses and increase driving dynamics, agility and ride quality. Furthermore, the ceramic brakes are distinguished by a longer service life, higher corrosion resistance and higher thermal stability. It features brake discs of size 420 x 40 mm at the front and of size 360 x 32 mm at the rear. It can be identified visually by the "AMG Carbon Ceramic" lettering on the specially painted brake callipers.

The 3-stage ESP® offers more safety or more fun as desired:

ESP® ON: for a high level of safety by adaptation to the sporty character of the car
ESP® Sport Handling Mode: allows wider yaw angles before system intervention for a sporty driving style
ESP® OFF: system deactivated for a sporty driving style on closed circuits. During hard braking, ESP® is switched back on temporarily.

Front apron with new jet wing: the exterior design

The new S 63 4MATIC+ and the new S 65 can be identified from the front by the MULTIBEAM LED headlamps and the redesigned front apron with expressive jet wing. The large side air intakes provide an improved airflow to the cooling modules – their functional form is familiar from motorsport. The three-dimensional front splitter reduces lift at the front axle.

The door sill panelling with three-dimensional high-gloss chrome inlays lower the S-Class visually closer to the road and create even more tension in the side. Typical for the AMG S-Class models are the large forged light-alloy wheels with a diameter of 19 inches as standard on the S 63 4MATIC+, and of 20 inches as standard on the S 65. The exclusive forged wheels of the V-12 saloon fascinate with their unusual design: each of the 16 spokes twists in a special way so that the light-catching contours radiate to the centre of the wheel hub. The effect: The wheel appears larger than its actual dimensions of 8.5 J x 20 at the front and 9.5 J x 20 at the rear. In addition, the ceramic mirror polishing ensure an exclusive look.

As standard, the forged wheels feature a high-quality, bolted and fully integrated wheel bolt cover made of forged aluminium. Its shape is reminiscent of a centre lock as seen in motorsport. The AMG logotype is incorporated into the rim as a design element. Three other forged wheels of the same size are optionally available – two design variants also painted matt black with a high-sheen rim flange.

The powerful rear end of the S 63 4MATIC+ and S 65 is formed by the updated rear apron with diffuser insert and the redesigned model-specific dual tailpipes of the AMG sport exhaust system. Additional stand-out features are the many high-gloss chrome design elements at the front, side and rear, which develop their radiant effect especially in combination with dark paint finishes.

2018 Mercedes-AMG S 65 High Resolution Interior
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Interior: beguiling appointments, design and quality

The stylish character of the new S-Class models from Mercedes-AMG is also evident in the interior: Both models welcome their passengers with an exclusive ambience. The AMG power sports seats with memory function and seat heating offer the driver and front passenger more lateral support. Nappa leather in AMG V-8 design with AMG badges in the front and rear backrests creates a luxurious atmosphere on board. Special touches include the embossed emblem on the armrest of the front centre console and the analogue clock in exclusive IWC design, which features three-dimensional, milled metal hands and genuine metal appliqués on the face.

The three-spoke Performance steering wheel features paddle shifters, a distinctly contoured rim trimmed with perforated leather in the grip area, and a metal insert with AMG logotype. It is optionally available made of black nappa leather/DINAMICA microfibre.

Another hallmark AMG speciality are the displays: The 31.2-centimetre TFT wide-screen colour display reproduces round dials that provide information about engine speed, vehicle speed and lots of additional data. The driver can choose from three display designs, Classic, Sport and Progressive. In addition, the AMG menu was expanded considerably. Among other things, it can display the engine and transmission oil temperature, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, engine output and torque, boost pressure, tyre temperatures and pressures as well as the current vehicle set-up.

Numerous options from the AMG Performance Studio

Anyone looking to customise the S 63 4MATIC+ and S 65 even further, can order a host of options from the AMG Performance Studio. The exterior can be tailored to personal preferences with the Night package, attractive alternative wheels and a Carbon package. In the interior, the black nappa leather/DINAMICA microfibre Performance steering wheel boosts the sporty character. Carbon or carbon/piano lacquer trim elements round off the possibilities.

2018 Mercedes-AMG S 65 High Resolution Exterior
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AMG TRACK PACE App

Motorsport enthusiasts can record numerous vehicle data and lap times on the race track with AMG Track Pace in the S 63 4MATIC+. All values are shown on the COMAND display, and in the Widescreen Cockpit the current times can also be read off in the instrument cluster. Based on the data, drivers are able to analyse their driving style with precision and can use the insights gained to improve their lap times.

The new performance luxury saloons celebrate their world premiere as part of the Shanghai Auto Show on 18 April 2017.

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