Earlier this year I spent some time behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, and I walked away a bit underwhelmed. But I had the same car again for a weekend and loved every minute of it.
AMG’s normally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 is as delightful as ever, and there is a very pleasant, refined exhaust tone when you boot it. Since the S63 was still wearing summer rubber and temperatures hovered around freezing with a decent amount of rain and snow in the mix, I didn’t get much spirited driving time, and that’s a shame. This car moves pretty well given its curb weight and the 6.2-liter’s preference for lots of revs. If you’re going to spring for a car like this (and you live in a northern state), be sure to buy winter rubber.
I was a bit disappointed this S-class didn’t come with a rearview camera. Backing such a long car into a parking garage space is a bit difficult with only the small side mirrors. I’d gladly trade the night view system for a regular rearview camera to make sure I don’t scratch my bumper or overhang a parking spot and get clipped by another driver.
Distronic cruise control continues to amuse me and amaze my passengers. It isn’t cheap, but when your car starts at $132k, less than $3k for intelligent cruise control sounds justifiable.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor
Like Phil, my time behind the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG came during some wintry Michigan weather, so I wasn’t able to enjoy the S63 to its fullest performance potential. That’s not to say it rained on my parade (technically, it sleeted)-I still enjoyed my time behind the wheel of the big Benz.
Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but a car this size just feels best as a proper four-door sedan. I drove the Mercedes CL63 AMG-essentially a two-door variant of this same car-a few months back, and though I enjoyed it, I couldn’t help thinking I’d enjoy the S-class version better-it just felt odd for a car so large to simply be a coupe. I ended up proving myself correct, though I couldn’t help but wish for the lower seating position afforded by the SL. Perhaps I’m just never satisfied.
I was, however, more than satisfied with virtually everything else. Although enthusiasts regard the AMG models as performance vehicles (which they truly are), there just isn’t enough written about the stupefying levels of luxury contained within their interiors. No matter which seating position you’re in, the S63’s cabin is warm and inviting and rewards all with a level of comfort and pampering it’s hard to find elsewhere.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer
I was not overly impressed with the S63 AMG. I found the S-class unconvincing in high-powered, AMG drag. Yes, it’s blindingly quick, but the non-AMG S600 is plenty fast. The soundtrack, though, is truly intoxicating and I found myself burying the throttle just to hear it.
I agree with Phil that on a car this large a rearview camera is nearly a necessity and a notable oversight on a car this expensive and loaded down with every gadget imaginable.
Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor
I’ve now driven several AMG Mercedes-Benzes with the normally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 and have come away from each iteration impressed. The S63 sounds great, looks great, and makes you feel like a million bucks when you’re behind the wheel. The exterior styling is distinctive but tasteful – it’s obvious that this isn’t a run-of-the-mill S-class. The interior is ultraluxurious, with high-quality leather and wood swathing everything. Still, with today’s economy, the extra $42,000 over the price of an S550 is no small thing. Luckily for Mercedes, there will always be a slice of the market that is unaffected by financial turmoil and is unfazed by economic uncertainty. For them, the S63 AMG is a worthwhile addition to their garage.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
2009 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG
Base Price (with destination): $132,225
Price as tested: $144,840
-iPod Integration Kit – $425
-Panorama Sunroof – $1,050
-Premium III: Night View Assist – $1,710
-AMG Performance Package – $7,070
-Distronic Plus Package – $2,880
-Gas Guzzler Tax – $3,000
Fuel Economy: 11 / 17 /13 (city/hwy/combined)
Size: 6.3L V8
HP: 518 HP @ 6,800 rpm
Torque: 465 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm
Safety Ratings (in stars, 1-5):
-Frontal Crash Driver: Not Rated
-Frontal Crash Passenger: Not Rated
-Side Crash Front Seat: Not Rated
-Side Crash Rear Seat: Not Rated
-Rollover: Not Rated
Transmission: 7-Speed Automatic Transmission
Weight: 4663 lb
– 20″ AMG 5-Spoke Light Alloy Wheels
– Front: 255/35 ZR20
– Rear: 275/35 ZR20