2008 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG

2008 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG

This is probably the most subdued and the most stealth car that $207,965 (as tested) can buy. Granted, the lofty $200K-ish price point includes only Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Ferraris, Aston Martins, and clapped-out Lear jets, so I'm not saying that the flagship S-class is mundane. It's just the least ostentatious of the bunch. Relatively.

Until you hit the gas and are socked with 738 lb-ft of thunderous torque, while the stability control system (if it's activated) labors to keep the tires from spontaneously boiling into dust. That's when you forget that words like "subdued" and "mundane" exist. You just hang on and enjoy the ride.

The S65 AMG is so excessive that, like other S-classes, it has eight washer streams (no lie) that spray about a pint per second each. Nuts. The fabulous white "designo" interior (a $9765 option) features lovely quilted inner door panels, über-luxe seats, and leather covering even the ashtray lid. My only issues after an evening of pimping around town: the black lacquer steering wheel smudges easily, and the autoclose doors aren't nearly as sensitive as those on the Lexus LS460.

No big deal, though. I adore all S-classes because the cars drive so well and have such glorious, intuitive interiors. The crazy-powerful S65 is that much better. A funny thing about this engine, though: the mind-melting 604 hp comes at only 4800 rpm; that's a lower rpm peak than my 1967 MGB's OHV 1.8-liter in-line four-cylinder (which puts out a shocking 98 hp!).

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