Mercedes-Benz S Class fans wouldn’t typically associate the historically plush ride with supercar-rivaling performance figures. But that’s what the newly debuted S63 E Performance delivers.
Mercedes’ next-generation S63 is equipped with nearly 800 horsepower, four-digit torque figures and sophisticated hybrid technology. All are firsts for the S Class AMG. The S63 also retains the turbo V8 synonymous with top-tier AMG models unlike the recently launched, four-cylinder C63 E Performance.
The Mercedes-AMG achieved a 3.2-second 0-60 launch and 180-mph limited top speed. The S63 and its renowned 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 pump 603 horsepower and 664 pounds/feet of torque.
These numbers are boosted to 791 and 1,055 respectively when factoring in the rear-mounted electric permanently synchronous motor (PSM) and 13.1-kWh, 400-volt battery. The electric motor alone produces as much as 188 horsepower for up to 10 seconds or 94 horsepower continuously.
Two transmissions deliver the power to all four wheels. The internal combustion engine gets its own nine-speed automatic gearbox and the 13,500-RPM electric motor has a two-speed automatic that shifts when at 85 mph. To stop this large Mercedes, AMG equipped the S63 with six-piston high-performance composite brakes.
The European-spec S63 tips the scale at 5,720 pounds, an increase of more than 800 pounds from the previous generation. Mercedes hasn’t specified how much the U.S. model will weigh.
The new S63 is available with a wide range of driving modes for a wide range of driving experiences. Power can be delivered according to the driving mode chosen: Individual allows the driver to customize settings in relation to driving dynamics, and Electric uses electric power exclusively, including startup.
As the battery begins to drain, the S63 switches into Comfort which balances the use of the engine and electric motor for propulsion. When the battery gets low, Battery Hold kicks in. The battery maintains its charge and is optimized for low-power use while making use of both the engine and motor. Sport and Sport+ are for peak acceleration and driving characteristics, and Slippery flattens the torque curve and eliminates electric-only driving.
This array of driving characteristics is further made possible with air suspension with adaptive dampers, the AMG Ride Control+ suspension system, active roll stabilization, active engine mounts, and standard rear-axle steering.
Regardless of what road conditions the S63 is on, these features provide the driver with either an opulent land yacht or a nimble super-sports sedan.
Mercedes hasn’t drastically altered the aesthetics of the S63 in relation to its standard and Maybach counterparts. Most all body lines stay true with the exception of the vertical slat, AMG-exclusive grille, and enlarged front vents for maximum air consumption with a “jet wing design.” Forged, 21-inch AMG wheels are sported alongside large tailpipes.
A look inside reminds buyers the S63 is a luxury vehicle. Exclusive color choices, ambient lighting, and Nappa leather upholstery with a flurry of AMG branding is present in addition to a performance steering wheel with stacked buttons.
Large screens dominate the few physical buttons that remain. The gauge cluster and center console display performance information, including temperatures and settings for the suspension and transmission.
Safety systems have been improved as Mercedes now offers the Drive Pilot SAE Level 3 system where driving control is handed over to the vehicle (exclusive to Germany currently). Collision avoidance of stationary objects has been increased from 37 mph to 62 mph and lane detection and traffic sign awareness are better in comparison to previous S Classes.
Pricing information is yet to be released. The current S Class starts at $111,000 and given its advanced performance and luxury systems, few would be surprised if the S63 E Performance has a starting price nearing the $200,000 mark.
Mason Bloom is a reporter for TheWeeklyDriver.com. When he is not writing about industry news, new car reviews or covering live motorsport events, he is a sophomore at Aptos High School on the California central coast.