A week with a Mercedes S63 AMG coupe

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It’s a two-door version of the biggest Benz

Day one: The S-class coupe arrives, looking massive and rather handsome. It’s dark and cold by the time I drive it home. Time to crank the heater. Mercedes is the only luxury car maker that doesn’t insist its climate control systems work in fiddly and pointless half degree increments. For this they should be applauded. Since it’s right parky outside, I also put on the heated seat. Sitting in unexpected traffic just outside my office I discover something remarkable. My back and arse are getting gently griddled, but so is my left arm resting on the centre bin. Better yet, the armrest on the door is also warm. Suddenly it’s a pleasure to be at a standstill. In fact, when the queue moves it’s a bit of a pain having to move one arm off the toasty leather in order to hold the steering wheel. West London is near-gridlocked, but this gives plenty of time to delve into the S-class’s sub menus, of which there are many. The best discovery is the massage function for the seat. Other cars have this, but it’s usually little more than rolling the lumbar support up and down your back. Not here. The seats have lots of little air pockets in them which inflate and deflate to poke and prod you in the torso with varying degrees of ferocity. It’s all rather pleasant. The traffic on the way may have been shit, but I arrive home feeling quite calm. And with hot arms.

Day two: Trundling across the city this morning, less distracted by the strange sensation of having a hot massage whilst in control of a moving car, it’s hard to ignore that there are few odd things about the interior. From where I sit the steering wheel blocks the top of the dials. Some of the buttons around the central control doodah are hidden from view. The headlight switch is at a funny angle so you can’t see which position you’ve got it in. Merc doesn’t usually drop the ball on basic ergonomics like this. Mind you, there are so many buttons the law of averages says some of them would end up in the wrong place. The rest of the interior is perfectly good, save for the lid on the storage hole at the bottom of the centre stack which has ‘Designo’ written on it in horrible font and a sensationally vile handle that appears to be made of crystal. Thankfully both disappear when you open the cubby hole’s lid, possibly to vomit into it.

AWWS63coupe2Day three: My wife hasn’t seen the Merc yet. This morning she looks out of the window at it. ‘Oh, I LIKE that,’ she coos. She’s right, it’s a nice looking thing. I’d even say it was elegant, but for the snarly, aggressive front end. Parked behind my neighbour’s VW Up it looks like it’s about to eat it or mount it.

Day four: This, you may have noticed, is an AMG Merc and such things are usually quite noisy and mad. The S-class is a bit more grown up than that. Nonetheless, it starts with a stout but muffled V8 rumble. This is a nice way to begin the day. If you really clog it, the rumble comes back. You might also notice you’ll be travelling quite quickly. For a big car, you can fling the S-class around to a surprising degree. The steering has one of those variable ratio racks that gets much quicker after not much of a turn. It makes the car feel surprisingly lively. On the downside, the ride in a car like this should be sensational, and it isn’t. Which is a disappointment.

Day five: You know what this S63 is? It’s a big swinging dick of a machine. It says, yea I can afford a big car, but no, I don’t need the space inside. Cos that’s how I roll. Look, I’m smoking a cigar and it’s not even dark outside. Yea. Or something like that. In other news, on the way home tonight I put the massage seats into a very vigourous lower back jabbing setting and then had to turn them off because I could feel organs being moved around and I thought I was going to wet myself.

AWWS63coupe3Day six: You would expect the S63 AMG coupe to be an expensive car. It is. It’s 125 grand. But not this press demonstrator. This press demonstrator has some options on it. Let me talk you through the highlights. There’s the upgraded Burmester stereo. That’s £5300. There’s the piano black lacquer interior trim. That’s £1060. There’s the AMG driver’s package that lifts the speed limiter from 155 to 186mph. That’s £2760, which seems a bit steep for a software tweak, even if you get driver training at the AMG academy thrown in. Finally, there are the upgraded LED lights with ‘the addition of 47 Swarovski crystals [to] provide striking visual highlights and emphasise the unique nature of the vehicle’. They’re £2860. I know, I know. Oh, and if you want the heated armrests, they’re 440 quid. Total cost of this test car: £155,115. Yowser.

Goodbye: I’m handing the S63 to a colleague so that he too can experience hot arms and the strange yet agreeable feeling of swooshing about the place while your seat fondles your kidneys. It’s a very civilised and pleasant way to get around. I liked it. And yet, for the same money you could get a Bentley Continental. Yes, it’s not as swishy and it seems to have the infotainment system from a mk4 Golf, but it has an innate sense of occasion built-in rather than brought about by adding technology. I suspect the S-class, with its gadgets and its optional headlight crystals, will play well in new money markets like China and Russia. In Britain, for this substantial amount of cash, I think I’d err towards a Conti GT Speed. Or, to put it in a motoring journalists’ metaphor kind of way, I’d rather have a modest room at The Dorchester than the biggest suite in a Holiday Inn.

The car talked about here is a Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG coupe. It has a 5.5-litre twin turbocharged V8 engine making 577 horsepower and 664 lb ft. It can go from 0-62 in 4.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph (or 186mph if you pay extra). Without options, it costs £125,595. With options it costs more than that. 


  1. 155k and no heated steering wheel???

    The wife’s 20k vauxhall mokka has!!!

    And what’s with mercs obsession with Swarovski crystals??

  2. MB either make greek island taxis or gangsta cars and the greeks can’t afford Svarowski.

  3. It’s a well know fact that most of Merc’s options list is only aimed at the clinically insane.

    Does the coupe have the stupid gurning steering wheel? Rather ruins the saloon, I feel.

  4. I was actually quite liking it. Thinking “maybe I would have that over a Conti” mainly because heated massagey stuff is wonderful and the tech really is rather impressive. But…

    Modest room at the Dorchester over biggest suite in the Holiday Inn. Brilliant. Truly brilliant analogy Sir Sniff. All things properly in perspective now.

    Conti and the hand warmers I use for winter golf it is then.


  5. There’s a second hand Bentley Brooklands Coupe on Autotrader with just 5,800 miles on it.

    Yours for £134,995. That has to be like booking into the Dorchester to find they’ve had a minor mix up with the bookings and you’ll be getting a sizeable suite by way of compensation.

  6. Wow. A Brooklands? That’s a lot of lovely thick, hand made metal for the money.

    On the subject of steering wheels, the Coupe gets a three spoke wheel that doesn’t gurn. And it’s heated, although it took me a while to spot this since the control is completely hidden.

  7. Ah yes, but a Bentley Conti SCREAMS AND SHOUTS footballer. This will be bought by footballers as well. So I’m loosing this argument with myself, least of all with yous lot.

  8. Have you punched yourself in the face?

  9. 5 grand for a car radio???

    I actually like the 1/2 degree increments. 19 is too cold and 20 is too hot.

  10. I’m confused. Is this a replacement for the CL55 AMG? These, incidentally, start on Autotrader for £4,979.

    I visited the Mercedes website to look for a CL, but left feeling even more confused, after the discovery of (unknown to me) GLA, GLK, GLE classes.

    A GLE to me should be Swedish and be preceded by 760.

    Oh for the simple German model line-ups circa 1980.

  11. Not so sure I’d consider the Bentley Continental the “classy” option when Bentley Continentals are so closely associated with footballists and new money.

    Sure the Swarovski crystal and Designo twaddle is a bit naff and the AMG-ness can be overdone, but in principle the S Class is the epitome of German engineering brilliance. That surely counts for something?

  12. Triumph,
    I think if I followed Sniff’s excellent piece on the new Merc names a few months back, the CL is now the E Coupe, but there is no AMG version listed as far as I can see. The letters are supposed to be “logical” with all SUVs starting with a “G”. Except the M which is still M. I think. Why can’t they be logical like BMW where odd numbers are 4 doors and even numbers are 2 doors. Except the 2 series. And the 6 Gran Coupe. Did I imagine a 4 Gran Coupe or does that exist too? I’ll shut up now.

  13. Do Mercedes Benz not realise that to most regular folk, the word Swarovski has about as much cache as Rhinestone.

    “[to] provide striking visual highlights and emphasise the unique nature of the vehicle”….?

    Oh dear lord.

  14. Crystals on cars?

    You can only carry this off if you are in fact The Duke of New York. If you’re A-number-ONE.

    So when we get there Harold, you just keep talking.

  15. I want to like this car, I really do.

    But whenever I see it, all I can think of is middle-aged London “property consultants” sporting shirts with large collars and novelty cufflinks. And silver bits of trim on their shoes. And faux-tweed jackets. And artfully sculpted facial hair. And a pneumatic wife wearing a rose gold Michael Kors watch.

    I want to like it, but at the same time, I don’t want to be a massive wanker.


  16. Does this car have a toilet, a kitchen, and space for a double bed? If not, I’d rather spend 155 big ones on a house in the English Midlands; or four houses in an Asian capital city which I know all too well. In which case, a 1991 Toyota Corolla would be a suitable way to blend in locally. So long as it had a built-in mosquito killer.

  17. Look at the price of a 10 year old CL then consider what sort of person would page £155k for this car….. Buying one of these brand new is a completely outrageous waste of money!!

  18. I picked up the old CL600 AMG for £14,000 a while back with 55,000 miles. I found the original receipt for more than £100,000.

    Bangernomics with class.

    I might have to wait a bit for this one to drop to that price but it was a great car for the price of a small hatchback

  19. “the centre stack which has ‘Designo’ written on it in horrible font …”

    With all due respect, what entitles you to categorize it as horrible?

    Maybe you hate the glyphs, or are upset at the weight and stress of the letter form. If so, which stroke would you work on?

    Now, don’t hurry to the internet so you can answer that you expected some humanistic sans serif with a decidedly friendly disposition because you are kind of a “modern” folk. You should have done before. Nah, too much effort, “horrible font” would do it. Who would notice?

    BTW, “designo” is set all in lowercase.

    Anyone can make a joke out of something he particularly doesn’t like, but that alone doesn’t make it horrible.

    On the other hand, weak knowledge is a fine line to walk at, cross it and the joke is in you.

  20. Guys who of you play Pokemon GO? Amazing game, yesterday i caught rare pokemon Magmar using pokebusterbot !
    No ban so far, still using it. You should too.

  21. For sure.

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