The lush green landscape against the crisp blue of the Tuscan sky is stunning, with pitched switchbacks and undulating sweepers as far as the eye can see, and the whole of the region is embarrassingly clean — with nary a hint of litter anywhere you look. But all that calm can easily be destroyed with 577 snorting horses and enough torque (664 lb-ft) to purée a year’s worth of Chianti grapes in no time flat. That’s exactly what’s under the hood of the all-new S63 AMG 4Matic Coupe.
Whoever says the world doesn’t have room for a big, luxurious German grand tourer thinks way too much about necessities and far too little about plush and powerful excess. The minds at Mercedes thought it wise to retire the respectable but long-in-the-tooth CL-class boulevardier and replace it with a car that’s equal parts visual magnificence, executive-class comfort and rocket propulsion. (Pricing has yet to be announced, but expect it to be north of the outgoing CL63’s price of $154,600.) This new one’s got the cabin of a bespoke, executive Lear Jet and the thrust of a Joint Strike Fighter.
UNDER THE HOOD
Engine: 5.5-liter Twin Turbo V8
Torque: 664 lb-ft
0-62: 3.9 seconds
Transmission: Seven-speed AMG Speedshift MCT
Fuel Economy: 15 City/23 Highway MPG
Curb Weight: 4,550 pounds
Top Speed: 155 mph (can be upgraded to 186)
The AMG model only magnifies the visual presence of the standard S550 Coupe. The over-simplistic rear view of the stock coupe is enhanced with the S63’s quad rhomboid tailpipes and Lord Vader diffuser. The S63’s profile, though thicker than its less powerful brother, is no less elegant. The two character lines in the body taper toward each other from front to back, elongating the car in what amounts to the S Class Coupe’s best design feature. The interminably long hood that houses the monolithic 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 seems big enough for a small plane to land on; this is the appropriate size for a regal grand tourer.
The magnificence is amplified in the interior. White leather tends to recall Floridian retiree velcro shoes, but in the S63 it’s a gorgeous shock to the senses. Add a huge sweeping band of carbon fiber, and you’ve got a recipe for high-speed distraction. The butter-soft leather around the quad circular vents is tauter than a bikini on a Bond Girl.
Whoever says the world doesn’t have room for a big, luxurious German grand tourer thinks way too much about necessities and far too little about plush and powerful excess.
Just don’t make the mistake of thinking this most attractive of big Mercs will wear the gown without doing the dance. Though we couldn’t quite mash the pedal to the floor on the tight twisties of Tuscany, just a slight depression of the gas pedal resulted in a somewhat muted but still pleasurable roar along with the appropriate amount of shove in the back. That it’ll do 186 mph when it’s unfettered (155 is the standard top-end limit) and 0-60 in under four seconds makes it just as good for cross-country blasts as it is for Rodeo Drive cruises.
The S63 Coupe has been rightfully gifted with a handling triple whammy: air suspension, torque vectoring and a good dose of negative camber at the front wheels. No 4,400 pound chunk of metal should handle this well. It instills an impressive degree of confidence and delivers even more impressive handling, even on those wicked Italian switchbacks. It’s like getting a smooth Negroni served up in a skull shaped glass — the S63 calms your nerves while serving it up strong.