Mercedes will take the wraps of its high performance S63 AMG at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. It will be available in the UK in long wheelbase, rear-wheel drive form, with prices set to start from around £120,000.
As with all AMG products, the engine is the star. Once again, the firm’s 5.5-litre bi-turbo V8 is used, in its upgraded 577bhp form – as it is on the new S Model version of the E 63 AMG.
The engine also manages 900Nm of torque – 100Nm more than the E63 – which helps shove the S63’s 2,070kg from 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 155mph.
Despite the huge power on tap, the S63 is more efficient than its predecessor, and already conforms to the EU6 emissions standards that come into force in 2015. This is thanks to the fact that the car weighs around 100kg less than before. A large proportion of the body is now made from aluminium, while the spare wheel well is made from carbon fibre, shaving 4kg.
The starter and back-up battery have also been replaced with a lithium-ion unit, just as in the SLS Black Series, which chops another 20kg. All models are fitted with lightweight 19-inch alloys and a composite brake system, while 20-inch AMG alloys and 20 per cent lighter ceramic brakes – with huge 420mm front discs – are on the options list.
All models include an AMG sports exhaust. With the driving mode set to the default Controlled Efficiency setting, flaps in each silencer remain closed most of the time, keeping noise down. Select Sport or Manual and the flaps open to give ‘an even fuller, emotional, hallmark AMG engine sound.’
All cars use the AMG SPEEDSHIFT seven-speed automatic transmission, and all feature ESP with Curve Dynamic Assist, which brakes an inside rear wheel to help tuck the nose into bends.
Sports suspension with Mercedes’ Magic Body Control is also standard equipment. This uses the car’s stereo camera, mounted behind the rear-view mirror, to scan the road surface for lumps and bumps and automatically adjusts the suspension to give the smoothest ride possible.
However, at present, the system doesn’t work at night, as the camera needs to be able to see the surface of the road ahead clearly. It also struggles if the S-Class is following the car in front closely, or if there are puddles or snow on the road.
As for design, the S63 AMG features a more aggressive front bumper with larger air intakes and aerodynamic flics to produce downforce. There's also plenty of AMG badging, and a rear bumper with a diffuser and twin chromed exhaust tailpipes.
Inside, each S63 gets AMG sports seats, an analogue clock designed by IWC and a sports steering wheel. The TFT screen features an AMG instrument cluster with a speedo that runs to 205mph.
The S63 AMG will arrive in the UK by the end of the year. The UK will only get the car in long wheelbase, rear-wheel drive form. A short wheelbase model, and a long wheelbase model with 4MATIC four-wheel drive that can sprint to 0-62mph in just four seconds, will be sold in other markets.
An even more high performance S65 AMG will be added to the range in the second quarter of 2014 – most likely at the Beijing Motor Show.