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New Mercedes-AMG S 63 e Performance 2023 review

The new Mercedes-AMG S 63 e Performance boasts stunning performance, but the hybrid system is far from perfect

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Verdict

From the powertrain to the infotainment system, the S-Class e Performance is a showcase for every piece of technology Mercedes-AMG has at its disposal to electrify its flagship saloon and elevate it above rivals. It’s an astonishing performer, but – as with the standard S-Class – no longer sits at the pinnacle of luxury motoring, while more work is needed on the brakes and hybrid system.

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According to Mercedes-AMG boss Michael Schiebe, buyers of AMG-fettled S-Class models just want the very best of everything – they’re a demanding lot, as you would expect from people spending £186,015 on a car.

But this is no ordinary car, it’s the most powerful S-Class ever with 792bhp and a whopping 1,430Nm of torque. That huge power output comes from the combination of a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and a plug-in hybrid system featuring an electric motor sitting on the rear axle that’s been developed with the help of Mercedes High Performance Powertrains using its F1 knowhow. 

The 13.1kWh battery has been tweaked to offer repeatable performance boosts rather than electric-only range, which sits at just over 20 miles; the battery power helps towards a 0-62mph time of 3.3 seconds. 

Don’t go calling it hardcore, though. “This is two cars in one,” says Schiebe. “This is still an S-Class.” The look is one of restrained performance, while comfort and quality is impressive, if not class leading.

It’s certainly swift and works best at full pelt; anything less can induce occasional hesitations as V8 and electric motor vie for priority to feed power through the nine-speed box that, in turn, feeds power to all four wheels.

Our car also had problematic brakes that throbbed as you ease off – again, full-on pedal pressure was fine, but lifting off could set your passenger’s head bobbing back and forth. It’s a known problem and will be fixed for production, we’re told.

The ride is supple enough, if not as cosseting as a standard S-Class’s, while body control for this big, heavy beast of a car is impressive, with meaty-feeling steering that lacks a bit of delicacy.

If the ultimate S-Class is your wish, this is it – and then some. Mercedes-AMG has thrown tech at this car in every way imaginable to make an astonishingly quick luxury saloon.

Model:Mercedes-AMG S 63 e Performance
Price:£186,015
Engine:4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol plus electric motor
Power/torque:792bhp/1, 430Nm
Transmission:Nine-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
0-62mph:3.3 seconds
Top speed:155mph
Economy:64.2mpg
CO2:100 g/km
On sale:Now
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Editor-in-chief

Steve Fowler has been editor-in-chief of Auto Express since 2011 and is responsible for all editorial content across the website and magazine. He has previously edited What Car?, Autocar and What Hi-Fi? and has been writing about cars for the best part of 30 years. 

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