Mercedes S-Class Coupe review
The S-Class Coupe puts the supreme luxury, comfort, styling and performance of the limo in a two-door package
Mercedes knows a thing or two about building luxury cars. The S-Class limousine has been setting the standard for high-end luxury travel for decades now, and now Merc has added the S-Class Coupe to the range. There have been plenty of large, two-door luxury grand tourers in Mercedes's past, from the 540K of the 1930s, to the SEC coupes of the 1980s and the CL-Class, which the S-Class Coupe replaced in 2014.
The S-Class Coupe uses a shortened platform from the limo, so it has a shorter wheelbase, but it's stil a huge car, measuring over five metres long. As well as a coupe, the S-Class has also spawned the S-Class Cabriolet, which adds a thick canvas roof to the coupe body style.
The S-Class Coupe was facelifted towards the end of 2017, and there are three models in the range. The pre-facelift line up started with the 449bhp twin-turbo 4.7-litre V8, which featured in the S500.
This was replaced by the S560 at facelift time, which features a more powerful and efficient 463bhp 4.0-litre twin turbo V8.
Those after more power should turn to the Mercedes-AMG S63; this also got a new engine in 2017, shifting from a 5.5-litre V8 to a 604bhp twin turbo V8. If having as much oomph as possible is important to you, the Mercedes-AMG S65 boasts marginally more, at 621bhp, but comes with the added appeal of a V12 engine, again with two turbochargers.
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Car group tests
Note the S 560 and S63 feature Merc's latest nine-speed auto, while the S 65 uses a 7G-Tronic seven-speed auto.
There's usually a piece of innovation launched with each version of the S-Class, and the Coupe is no different. Mercedes added Magic Body Control air-suspension from the saloon with an extra Curve Tilt Function, which adds a form of active suspension that angles the car into a bend to counter any body roll, and makes the S-Class Coupe more agile as a result. Another innovation is the use of Swarovski crystals in the full LED headlights.
Aside from the engine and name changes, Mercedes introduced subtle improvements for the 2017 S-Class Coupe update. The usual facelift items - new bumper designs, a fresh radiator grille, reprofiled side sills, plus additional wheel and paint options - are all present and correct.
Refreshed cars also have OLED (organic LED) rear lights, brawnier exhaust tips and a little more exterior chrome garnish, while the S63 and S65 get Mercedes' Panamericana radiator grille, borrowed from the Mercedes-AMG GT supercar.
The S-Class Coupe is built alongside the saloon at Sindelfingen in Germany, although the engines of the AMG models are built at the performance division's factory near Stuttgart, where they get a plaque bearing the engine builder's name.
Prices for the S-Class Coupe range from £103,000 to £197,000, so it's a rival for luxury GTs such as the Aston Martin DB11 and Bentley Continental GT, although some might argue that the Mercedes badge doesn't really have the prestige to compete with these Brits at this price level. Other more expensive models that could also be considered are the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso and Rolls-Royce Wraith, although both cost nearly twice as much.
The Mercedes S-Class Coupe is an intriguing alternative to models like the Bentley Continental GT with even more tech, just as much luxury and strong performance.
If that’s not enough, higher-performance models are available for those who want something a little more exclusive, with extra tyre-smoking appeal.
In fact, the AMG S63 and AMG S65 models offer enough grunt to rival the Continental GT V8 S and GT Speed respectively - but opt for a car with those three famous AMG letters on the boot and you'll be looking at a six-figure price tag, which some people will struggle to justify.
But all three engines are beautifully refined, smooth and eager to accelerate, and that’s why our pick of the range is the quick, comfortable and super-refined S500 Coupe.
Engines, performance and drive
The S-Class Coupe is lower and shorter than the S-Class on which it's based, and as a result it’s sharper to drive. Fortunately it retains the incredible comfort of the saloon and takes it to another level with some groundbreaking technology never seen before on a production car.
We’ve already mentioned the Curve Tilt Function, and it's a development of the Magic Body Control that debuted on the saloon. It uses cameras to scan the road ahead for undulations, then primes the suspension to neutralise any bobbing effects and smooth the ride out.
The upgraded system can now see bends too, and it loads the suspension so as to actually lean the car into the corner, just like a motorcycle does. The idea is not to increase cornering speeds but to enhance comfort, so rather than rolling to the outside of your seat in a bend, you are pushed down into it, like on a roller coaster.
The Curve Tilt Function comes as standard on the AMG models, but is an option on the S560. You activate it by pushing the air-suspension button twice. The sensation is a bit odd at first, but after a while you start to appreciate it. And combined with the Magic Body Control, it gives the sensation you are flying centimetres above the road.
Really, though, this technology is merely the icing on the cake, because even with the standard-fit air suspension the ride is so good you feel as though you are floating, funnily enough, on a cushion of air.
The S560's smooth yet quick-changing nine-speed auto gearbox suits the nature of the car more so than the seven-speed unit in the S 65, because while the S-Class Coupe steers and handles very well for something weighing two tonnes, there is something about the Mercedes' tranquil nature that doesn't egg you on to drive it fast like an Aston Martin DB11 or Bentley Continental GT does.
Maybe it's the serenity of the cabin - apparently it's the quietest of any production car and we have no reason to doubt that. Even the engines are generally hushed, though if you press the sport button a valve opens in the exhaust to make them rumble like a V8 or a V12 should.
But then, even though the S-Class Coupe is a sharper drive than the saloon, it's still not really supposed to be a sports car. It's designed as a seriously rapid stylish and luxurious gadget-laden cruiser and the most comfortable coupe in its class. And that's exactly what it is.
Unless, of course, you go for an AMG model, like the S63. This manages to offer all the S-Class hallmarks of luxury, yet also presents itself as a car that rewards being driven. The switch to from a 577bhp 5.5-litre to a 604bhp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 doesn't detract from the S63's appeal, with the characterful new (for the S-Class) engine propelling the car from 0-62mph in just 4.2 seconds, accompanied by a suitably raucous soundtrack.
The S500 also gets a 4.0-litre V8 engine, albeit one producing 463bhp; this replaced the old 449bhp 4.7-litre unit when the car was facelifted.
With the S63 being so powerful, you have to really want a V12 engine to go for the 621bhp AMG S65 model - not least because it's £70,000 more than the S63, and almost twice the price of the S560.
A look at the figures supports the seat-of-the-pants analysis – 0-62mph times are 4.6 seconds for the S560, 4.2 seconds for the AMG S63 and 4.1 seconds for the AMG S65. Those times are identical for pre and post-facelift models.
All models in the S-Class Coupe range are limited to 155mph, but the Driver’s Package will increase that to 186mph on the two AMG cars – the cost, about £2,800, includes some race-track training.
MPG, CO2 and Running Costs
The S560 officially returns 34mpg and emits 188g/km of CO2, while the S63 manages 31.7mpg and 203g/km.
Those figures make mean running costs will be on the high side, but represent and improvement over the superseded S500 (33.2mpg and 197g/km) and the pre-facelift S63 (28mpg and 237g/km).
As it's stuck with a V12 engine, the S65 has roughly the same economy it did previously, at 23.5mpg and 272g/km of CO2.
Of course, all these figures are achieved on the theoretical ‘combined’ test cycle that averages out driving styles, so if the performance tempts you into mashing the pedal to the carpet occasionally, you’re going to see that fuel economy drop.
Unlike the S-Class Saloon, the Coupe isn’t available with a diesel engine, with no current plans for one either – but a hybrid borrowing its tech from the S-Class could be on the way.
However, anyone who can afford the S-Class Coupe in the first place probably isn’t too concerned about fuel bills.
A more important consideration though, is range. An 80-litre fuel tank means the S-Class Coupe can manage between 413 and 598 miles between fill ups, depending on which model you choose and your ability to match official economy figures. But if you get 300 miles out of the S65's tank, we’ll be impressed...
The S-Class Coupe attracts the top group 50 insurance rating, whichever model you choose.
Ouch… this is where owners really pay for the pleasure of driving a new S-Class Coupe. A quick look at some of the industry predictions for depreciation suggest the S500 will be worth less than £35k second-hand over a three-year/30,000-mile cycle.
Think that’s bad? See how you feel when you’re selling on your AMG S63 for £42k, or your AMG S65 for £53k...
Still, that’s not much different to an Aston Martin DB11 or Bentley Continental.
Interior, design and technology
The previous generation CL’s design had a lot in common with the S-Class saloon. But this time round, despite getting the S-Class name, there is a much greater visual differentiation between the Coupe and the limousine on which it's based.
The bodywork, for instance, features sharp creases down the sides, a long bonnet, sloping roof and a neat spoiler integrated into the boot lid. It means the coupe is an undeniably striking machine, though it’s more handsome than beautiful.
Also standard is a panoramic sunroof, which you can upgrade with Magic Sky Control that allows you to darken the glass at the touch of a button. There are two individual seats in the back that are separated by a central console that runs all the way from the front and blends into the new dash design which, once again, is unique to the Coupe.
Mercedes has pulled out all the stops to give the car a lavish and luxurious interior, ensuring that every surface you touch oozes quality. Thing is, it still doesn't feel quite as unique to sit in as a Bentley Continental GT, but the technology on board makes that of its British rival seem as antiquated as building cars by hand.
You get all the same goodies as on the saloon. That means a touch-sensitive control for the infotainment system, two huge display screens and enough gadgets to fill the Apple Store. Other highlights include the metal finish eyeball vents for the air-conditioning, the precise action of the switchgear and the rotary controller for the infotainment system.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
All three models feature Merc’s COMAND Online system with Media Interface. It includes DAB radio, CD/DVD player and Bluetooth, as well as a 12.3-inch colour display with HDD navigation. You also get voice control and internet access to Facebook and M-B apps.
One new option with the facelifted S-Class Coupe range is Mercedes' Energising 'comfort control' system. Bringing together the climate control, fragrancing, seat heating and massaging functions, plus panel heating (yes, the armrests can be heated) and audio functions, this allows drivers to choose from six modes, with such names as Freshness, Warmth and Joy.
The S560 gets a a 13-speaker, 590W Burmester system, while the S65 has a 25-speaker 1,560W system.
Practicality, comfort and boot space
There’s no doubt the S-Class saloon is one of the most comfortable cars on sale today. The Coupe version doesn’t compromise on that at all, sharing the same Active Ride air suspension and soft, supportive seats.
The driving position and layout of the controls is superb, and there's a range of optional luxury features that include chairs programmed to pamper the occupants with a range of massage techniques. It would be a churlish owner who found cause for complaint.
It’s a big car to place on the road, but it comes with a range of practical features such as a head-up display, internet connectivity, all-round cameras and a raft of driver assistance technologies, all designed to give the driver an easy life.
Unlike the previous CL Coupe, there’s decent space for grown-ups to travel in the back seats too.
Although it’s essentially a sporting model, the S-Class Coupe is still vast – the S560 AMG Line breaking the 5m barrier at 5,032mm nose-to-tail. That’s barely shorter than the 5,125 S-Class saloon, although most S-Class saloons are the long wheelbase version at 5,225mm.
For comparison, the Bentley Continental Coupe is 4,850mm while the Aston Martin DB11 is 4,739mm.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
In the front there's plenty of room, but being a coupe there isn’t anywhere near as much space in the back as the saloon. That said, it’s about as good as it gets in this class, with just about enough headroom for adults.
Legroom is good in the rear, but even with the long doors, getting in there can be tough for taller people due to the low, swooping roofline. The front seats automatically slide forward to help.
Long distances shouldn’t be too much of a problem for rear passengers, thanks to the air-cushioning ride giving the S-Class Coupe the edge over its rivals.
Boot space is decent for the class with 400 litres of room, more than enough for some suitcases or a couple of sets of golf clubs – and not too far short of the 470 litres offered in the S-Class saloon.
Reliability and Safety
Mercedes has forged a strong reputation for building durable cars, but this wasn't necessarily reflected in our 2018 Driver Power satisfaction survey, where the company placed 20th out of 26 brands.
Sadly the days of the ‘engineered at any cost’ S-Class are long gone, and as it’s packed with such a wealth of electronics, there’s plenty that could go wrong with any of its variants. But the S-Class’s excellent engineering standards and reputation suggest that not much actually will.
The S-Class hasn’t been independently crash tested, but the model range has been associated with industry-leading safety. In 1978, for example, the S-Class saloon was the first production car to be fitted with anti-lock brakes, and it was also the first model to be fitted with a driver's airbag as standard.
As you’d expect, the S560 comes with plenty of standard safety kit, including eight airbags, a traffic sign recognition camera, a driver drowsiness monitor and a stability control system that incorporates Curve Dynamic Assist and Crosswind Assist.
The S560 can can also be fitted with the Driving Assistance Package (standard on the S65), which adds blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control. Put simply, there’s lots of advanced tech on offer to give the most peace of mind when it comes to safety.
If you want more, there’s always the S-Guard version of the Coupe’s saloon car sister. That one’s pretty much bomb-, bullet- and warfare-proof...
All Mercedes-Benz models come with a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty. This is par for the course in the luxury sector, but of course you can pay extra to extend the cover – costs vary depending on term and the scope of your policy.
Mercedes-Benz offers a Service Care maintenance plan for all its models. Covering the S-Class Coupe for everything in the schedule for up to four years should cost £41 per month – but check with your dealer.