Mercedes S65 AMG Coupe review

Range-topping S65 AMG Coupe costs £183,000 – but is it nearly £60,000 better than its S63 AMG Coupe baby brother?

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

Ridiculous pace and effortless cruising ability thanks to the Mercedes S65 Coupe’s imperious refinement mean this sleek two-door serves up plenty of style and speed. You’ll be guaranteed exclusivity too, but at £57,470 more than the V8 turbo S63 Coupe – which offers 95 per cent of this car’s performance and status – it seems incredibly pricey. For those that can afford it, however, it likely won’t matter.

At the sharp end of the luxury car market exclusivity is important. Price isn’t as big a concern as image to super wealthy individuals, so if you’ve got money (and tyres) to burn and want a big two-door coupe with seemingly limitless power and plenty of prestige, the £183,075 Mercedes-AMG S65 Coupe hits the nail square on the head.

Mercedes S-Class Coupe review

Under the long, sleek bonnet is Mercedes-AMG’s hand-built twin-turbo 6.0-litre V12. It pumps out a healthy 621bhp with a deep, muted rumble – but what’s even more jaw dropping is the 1,000Nm of torque. It’ll officially sprint from 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds and hit an electronically limited top speed of 186mph - a dazzling turn of speed for a four-seat coupe weighing in at 2,185kg, but what’s even more impressive is its in-gear acceleration.

All that torque washes over you in a smooth wave, delivering an effortless surge even from as low as 1,200rpm. But in anything other than bone dry conditions the Merc struggles to put its considerable output down cleanly, with the ESP cutting in effectively to stop wheelspin.

Driving the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic gearbox, in Comfort and Sport modes it slurs shifts nicely, but you can also choose the manual setting and flick up and down the box using the steering wheel-mounted paddles. It’s less responsive here, with a bit of a pause between paddle pull and gear change. But as the transmission is dealing with huge forces, it’s still nicely refined.

On the whole, the ride is the same. As you’d expect from a top of the range Mercedes, it’s packed full of tech with features such as Magic Body Control and a curve tilting function. The former uses a camera to scan the road ahead for bumps, picking up any road imperfections and tuning the adaptive air suspension ahead of impact. It means the S-Class Coupe’s body floats over ground where other big coupes might struggle to control their weight.

The active tilt function helps here, too, and makes the S65 feel surprisingly agile at moderate speeds given its physical size. Enter a bend and the car’s electronic brain will pump up the suspension on the outside wheels to ‘lean’ the car into a corner and help reduce roll. It’s difficult to sense it working underneath you it’s so smooth, but it means you can push the vast S65 through corners at speeds that would keep some sports cars honest.

But this isn’t a sports car, so keep this up and you’ll eventually find that the Mercedes runs out of composure and wallows around unnervingly. In the sportier suspension setting the 20-inch chromed AMG alloys can thump over expansion strips, while the ride can feel brittle if you work the car hard so it’s best to back things off and relax.

This is a luxury two-door, and with that huge price tag it comes loaded with premium equipment. Highlights include heated, ventilated and massaging seats, a digital TV, in-car internet access, a 24-speaker Burmester stereo, LED headlights set with Swarovski crystals, Merc’s dynamic cruise control with Stop&Go Pilot system – which will follow the car in front in stop-start traffic – and other luxury features such as double glazing.

Features like sat-nav, climate control and a 360-degree camera are neatly integrated into the sumptuously trimmed interior. The S-Class Coupe boasts a 12.3-inch widescreen colour display in the dash that controls the car’s core functions, while there’s another digital screen in front of the driver that’s configurable to show performance data on a special AMG-specific screen.

This hi-tech cruiser is great on long journeys, then, and is an able partner on a more spirited drive. But push even harder and it reveals its flaws – even as an AMG, this isn’t an agile coupe. If you’re after this blend of ability, you’ll be better off with the S63 Coupe.

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