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Mercedes-Benz S63 2012 Review

The transmission delivers rapid but extremely smooth gear changes
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If you've got the money to buy an S-Class, then you want people to know it and what better way of sending a message than to buy a top of the line Benz?

We sampled a couple of the range, but it was the S63 with its fabulous 5.5-litre bi-turbo V8 that really caught our attention. The S63 AMG will set you back $392,000.

ENGINE AND MECHANICAL

Although it’s a good deal smaller than the V8 it replaces, with an output of 400kW and 800Nm of torque, it produces 14kW more power but incredibly uses 25 per cent less fuel — how do they do that?

As one who has seen the way the way these engines are lovingly put together, I can tell you they're a real work of art.

The V8 is hooked up to Benz's new AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission, a traditional style auto but with a multi-plate clutch.

Curiously, Benz continues to refer to the car as an S63 despite the fact the previous engine displaced 6.2 litres and this one 5.5 litres. Go figure.

AMG has managed these major gains through the introduction of direct petrol injection with sprayguided combustion and piezo injectors.

This technology enables improved fuel economy thanks to higher thermodynamic efficiency, which in turn leads to lower exhaust emissions. AMG has combined the spray-guided combustion with bi-turbo charging.

Other highlights of the innovative, original eight-cylinder engine from Affalterbach include full aluminium crankcase, four-valve technology with variable intake valve timing, air/water charge air cooling and generator management.

Believe it or not there's also a Controlled Efficiency start/stop function that shuts down the engine at traffic lights to save fuel, unless the transmission is placed in sport mode..

DRIVING

Hit the throttle and the thing unfurls like the spinnaker on a 12-metre yacht with a southerly buster behind it, filling with an elemental power that drives the car relentlessly forward, majestic in full flight on a long stretch of road. The transmission delivers rapid but extremely smooth gear changes that maximise the engine's power as well as fuel economy.

Drive is engaged via a North American style column shift, but manual gear changes are performed using large wheel mounted paddles. Power in the S63 is up 4 per cent, torque is up 27 per cent and fuel economy is down 27 per cent to just 10.6 litres/100km. The dash from 0 to 100km/h takes just 4.5 seconds.

Unlike the standard models, the AMG features coil sprung suspension instead of the usual `Airmatic' system, to produce a firmer, flatter ride. It doesn't get better than this.

MERCEDES-BENZ 363 AMG W221

Price: $392,900
Warranty: 3 year roadside
Safety: 6 airbags, blind spot sensor, ABS, EBD
Crash rating: N/A
Engine: 5.5-litre V8 
Body: Sedan
Dimensions: 5122mm (L), 1871mm (W), 1488mm (H)
Weight: 2670kg
Transmission: 7-speed auto, rear wheel drive
Thirst: 10.6/100km

 

Pricing guides

$77,685
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$45,700
Highest Price
$109,670

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
S350 3.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $45,700 – 57,750 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2012 S350 Pricing and Specs
S63 AMG 5.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $68,300 – 86,350 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2012 S63 AMG Pricing and Specs
S350 CDI 3.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $59,100 – 74,690 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2012 S350 CDI Pricing and Specs
S600 L 5.5L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $60,300 – 76,230 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2012 S600 L Pricing and Specs