In all my car-driving years, I can’t think of many occasions in which I was so instantly smitten with a luxury automobile as I was in Mercedes-Benz’s 2015 S63 AMG. Let’s quickly define luxury. It’s not wealth, exactly. It’s (more or less) surrounding yourself with the most sophisticated and beautiful shit you can find. In the case of the S63 AMG, it means that every piece down to the AC vents was contemplated, re-contemplated and built to be unique for the guy with an appetite for life.
WHAT IT IS: Make no mistake—the S63 AMG is a large sedan. At 206.5 inches long, it barely fit it in my garage. In addition, the three letters, AMG, denote MB’s performance division, which is its own company with its own factory in Affalterbach, Germany. A single man assembled the engine, which bears his signature as proof. The S63 AMG’s price tag starts at $139,500 and rockets upward. (My test model cost $163,835.) All of which is to say: This is the everyday ride of a modern conqueror—Tom Wolfe’s Master of the Universe in 2014 garb.
INSIDE JOB: Slip into the cockpit and you get the impression that not a single piece of this car was pulled from a parts bin—that it was all made just for you, especially the Burmester surround-sound, which you can’t help but blast. Two iPad-like tablets form the instrument panel. All the information is fed digitally and is customizable, like a table you can set yourself. Throughout, Nappa leather is woven like the threads of an Ivy League sweater. The details are even better: burl walnut, polished aluminum, an awesome AMG Performance Steering Wheel with side grips and paddle-shifters. Meanwhile, an ambient light gives all the trim and the dash a blue glow reminiscent of a Chelsea nightclub (in a good way).
STEP ON IT: When a sports car can pounce from zero to 60 in less than 4 seconds, that’s impressive. But when a sedan weighing 4,806 pounds—about 1,500 pounds more than a Chevy Malibu, for comparison—can do it in under 4 seconds, fill in your own holy-shit metaphor here. The S63 AMG’s 5.5-liter biturbo V8 (577 horsepower, 664 ft/lb torque) is mated to a seven-speed manumatic. As with all Mercedes, the suspension is extremely supple; you won’t even feel potholes. In fact, in sport mode, I prefer a significantly stiffer ride. But still, you can corner very aggressively in this car.
TECHNOLOGY: For me, the most impressive bit of tech is the optional Surround View Camera, which flips on when you’re in reverse. You can see your car on a screen with all the surroundings, as if there was a camera dangling 10 feet above you, showing all obstacles in about an 8-feet range. You consistently find yourself saying, “How did they do that?!?!” We already mentioned the dual-screen tablet dashboard. Not surprisingly, the rest of the bells and whistles—Eco start/stop, Nav system, traction control—is all here, too.
BIGGEST RIVALS: Audi RS7 (for a bit less, starting at $104,900); Bentley Flying Spur (for a bit more, starting at $200,500).
SHOULD YOU BUY IT? If you desire a big sedan with a rocket engine and you have the money, hell yeah!
A.J. Baime is the author of Go Like Hell and the forthcoming The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm America at War. Reach him at www.facebook.com/ajbaime.