Auto review: 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 Coupe offers excellent excess

 

November 23, 2014

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 Coupe turns into corners with far more aggression and grace than any cruiser-size vehicle should possess, leaning slightly but clinging to curves with formidable all-wheel-drive grip.

Give me a sunny 30-room villa in the Hollywood hills filled with perfect people who canít remember my name.

"I think itís Tommy or Tiny or something, but he parties like Gatsby."

Out back, I want a marble-lined Pacific-blue pool, flanked by gushing tequila fountains ó with a couple of shiny personal assistants to occasionally pluck me and my pretty guests from the pool.

Or you could just let me keep the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe I had recently and declare me the king of wretched excess.

It may be all I need. As I discovered, the world sort of steps aside when youíre plying its cobbled streets in a dazzling tank of a coupe awash in horsepower and white leather.

Actually, lots of high-end brands offer cars far more expensive than the $172,000 S63. But few so capably hit all the right high-end chords: big, fast, flashy and beautifully brazen.

The new S-class Coupe succeeds the finely crafted CL Coupe, blowing by it with even more large-scale style and slinkiness.

Every surface of the dark blue S63 I had seemed to ooze opulence.

Up front, a large, blunt, satin-finish grille featured a giant Mercedes-Benz star in its center ó ready to leave its three-point imprint on slow-moving Sentras and Civics if necessary.

The carís long, broad hood extended like a banquet table to its raked-back windshield, while scowling twin-projector headlamps anchored muscular front fenders.

Though kind of thick, the S63ís sides wore prominent character lines up high and down low above the rocker panels that gave them a chiseled look, aided by slightly flared wheel openings.

But the big coupeís best element might be its low, sloping top, which looks a bit like a rakish beret on a pinstriped bankerís head.

As a high-performance AMG model, the big coupe crouched on 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped with massive 255/40 tires up front and 285/35s in back.

And did I mention that itís a true two-door hardtop with no B-pillar between the front and rear side windows, making it as open and inviting as a Ď57 Chevy?

Like all S63 models in the U.S., the car sported all-wheel drive, theoretically meaning you could zip downtown even on an icy day or romp around sand dunes in the Sahara.

Iím not sure I would recommend that, though. Powered by a turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8, the S63 can summon 577 horsepower and ó more important ó 664 pound-feet of torque.

If you drive it like an adult and stay under 3,000 rpm, youíll wonder where all that power hides. In fact, the S63 is rated at a not-terrible 15 miles per gallon in town and 23 on the highway.

DECEPTIVE THROTTLE

The car has one of those long-travel accelerator pedals and feels a bit soft and lazy at low speeds, probably suffering from a touch of turbo lag.

But push deeply on that pedal. When the tach swings past 3,000, all hell in a tuxedo breaks loose with a muted roar and a huge, slightly startling leap forward.

Suddenly, the S63 is in Autobahn mode, ripping to 60 in an astounding 3.7 seconds, according to Car and Driver, its seven-speed automatic clicking off blazing bang-bang shifts like a Formula 1 racer.

It sure makes pulling into the fast lane on the expressway an interesting experience.

Although itís as big as some work trucks, the S63 has an unusual steel-aluminum body that helps keep its weight to a fairly reasonable 4,700 pounds.

As a result, the big coupe turns into corners with far more aggression and grace than any cruiser-size vehicle should possess, leaning slightly but clinging to curves with formidable all-wheel-drive grip.

In sport mode, the Benz rides firmly but remains compliant enough that small, well-dressed passengers in back could sip champagne without sloshing it.

Likewise, the steering felt quick and a little on the light side, as if it was bolted to something smaller.

LOOKING GOOD INSIDE

Fortunately, life also looks pretty good from inside the S63, though I found more irritations there than the outside.

Mine was stitched mostly in off-white Nappa leather embellished by off-white carpeting and headliner.

It felt like one of Sam Barrisí hallowed old California customs when I slid behind the Benzís wheel.

A sleek upper dashboard in dark brown leather curved around the base of the carís windshield, shading the instrument panel and display screen. It dropped onto a curved middle dash in off-white, which matched the leather wrapped around the steering wheel.

Moreover, the door panels and padded armrests were covered in off-white leather.

Like many German luxury cars these days, the S63 had no center stack, relying instead on a mouse and dial on the console for many of its controls.

Consequently, every time I tried to rest my elbow on the console, I managed to knock the stereo off Outlaw Country and probably sent an email to Hungary or somewhere in the process.

Meanwhile, the gorgeous off-white seats squeeze you ó literally.

The wraparound seats with their form-fitting bolsters squeeze the driver on one side or the other depending on the curve, presumably to provide support in serious corners.

Initially, I thought I might just be experiencing a minor stroke. After a while, though, it got pretty irritating.

Mercedes-Benz loves electronics, and the S63 bristled with features like active cruise control that will slow the car if needed, lane assist, steering assist and braking assist. For all I know, it may be able to toast waffles as well.

Most adults over 5-foot-6 will struggle to get comfortable in the tight back seat, which struck me as odd given the carís size.

But thatís a minor flaw in what may be one of the best personal luxury coupes on the planet ó a car that offers styling, performance and features usually found in super-luxury vehicles costing $100,000 more.

Maybe all the good stuff really is trickling down.

óóó

AT A GLANCE: 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic Coupe

Type of vehicle: All-wheel-drive, four-passenger luxury coupe

Price as tested: $171,950

Fuel economy: 15 miles per gallon city, 23 highway

Weight: 4,744 pounds

Engine: Turbocharged, direct-injected 5.5-liter V-8 with 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque

Transmission: Seven-speed automatic

Performance: 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds

SOURCES: Mercedes-Benz USA; Car and Driver

óóó

 

 


Associated Press