The Mercedes S-Class Coupe sits in a strange no man’s land between fast two-door sports cars and high-end luxury GTs. While it may cost more than a Porsche 911 or Jaguar F-Type, it significantly undercuts Bentley’s latest Continental GT.
But the success of the Mercedes brand knows no bounds, and despite selling in relatively modest numbers, the firm has now given its flagship coupe a mid-life nip and tuck. We drove the S 560 and not-for-UK all-wheel drive S 63 in the US late last year, but this is our first chance to try one in Britain.
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Facelifted cars get many of the same visual changes as their saloon siblings, as well as new OLED rear lights and enlarged front air intakes. AMG versions also boast an updated Panamericana grille with vertical slats, as well as a revised front splitter to reduce lift at speed.
It’s still just as imposing as ever, oozing appeal from every angle. At over five metres long and 1.9m wide, it’s a big car – dwarfing models like the Aston Martin DB11 for sheer size. It feels huge from behind the wheel, too, with a gigantic footprint and surprisingly spacious cabin.
Ok, so it’s not as accommodating as an S-Class saloon, but there’s room for adults in the back. It’s a charming place to sit, as well, and while our car’s red leather won’t be to all tastes, the craftsmanship really is exemplary. It’s not as bespoke as the latest Conti GT, but we’ve no complaints with the layout or the quality of the materials used. The huge digital dials look great, while simple systems like the standard-fit Apple CarPlay improve functionality.
But unlike the S-Class saloon on which it is based, the S 63 Coupe is a car made to be driven. Gone is the old 5.5-litre V8, replaced by the familiar 4.0-litre bi-turbo also found in the E 63 S. With 604bhp and 900Nm of torque it’s certainly not short on firepower – and just a few moments behind the wheel confirms AMG’s latest effort is as barmy and ballistic as ever.
The 0-62mph sprint takes 4.2 seconds, and if you opt to remove the electronic limiter, it’ll keep accelerating to 186mph. Everything is accompanied by a suitably raucous sound track, providing you’ve activated the standard-fit sports exhaust system. It does a good job of disguising its bulk, too, cornering deftly with plenty of grip.
But dial things back and the S-Class Coupe is one of the finest and most refined ways to travel from A to B. The ride – even on huge 20-inch wheels – is well cushioned, while the Magic Body Control suspension keeps roll in check. It’s that split personality that makes the S 63 such a treat.
Standard kit includes a Burmester stereo, Keyless Go, climate control and electric front seats with a massage function. All cars also get Merc’s Driving Assistance pack, which adds a 360-degree camera, Active Blind Spot Assist and Distronic adaptive cruise. Our car had almost £30k of options – with night vision, bigger wheels and carbon ceramic brakes.