Mercedes AMG S-Class: Power, Lots & Lots Of Power

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Mercedes, and their in-house tuners AMG have just released their latest iteration of the top-of-the-line S-Class onto the streets of an unsuspecting world. Naturally, it’s got surprisingly good handling for a car this large, and the braking is equally impressive, but the real show is what’s under the hood. And what’s under the hood of this luxo-sedan wouldn’t look out of place on a drag strip or the engine room of an ocean liner.

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OK, here’s the brief overview of what the new for ’09 AMG S-Class has to offer. Two new engines, either a high-revving V8 engine or a HUGE biturbo V12, a chassis that features such techno goodies as Crosswind stabilization, Torque Vectoring Brake and a Direct-Steer system, new standards in active and passive safety and an extensive range of standard equipment.

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First things first, let’s pop the hood.

Underneath that expanse of German metal you will find one of two engines. One engine, in the case of the AMG S-Class 63 is a powerful, high-revving 6.3-liter V8 naturally aspirated engine developing 630 Newton meters of torque and cranking out a huge 525-hp. Said engine is capable of accelerating a car as hefty as a top-of-the-line Mercedes sedan from zero 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds.

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That’s not enough for you (then you’re my kind of idiot), then you have options. There’s also the S 65 AMG engine available for the S-Class. In this case, you get a 6.0-liter biturbo V12 engine putting out 612 hp along with a staggering 1000 Newton meters of maximum torque to the tarmac. Zero 100 km/h? How does 4.4 seconds sound? Sounds damn impressive to me.

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Which ever mill you choose, the top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h, sad, but probably necessary, because who knows what would happen if you were to fully uncork that much power and torque, and then hand the keys to some rich German lawyers 16 year old. Oh wait, I know what would happen …

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Chassis-wise, the AMG S-Class features a sports suspension with the new-ish Mercedes Active Body Control (ABC) system. What this provides, amongst other things, is crosswind stabilization, and comes as standard equipment for the first time. ABC compensates against the effect of crosswinds by adjusting the wheel load distribution within milliseconds, using the yaw-rate and lateral acceleration sensors of the Electronic Stability Program ESP. Sure, that sounds like a nice bell/whistle, but when you consider the speeds this car is capable of, it’s more than a nice little extra to have.

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The new Torque Vectoring Brake system is an additional feature of the Electronic
Stability Program ESP and not only noticeably improves responsiveness but also active handling safety in critical conditions. When cornering, brief direct application of the brakes has an effect on the vehicle’s inner rear wheel so that the sedan corners precisely and under control at all times. Again, something that’s probably necessary on a car that has to have a speed limiter.

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There is also the Direct-Steer system. It’s a variable ratio system depending on steering angle, and helps to ensure a more direct response when cornering, which leads to more responsive handling.

Inside there’s more leather than baseball mitt factory, more high gloss trim than a grand piano and C & C features that will make you feel like a pasha. Outside there’s custom colors and actually nice factory wheels so you won’t even think about going aftermarket.

Price? Well if you have to ask … OK, it breaks down like this:

S 63 AMG short wheelbase is 137,683 Euros, the S 63 AMG with the long wheelbase is 144,823 Euros, and the S 65 AMG with the big bi-turbo’d V12 comes in at 221,221 Euros.

See, told you not to ask.

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Here’s the (very long) press release from the Stuttgart boys:

Specific enhancements to the S 63 AMG and S 65 AMG
Exclusive top-of-the-line AMG S-Class models now boast even greater appeal

Affalterbach – The Mercedes-Benz S 63 AMG and S 65 AMG, the powerful
top-of-the-line S-Class models, are now even more appealing: thanks to a series of subtle yet extremely effective fine-tuning measures, the two performance saloons are even more striking and priceless than ever before. The updated technology is aimed at ensuring a more dynamic driving experience as well as optimum active and passive safety.
Exclusivity and dynamism, effortless superiority and high tech – both of the
top-of-the-line S-Class models from Mercedes-AMG embody all of these characteristics. Since its market launch some three years ago, the S-Class made by AMG has won the hearts of over 8000 customers around the world – turning it into the undisputed market leader in the small yet highly exclusive high-performance luxury saloon segment.
Volker Mornhinweg, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “Our discerning clientele appreciate the synthesis of uncompromising performance and dynamic, exclusive equipment, a unique proposition in this market segment. We have raised the bar further in terms of driving dynamics, safety and passenger comfort with the extensively updated new series of the S 63 AMG and S 65 AMG.”

High-revving V8 engine and effortlessly superior biturbo V12 engine
The S 63 AMG, with its powerful, high-revving 386-kW/525-hp AMG 6.3-litre V8 naturally aspirated engine developing 630 newton metres of torque, is capable of accelerating to a speed of 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds. The S 65 AMG, meanwhile, demonstrates even greater superiority: its AMG 6.0-litre biturbo V12 engine
delivers maximum power of 450 kW/612 hp and maximum torque of 1000 newton metres, accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds. Both AMG saloons are electronically limited to 250 km/h. Despite no changes having been made to the engine data and performance values, it has still been possible to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 3 percent.
Contributing to the even more exceptional status of the models is the new, more pronounced arrow-shaped radiator grille, featuring twin chromed louvres in the case of the S 65 AMG. The new front apron incorporates striking, AMG-specific LED daytime driving lights and two transverse air outlets on each side. Further striking features include the “6.3 AMG” or “V12 Biturbo” lettering on the front wings, and redesigned exterior mirrors.
Side sill panels emphasise the elegant line of the front apron through to the rear of the vehicle, where the new rear apron features yet another highlight: the centre section of the black diffuser insert is now painted in the same colour as the vehicle body. New tail lights with 52 LEDs in the form of a double “C” also give the S-Class an unmistakable appearance from behind. A distinctive element of both models comes in the guise of the AMG sports exhaust with two chromed twin tailpipes, featuring a V12 design in the case of the S 65 AMG. Visual aspects which distinguish the V8 from the V12 model also include the attractive AMG light-alloy wheels: the S 63 AMG has 19-inch AMG multi-spoke wheels painted titanium grey with a high-sheen finish and fitted with 255/40 (front) and 275/40 (rear) tyres. The S 65 AMG, on the other hand, comes with 20-inch AMG forged wheels painted titanium grey with a mirror finish and fitted with 255/35 (front) and 275/35 (rear) tyres.

Crosswind stabilisation, Torque Vectoring Brake and Direct-Steer system

The AMG sports suspension based on Active Body Control (ABC) provides crosswind stabilisation as standard equipment for the first time: thanks to this function, influences caused by crosswinds are compensated for, or – in the case of strong gusts – reduced to a minimum. ABC compensates against the effect of crosswinds by adjusting the wheel load distribution within milliseconds, using the yaw-rate and lateral acceleration sensors of the Electronic Stability Program ESP®.
Also making up the standard equipment is the new Torque Vectoring Brake: when cornering, brief direct application of the brakes has an effect on the vehicle’s
inner rear wheel so that the saloon corners precisely and under control at all
times. The Torque Vectoring Brake is an additional feature of the Electronic
Stability Program ESP® and not only noticeably improves responsiveness but also active handling safety in critical conditions. The driving experience is further heightened thanks to the Direct-Steer system: with its variable ratio depending on steering angle, it helps to ensure a more direct response when cornering, and therefore more responsive handling – in brief: enhanced driving pleasure at the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG S-Class.
Based on the ADAPTIVE BRAKE system, the AMG high-performance braking
system continues to provide optimum fade resistance, deceleration and sensitivity. The front axle features a double floating brake caliper. This exclusive technology combines the advantages of a sliding-caliper disc brake – reduced heat transfer to the brake fluid and clear advantages in terms of comfort thanks to the brake
lining guide mechanism – with the efficiency of an extra large fixed caliper brake.

Extensive range of standard equipment with exclusive flair

The interior appointments are every bit as exclusive as the high-tech package:
as soon as its door is opened, the S 65 AMG welcomes the driver with large, animated “AMG V12 BITURBO” lettering in the instrument cluster’s central display. The AMG main menu provides the driver with information about engine oil temperature, current gear range and the battery voltage. In the case of the S 63 AMG, the extensive range of standard equipment includes not only PASSION leather
appointments, with natural leather in the seat side bolsters, but also front AMG sports seats with climate control, massage, multicontour and dynamic handling function. The Exclusive PASSION leather upholstery in the S 65 AMG, meanwhile, with its AMG V12 diamond pattern design, exudes an air of even greater refinement. Ample use of trim elements and the AMG-specific analogue clock, featuring an IWC design, are a given in both AMG models. Both the AMG SPEEDSHIFT 7G-TRONIC of the S 63 AMG, as well as the five-speed automatic AMG SPEEDSHIFT transmission of the S 65 AMG, are fitted with DIRECT SELECT gearshift. Gear changes are carried out by means of AMG aluminium shift paddles on the new AMG sports steering wheel.

New standards in active and passive safety

In addition, both of the top-of-the-line AMG models set new standards when
it comes to active and passive safety through an unrivalled combination of
innovative camera and radar-based driver assistance systems. These include the ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection system, Adaptive Highbeam Assist,
Lane Keeping Assist, and the PRE-SAFE® Brakes, which are linked to the
proximity regulating radar and intervene independently in the event of an
impending accident to act like an invisible crumple zone. Night View Assist with infrared camera also features a novel pedestrian detection system. The pictures from the windscreen camera are also used by the new Speed Limit Assist, available as an option. The Brake Assist PLUS and DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control support the driver in the event of emergency braking. The PRE-SAFE® positioning function and NECK-PRO luxury head restraints in the front are now also included as standard.
New infotainment systems, including COMAND APS with new SPLITVIEW
display, which shows different images for driver and front passenger simultaneously, enhance occupant comfort even further.
Exclusive optional extras are also available from the AMG PERFORMANCE
STUDIO:
20-inch AMG twin-spoke forged wheels, painted in titanium grey with a
mirror finish and fitted with 255/35 R 20 front and 275/30 R 20 rear tyres (only S 63 AMG)
AMG trim in black piano lacquer/carbon fibre
While the S 63 AMG is available in short or long-wheelbase versions, the S 65 AMG is only available as a long-wheelbase version. Both top-of-the-line AMG models will have their market launches from the end of June 2009.
Prices at a glance:
S 63 AMG (short wheelbase): EUR 115,700 (excl. VAT) /
EUR 137,683 (incl. 19% VAT)
S 63 AMG (long wheelbase): EUR 121,700 (excl. VAT) /
EUR 144,823 (incl. 19% VAT)
S 65 AMG: EUR 185,900 (excl. VAT) / EUR 221,221 (incl. 19% VAT)

About The Author

Tony Borroz grew up in a sportscar oriented family, but sadly, it was British cars. His knuckles still show the marks of slipped Whitworth sockets, strains to reach upper rear shock bushings on Triumphs, and slight burn marks from dealing with Lucas Electric “systems.” He has written for a variety of car magazines and websites, Automoblog chief among them. Tony has worked on popular driving games as a content expert, in addition to working for aerospace companies, software giants, and as a movie stuntman. He currently lives in a secure, undisclosed location in the American southwestern desert.

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