Mercedes blends range-topping luxury and power in the S65 AMG Coupe
It's not an easy feat packing near-supercar levels of V12 power and performance into a car as luxurious as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. With the help of AMG, Mercedes has done just that with the S65 AMG line. The latest member of that family, the 621-hp S65 AMG Coupe, finds a throne atop the S-Class coupe range, squaring up against the likes of the 626-bhp Bentley Continental GT Speed.
The S65 AMG Coupe joins the S65 AMG sedan and SL65 AMG roadster, serving as a successor to the 2014 CL65 AMG. Like its open-top and four-door siblings, the coupe is powered by a 621-hp 6.0-liter V12 biturbo. That engine twists out 738 lb-ft from its cozy home under an aluminum and carbon fiber cover under the hood. The V12 sends output to the rear wheels through an AMG Speedshift Plus 7G-tronic transmission with three driving modes.
On the open road or track, the S65 AMG Coupe puts its V12 to work on a four-second 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) time and 186-mph (300 km/h) top speed. That 0-60 acceleration is identical to Bentley's twin-turbo W12-powered Continental GT Speed, but electronic limits leave the S65 a little short of the Speed's 206-mph (332 km/h) capabilities.
A luxurious performance coupe like the S65 AMG Coupe is sure to attract its fair share of well-heeled buyers with less-than-professional driving skills. Mercedes makes it a bit easier to effectively handle all the power the two-door has on tap. The curve tilting feature, which makes its US debut on the S65 AMG Coupe, detects curves with a stereo camera and lateral acceleration sensor. The suspension-based system then leans the car into the curve "in a manner similar to a motorcyclist or skier." Mercedes says the idea is not to increase cornering speed but to improve the overall reel and driving experience. The Road Surface Scan feature looks for undulations in the road ahead using the stereo camera and automatically adjusts suspension settings to smooth out the ride.
The S65 AMG Coupe also comes standard with a suite of driver assistance technologies. This includes Active Parking Assist with Parktronic, Active Lane Keeping Assist, and Distronic Plus with Steering Assist.
The S65 AMG Coupe has an aggressive look to match the flagship-level performance underneath. Its sporty but classic proportions are set on multi-spoke, high-sheen forged wheels that measure 8.5 x 20 at the front and 9.5 x 20 in back. Up front, the twin-blade grille sits above a three-dimensional front splitter that keeps the car firmly grounded. The rear-end gets some personality from a high-gloss black diffuser insert and the chromed tailpipes of the AMG sports exhaust. A generous amount of chrome trim delicately wraps elements of the front, flanks and rear, tying it all together.
While the S65 AMG Coupe has the power and performance of a mid-level exotic sports car, a roomy, luxuriously appointed interior keeps it from being a one-dimensional supercar. Its four sport seats are wrapped in rich leather with a diamond-pattern design. Features like electric adjustment, memory function and heating ensure plenty of grand touring comfort.
The driver takes the reins by way of the three-spoke sports steering wheel with perforated leather grip and paddle shifters. An infotainment touchpad gives him control over navigation, communication and entertainment options. Information is conveyed via a dynamic digital-age duo of 12.2-in TFT instrument display and 8 x 2.75-in head-up display. The standard Burmester 3D surround sound system belts out the tune of the moment.
Mercedes-Benz plans to open up the order books on the S65 AMG Coupe in the coming weeks, with US deliveries beginning in late 2014. It has not specified pricing, but the $216,000 price tag of the outgoing CL65 AMG and the $223,000 of the 2015 S65 AMG sedan give a pretty clear picture of the neighborhood it will live in.