Everyone was complaining about 2016 being “one of those years” but if we take a look back at what I tested, I would disagree with them completely. Fast forward to January 2017 and the first car I received to test was the sumptuously sexy Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet. If this is how it has begun, 2017 should be quite the year!
When I first saw the S63 Coupe revealed the first thing that popped into my mind was when are they going to chop the roof off and offer a Cabriolet variant. Mercedes has built a two-door version of its range-topping S-class for more than three decades, but it has not not offered a convertible variant since 1971. The drop-top S-Class Cabriolet is available in three versions in South Africa namely; the S500, this Mercedes-AMG S63 and the most expensive production Mercedes available, the Mercedes-AMG S65.
The car that was delivered for me to test was finished in Anthracite Blue Metallic with a beige soft top and the AMG designo Exclusive nappa leather inside. It sure has presence with the two-tone spec and I wasn’t the biggest fan at first but when I waved goodbye, the spec was actually stunning. The interior package is a R70,000 option which is unnecessary but it really adds to the special feel when you climb into this work of art. The soft-top opens and closes in less than 20 seconds and it can successfully do it at speeds of up to 50 km/h. Roof on, windows closed, comfort mode selected and you are in a silent oasis surrounded by the latest tech and enveloped in luxurious leather. Roof off, Sport mode activated and you are making time warp with the wind in your hair. Let’s not forget the pops and bangs coming out those AMG quad exhausts which (if done right) can give someone on the side of the road a right fright.
The lower-dash is covered in leather and a contrasting, leather-topped upper section that wraps around into the door panels is mesmerizingly beautiful. Contained within, is a 12.2-inch centre screen and a second screen of the same size for the electronic instrument cluster. Within that luxurious cabin, the driver and front passenger are treated to multi-adjustable chairs with standard under-thigh extenders and an available massage function. The back seat is reasonably wide and, unlike the case in many convertibles, its backrest is not uncomfortably upright. But the legroom available is entirely dependent on how selfish those in the front are feeling. What I am trying to say is that it can disappear entirely if they power their seats all the way back.
So what is powering this 2.5 ton drop-top goddess? The mighty biturbo V8 offering from AMG which displaces 5.5-litres and is capable of pushing out 430 kW (585 hp) and 900 Nm of torque. Thanks the the permanent all-wheel drive (4MATIC) the 900 Nm is not too much to handle but rather the perfect amount to excite all your senses when behind the wheel. The car comes standard with 19″ front and rear tyres but this example was fitted with the optional 20″ 10-spoke matte black wheels which gives you plenty traction off the line and of course more presence with the wheel colour. The 0 to 100 km/h sprint is dealt with in just 3.9 seconds which is in fact 0.2 seconds quicker than it’s more expensive bigger brother, the S65. Why is that you might ask? Well the S63 has a different torque curve to begin with but the S65 does not come with 4MATIC option which means the rear tyres struggle to deal with the 1000 Nm of torque off the line. The S63 lacks launch control which is quite strange considering it does not involve any extra hardware, just programming, but in the same breath I guess a classy cruiser like this should not be launching off the line.
The 5.5-litre V8 is an extremely vocal unit and when channeled through those pipes in sport mode you are not exactly subtle when approaching a red light. This thing turns heads wherever you go and I put it down to three things. The size of the animal, the sound of the beast and the drop-dead gorgeous styling. All the cabriolet models come standard with air springs, a Burmester surround-sound audio system (High-End option is R100k), Magic Vision Control, Collision Prevention Assist Plus, full-LED adaptive headlights, and nappa leather.
Pricing for this machine (and it’s V12 brother) are fairly eye-watering. Base price on the S63 is R2,928,000 and the S65 is R3,534,900 but spec’ing the car we had on test takes the price to almost R3,3 million. That is a LOT of dough but this is a LOT of car. I never thought the SL63 would be knocked off the Mercedes-AMG perch (in our eyes) but with one foot flat to the floor in this, it is a distant memory. And you can fit four people in this machine.
Thanks to Digital Monkey for the awesome shots of this dream machine!