EMBARGO: Mon., Dec. 5, 2022 at 6:01 PM EST
Since its inception in 1972, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has represented the pinnacle in Daimler’s engineering and design. The latest S-Class line proves to be no exception, fitted with some of the finest furnishings in the automotive industry, standard all-wheel drive and boasting an impressive show of technology, powered by gasoline-electric hybrid drivelines.
Choices include the S 500 with 429-horsepower or the S 580 with 496 horsepower. And while these models coddle and comfort, they do not offer the driving excitement of some other models that wear the three-pointed star.
A new option for the new year
Enter the 2023 Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance, a performance hybrid featuring an AMG 4.0-liter V-8 Biturbo engine up front with an AMG-specific electric motor in the rear powered by an AMG high-performance battery developed by Mercedes-AMG in Affalterbach.
The new battery is based on the one currently in use in other S-Class models, but sees it energy increase to 13.1 kWh from 6.1 kWh. The new unit employs technology proven in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team’s Formula 1 hybrid race cars, and was developed in collaboration with Formula 1 engine manufacturer High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth, England.
The battery’s 1,200 cells deliver anywhere from 94 horsepower to as much as 188 hp of peak mechanical power for ten second intervals to the electric motor. The electric motor is positioned at the rear axle, and integrated with a 2-speed transmission and electronic limited-slip rear differential to form a compact electric drive unit that bypasses the V-8’s 9-speed dual clutch transmission. Since the electric motor acts directly on the rear axle, it converts more power directly into forward momentum.
But being an AMG, this model is about performance not ultimate fuel economy, which explains its rating of 791 hp and 1,055 lb-ft of torque that routes its power through a transmission with manual and Race Start modes. That’s enough to offer up 60 mph in 3.2 seconds on its way to a 180-mph top speed.
Mercedes-Benz also fits this S-Class with its most sophisticated suspension setup as standard, including an air suspension with roll stabilization and rear-axle steering with a maximum steering angle of 2.5 degrees. As you might expect, the brake discs are massive, measuring 15.7 x 1.5 inches up front and 15 x 1.3 inches out back.
The driveline is fitted with seven selectable driving modes, including Electric, Comfort, Battery Hold, Sport, Sport+, Slippery and Individual. Changing modes affects the drive and transmission, steering characteristics, chassis damping, sound and electric motor boost.
When driving below 19 mph in pure electric mode, the car’s audio speakers emit a special sound, which fades out as speed increases.
“The performance hybrid layout with a combustion engine at the front and an electric drive unit at the rear axle not only offers a superior driving experience, but also significantly increases efficiency. The optimized weight distribution, best possible utilization of torque and the very responsive power delivery promise driving dynamics and driving refinement at the highest level,” said Jochen Hermann, Technical general manager of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. “We also pulled out all the stops with the suspension to achieve the greatest possible spread between comfort and driving dynamics.”
Dressed to thrill
But the 2023 Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance wears AMG’s newest wardrobe includes more than badging and 21-inch AMG forged wheels. For the first time, the four-door S-Class wears an AMG radiator grille with vertical louvers and a large central star, while the hood ornament is an AMG emblem.
Other design changes include a front fascia with large side air inlets and functional air curtains, unique AMG side panels, a wide rear diffuser with longitudinal fins and trapezoidal, fluted twin-tailpipes.
Inside, you’re greeted by unique AMG upholstery and stitching that uses Nappa leather with embossed AMG emblems. AMG also fits its own specialized steering wheel along with AMG- and hybrid-specific displays.
“The S-Class has always had a very special meaning for us,” said Philipp Schiemer, Chairman of the Board of Mercedes-AMG GmbH, in a statement. “With the most powerful S-Class of all time, however, we are not only going our own technical way, as is characteristic of AMG, but also making a strong visual statement.”
The automaker didn’t specify when the vehicle would be available nor at what price. Look for those details to be forthcoming.