Mercedes has brought a refreshed S-Class into the market. With updated looks, as well as a host of new safety technologies, it’s an attempt to bring the big, ultra-luxurious saloon into 2017.

The top-of-the-range, fire-breathing AMG S63 model is packing the same twin-turbocharged V8 as the current C63 and E63, with 600bhp and a staggering 900Nm of torque.

Fitted within the S-Class, it transforms the car from a standard saloon into one that can hit 60mph in under four seconds, which is frankly astounding for a car of this size.

LOOKS AND IMAGE

The S-Class is a handsome beast. All cars get new LED headlamps, and scoops and vents make it look more muscular. The S63 has larger air intakes at the front to increase airflow to the car’s radiators, while there’s a large diffuser at the rear.

Four exhaust pipes indicate the car’s performance, and, thanks to the noise, it’s unlikely that many people will miss it approaching.

Inside, the S-Class is more luxurious. It benefits from the widescreen display that we’ve seen in the E-Class, and there’s an overall, solid feeling to the cabin. Passengers in the rear are the best-off — they get exceptional levels of leg and headroom, as well as heated and vented seats.

SPACE AND PRACTICALITY

There’s a huge amount of space inside the S63. The seats in the front offer plenty of shoulder room, and it’s easy to get comfortable. The rear of the car is more than spacious enough — which is good, considering the S-Class’s appeal to those who would rather be driven than drive themselves.

The S-Class’s boot space remains unchanged from the previous car, and sits at a respectable 510 litres.

It’s deep and of a square shape, meaning it’s ideal for storing suitcases or weekend bags.

The rear seats can’t be folded flat, so, unfortunately, the standard boot size does limit storage flexibility somewhat.

BEHIND THE WHEEL

There are few companies as accomplished at changing standard cars into real performance machines as AMG.

The S63 is no different, with its engine, gearbox, and suspension all extensively worked upon and tuned, changing it into a car which covers ground impressively quickly.

The engine is responsive and even light changes in throttle travel are greeted with increased speed, while the nine-speed gearbox shifts crisply.

The 900Nm of torque also make it a relaxing car to drive slowly, with plenty of low-down shove making for swift and simple overtaking.

It’s remarkable that a car of this size feels quite so light on its feet, and it corners with an impressive lack of body roll, too.

An extensive range of new safety features have been fitted to this latest-generation S-Class.

Designed to bring a new level of autonomous assistance to the car, it now features active distance control and active steering assist, which together support the driver on motorways.

It assists with steering and throttle inputs, and even automatically adjusts the car’s speed to compensate for a bend. Active emergency stop assist is now fitted, too, and this can apply the brakes, should it detect a pedestrian in the road, and assist the driver when avoiding potential hazards in the road.

The system can also recognise speed-limit signs and adjust the car’s speed, should the driver choose this function.

VALUE FOR MONEY

The S-Class is luxurious. It comes with front seats that are heated, vented, and which feature a massage function, too.

The new, 12.5-inch screen is clearer and more user-friendly than before, while all of the leather is of the highest quality.

The S63 packs a blistering performance that you just wouldn’t expect.

However, prices for the S63 will start at £125,690 (€140,000) in Britain — and that’s a huge amount of cash for a car which, in all respects, never set out to be the last name in performance. It’s an impressive package, but one that will not be for everyone.

The S-Class comes with a more standard range of petrol and diesel engines, and it’s likely that the vast majority of buyers will opt for these.

However, for those who really want to stand out from the crowd, as well as be able to give sports car owners a fright from the lights, then the S63 is the one to go for.

WHO WOULD BUY ONE?

The standard S-Class is for people who would rather be driven than drive.

The S63, meanwhile, is angled closer towards those who like to take control of the driving.

It’s an impressive overall package, and one that handles surprisingly well, given the car’s size. Its price is hefty, but then the sheer level of craftsmanship and technology on board makes it almost justified — almost.


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