Mercedes-Benz strikes again with the introduction of their new flagship coupe, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe! While we were at it we also took the ‘entry-level’ S Coupe: the V8 powered S500 out for a spin in stunning Tuscany.
The new S-Class Coupe essentially replaces the Mercedes-Benz CL that saw three generations built between 1992 and 2013. CL stands for ‘Coupe Light’ and the name was initially introduced for the American Markets in 1996. The new S-Class Coupe still follows the same base recipe as the previous generation CL, it is based on the S-Class Limousine and features a shorter wheel base and a choice of engines limited only to the most powerful variants available in the S-Class Limousine. With the introduction of the 2015 S-Class Coupe, Mercedes-Benz restores some order in their line-up naming and unlike the BMW M3/M4 renaming discussion nobody seems to regret this change.
Before we tell you more about our time with the new S63 AMG 4Matic, S500 4Matic and S500 with the new Curve Tilting Function we will talk you through the basics of the new S-Class Coupe. New in this review is a little Q&A we did based on questions we received from readers and fans like you through our social media channels (including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). Feel free to submit your questions for any of our upcoming reviews (which will be announced on Facebook and Instagram) on our social media channels as well.
At launch there will only be two engine variants available of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe: The S500 and S63 AMG. Later more powerful variants like the S600 and S65 AMG will be introduced but at launch it is V8 dominance. The Mercedes-Benz S500 Coupe was the first variant of the S-Class Coupe to be revealed. Just like its sedan sibling, the S500 Coupé features a 4.6-liter V8 biturbo engine delivering a total of 455 hp and a peak of 700 Nm of torque.
The new Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe is powered by a potent 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine delivering 585 hp at 5500 rpm as well as a brutal 900Nm of torque at a low 2240 rpm. To put this into comparison, this is a 55 hp increase over the predecessor: the CL63 AMG.
Interestingly, at launch only the 4Matic variants of the S500 and S63 AMG Coupe are available. Later the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe will be available either in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configurations in Europe but in the U.S., the car will only be available with the 4Matic all-wheel drive system. As for the all-wheel drive version, 33 per cent of the power is sent to the front axle with the remaining 67 per cent going to the rear wheels.
Despite its weight of 1995 kg, the new Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe can hit 100 km/h from a standstill in a mere 3.9 seconds with the all-wheel drive system and reach the same mark as a RWD in 4.3 seconds. Both have an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h (which can be raised to 300 km/h with the optional AMG Drivers Package). The power is transmitted to the road through tyres measuring 255/40 R20 at the front and 285/35 R20 at the rear.
The S500 Coupe does 0-100 km/h in 4.6 seconds. However, as it is a non-AMG model, performance isn’t its main focus with luxury and excellent ride quality shining through the brisk pace. Top speed of the Mercedes-Benz S500 is limited to 250 km/h. Both S500 and S63 AMG 4Matic use about 10 liter/100 kilometers on the average EU cycle, but the S500 runs on Super (95 octane) and the S63 AMG Coupe only on SuperPlus (98 octane).
Gearbox & Drivetrain
The S63 AMG Coupe comes with a 7G AMG Speedshift MCT seven-speed transmission which offers three different driving modes to choose from: C (Controlled Efficiency), S (Sport) and M (Manual).
The S500 comes with the Mercedes-Benz 7G-Tronic Plus, later the new Mercedes-Benz 9G nine-speed gearbox should also be available on the S500. The new 9G-Tronic helps to further improve the fuel economy and make the even quicker and smoother gear changes possible. Like the 7G-Tronic three modes are offered: Economy, Sport and Manual.
Each S-Class Coupe comes with aluminium shift paddles behind the steering wheel. More information and our experience with the 7G AMG Speedshift MCT and 9G-Tronic can be found in our Driving Experience below.
The new S-Class Coupe comes with a range of different suspension options and a true innovation. Important is to distinguish the differences between the 4Matic and rear-wheel drive models. The 4Matic models always come with the Airmatic air suspension in the S500 Coupe and the AMG Ride Control sport suspension based on the Airmatic in the S63 AMG Coupe. The S63 AMG Coupe also has ADS Plus, the Adaptive Damping System to ensure a broad range from comfortable to very sporty.
The true innovation is exclusively available for the rear-wheel drive vehicles and sadly this means many customers will miss out on the best the S-Class Coupe has to offer in the suspension department. The rear-wheel drive S500 comes standard with Magic Body Control, which we know from the S500 Limousine and tested in Toronto last year. Magic Body Control uses an advanced camera to scan the road surface ahead and setup the suspension accordingly to absorb any holes or bumps.
In the new S500 Coupe Magic Body Control can be equipped with another technology called the Curve Tilting Function. This function allows the S63 AMG Coupé to lean into bends in a manner similar to a motorcyclist or skier. The lateral acceleration acting upon occupants is reduced in a way akin to when driving in a steep curve, and passengers sit more firmly. On country roads in particular, the new curve tilting function enhances motoring enjoyment and comfort. Mercedes-Benz stresses the objective is not to reach higher cornering speeds, but to produce an even more pleasant motoring experience. The curve tilting function can be selected as one of three drive modes using the ABC switch; it is active in the speed range from 30 to 180 km/h.
In addition to the curve tilting function, the Magic Body Control suspension system includes Road Surface Scan and Active Body Control (ABC) as standard. With Active Body Control the suspension struts are equipped with hydraulic cylinders (so-called plungers), in order to adjust the force in each strut individually. Depending on the curve driven, the curve tilting function shifts the base point of each individual strut. This allows the vehicle to incline automatically and continuously in fractions of a second and to angles of up to 2.5 degrees in curves – depending on the road angle and vehicle speed. The innovative suspension system detects curves using both a stereo camera behind the windscreen, registering the curvature of the road up to 15 meters ahead, and an additional lateral acceleration sensor.
On the rear-wheel drive S63 AMG Coupe you can find a AMG Sport Suspension based on Magic Body Control. Again the Curve Tilting Function is available as an optional extra.
From a design standpoint, the road-going Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe and S500 remain very true to the original Coupe Concept revealed last year. The front-end is significantly sleeker than the S500 Limousine’s. The S500 and S63 AMG Coupe both offer Swarovski LED headlights that come with dozens of Swarovski crystals surrounding the day time running lights and indicators in the headlights. This gives the S Coupe a unique look but it highly depends on taste.
The stunning sleek design continues through to the rear where the S-Class Coupe maintains similar taillights to the concept while featuring a more aggressive rear bumper and rear diffuser. If you look closely at the side profile, it has maintained similar lines as to those from the CLA-Class and when combined with the flowing roof, and extremely sleek windows, there’s no doubting that the fact that the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe is a truly breathtaking car to look at!
As for the S63 AMG Coupe, it features the selection of aggressive panels which we’ve come to expect from Mercedes-Benz. These include restyled bumpers and grilles as well as AMGs truly stunning rectangular exhaust pipes. Styling is always a matter of taste but we believe it is one of the best looking cars on the market today.
Inside the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe you will find the same luxurious / modern interior as in the S-Class Limousine. The car is packed to the roof with features from massage seats, that can move and adjust in nearly ever angle, to the excellent Burmester sound system and the two huge display and infotainment screens. Both the overall length as the wheelbase have reduced which primarily shows on the back seats. Leg room is very limited and it is a real coupe with primary focus on the driver and co-driver. Although still nicely finished and shaped with two separate seats, there are less features and comfort in the rear.
We start our journey with the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe at Pisa Airport in Italy. Pisa, home of the leaning tower of Pisa, marks the start for our journey through Tuscany with the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S500 Coupe 4Matic. Our car of choice is dark blue with a porcelain interior, very understated but chic. It is pretty much full option with everything from night vision camera to the optional massage seats on board.
Despite this being a 4matic with regular air suspension and no magic body control, the ride is comfortable and like its limousine brother the S500 Coupe lets hardly any outside noises penetrate the cabin. The seats and interior are exactly like the S500 limousine, only when you turn around towards the back you notice you are actually in a coupe.
On the highway the S500 is a true pleasure to drive, in traffic adaptive cruise control and lane assist do the driving almost entirely for you and as soon as the road opens up and you plant your foot down the S500 propels forward. There is no reason to complain in this car on the Italian highway so we leave the highway for what it is and head into the beautiful Tuscan hills.
With the first corners in front of us we toggle the gearbox from C to S and set the suspension to the stiffer setting, the S-Class 4Matic has two modes for suspension and three modes for the gearbox and engine. The moment we release the button a fiery sound engulfs us from behind. In Sport mode the flaps in the exhaust open, making the S500 significantly louder under stress and adding a lovely popping sound the moment you release the throttle. The stiffer suspension helps reduce body roll in the corners, that certainly in comfort mode is quite significant. Still even in Sport mode you feel the S500 Coupe is a heavy car weighing in at nearly 2,000 kg. This is the only true price you pay for all the luxury that the S500 Coupe offers.
We pass through some beautiful old Italian villages and have stunning views of the surrounding hills along the route. It is not hard to imagine why Mercedes-Benz chose exactly this location for the introduction of the new S-Class Coupe. We arrive at the incredible Castello di Casole and exchange our S500 4Matic for a RWD S500 Coupe with some interesting gimmicks on board. First of all it comes with Magic Body Control that filters out most bumps and holes in the road while driving in comfort mode. It also has the new Curve Tilting Function and also has the new 9G-Tronic gearbox.
We are particularly interested in the Curve Tilting Function, where the suspension drops the inside of the car and lifts the outside of the car in a corner. We enable the system by switching the suspension from Comfort to Curves, once engaged it shows on the driver display. Now all we need is a few nice sweeping bends to give it a try. Luckily the roads around the hotel are littered with bends and soon we experience the Curve Tilting Function at various speeds and angles. The feeling is really similar to that when cornering with a speedboat or on a jetski. Instead of feeling a force pulling you to the outside of the corner it seems like there are less forces and if at all those are pushing you into your seat. A very awkward feeling at first, which your brain takes some time to comprehend. Later this turns around into joy and an ‘I want more’ feeling.
Mercedes-Benz stresses the functionality is not made to enable faster cornering but primarily to improve the cornering experience. And although I’m confident it is faster to corner in curves mode than in comfort, it is hard to get the same feeling of the car in curves mode as you do in the stiffer sport suspension setting. It is the first time a system like this is introduced in a passenger car and it still has a few weaknesses. In combinations of corners you can clearly feel how it struggles to keep up and the shift in load from one side to the other makes the rear become light and makes the steering lack feel. Also a fun new innovation but not perfect yet.
We also took some time to test the new 9G-Tronic nine speed gearbox developed by Mercedes-Benz. And although this gearbox primarily has fuel efficiency benefits it has some performance benefits too. Shift times are greatly reduced and have also become even smoother. Especially in the higher end of the spectrum you hardly notice a gear change at all. Whether you run the automatic program in C or S or use the paddles to shift manually we noticed none of the struggles common for some of the older 7-speed single clutch gearboxes. A good development and we hope to welcome to 9G-Tronic in more cars in the line-up soon. The 9G-Tronic will not be available in the most powerful (AMG) cars though due to torque limitations.
After an interesting and fun drive with the S-Class Coupe cornering like a jetski, we return to the Castello di Casole once again and swap the keys of the S500 Coupe for the keys of the most desirable of the bunch: The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic Edition 1!
The moment you open the door you know this one is different. From the shiny AMG badges to the sports steering wheel, this is another beast. Hit the engine start/stop button and the 5.5 liter V8 comes to live with a loud roar. Heavily breathing in idle, engage gear and the S63 AMG Coupe gets in motion with another loud roar. Even with all settings in Comfort you can feel the S63 AMG is much stiffer and sportier than the S500. Steering inputs are more direct and the brakes are much grippier too. We quickly cycle through the different modes, in Sport the gearbox shifts down with (artificial) backfire automatically for you under braking.
130hp and 200Nm is the difference between the S500 and S63 AMG Coupe, but it feels like so much more than that. It is fine tuning of all elements combined that makes the S63 AMG Coupe such a different car to drive. It might not be as comfortable as the S500 but you gain so much agility and speed in return.
The AMG also looks a world apart from the S500 Coupe. It looks less understated and sophisticated with the more larger air intakes, side skirts, rear diffuser and signature AMG exhaust. The matt paint enhances the look further.
After some photos we return to the mindblowing Castello di Casole for dinner and our first night in Tuscany. As we wake up the sun sits already high above the Tuscan hills and the sound of rumbling V8s echoes between the century old buildings of the Castello.
Our second day with the S63 AMG Coupe sees us explore the heart of Tuscany and the city of Florence. We have been to many beautiful places but very few come close to the natural beauty of Tuscany. Littered with ancient villages and vineyards it is worthy of a visit, especially by car. Some of the streets are fairly narrow but not one time during our trip we had the feeling we were driving a very large car. Thanks to the short wheelbase compared to the limousine, both the S500 and S63 AMG feel very nimble. The turning circle is smaller too, allowing to maneuver more easily in the city.
In the S63 AMG the weight feels like it plays less of an issue as the AMG brakes and suspension minimize body roll and improve stopping power. In Sport mode the automatic gearbox works near flawless but the moment you shift yourself the 7G-Tronic seems unprepared to handle on commands. Especially shifting close to the red line the AMG 7G Speedshift shows its weakness.
The closer we get to Florence the more traffic there is and also the driving style seems to become more Italian with more road rage and scooters flying by on all sides. A little traffic light sprint shows a scooter driver who’s the new boss in Florence – the S63 AMG Coupe. We stop at the Piazzale Michelangelo with a beautiful view over Florence where the S63 AMG Coupe attracts a small crowd of onlookers. What they think of the new S-Class Coupe? “Bella Macchina” they reply. And that is what it is!
Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe Q&A
You ask, we get the answer! Here are the answers to some questions or readers and fans asked in regards to the new S-Class Coupe.
Q: Why is the corner tiling feature only available with Magic Body Control?
A: First of all the system requires individual steering of the four dampers, something which is not possible with conventional air suspension. Secondly we make use of the cameras that ‘scan’ the road ahead to see where the corner is going and setup the suspension accordingly to tilt the car into the corner. This is only possible with the Magic Body Control system.
Q: Why is Magic Body Control not available on all S-Classes and S-Coupes?
A: The Magic Body Control system is a system with particular requirements and it uses quite a bit of space. It is not compatible with the 4matic system per example because of space issues. We would love to offer it on 4matic models as well but it is technically not possible at the moment. With that said we hope to make Magic Body Control also available for other RWD cars in our line-up in the coming years.
Q: Why is there a separate mode for ‘Curves’ and not a button so you can activate it in the comfort or sport mode?
A: Technically it would have been possible to add a button to enable it in comfort or sport. But we believe it functions better with its own program considering the different ride heights in comfort and sport. Also the focus is on enhancing the driving experience and not necessarily making faster cornering possible, that’s another reason we believe it was not fit to integrate with the sport mode per example.
Q: What is the difference between Magic Body Control on the S500 Coupe and AMG Sport Suspension based on Magic Body Control in the S63 AMG Coupe?
A: AMG gave the Magic Body Control setup a performance treatment and in comfort already the ride is firmer than it is in the non-AMG S500. In Sport the car is even stiffer and offers the best performance.
Q: Which colors are available for the new S Class Coupe and why are there no bright colors?
A: The new S-Class Coupe is available in various black, silver and white tones in metallic and designo finish. There is also a dark blue and a dark green metallic. These colors have been selected based on our customer demands. We can only offer a limited number of colors from the factory due to the available infrastructure in the paint facility. Customers wishing to order a S500 or S63 AMG in a color different from those we offer already can always go to the AMG Performance Studio to have a their car painted in any color they want.
Q: Why are the new LED Multi Beam headlights not available on the new Mercedes-Benz S Coupe?
A: The LED Multi Beam headlights have only just celebrated their introduction on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS and are not available on the S Coupe (yet) because of the different development schedules of both models. Development on the LED headlights with Swarovski crystals was already under way when the LED Multi Beam headlights were developed for the CLS.
Q: Why is the S63 AMG Coupe limited to 250 km/h?
A: The S63 AMG Coupe comes standard with a 250 km/h limiter but when you order the AMG Driver’s Package it will be raised to 300 km/h. The AMG Driver’s Package also includes a 1,5 day AMG driving course at various race tracks in Germany.
What to Spec?
One of the key questions you have to ask yourself first is: Rear wheel drive or All wheel drive? With the RWD S500/S63 Coupe you will get access to the unique Magic Body Control and Curve Tilting Function, however the 4Matic S500/S63 AMG is faster and more usable in all weather conditions.
When you have cracked this difficult question, here are a few boxes on the option list you should certainly consider:
Driving Assistance Package Plus: Includes Distronic Plus (adaptive cruise control) with steering assist and Stop & Go Pilot. Makes driving in traffic a real pleasure and as bonus it includes various active collision prevention systems and things like a blind spot warning. Must have!
Keyless Go: Never touch the key again. We can’t live without it – except in a F40 or Miura!
Seat Climate Control: Includes seat heating and seat cooling – especially the last is a true pleasure to keep you cool on a summer day.
Seat Comfort Package: The first thing we do when we get into a new S-Class: Switch on the massage function. The S-Coupe has it too, just tick this box!
Heads-up Display: Displays your speed, navigation instructions and much more in the windshield in front of the driver. Very comfortable and safe too.
Other options we can recommend but depend on personal taste are: 360 degree camera (makes parking and manouvering in tight spaces dead simple), Splitview & TV module (allows your passenger to watch TV while you see the navigation map or something else).
For those in the market for a new S63 AMG Coupe consider the AMG Driver’s Package to lift the top speed from 250 km/h to 300 km/h and the AMG Ceramic Brakes – although they carry a hefty price tag and only really pay off for very sporty drivers.
What about the competition?
The new S-Class Coupe operates in a niche that is left wide open by the other German manufacturers. To find a luxury grand tourer coupe like the S500 and S63 AMG Coupe we have to look beyond the German border. The Bentley Continental GT is one of the main competitors, other cars that (potential) S class Coupe buyers might consider or currently drive are the Aston Martin Vanquish and the Maserati GranTurismo. The Bentley and especially Aston Martin find themselves in a higher price bracket. But all are exclusive luxury grand tourers with a special touch.
The new S-Class is without a doubt the best equipped and most technically advanced of the four. It will take new owners weeks to discover all the features that the S Coupe offers. In nearly all head-to-head comparisons on the technical and infotainment side are won by the Benz. What do the other three have that the new S-Coupe doesn’t have? Well, the others can top the S Coupe in appearance and exclusivity, despite stunning looks it still appears very understated and no match for the Aston Martin and the Maserati in that aspect and no match to the sheer luxury of the Bentley. Also in the sound department the Aston Martin and Maserati manage to top the sound of the V8 Benz.
Do these things mean we would pick the Bentley, the Aston Martin or the Maserati over the Benz? No probably not… Why not? Simply because it is the best and most versatile luxury coupe on the market at the moment.
The S500 and S63 AMG Coupe are both excellent cars. We would opt for the faster, sharper and meaner S63 AMG Coupe but if its a comfortable grand tourer your after look no further than the S500 Coupe. The choice between 4Matic and RWD with Magic Body Control and the fun new Corner Tilting Function is a hard one, but we would opt for the 4Matic for better performance and greater versatility under all weather conditions including winter.
The new S Class Coupe’s styling reminds in nearly nothing of its predecessor and it is a stunning car to see. The rear in particular adds flair and character to the MB range, which is becoming more and more dominated by the same styling cues. Deliveries of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe start this fall with the S500 Coupe 4Matic and S63 AMG Coupe 4Matic models.