The idea of a high-performance Mercedes-Benz S-Class may seem unusual. After all, the automaker’s full-size has served the world’s elite since its inception.
And with any such high-end sedan, brisk performance should be a given. But that doesn’t mean that all such buyers are satisfied. And so, 53 years ago came the first high-performance S-Class, the 1971 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.8 AMG, which was actually the first AMG.
AMG, or Aufrecht Melcher Grossaspach, was established by former Mercedes-Benz engineers Hans Werner Aulfrecht and Erhard Melcher, who took the 7,000-pound sedan and stuffed Mercedes-Benz’s 247 horsepower 6.3-liter V-8 under the hood, a notable improvement from the lackluster 170 hp 2.8-liter straight six normally found there.
In that same spirit comes a fresh entry for the 2023 model year, the Mercedes-AMG S63 E Performance. But it’s more simply a big engine; it’s high-tech tour-de-force powered by a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
The 2023 Mercedes-AMG S63 E Performance’s wardrobe updates aren’t radical, but do make a distinct difference. Its fresh face includes an AMG radiator grille with vertical louvres and a large central star.
On the hood, where you’d typically find the company’s three-pointed star, you’ll find the AMG emblem in silver chrome and black. There are large side air intakes and air curtains, AMG-specific sill panels accent the side of the car, while trapezoid, fluted twin tailpipes and a wide diffuser finish the rear. Of course, it also wears AMG designer footwear, in this case 21-inch AMG forged wheels.
It’s a subtle, but effectively sporty upgrade without looking over-the-top.
Inside, the 2023 Mercedes-AMG S63 E Performance sports the typically refined S-Class interior, but boasting AMG accents. They include AMG upholstery and stitching, along with headrests embossed with the AMG logo, along with the unique interior trim that comes with any AMG vehicle. And, as you’d expect, it comes standard with the AMG Performance twin-spoke steering wheel that place a lot of functionality at the driver’s fingertips, including gearshift buttons, driving modes and other functions.
Power comes courtesy of a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine mated to a permanently excited synchronous electric motor, a high-performance 13.1 kWh lithium-ion battery and a variable AMG Performance all-wheel drive system.
The automaker describes the driveline as a P3 hybrid, which places a 190-hp electric motor positioned behind the transmission at the rear axle, where it’s integrated with a two-speed transmission and the electronically controlled limited rear slip differential. This allows it to bypass the 9-speed automatic transmission, which is used exclusively for the V-8 engine. The electric motor acts directly on the rear axle, providing instant full torque, and its power can be routed to the front if the rear wheels slip.
The powertrain generates a colossal 802 hp and 1,055 pound-feet of torque. Yowza.
Despite that, the system allows for 20.5 miles (33 kilometers) of pure electric driving, and its battery is recharged via the car’s 3.7 kW onboard AC charger, although Mercedes-AMG offers four levels of regenerative braking, which recovers energy generating while braking or decelerating to recharge the battery.
Other AMG upgrades include active engine mounts, adaptive air suspension and active roll stabilization, added underbody bracing, and composite brakes with six-piston front calipers.
The driving experience can be tailored via its seven drive modes, which include Electric, Comfort, Battery Hold, Sport, Sport+, Slippery and Individual. There are also three AMG Dynamic modes, Basic, Advanced and Pro, which further refine how the vehicle responds.
Being a hybrid, the vehicle’s MBUX infotainment system and its instrument cluster feature hybrid-specific displays, as well as the ability to adjust the IC to a number of different layouts. There’s also a head-up display and a Dolby Atmos sound system.
It’s no surprise that the AMG’s S-Class is a smooth, strong performer, with the effortless, effective manor you’d expect of a high-end luxury sedan. There’s not much in the way of irritants here, be it noise, ride or lack of comfort and convenience features. It’s quiet and comfortable as an S-Class should be. But else would you expect?
And yes, it’s quick for such a big beast, with well-controlled body motions and a distinct lack of body roll while cornering. This means you won’t feel timid about hustling this tiny-house-sized car down your favorite two-lane. Its grip is impressive, thanks to the myriad of systems that prevent you from inadvertently doing some off-roading. It lends the driver confidence, providing a far more satisfying driving experience than most SUVs, one that only a coupe, cabriolet or sedan can provide.
A fuller evaluation of the car will have to wait for a week-long test drive, and pricing, crash test results and EPA fuel economy are not yet available. But our initial impression is that the 2023 Mercedes-AMG S63 E Performance provides all of the goodness of an S-Class, without the excessive fuel economy penalty. And while its pure electric driving range is minimal, it’s there for when you want to go gas-free.
2023 Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance – Frequently Asked Questions
How much horsepower does the 2023 Mercedes-AMG S 63 have?
According to Mercedes-Benz, it produces an astounding 802 horsepower and 1,055 foot-pounds of torque.
What is the acceleration of the S 63 E performance?
The automaker says the Mercedes-AMG S63 E Performance accelerates from 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds.
What is the top speed of the AMG S 63 E?
The 2023 Mercedes-AMG S63 E Performance’s top speed is electronically limited to 180 mph.