Mark Jones
Road Test Editor
4 minute read
13 Apr 2015
8:00 am

Merc’s monster CLS 63 AMG S tested

Mark Jones

I know it might sound ridiculous to say the AMG brand is ever improving, but if you are completely blunt and honest – and I am – you will agree there was a time when AMG cars were brutal, heavy, ship-like machines that did not offer the level of handling dynamics expected of the best Mercedes-Benz had to offer.

The Mercedes Benz CLS 63 AMG S bullies the competition. Picture: Supplied.

Sure, they went fast in a straight line and bullied the competition into submission with big-power, large-capacity engines, but show them a set of corners and the competition – especially the likes of BMW – paid them back with interest and would show the AMG brutes a clean pair of heels.

Though the new offerings from the team at Affalterbach continue to conform to the basic formula of big-power, large-capacity engines, their dynamics have significantly improved. This I like, because I enjoy a car that forces you to pay it attention when you provoke it. And the new R1.6 million facelifted and updated CLS 63 AMG S on test here is just such a car.

The updates have done wonders for the CLS and the S model that features here has an even more striking design that includes exclusive 10-spoke alloy wheels, along with the A-wing in high-gloss black, side sill panel inserts in silver chrome, red-painted brake callipers and the AMG logo on the boot lid with a contrasting black “S”.

A twin-blade radiator grille in silver chrome that comes with characteristic AMG lettering between the louvres and standard-fit multi-beam LED headlamps complete its intimidating and menacing look at the front.

The Mercedes Benz CLS 63 AMG S bullies the competition. Picture: Supplied.

The Mercedes Benz CLS 63 AMG S bullies the competition. Picture: Supplied.

Viewed from the side, you get the distinctive flared wings and V8 BiTurbo lettering attempts to warn you this particular AMG is packing one serious punch, along with a rear section that features visual air outlets and a black diffuser.

And all of this hides one very grumpy-sounding 5.5-litre V8 twin-turbo engine that produces a tyre-shredding and class-leading 430kW of power, along with 800Nm of torque – another best in class. I would love to tell you the 19-inch wide rubber can sufficiently tame this power – but it can’t.

Let me elaborate. Driven aggressively with the traction aids on and the traction control light flashes its disdain at you for making it work so hard to keep the car going forward in a civilised yet rapid fashion. Switching traction off – although it never switches completely off – and then leaving long black lines and expensive tyre smoke is all too easy, as is the opposite of keeping the car straight. Use the Race Start function and the car jumps off the line with very little fuss and charges past the competition from the word go.

The Mercedes Benz CLS 63 AMG S bullies the competition. Picture: Supplied.

The Mercedes Benz CLS 63 AMG S bullies the competition. Picture: Supplied.

Making easy use of the faster shifting AMG Speedshift MCT 7-speed sports transmission that also offers four drive modes – “C” (Controlled Efficiency), “S” (Sport), “S+” (Sport plus) and “M” (Manual) – and the already mentioned Race Start, this full sized coupé hits 100km/h in a mere 4.19 seconds and the quarter mile in just 12.19 seconds at 193.93km/h. It crosses the one-kilometre

mark at a very fast 252.49km/h and only stops again at the 304km/h electronically limited true top speed (up from the standard 250km/h), thanks to the AMG Driver’s Package you can order for R34 250 when you buy your CLS 63 AMG S.

The Mercedes Benz CLS 63 AMG S bullies the competition. Picture: Supplied.

The Mercedes Benz CLS 63 AMG S bullies the competition. Picture: Supplied.

As already mentioned, these are numbers that put the CLS 63 AMG S at the top of the serious enthusiasts executive pile of offerings. It is fractionally quicker than BMW’s M6 Gran Coupé and even Audi’s Quattro RS 7, cars that are direct foes on the road and at the dealership. But I think you and I both kind of expected this to be the case, as AMG’s cars are always quick in a straight line – remember?

But thanks to standard fitment AMG Ride Control sports suspension with an electronically controlled damping system, a widened track, more negative camber dialled in and an optimised three-link front suspension – including axle components made of aluminium at the front and an air spring system at the rear – this CLS AMG handles exceptionally well for a 1 870kg car putting over 400kW to the rear wheels and feels far more nimble than ever before.

This surefooted feeling is carried through to the AMG high-performance braking system that comes with massive optional 402mm AMG carbon ceramic internally ventilated and perforated brake discs at the front and 360mm high performance discs at the rear for an extra R95 600, married to every safety system you can think of to keep you safe.

You are also exceptionally well taken care of inside the facelifted CLS 63 AMG S.

The Mercedes Benz CLS 63 AMG S bullies the competition. Picture: Supplied.

The Mercedes Benz CLS 63 AMG S bullies the competition. Picture: Supplied.

The car boasts an AMG performance steering wheel, along with a free-standing colour display in the head unit that forms part of the all-new multimedia generation, some exclusive AMG emblems on the front head rests, illuminated AMG door sill panels, AMG floor mats and an “S AMG” logo in the 320km/h speedometer just to remind you you’re driving a very fast and special car.

In this executive cruise missile segment you are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to power and performance.

Sure, you pay for the privilege but you get a car capable of hanging out with the best of them.

And this CLS 63 AMG S can do just that.