Have you ever driven a car that was so incredibly outstanding that it made you want to weep?
Made you spring out of bed, head into work early -- and stay late?
Study harder, analyze better, deliver results and achieve excellence among your peers?
It is easy to slip into fatalism -- saying, "I will never have enough money to own a car like that."
Or, "Without X, Y or Z -- owning a car like that is simply an impossible dream, for me."
I am here today with the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG to slap your silly face.
The AMG S63 will slap your head into the plush headrest pillows with 577 pound-feet of torque. He will kick your butt into high gear with massaging pneumatic seats. And he will get you to the place of your dreams - faster than you ever thought possible.
You can do it. We can do it. We too can own this incredible machine -- if we truly want it enough.
For a week? No, we must work hard, and work smart, for 30 years in a row to get there.
But we are exceptional. And exceptional candidates rise to the top.
The exterior of the S63 AMG for the latest-gen models is something like a fine gem, glittering and refracting light from afar like a diamond. Sure, you might get a blast of glimmer from afar in the new S63 AMG via its proportions and stunning matte-black wheels. But up close, you almost need subglasses to avoid UV-A and UV-B burns on your retinas.
The car is gorgeous. This starts at the nose, with the black-chrome lower bumper piece and AMG venting showing the world who is (finally, you hard worker you) the boss on the roads.
NOSE DESIGN ANALYSIS
A more traditional and classic Mercedes-Benz grille takes prominence up front, which is unexpected versus the single-bar "soft nose" grille that has typically been an AMG staple atop any line of MB cars. The edges of the grille are chrome still, and the interior consists of horizontal bars, as it has now in Mercedes models for more than 100 years.
The three-pointed star stands proud on the hood, visible from the driver's seat but only if you look for it. This is no 190E -- that grille star is farrrr away down the immense hood.
Surfaces have a graceful and watery flow to them, with panels that appeal solid actually containing delicious peaks and subtle valleys. This reflects and refracts the paint brilliantly, especially in profile.
PROFILE DESIGN ANALYSIS
From the sides, this car is old-school, olde-world wealth. And not necessarily all inherited money, either. This is the "working rich" who are still plugged in to digital and trends and fashion, even if their day-job is commodities or futures or securities.
The long hood seems lower than ever, leading to a lower beltline and serious power in the non-existent front overhang. The sills grab some extra AMG embellishment but all is relatively modest.
The rear pillar is now a more-graceful arc downward above passengers' head region, ending with almost a semi-circular radius at the pure horizontal chrome windowline. It is at once very elegant and very new versus even the previous-gen S-Class.
TAIL DESIGN ANALYSIS
The tail is when the AMG S63 stops being so coy about the power it wields. Four huge squared exhaust pipes are a prominent grounding element in the super-flowing and hydro-contoured sheet-metal panels. They are contrast titanium colored, and live in a unique diffuser area. The simplest part is the S63 badge on the trunk's left edge. It is code.
Code for: "I worked for this, I earned it and I will pass you now. Thankyou."
The cabin is lovely. It is sumptuous and comforting as well as immediately comfortable. It makes you unclench your hard-working bullocks after work, just by the sheer volume of thoughtful luxuries.
The steering wheel is still unpleasantly shaped, but finished in dark suede in this car to hide its silliness. It feels great, greeting your hands like a rabbit-lined set of leather gloves.
The wood on this test car is, we believe, from the same forrest that stocked my first love-affair with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class -- a 1959 220S discovered in a Wisconsin junkyard years ago.
SIDEBAR: MY JUNKYARD JEM - 1959 Mercedes-Benz 220S, with leather, sunroof, disc brakes and many options.
I spent much time disassembling the car for parts a few summers ago. It was a labor of love, bringing what I could of this lovely "Fintail" back to life; back to market.
The leather headrests alone brought upwards of $600 or so from collectors, so we returned to work on this car for weeks and weeks. What I discovered was build quality and comfort that I had rarely found in any car, ever -- let alone one sitting in this same spot in a Wisconsin field for the last 30 years.
Beside it, two old Ford pickup trucks from the 1960s that had wood truck beds. Beside them? A VW Minibus from 1969 -- with sheets still on the mini-bed/sofa thing that buses had above their rear engine compartment. I think there was a stubbed-out marijuana joint in the rear ashtray, too -- to really set the mood.
My 220S Fintail did not give up her parts easily. Far, far from it. These pieces were installed for life, and I was disturbing the peace.
Eventually, the set of wood windshield-frames (lining the dashboard so elegantly), window frames and door trims were freed and carefully packaged for shipping. A collector in Japan purchased the set - which had to go in a *huge* box to make sure the fragile elements did not crack.
The wood of this S63 is very similar, but a high-gloss version. Much as I love the grain and depth of color, in the S63 it looks fancy but too... something. Too much gloss, too dark, too... much.
The lighter cabin and carbon trim seen in Amelia Island's S63 is much, much preferred.
The S63 AMG brings standard 4Matic this year, the first time it has actually even been offered.
But boy: you wouldn't know it from the light and caressing steering feel. Stomp the gas and the rear pushes hard like always. This year, it just never loses grip or even blinks the triangle traction light. It just shoots ahead like a time warp.
There is a bellow from the pipes out back that is perhaps the only cabin noise audible whatsoever. This car redefines silent, even versus the Bentley Continental GT V8 S and Rolls-Royce Wraith. Especially versus the 2014 BMW 750Li, whose direct-injection V8 engine clatter sounds like a cold diesel the moment you crack a window.
The S63 AMG is faster than you will ever need, or ever believe until some seat time. For something so smooth to be so outlandishly rapid is a juxtaposition from heaven.
So, as you might be sensing, I loved the S63 AMG very, very much. It drives with a pillow-like cloud of serenity, but you control the weather in this universe.
And you can make the heavens roar and the thunder clap -- just by dipping a toe deeper into the plush carpets.
With pricing from $141,000 -- the S63 AMG 4Matic is the best car available from any brand, at any price.
It is the best car you will ever own.
Unless you keep waking early and working late... that is.
Hard work reaps the big payoff. Nothing is a better reward for 30 years labor than the 2014 S63 AMG 4Matic Sedan.
2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic Sedan - LETTER GRADE: A+
EXTERIOR DRIVE CAM
2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic Sedan - PHOTO GALLERY
So, which 2014 S-Class is for you?
The S550 starts things off with a 4.8s sprint to 60-mph for just $90,000, while the S63 AMG lops that time down to just 3.9s for an extra $50 Large.
For real-life Kings and Queens? Still the rear-drive S65 AMG for now -- but stay tuned for the extra-long-doors version and perhaps even a six-door Pullman S700 (?) in the next few years.
The all-new AMG 4Matic is heavily rear-biased, with last fall's E63 4Matic drive proving these are still exceptionally-balanced and great-steering vehicles.
S63 AMG WHEEL CHOICES
EXTERIOR COLOR CHOICES
The standard AWD makes it a foolproof way to put this huge power down cleanly in rain, sleet or snow.
S63 and S65 Shown
INTERIOR TRIM CHOICES
INTERIOR -- LEATHER CHOICES
Another huge 4MATIC achievement on the newest Mercedes models? There is no passenger-seat floor hump, which will be very, very welcome news to any older 4Matic owners.
Fuel economy is barely dented by 4Matic in this generation as well. All good news.
The relatively humble S550 (by comparison with the AMG cars only) hits 60-mph in just 4.8 seconds with a base price in the $90,000 ballpark. Very good stuff there.
The S63 AMG starts from $140,000, while the forthcoming S65 AMG is expected to match the previous model's $199,000 pricing with virtually everything included as standard.
--- Performance steering wheel
These MBrace packages actually seem pretty affordable (one costs $14, for example) versus BMW's mooted plan to charge ConnectedDrive customers up to $600 annually to enjoy real-time traffic and mapping functions.
Subscription rates for MBrace are quoted at $280 annually, which is actually pretty good value. Hopefully no data limits, etc.
Making any of these features like paint and web access optional is bit stingy in my opinion, but who am I to judge these C-suite residents' spending habits?
See, alter and order based on "My" S63 AMG
$14 for a Mercedes-Benz feature! Um, yes please. That is only 2/3 the cost of a Manhattan movie theater ticket in 2014, and the same price as a Manhattan pack of cigarettes as well.
Heck, $14 is the price of a Manhattan imported beer.
What is next? Oh, you want tire stem caps? That will be a factory-installed, $1.97 option, Sir, than cannot be retrofitted.
We're just kidding, mostly. US dealers only order super-loaded cars, so these are only features to be aware of if you prepare the build sheet yourself versus buying off a dealer lot.
Additional Equipment Required. You may select one of the following: Power outboard rear seats with memory, Warmth and Comfort Package. Power outboard rear seats with memory - $1,515, will be your default selection.
- Power right rear footrest
- 4-zone automatic climate control
- EASY-ADJUST rear-seat head restraints
- PRE-SAFE® rear seat-belt buckles
- Rear seat-belt air bags
- !! Limited Availability. Please see your dealer for details.
Option slightly reduces trunk space. See your dealer.
- Dual power rear seats with folding tables
- Heated and cooled rear cupholders
- !! Limited Availability. Please see your dealer for details.
S550 Visualizer Link on MBUSA.com
S63 AMG 4Matic -- Builder Link on MBUSA.com