Just about the last thing anyone in the back seat of a Mercedes-Benz S-class wants is to be taken for a ride at 10/10ths. In other words, it's the perfect reason to install a rear-facing camera in the most hardcore S-class ever, the 2023 Mercedes-AMG S63 E Performance, as you hurl it down the track at a pace that'll make supercars sweat.
As the most powerful S-class in history, the S63 E Performance is an amalgamation of Mercedes' best performance technology from both the electric and internal combustion fields. It's a plug-in hybrid; it can propel itself on its 13.1-kilowatt-hour battery alone, its 188-horsepower, two-speed permanent-magnet motor on the rear axle propelling it up to 87 mph alone. But that's just its second job because the battery's not optimized for range. Instead, it takes after the packs that have aided AMG en route to multiple F1 championships, dumping energy in an instant to back up the more powerful half of the drivetrain.
The other half is AMG's unforgettable 4.0-liter, hot-V twin-turbo V8 that makes 603 hp and 664 pound-feet of torque in the big sedan. A nine-speed multi-clutch automatic splits that power between all four wheels and complements the electric motor for a system output of—get ready for this—791 HP and 1,055 pound-feet of torque. That's more than a diesel Ford Super Duty, and it gives the Merc enough torque to drag Jupiter from its orbit. It's also enough to hurtle the huge S-class from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, and on to an electronically limited top speed of 180 MPH. (It kinda makes you wonder where the mechanical limit lies, no?)
Of course, an almost 800-HP full-size sedan needs to be able to handle that power, and that's why the S63 E's chassis is pretty much state-of-the-art. Its adaptively damped air suspension adjusts height depending on speed, while its active roll control can split the corners for a soft ride—or lock up with multiple levels of stiffness offered by built-in planetary gears. Its rear wheels steer up to 2.5 degrees to increase both low-speed maneuverability and high-speed stability, and its electronic limited-slip differential steps in when speen is detected.
Six-piston front calipers with 15.7-inch rotors bleed off speed, while the rears get away with one-piston units—regenerative braking handles the rest. (These can also be upgraded to ceramic composites to reduce weight.) Finally, active engine mounts adjust stiffness depending on driving conditions, minimizing vibration in most driving conditions. This is still an S-class, after all, with luxuries like Nappa leather upholstery and 360-degree Dolby Atmos audio. As you'd expect of a modern high-tech luxury car, it's also packed with active driving and safety technologies.
Pricing and delivery dates for the 2023 Mercedes-AMG S63 E Performance haven't been announced, but seeing as it's a 2023 model, we can probably expect it in the first half of next year. That just means it'll almost perfectly coincide with the launch of the Audi RS6 Avant Performance and RS7 Sportback Performance, which are ripe for comparison. Seeing as they're all twin-turbo V8 hybrids with 180-mph top speeds that call themselves "Performance," they wouldn't be able to escape it even if Mercedes or Audi wanted to.
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