£103,745 - £127,555 Price range
31 - 34 MPG
The new Mercedes S-Class coupe replaces the CL as the company’s technical tour de force. It rivals expensive coupes such as the Aston Martin DB9 and the Bentley Continental GT, but is relatively cheap by comparison.
Nevertheless, the Mercedes is much more hi-tech than the competition. Worthy of special note is the Curve Tilt Function suspension, which lets the car lean in corners like a motorbike for added comfort. Mercedes has also used Swarovski crystals in the daytime running lights for (you guessed it) a crystal-clear beam and the car also comes with a panoramic glass sunroof that tints at the touch of a button.
Providing luxurious transport is only part of the story with the S-Class coupe, it’s also fun to drive and feels significantly sharper than the S-Class saloon that it is based upon.
Buyers can choose from three engines, but we would go for the S63 AMG coupe. The mid-range model’s prodigious performance makes it feel almost as quick as the S65 AMG, but it costs more than £50,000 less.
Slip inside the cabin of the S-Class Coupe and it’s easy to see that it’s off to a flying start. The basic architecture is lifted from the S-Class Saloon – which is stunning in its own right – sprinkled with one or two sporty touches befitting of a two-door GT.
A more conventional three-spoke steering wheel replaces the slightly quirky two-spoke design found in the saloon, while the armchair-like front seats feature extra side support to keep occupants in place during enthusiastic cornering. As an example of the attention to detail Mercedes has gone to, the front seat belts automatically come to hand when you need them – it’s like having a little servant that negates the need to reach backwards.
Fit and finish is stunning, and testers are unanimous in their praise of the style, the quality of the materials used and the level of equipment. One or two critics note that there isn’t perhaps the same amount of room as you’d expect for such a large car – even one with only two doors – as taller adults might begin to feel a little claustrophobic on longer journeys. However, it isn’t tangibly worse than its rivals in this regard.
The S-Class Coupe is available with some seriously clever chassis technology. Active Body Control (ABC) is a system which resists the body roll that’s inevitable when a two-tonne plus car turns into a corner. What makes it different from other systems is that ABC actively leans into the corner, much like a motorbike. One tester who has driven the S-Class Coupe both with and without the system described it as a “revelation”, noting that it makes the car much easier to direct along a twisty road, which results in a smoother, more relaxing experience.
Once they’d ticked off the handling box, Mercedes’ next acronym aimed to focus on the ride. As well as ABC, the S-Class coupe is fitted with MBC – that’s Magic Body Control. The car’s air springs and electrically controlled dampers are linked to a camera system which scans the road ahead and pre-empts bumps, turns and varying topography. As a result, the ride is one of the finest you will find in any car. Set in comfort mode, there are few cars which can match the “superb all round refinement” and “truly relaxed qualities” that it offers.
Mercedes describe the S-Class coupe as the quietest car it has ever produced, and that claim is easy to believe. Critics report barely a whisper of wind noise even at high speeds, and tyre roar is equally well suppressed. The only noise that occasionally enters the cabin is from one of the marvellous engines. Flaps open in the exhaust for a sportier tone under full throttle, but once cruising, the flaps close again, once again becoming a barely audible hum in the background.
Three engines are available for the S-Class Coupe, and they come in sizes big, bigger and biggest. Size ‘big’ is the S500. Powered by a 4.7-litre twin-turbo V8, the 455hp output is backed up by a huge plateau of torque; a full 516lb ft is spread from 1,800-3,500rpm, offering effortless overtaking ability.
The two AMG units offer more of the same, with even more performance. The twin-turbo 5.5 V8 in the S63 AMG produces 585 horsepower and 663lb ft of torque, while knocking the 0-62mph time down from 4.6 seconds in the S500 to 4.2. The most potent of all is the S63. A six-litre turbocharged V12 offers up 630hp and a whopping 737lb ft of torque.
In reality, the S500 is the unit which makes the most sense. Its performance is still huge, and while the cost of filling up a car like this won’t be an issue to buyers, the fact that it is officially 10mpg more economical than the S65 vastly increases the possible range from a tank of fuel.
The only (minor) letdown is the gearbox, at least in the AMG models. On occasion, the seven-speed auto can be “wrong-footed” (not changing when you want it to), and a little clunky from time to time. The S500 Coupe, however, is fitted with the latest nine-speed auto, which addresses all of these issues. As soon as that unit has been engineered to cope with the immense torque of the AMG engines, expect it to make an appearance in the rest of the range.
Now bear with us here, but for a car which starts at £97,000, the S-Class Coupe actually represents surprisingly good value for money. The key thing is that it undercuts the price of its nearest competitors – the Bentley Continental GT and Ferrari FF – by a considerable margin.
Then there’s the equipment list, where it trumps both the Ferrari, Bentley, and indeed anything else on the market. If you feel so inclined, it is possible to equip the S-Class Coupe with panoramic glass sunroof that tints at the touch of a button, or an advanced head-up display for the driver. Even the finest details have been considered. Mercedes has also used Swarovski crystals in the daytime running lights for (you guessed it) a crystal-clear beam, so you’ll be seen in all conditions.
Of course, the equivalent S-Class saloon is slightly cheaper, and you get two extra doors and a bigger boot, but for some people the style of a coupe is worth the extra outlay.
The purpose of a large GT car is to transport four people and their luggage at high speed and in ultimate comfort. In both regards, the S-Class coupe is peerless. It is both quieter and more comfortable than any of its rivals, while the performance is well in touch with even its most potent rivals. It isn’t as sharp as the Ferrari FF on a twisty road, but then that is hardly the point. To our eyes, it’s one of the best looking cars Mercedes currently produce, or indeed have done in years.
Money is rarely a problem for customers at this end of the market, but the fact that it undercuts the Bentley Continental GT by a few grand and the Ferrari by over £100,000 makes it even more tempting. If anything it just goes to show what a phenomenal technical achievement the S-Class coupe really is.
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