BMW's 7 Series sedans are considered the "more mature" enthusiasts Autobahn burner. Big, luxurious, safe, comfortable and fast. We have reviewed a recent offering elsewhere on Examiner and pronounced it good. But to keep ourselves honest, for comparison sake, we dipped a toe in the Mercedes Benz stream. Just for fun, we picked up the bad boy in the S Class lineup - the AMG S63 - 577hp hauling around 4800 pounds of Teutonic glass, metal and leather. In a word, wow!
First Impression - If this was high school and your mother saw you with someone that gave off the attitude of the AMG S63, she would ground you and tell your father. Yeah, it looks that bad. Our test car had black metallic paint (don't try to figure that one out, this is, after a German car), black leather interior and massive black accented alloy wheels. If it could wear a t-shirt, it would have a pack of unfiltered smokes tucked in the sleeve and there would be a "Born to Ride" tattoo on the forearm.
We did our test drive on a dark, rainy day and the AMG S63 fit the mood perfectly. Looking like a getaway car for an international jewel thief, its hulking presence (did I mention it weighs 4800 pounds) says, don't mess with me, don't even try.
Inside the Hulk - Befitting its bad boy nature, our car had a jet black leather interior. However, the fit and finish, artistic stitching and overall attention to detail softened the impression. The glossy wood and chrome dash accents under a stitched leather facia seemed more British than German - London meets Stuttgart and London wins. While all black interiors can be oppressive, this one, with its infinitely adjustable seats - front and rear - welcomes you to womb-like comfort. We think you will love the Mercedes Benz tradition of placing the seat adjustments on the door panel making it easier to position the seat where you want it before you have to squeeze in behind a too-close-for-comfort seat and wheel. Nice!
Every surface you touch says, expensive (because it is) and high quality (ditto). Close the Mosler-safe-like door and the classic Mercedes Benz thunk says, "you're safe now, relax, I got this."
On The Road - The huge turbocharged V8 sparks to life with a delightful malevolent rumble giving fair warning to what's ahead. Without preamble, what's ahead is speed. Not quite Ferrari 599 GTO speed. Not Porsche Turbo speed either. This is large country estate on crack speed, meaning zero to OMG in 3.9 seconds. Think back to what it feels like when a Boeing 777 leaps into the air and you're getting the idea. Big, powerful and holy smoke, fast - that's the AMG S63.
Around the Bend - While this Bahn Burner is not your weekend Mercedes Benz Club track car, it does go around the corners well. Again, mixing metaphors, not like a car on rails. Think fullback with a head of steam making a cut and you're close to the experience of testing the twisties in the S63. One really cool feature is that as you hurtle through a corner at embarrassingly high speeds, there are bladders in the seat bolsters that push back against your rib cage, helping to hold you in the seat against the cornering forces. If you're not expecting it, it can be startling but after a few hot corners, the anticipation is fun and, apparently, useful. Not a sports car by any means and definitely not "toss-able" but still enjoyable to drive briskly when the road decides to throw you a few curves.
Numbers Don't Lie - This is one amazing automobile and the numbers bear it out. Sixty MPH arrives from a standstill in under four seconds. The twin-turbo V8 pumps out 577 German ponies yet can deliver up to 23 MPG on the highway. The trunk is a tick over 16 cubic feet so carrying home several cases of vintage Montrachet or that Picasso you won at auction should be a snap. The 7 speed transmission shifts like butter (although BMW boasts an 8 speed) and its shifts are tuned perfectly to the torque and power delivery of the 5.5 liter engine. And, did I mention, it's heavy!
Conclusion - Mercedes Benz and it's AMG group have bolted together one heck of an amazing four door sedan. Fast, quiet (but not too quiet) and enjoyable (but not exactly nimble). It goes and stops like it weighs half of the near two and half tons it carries around. Like BMW, Mercedes Benz knows its market and this $140,000 rocket ship should keep their faithful smiling long after the new wears off.
In the market for a 7 Series BMW? If you still have a bad boy (or girl) side, go take a test drive in an S63 but don't tell your mother.