Cars - Mercedes Benz

Road tests and reviews of the latest Mercedes Benz models available in South Africa

2015 Mercedes S65 AMG Coupe V12 BiTurbo

2015 Mercedes S65 AMG Coupe V12 BiTurbo

By Franky Johnson

Mercedes Benz' new S65 AMG Coupe V12 Bi-turbo press vehicle was painted in an unusual but sporty, pearlescent matt white, highlighted by V12-specific features which includes the countless design elements in high-sheen chrome at the front, sides and rear, with the large central Mercedes star on the front apron, the "twin blade" radiator grille, all the air intake grilles, the trim strip on the "A-wing", the side flics, and the front splitter are chromed-trimmed.

The side view sports the prominent "V12 BITURBO" lettering on the wings and the high-sheen chrome inserts on the side skirts, while at the rear, is the magnificent sight of the AMG sports exhaust system with two chromed twin tailpipes in V12 design integrated into the rear apron. Above the distinctive diffuser insert, finished in high-gloss black, the trim element forms an effective contrast. The Mercedes S65 AMG V12 bi-turbo coupe rides on 16-spoke forged wheels shod with 255/40 ZR 20 run flat tyres in front and 285/35 ZR 20s at the rear – Pirelli P-Zeros.

Inside, the plush interior this two-door coupe features the finest materials, the highest manufacturing quality and an extensive range of standard equipment, and dominated by the AMG developed electrically adjusted sports seats with backrests that improve lateral support when cornering at speed. High-quality AMG badges feature as standard on all four backrests and the AMG logo is embossed on the front centre console. Not to mention your own built in masseur and heating system for both front seats.

Features from the Exclusive package include the nappa leather roof liner, a leather-lined dashboard, door centre panels in a diamond-pattern design, leather-clad roof grab handles, chromed door pins and AMG stainless steel door sill panels, illuminated in white while the 3-spoke design steering wheel is also new, and behind it are the gear changing paddles for those who wish to change gears manually.

Following AMG’s specialty, the new S65 AMG Coupe’s instrument cluster provides information on the engine speed, vehicle speed and other information all of which are displayed on two digitally animated round dials on a 31.2 centimetre, high-resolution colour TFT display.

The typography, the needles in red/silver, the speedometer with its 360 km/h scale and the "V12 BITURBO" lettering in the rev counter all have a specifically AMG look. When the driver's door is opened, an AMG start-up screen appears on the right-hand display, while an animated S 65 AMG Coupé appears in the instrument cluster.

The extensive range of standard equipment for the S 65 AMG Coupé includes the heads-up display and the touchpad. The heads-up display projects key information such as the vehicle speed, speed limits, navigation directions, traffic signs and information from DISTRONIC PLUS onto the windscreen, a night vision system which detects pedestrians and animals through infrared sensors and displays them in the instrument panel and a surround-view parking camera system. For those who enjoy their music while on the move, Mercedes have fitted a Burmester high end 3D surround sound system which is the most clearest and crisp sound system I’ve heard to date.

Safety equipment covers virtually everything – it is standard with traction and stability control, antilock brakes, front and rear side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. Standard electronic safety features include a rearview camera, a driver attention warning system and a collision prevention system that will warn the driver of a potential collision and fully apply the brakes if necessary.

At the heart of the new Mercedes Benz S 65 AMG Coupé is the AMG 6.0-litre V12 biturbo engine, with an extremely potent output of 463 kW and 1 000 Nm of torque which makes it unique in its segment, as is the AMG sports suspension, based on MAGIC BODY CONTROL with curve tilting function and ROAD SURFACE SCAN, a function that allows the S 65 AMG Coupé to lean into bends in a manner similar to a motorcyclist or skier.

The V12 engine mated to the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC is responsible for transmitting power to the rear axle. The transmission offers three individual modes allowing the driver to choose between Comfort, Sport and Manual by pushing a button on the centre console, and the ECO start/stop function is activated in transmission mode "C". Another innovation is that the S 65 AMG Coupé is fitted with a lithium-Ion battery which replaces both the starter battery and the backup battery. It has numerous advantages over the normal battery including a weight saving of over 20kgs.

The Mercedes Benz S 65 AMG V12 Coupé is fast – really fast. Floor the accelerator from standstill and the Merc blasts away like a rocket. Acceleration is so ferocious, that the G-forces actually pins you to the seatback. It gets to a 100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds, and although the speedo is marked to 360 km/h, top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h.

To stop a car with such performance needs a good braking system. In this field the vehicle is excellent. Equipped with the optional AMG ceramic brakes with grey calipers, the AMG came to a complete stop from 100 km/h in a remarkable 2.6 seconds - the best time I’ve ever achieved.

Driving the S 65 AMG Coupé is an unforgettable experience. Push the start button, and as the engine fires up, most impressive is the wonderful roar from the quad exhaust system. On the road the steering is fairly light, while lane-keeping assist and Distronic Plus cruise control will always keep you on track. Sure the car is fast, and no you don’t feel the speed even at around 160 km/h, but where this large Coupe really impresses is how adept it is around corners, and grips the road as if glued to it.

If you’ve driven other luxury cars and complimented them on their comfortable ride, you may have to think again as I don’t believe any of them matches the comfort dished up by the AMG. It not only irons out bumps, but reads the road conditions before you get to it, detects bumps and other imperfections in the road ahead and automatically adjusts the suspension to compensate. And all the while it’s whisper quiet in the cab.

With the S65 AMG Coupé, Mercedes have moved the model more upmarket than ever before and I believe that it can no longer be competed with the equivalent BMW 7-series or Audi A8 models and is now closer to the Bentleys and Rolls of this world. The recommended retail price of Mercedes Benz S 65 AMG V12 Coupé is. R3 087 014, but the press vehicle had R281 800 of options fitted, so the final price is R3 368 814 excluding CO2 emission tax, but including Mercedes-Benz PremiumDrive Maintenance contract for 6 years / 100 000 km with no customer contribution.

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