The Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG sits on top of the automaker's sedan hierarchy. All-new for the latest model year, the V12-powered S65 continues to combine sumptuous luxury with neck-snapping accelerations while adding a growing array of high-tech safety and convenience features.
Under the S65 AMG's long hood lies a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 engine that generates 621 horsepower and an incredible 738 lb-ft. of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic gearbox that can be controlled by shift paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.
The transmission offers three shifting modes: Controlled Efficiency (C), Sport (S) and Manual. Each mode is selected by pushing a button located on the center console.
The potent drivetrain enables the sedan to reach 60 mph from a dead stop in 4.2 seconds and go on to a top speed that is electronically limited to 155 mph for the sake of safety. Fuel economy figures have not been published yet but Mercedes-Benz says the new S65 is noticeably more efficient than the outgoing model thanks to its two extra gears and a standard start/stop system.
Like all versions of the current-generation S-Class, the S65 AMG loses a considerable amount of weight by adopting aluminum body panels all around. A further 44 pounds have been shed by replacing both the starter battery and the backup battery by a single lithium-ion unit.
Looking the Part
The S65 AMG appears nearly identical to the less powerful S63 AMG at first glance, but a closer look reveals the presence of high-gloss chrome on the front splitter, the rear air diffuser, the tail pipes the trim on the rocker panels and the radiator grille.
"V12 Biturbo" badges on the front fenders and 20-inch alloy wheels mounted on low-profile tires wrap up the aesthetic modifications. Overall, the S65 is undeniably designed to cater to buyers looking for a low-key way to travel in luxury.
Befitting its status as Mercedes' flagship sedan, the S65 features a cabin decked out in diamond-quilted Nappa leather upholstery along with numerous AMG-specific parts including the front spot seats, the instrument cluster and the two-spoke steering wheel. The AMG logo is embossed in the center armrest to remind passengers they're not riding in a run-of-the-mill S-Class.
The S65 is equipped with two mammoth 12.3-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) screens that sit in front of the driver and on top of the center stack. The left-hand unit replaces the conventional instrument cluster, while the right-hand screen displays climate, entertainment and Google maps-integrated navigation information.
Buyers can choose whether they want a rear bench seat or executive-style reclining rear seats that, like the front thrones, can be outfitted with heating, ventilating and "hot stone" massaging systems. Further coddling rear seat occupants are available features such as individual TFT screens with wireless AKG headsets, pillow head rests, cooling/heating cup holders and fold out tray tables. Topping it all off are industry-first heated center and door panel mounted armrests.
Making their debut in the S65 are two new-to-the-S-Class technologies: a heads-up display and a center console-mounted touchpad that allows users to control the infotainment system through the use of smartphone-style flick, swipe and zoom gestures. The system also recognizes finger-written letters, numbers and special characters for navigation destination and contact saving.
Standard and Optional Features
The S65 AMG comes standard with a long list of features including 20-inch rims, power door locks, a universal garage door opener, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, heated door mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, real wood trim on the dashboard, the center console and the door panels, heated and cooled power-adjustable front seats with a memory function, dual-zone A/C, a 1,940-watt sound system with 24 speakers, navigation with voice controls, a sunroof, tinted windows, intelligent cruise control, a storage compartment in the rear arm rest and a first-aid kit.
The S65 AMG can be spruced up with colors and interior finishes from Mercedes' Designo line, an AMG Exterior Carbon Fiber appearance package, carbon fiber trim on the outside, an electronically heated windshield, a split-view front entertainment system and an Exlusive Rear Seat Package that adds dual power rear seats with folding tables as well as heated and cooled cupholders.
As expected, the S65 AMG comes with a comprehensive array of safety features including dual front airbags, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags, active lane keeping, night vision assist and adaptive cruise control.
The Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG competes against equally expensive super-sedans such as the Bentley Flying Spur and the less powerful Aston Martin Rapide S.