The Mercedes-Benz S-class is the segment's benchmark and a paragon of luxury, comfort, and style. But the S-class has a dark side, one unleashed by Mercedes’ AMG skunkworks. At the head of that department sits Tobias Moers, and it’s not difficult to picture him overseeing work on the brand’s engines while shouting, “Unlimited power!” like sort of a less wrinkly, German Darth Sidious. As to whether lightning actually shoots from his fingertips, we’re not sure, but his team has just delivered the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG, with a 621-hp, 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-12. Think of the car as Darth Vader to the S550’s Anakin Skywalker.
The V-12 actually carries over virtually unchanged from that of the previous-generation S65, but it’s still strong enough to top the likes of Audi’s S8, BMW’s 760, or even Bentley’s Flying Spur. But even more impressive than its power is the engine’s torque, which checks in at 738 lb-ft. Thrust is transmitted to the rear wheels via AMG’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, which replaces the outfit’s seven-speed torque-converter automatic. This change should drastically improve shift-response times.
Unlike the S63, the range-topper is fitted with the road-sensing Magic Body Control. That's because the S65 is a rear-driver, and the all-wheel-drive architecture of the U.S.-bound S63 doesn’t allow for the Active Body Control suspension, which is required for Magic Body Control. We've found this system to create an exceptionally smooth driving experience, although it doesn’t necessarily recognize every bump and dip. The suspension offers Comfort and Sport modes, which also affect the required effort of the electromechanical power steering. The S65 rolls on forged, center-lock 20-inch aluminum wheels, wrapped in 255/40-front and 285/35-rear rubber. Sixteen-and-a-half-inch carbon-ceramic brakes are optional. A lighter lithium-ion battery is used to power the vehicle's multifarious electric systems.