After a brief hiatus, the Mercedes-AMG S63 is back for 2023, now bearing the E Performance badge that signifies AMG’s sporty plug-in hybrids.
The twin-turbo V-8 and electric motor combine for 791 horsepower, which can catapult the big sedan to 60 mph in a claimed 3.2 seconds.
An air suspension and adaptive dampers should give the S63 the ability to switch between a cloud-like ride and athletic handling, and the cabin remains extremely luxurious.
Mercedes controversially replaced the 2024 AMG C63's V-8 with a plug-in-hybrid four-cylinder setup, sparking worry among AMG aficionados that other high-powered Mercedes could suffer a similar downsizing. But fear not, for the new 2023 Mercedes-AMG S63 E Performance retains its twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8, adding a permanently excited synchronous electric motor to produce a massive 791 hp and 1055 pound-feet of torque.
All of that power shoots the gargantuan sedan to 60 mph in a claimed 3.2 seconds and on to an electronically limited 180-mph top speed. The V-8 engine yields 603 hp and 664 pound-feet on its own, fed through a nine-speed automatic transmission. The hot-V setup, with the turbochargers stuffed between the cylinder banks, claims to improve responsiveness. The V-8 also features a belt-driven starter-generator that is integrated into the 400-volt electrical system.
The electric motor, meanwhile, is mounted on the rear axle and is paired with a two-speed transmission and an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential. The second gear engages around 87 mph, when the e-motor reaches its maximum speed of 13,500 rpm, dropping the motor back to a low rpm where it makes its peak torque. The electric motor can make 188 hp for up to 10 seconds, or a continuous 94 hp. While the gas and electric powertrains use separate transmissions, the all-wheel-drive system allows the e-motor’s power to be sent to the front wheels as well so the S63 can run as an all-wheel-drive EV.
The battery pack is situated above the rear axle and has a 13.1-kWh capacity, providing a driving range of around 20 miles. Mercedes says that the positioning of the motor and battery on the rear axle improves weight distribution and handling.
The S63 offers four levels of regeneration—the lowest allows for coasting while the highest permits one-pedal driving and can return up to 90 kW back into the battery. Charging for the battery is handled by a 3.7-kW onboard AC charger, but Mercedes didn’t cite a recharging time estimate.
The new S63 comes with seven drive modes. The car starts silently in Electric mode—although a start-up sound “characteristic of AMG” plays on the interior speakers—and the S63 exclusively uses electric power up to 87 mph. The AMG also plays a low-frequency sound on exterior loudspeakers up to 19 mph to alert pedestrians of the luxo-barge’s presence. As the battery's charge gets low, the car will switch into Comfort, which balances the two propulsion systems for smooth driving. A Battery Hold setting maintains the remaining charge, while Sport and Sport+ prioritize the e-motor’s power for spirited driving. A Slippery setting flattens the torque curve and prevents electric-only driving, while Individual lets the driver customize the setup.
With air springs and adaptive dampers, the AMG Ride Control+ suspension system allows the S63 to transform from a sedate cruiser to a sports sedan depending on the drive mode. The S63 also lowers by 0.4 inches when it exceeds 75 mph, and it features active roll stabilization thanks to electro-mechanically controlled anti-roll bars that can be divided in half to handle differing road imperfections on either side of the car. Standard rear-wheel steering makes the S63 more nimble in tight spaces and more stable during high-speed cornering.
The S63 doesn’t look too distinct from a normal S-class, but features a new grille with vertical slats and a front bumper with larger air intakes. The S63 rides on 21-inch wheels, while the rear includes four trapezoidal tailpipes sandwiching a diffuser. The cabin is appropriately rich and luxuriant for an S-class, with special AMG upholstery, stitching, seats, and steering wheel. The infotainment system also gains specific AMG and hybrid displays.
Mercedes has yet to divulge pricing information for the S63 E Performance. The previous generation S63 sedan cost $152,595, a nearly $60,000 increase over the base S-class at the time. With the current S500 starting at $115,550, we expect the S63 to crest the $170,000 mark. Pricing details and availability will come later, but the S63 should arrive at some point in 2023.
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