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2023 Mercedes-AMG S63 E Performance Unveiled

2023 Mercedes AMG S63 E Performance | Photo: V.Aubé
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Vincent Aubé
The new edition of the sporty luxury sedan offers much excitement… and little electric range
2023 Mercedes AMG S63 E Performance  - Three-quarters front
2023 Mercedes AMG S63 E Performance - Three-quarters front | Photo: V.Aubé

•    The 2023 Mercedes-AMG S63 E Performance has just been unveiled in Spain. Here's what we learned.

•    791 hp and 1,055 lb-ft of torque translates into 0-100 km/h in 3.3 seconds.

•    The twin-turbo V8 is backed by an electric motor.

•    Electric range will be under 30 km when it arrives in North America.

Malaga, Spain - The Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan has been the vessel for showcasing new innovations and technologies for the German automaker. This grande dame from Stuttgart will eventually have to give way to the electric EQ offensive. But until that transformation is complete, the most prestigious model in the gas-powered lineup has more than one trick up its sleeve.

Alongside the planned launch of the new C63 AMG with its plug-in hybrid turbo 4-cylinder engine, Mercedes also brought to southern Spain along the new S63 AMG. That model retains a twin-turbo V8 engine under its long hood, which should come as pleasant news to purists. 

Unfortunately, we'll have to wait a little longer for driving impressions. The first examples of the S-Class' high-performance editions are expected in Canada in the second half of 2023. 

At the time of writing, there was no definite word about the date of arrival in Canada. We do know, however, that the first shipped units of the new S63 will be of the 2023 model-year vintage. 

2023 Mercedes AMG S63 E Performance - Profile
2023 Mercedes AMG S63 E Performance - Profile | Photo: V.Aubé

True to the AMG m.o., a discrete outward appearance

On the outside, a few details stand out, including the huge Panamericana grille that has been applied to all other AMG models in recent years. Also noticeable is the absence of the silver star on top of the hood. Indeed, the designers preferred to insert that huge crest in the centre of the bumper. So no more stripped grille or emblem in relief on the hood. 

The Affalterbach sign is there, but the look is not the same as in the past. The rest of the snout is dressed in the usual fashion. An optional package adds several carbon-fibre pieces, on the nose and on the mirrors, rocker panels and even at the rear. The diffuser found there does little to hide the expected four rectangular exhaust pipes. 

The car presented in Spain sat on superb 21-inch multi-spoke rims behind which sat carbon-ceramic brakes. This option will guarantee braking with more bite, which is just as well given that the car weighs 2.6 tons! 

On the other hand, the rest of the exterior, even with the matte anthracite grey colour, is quite discreet for a car capable of sprinting from 0-100 km/h in 3.3 seconds.

2023 Mercedes AMG S63 E Performance  - Front
2023 Mercedes AMG S63 E Performance - Front | Photo: V.Aubé

The contribution of plug-in hybrid technology

As mentioned, the S63 E Performance retains venerable 4.0L twin-turbocharged V8 engine. It produces a whopping 603 hp and 664 lb-ft of peak torque all on its own, but in keeping with the times, electric technology coms into the fray to help deliver more punch. 

AMG engineers have thus integrated a second, electric motor above the rear axle. It provides an additional 140 kW (or 188 hp) and 236 lb-ft of torque. As a result, the new S63 AMG leaves the Affalterbach plant with a total output of 791 hp and - brace yourselves - 1,055 lb-ft of torque. Pretty attention-grabbing numbers, to say the least.

To power that motor, a 13.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack has also been added to the full-size sedan. The storage technology was optimized and developed in part by the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team.

2023 Mercedes AMG S63 E Performance - Rear
2023 Mercedes AMG S63 E Performance - Rear | Photo: V.Aubé

The 400-volt battery consists of 1,200 cells, which must be individually cooled. In fact, in order to provide optimal power, the battery must reach an ideal temperature, which explains the reason for the coolant, without which the life of the battery would be reduced.

The presence of this second electric motor at the rear also ensures that the S63 is fully geared. This system is fully variable to better respond to multiple driving situations. It should also be noted that the S63 AMG can take advantage of four-wheel drive in all situations, even when the electric mode is engaged, because the electric motor is connected to the front axle. 

The automaker brings back its 9-speed automatic transmission, widely used across its model lineup.

The advertised range of about 33 km should be shorter when the car is made available, since the calculations are based on the European method. 

2023 Mercedes AMG S63 E Performance - Wheel
2023 Mercedes AMG S63 E Performance - Wheel | Photo: V.Aubé

A “noisy” sedan... even in electric mode!

Since we weren't able to test drive the new variant, we couldn't experience first-hand its acoustic warning system. Indeed, in 100-percent electric driving mode, the S63 emits a low-frequency sound that is modulated according to the speed. This artificial sound is emitted via exterior speakers, but also in the cabin to remind occupants that they are driving in pure electric mode. 

This function is only good up to a speed of about 30 km/h. However, the designers also thought of owners who would like this specially designed sound for the S63 at higher speeds. A steering wheel-mounted button, recognizable by its frequency wave symbol, allows for just that

Enhanced driving experience with engine mounts?
It will take a full test drive to find out what the new active motor mounts are capable of. Those elements can vary their stiffness by adapting to current driving situations. Sensors detect engine conditions and vibration behavior to adjust the firmness of the force with which the engine is coupled to the chassis. A firm adjustment is optimal for a more-inspired ride, while a less-rigid force is beneficial for increased comfort. 

This is the first time the brand's engineers have used this technology in a production model. As we said, the S-Class is often the point of the spear when it comes to new tech...

2023 Mercedes AMG S63 E Performance - Headlight
2023 Mercedes AMG S63 E Performance - Headlight | Photo: V.Aubé

The final word

Mercedes-Benz's AMG division once again shows that it's possible to squeeze a phenomenal amount of power and torque out of a ICE-electric tandem with its new S63. 

What's more, despite its “rocket ship on wheels” character, the new S63 E Performance does not stray from its primary mission, which is to transport the brand's wealthy customers in the greatest of comforts, even if there is a volcanic roar emanating from under the hood. 

The competition 

Audi S8
BMW 7 Series
Genesis G90
Lexus LS
Maserati Quattroporte

A few common questions…

1. When is the Mercedes-AMG S63 E Performance coming?
In the second half of 2023, definitely near the end of next year.

2. Who makes the engine for the S63 AMG?
As with all other AMG vehicles, the twin-turbo V8 is assembled by hand.

3. Where is the new S63 AMG manufactured?
At the sports car division's factory in Affalterbach, Germany.

 

2023 Mercedes AMG S63 E Performance - Front grille and logo
2023 Mercedes AMG S63 E Performance - Front grille and logo | Photo: V.Aubé
Vincent Aubé
Vincent Aubé
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 60 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 200 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists