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Mercedes S-class Coupe (2018) review: the boulevardier just got better

Published:14 December 2017

CAR magazine's Mercedes S-class Coupe (2018) review
  • At a glance
  • 5 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

► New Mercedes S-class Coupe review
► We test the new two-door S-class
► Prices from £103,715, here April 2018

Remember the Mercedes CL? For several generations it was the top-dog Merc coupe until parent company Daimler rationalised it into the S-class family in 2014. Now, halfway through its life, it’s time for the 2018 facelift to give it an edge as sharper competition emerges in the shape of the Bentley Continental and Aston Martin DB11.

The new S-class Coupe is due in UK showrooms in April 2018 and prices start at £103,715 for the new entry-level model, the S560 which supersedes the S500.

We’ve driven every engine in the revised range. Read on for our full Mercedes-Benz S-class Coupe review.

What’s new for the 2018 model year S-class Coupe?

Blink and you might miss the facelift, for it is very modest. Anoraks take note: a newly reprofiled front apron sports new graphics and chrome (and wire-meshed intakes on the top-dog S65 AMG); the side sills are marginally different; and the rear end is given more glitz appeal - at night - by the arrival of swish new OLED rear lights whose 66 elements appear to float in the air. Very snazzy.

The new 2018 Mercedes S-class Coupe and Cabriolet twins. We review them all

No, the engineering changes lie under the same-again skin - and they’re significant. Two of the three engines offered in the UK are new and bring the holy grail of more power and performance with lower thirst and emissions.

Brits are denied the S450 six-cylinder model that kicks off the Coupe range on the Continent, leaving a pair of V8s and a V12 to choose from. Here we review each one.

Read our 2018 Mercedes S-class Cabriolet review here

The Mercedes-Benz S560 Coupe

Starting proceedings is the newly inflated S560 badge. Historians will look back fondly on this name, and here it signifies the switch from a 4.7-litre V8 to the non-AMG version of the 4.0-litre V8. It’s twin-turbocharged and produces a stout 463bhp and 516lb ft.

It’s an impressive engine and, frankly, all the S Coupe you’ll ever need. With such stout outputs, performance is effortlessly ample with 0-62mph in 4.6sec and official figures peg economy at 34mpg and 188g/km of CO2.

All S-class Coupes in the UK are rear-wheel drive; the AWD option available on the Continent isn’t compatible with RHD, but traction is fine with only driven axle. The S560 is a softly sprung, long-legged coupe, and suits a more laid-back gait, anyway. Prices start at £103,715.

And the next step up? What about the S63 AMG Coupe?

This is our pick of the range. Why? Because for £24k more, you get a properly rounded GT which can flick between brisk boulevardier and banshee back-road blaster at the flick of a button.

Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe review

The S63 Coupe is stonkingly fast (0-62mph takes just 4.2sec) and the vocal range is wider than the mostly hushed S560. Step on it, select Sport and the 4.0 V8 bi-turbo howls more like a car of northern Italian provenance than a Germanic two-tonne luxury four-seater.

Impressively, the AMG’s V8 has a quoted average consumption of 31.7mpg and 203g/km of CO2, thanks to cylinder deactivation shutting off four cylinders under light load and a new, super-efficient nine-speed automatic transmission.

Tweaks to the chassis bring an alertness missing from the S560 and its adjustable modes have a bigger stretch; in Sport, the beefier steering, flatter suspension setting with surprising body control and the howling exhaust gift the S63 with a surprising turn of speed an agility for one so big. There’s even launch control (called Race Start in Daimler parlance).

Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe review

Yet, like all the S-class Coupe models, the S63 is better suited to a sporting waft: in Comfort mode, the ride is superlative and the big chairs (distinct from the S-class saloon’s) are hyper comfortable, with extraordinary support, electrical adjustment and spine-friendly massage functions. This is a truly comfortable place to be and you can even now tweak the new Energising Comfort system (below) to sync aroma, lighting, car settings and massage vigour to match your mood.

I’m feeling flush… what about the S65 AMG Coupe?

Brace yourself: this is an expensive car, topping the range at £189,615. For that you get an extraordinary 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12, developing a brawny 621bhp and 737lb ft of torque. That’s a round 1000Nm and - incredibly - AMG insiders tell us it would actually produce 1200Nm, or 885lb ft, were it not electronically limited.

Performance is typically brutal, then, and since the UK forgoes the all-wheel drive S-class models available in left-hand drive markets, the RWD S65 is in fact the quickest car in the range, serving up 0-62mph in 4.1sec and a 155mph top speed (both AMG models can be derestricted as part of the AMG Driver’s Package, to top out at 186mph). This despite a 2255kg kerbweight…

Mercedes-Benz S-class Coupe: the 2018 model year brings Energising Comfort

The thing is, it doesn’t feel that much faster than the S63 and the twelve-cylinder histrionics are less dramatic than the snap, crackle and pop of the AMG V8. You miss out on the V8’s new, super-slick nine-speed Speedshift transmission too. Only choose the S65 if you really must have a dozen cylinders on your badge…

The Coupes come with Magic Body Control to tilt you into a corner (up to 2.65deg) countering body roll - and higher-up models get air suspension to absorb bumps and lumps better.

Verdict

The Mercedes-Benz S-class Coupe is a polished big old barge with a remarkable spread of ability. Need seats for four, but want to truly pamper those up front? It does this brilliantly (rear space is surprisingly good and there’s a pair of Isofix attachments back there). Make an impact on arrival? The S-class foundation sees to that - and gives a properly comfortable ride and first-rate cabin experience to boot. Quality is top-notch throughout.

The new 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-class Coupe: CAR magazine UK's review, specs, prices and dimensions

Pick the S63, and you’ll have a brilliantly versatile big GT. Wickedly fast, rewarding for keener drivers yet not as profligate as the big V12. The S560’s not a bad thing either, but it misses out on the AMG’s razor finish.

Read all our Mercedes-Benz car reviews here 

Specs

Price when new: £127,515
On sale in the UK: April 2018
Engine: 3982cc V8 bi-turbo, 604bhp @ 5500rpm, 664lb ft @ 2750-4500rpm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 4.2sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 31.7mpg, 203g/km CO2
Weight / material: 2185kg/steel and aluminium
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 5051/1913/1428mm

Rivals

Other Models

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cars for Sale

View all Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cars for Sale

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Leasing Deals

Photo Gallery

  • Rear lights are new for 2018: Merc S-class Coupe gets new OLED rear lamps
  • Exterior styling of the new Mercedes-Benz S-class Coupe not dramatically different for 2018
  • Front air intakes and area below headlamps receives minor tweaks for 2018 S-class Coupe
  • Interior of new 2018 Merc S-class Coupe: very comfy, derived largely from S-class limousine
  • Twin 12-inch digital screens give a dramatic interface for the infotainment systems
  • Mercedes S-class Coupe review: we tested the 2018 model year two-door in California
  • UK prices for Mercedes S-class Coupe start at £103k
  • Energising Comfort: a new feature for the 2018 Mercedes S-class Coupe
  • Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe V8 bi-turbo

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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