Kelley Blue Book: Why pay $200k for an ultra-luxury Mercedes that drives like a jet fighter? Because you can?

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  • The 2023 Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance combines the opulence of an S-Class with Formula One-derived electric performance boosts
  • Mercedes has not disclosed pricing. We expect it to start as high as $ 200,000

Superluxury cars like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class are a little absurd. For a price starting at $ 111,100, the top-of-the-line Mercedes sedan has virtually every technology the world’s oldest automaker knows how to build.


The flagship and the fighter jet

You see, Mercedes also has a Formula One racing team. Its W 13 E Performance car doesn’t seem to have a lot in common with the S-Class. It weighs about a third as much. It doesn’t offer its drivers the option of programmable symphonies of scents.

But, for the 2023 model year, Mercedes has decided to steal a trick from the little jet-fighter-like F1 car for its most opulent sedan.

Mercedes says it pulled together “The team of experts from the Formula One engine manufacturer High-Performance Powertrains” with the engineers behind its AMG high-performance shop to build the 2023 Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance.

Mercedes introduced an all-new super-luxe S-Class for the 2021 model year. But the AMG in-house tuner shop waited until now to introduce its first take on the flagship. The wait, apparently, came because they were working on something special.

The E Performance model, Mercedes says, combines a 4.0L twin-turbo V-8 engine with an AMG-specific hybrid powertrain. The combined output of the system? 791 horsepower.

A hybrid, but not an eco-focused one

It’s technically a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) system, able to charge its 13.1-kilowatt-hour battery from a wall outlet. But Mercedes doesn’t even bother to disclose its all-electric range. Instead, the company says, “the battery is designed for fast power delivery and draw rather than the longest possible range.”

 Learn more: What is EV, BEV, HEV, PHEV? Here’s your guide to types of electric cars

The E performance model has all the over-the-top luxury you expect from an S-Class. That includes massaging multi-contour seats at all four seating positions wrapped in luxurious Nappa leather. But it gets from 0-60 mph in just 3.2 seconds – quicker than many trim levels of the 2023 Porsche 911.

Top speed is an electronically-limited 180 mph. Yes, limited. They could have let the big car go faster.

Also see: 2.1 million EVs and plug-in hybrids on U.S. roads, and here’s how much gas they’ve saved

New battery cooling tech makes it work

Electric vehicles and PHEV batteries perform best within narrow temperature windows. Mercedes explains, “If the energy storage unit gets too cold or too hot, it temporarily loses noticeable power or has to be turned down in order not to be damaged.”

The S 63 E performance benefits from a first-of-its-kind direct cooling system. It uses “A high-tech coolant based on an electrically nonconductive liquid” pumped around each battery cell to manage temperature actively. It adds 94 horsepower to the engine’s output in casual driving, and up to 188 in 10-second bursts for passing power.

Other AMG upgrades to the standard S-Class include an AMG Dynamics system that governs the electronic stability control, the all-wheel-drive system, and the electronic limited-slip differential. It provides “high cornering dynamics and optimum traction with high stability and predictable handling,” Mercedes says. The system tailors itself to the driver’s skill level “without any noticeable or disruptive interventions.”

Seven driving modes include the usual suspects – Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ modes, a Slippery mode for bad weather, and customizable modes to suit the driver’s preferences. But a battery Hold mode lets you keep the battery at a certain state of charge. Electric mode gets up to 87 mph without switching on the big V8.

AMG Ride Control+ suspension, AMG Active Ride Control roll stabilization, and rear-axle steering combine to make the big car handle like something smaller.

Check out: 28 gift ideas for car lovers (or for anyone who owns a car, really)

AMG specifics inside and out

The 2023 Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance will wear a unique grille with vertical louvers to differentiate it from the plebeian S-Class sedan. Mercedes also says, “the front fascia with AMG’s jet-wing design with large side air inlets and functional air curtains characterizes the front view,” while unique wheels set it apart in profile.

Read next: Check out Ferrari’s first SUV (just don’t call it an SUV)

Inside, AMG-exclusive Nappa leather colors, contrast-color stitching, and the AMG logo embossed on the headrests and an AMG-specific steering wheel do the work of telling passengers what they’re sitting in.

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