Track Tested: 2011 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG


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When we strapped the 2011 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG to the dyno we were, well, impressed. Extremely impressed.

It's not that we expected the 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 to do poorly, especially not when equipped with the performance pack that ups the boost to 15.6 psi and the power to 563 horsepower and torque to 664 pound-feet. It's just that, well, the sound and fury of the 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 is still burned into our collective brain.

But when the rollers stopped rolling and the numbers flashed -- 537 horsepower and 611 torque at the rear wheels -- we giggled a bit and forgot about that cute little 6.2 and its lightning-quick responses and primal wail. Alright, not totally...

So we know how well the 2011 S63 does on the dyno, but how does it do when the wheels are on the ground at our test facility? Follow the jump to find out what $167,385 worth of super-sedan does to the track.

Vehicle: 2011 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG
Date Tested: 4-26-2011
Driver: Mike Monticello

Specifications:
Drive Type: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Seven-speed automatic with paddle shifters
Displacement (cc): 5,461cc
Redline (rpm): 6,250
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 563 horsepower @ 5,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 664 lb-ft @ 2,250-3,750
Steering System: Rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent four-link, active suspension
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, active suspension
Tire Size (front): 275/35 ZR20
Tire Size (rear): 275/35 ZR20
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: Sport Contact 2
Tire Type: Summer performance
Wheel material (front/rear): Cast aluminum
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,941


Test Results:

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 2.0 (2.2 with T/C on)
0-45 (sec): 3.2 (3.3 with T/C on)
0-60 (sec): 4.3 (4.5 with T/C on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.0 (4.2 with T/C on)
0-75 (sec): 6.2 (5.9 with T/C on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.3 @ 116.4 (12.5 @ 116.2  with T/C on)

Braking
30-0 (ft): 28
60-0 (ft): 111

Handling
Slalom (mph): 65.9 (63.2 with T/C on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.85 (0.84 with T/C on)

Sound
Db @ Idle: 46.6 (39.9 with engine stopped -- auto start/stop)
Db @ Full Throttle: 76.0
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 66.3

RPM @ 70: 2,000

Comments

Acceleration: 4.3 seconds to 60 is downright amazing for such a heavy car. Sport transmission mode is good for a couple extra tenths. Quickest launch was with ESC Off, going straight from brake to throttle, with barely a chirp from the tires. Power braking proved slower, as it seemed to upset the ESC system. Manual shifting via steering wheel paddles; will hold gears to rev limiter; blips throttle on downshifts.

Braking: Absolutely stonking good brakes here. Very short stopping distances considering the S63's weight; firm pedal, ultra secure and stable stops, and very consistent. Minimal nosedive.

Handling: Skid pad: Lots of understeer here, and very little front-end feel. It's obvious how well the Active Body Control system works because the difference in times between counterclockwise and clockwise was less than usual. Still, chassis not overly responsive. ESC On was quite intrusive, severely cutting throttle. Slalom: Still not a fan of Mercedes' ABC active suspension system, as it feels odd to have too little body roll; massively takes away from the car's feel. But it is a tribute to the ABC system that a car this long and heavy and with such slow steering can go around the cones as quickly as it does. The S63 is very controllable at its limits with ESC Off, power oversteering around the last cone. ESC On required super-smooth driving, or the system would dramatically cut power.

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