I sympathize with the reviewers who expected a smooth luxury cruiser, because this car is surprisingly challenging to drive, but that's a big part of its appeal to me. Step off is balky in C ("controlled efficiency") or S ("sport") modes, maybe because the transmission doesn't have a torque converter. But it smooths out considerably in M ("manual") mode and, in fact, the car seems considerably happier, although MPG nose dives. The C and even S modes lug the car unmercifully. Weird to drive a huge luxury car that needs driver involvement, but I'm the rarity who likes that. Reminds me of my 2005 Maserati GranSport, although of course the Maserati shifts far more positively. Update 10/13/16: The transmission finally got to me. Lurching off the line isn't my idea of luxury. That, and the continual squeak coming from the dash that would have embarrassed a Kia, let alone a $130k car. A fine example of "be careful what you wish for. You might get it".
Power, exhaust note, exclusivity, appearance, feels remarkably nimble for a car this size.
I have every option available on this car. I have owned S-Class Mercedes for the past 25 years. This is my 1st 63 and I will never buy another 550. The performance package is an important option. The car does require oil about every 1000 miles. For this configuration its normal.(my R8 is every 500)
the sound is great. The speed for this heavy beast is unbelievable!!!!!
The only way that I could possible love this car is if I had never owned a 2008 version. The "ecco" drive system is a bust. Luxury sports sedans with this much power should not have to be coaxed out of the starting blocks. Add to all of this the fact that I have to add a quart of oil every other month and I'm so mad at MB that I could holler!. Why would you take a perfectly fine luxury sedan(2008-2010) and ruin it like this. I'm also tikced off at the three delaers who told me that there was major differences between the '08 and '11.(I live in a smaller market and none of the local dealerships had a car I could drive prior to purchasing the '11). Future S-63 buyers--Save your money!
Go back to the 6.3L engine, dump the "ecco" system and stop messing with perfection>
Very powerful and well built, but the transmission shifting is truly awful on mine...some new "wet clutch" technology that just doesn't work well. Hesitates badly in confort mode as it rides its clutch, and in sport it hangs on to 1st gear too long and jerks thru 2nd for a nano second on its way to 3rd. The car is fine if you're pushing it hard, but it just isn't programmed for normal driving. Previously had an S550 sport and it is a much more enjoyable car, as is an S65 or S600...all these have conventional smooth shifting automatics.
Build quality is excellent.
Seat comfort outstanding.
Power and handling unbelievable for such a large vehicle.
Transmission kills all the joy.
Could use the exhaust volume toned down just a bit.
Traded in my 2008 S63 AMG for a 2011 S63 AMG, and couldn't be more disappointed, the 2011 is a dog in comparison. The pedal is squishy and sloppy with absolutely no feel under foot. The marriage between the engine and transmission is horrible, it is rough, clunky and far from smooth. Because i had a previous S63 which completely out preformed this 2011, i have a hard time driving this new one, specifically because it brings so much disappointment. This will be a money loosing short lived car for me, don't waste your money, find a clean 2008 you'll be much happier.