TG chats to the Aussie race driver about how he specced his stunning Porsche 918 Spyder, and how he uses his fleet of lightweight Porsches
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It’s the 630bhp Mercedes S65 AMG
Pity those poor engineers at AMG. Their overworked, calloused fingers now have to hand-build another fire-breathing Merc, this time in the shape of the brand-new S-Class.
Yes, barely four months after the 585bhp S63 AMG – and indeed, the 2013 launches of the A45 AMG and CLA45 AMG – comes the new halo S-Class Benz. Think of it as the Bernie Ecclestone of the Benz world, only with more horsepower and more cylinders, and just as likely to be confounded by a revolving door.
How many horsepowers, you might reasonably ask? 630. Then there’s the whopping 737lb ft of torque (a nice, round 1000Nm), all courtesy of a 6.0-litre biturbo V12 mounted up front. The raw figures are thus: 0-62mph takes just 4.3 seconds, it’ll hit a limited top speed of 155mph, emit 279g/km of CO2 and consume 23.7mpg. We doubt many owners will see 23.7 mpg, however.
That’s because that V12 will need to be exercised. We’re promised effortless acceleration, and if past S65 Benzes are anything to go by, this one will be just as nuclear. Sure, it gets, stop/start, some clever alternator management, an aluminium crankcase, a lithium-ion battery that’s 20kg lighter than before, a forged crankshaft, multi-spark ignition and even a carbon fibre engine cover. But you’ll care more about the fact it’s bloody quick; though interestingly, only 0.1s quicker than its S63 sibling. Same top speed. Less mpg.
There’s Merc’s seven-speed Speedshift automatic gearbox with three modes (efficiency, sport and manual), the same ‘box you’ll find in the SL65 AMG roadster, along with ‘Magic Body Control’ that alters suspension settings after scanning the road ahead. You get AMG-specific settings on the front axle and rear multi-link setup, together with the option of lightweight ceramic brakes – they’re a whopping 420mm in diameter. Bear that in mind when you consider the ESP will brake an inside wheel to help cornering and remove “irritating understeer”.
The high-gloss lightweight 20in alloys reimagine the 540K wheels from the 1930s (remember that beauty?), while there’s a jutting new front apron and splitter, lots of V12 badging and those quad exhaust pipes. Inside, it’s pure (S) class: electric AMG sports seats, exclusive leather, stainless-steel door panels, a two-spoke AMG steering wheel, animated dials in a TFT display, a head-up display and touchpad (both of these making their debut in the S65). The latter operates the radio, telephone and sat nav, so you’ll need, clean, uncalloused fingers.
Of course, there’s another phonebook’s worth of optional extras (AMG sports pedals, a 360-degree camera, more speakers, sun protection pack, chauffeur pack and ‘full-pile’ floormats, to name but a few), and the car will make its worldwide debut simultaneously at both the LA and Tokyo Motor Shows. We’ll be at both, so we’ll try and dig out a price for you; as yet, UK prices are unconfirmed, but it will launch next year.