by John Tallodi
Straddling the top of the CLS range the Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS63 S 4Matic is a brutish four-door super sedan with the styling of a coupe. A fast four-door coupe may be offered by a number of other manufacturers today but it all started with the original CLS.
The current version is not exactly new either but its sharp exterior and periodic updates have kept the AMG CLS competitive with newer offerings.
The CLS63 S 4Matic offers a luxurious cabin with very high quality materials throughout. Based on the last generation sedan, the CLS does look a bit dated when it comes to the dashboard design and certain design details though.
Seating is comfortable both in the front and rear and Mercedes have wisely decided against adding a central rear seat. The sharply raked rear screen and shallow side windows do compromise headroom and outward visibility in the back though. The central console also houses the gear shifter in AMG models which means less space for oddments up front. Cargo space is decent and the deep trunk is as good for this class.
Its chassis may be based on the previous generation E-Class but the AMG CLS63 S 4Matic delivers a masterful performance over fast, flowing roads. Its sheer size counts against it when it comes to tighter bends but the way the CLS steers, turns and brakes make it more than a match for even much newer competitors.
The grip levels are aided in slippery conditions by the all-wheel drive system and the steering in particular is well-weighed and offers far more feedback than you might expect from what is after all a large luxury sedan.
There is nothing outdated about AMG CLS63’s 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8. Producing 577 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, a 7-speed automatic transmission transmits it to all four wheels and the result is a 0-60 mph time of 3.5-seconds.
That is fast enough to see off most cars in its class as well as few supercars too. In-gear acceleration is of the ‘catch your breath’ variety as the AMG CLS pummels you into the seatbacks with each gear change.
The city/highway mpg rating is 16/22, not fantastic but you won’t see much better from similarly powered competitors either.
Available in one base trim level, the AMG CLS 63S comes equipped standard with just about every feature you could want. Some notable items include aluminum shift paddles, sunroof, LED intelligent lighting system, 14-way powered and heated leather front sport seats, ambient lighting and a power rear window shade. Ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, keyless go and a range of interior trim options can also be specified.
Entertainment is taken care of by an 8-inch infotainment system with Bluetooth and smartphone compatibility, Harman Kardon audio system and integrated USB port. Available options are a Bang & Olufsen AMG sound system and in-car Wifi hotspot.
Safety systems include a rearview camera, adaptive braking, collision prevention assist, attention assist and neck-pro front head restraints. Adaptive cruise control, lane keeping and parking assist as well as adaptive high beam and blind spot assists are also some of the many additional safety options available.
A number of AMG-fettled items such as a sport exhaust, adaptive sport suspension, all-wheel drive system, body styling, 19-inch alloys and instrumentation and drive unit with e-select are unique to the AMG CLS63 S too.
The Driver Assistance Package, Lane Tracking Package and Premium Package combine most of the available options listed above to make picking from the numerous possibilities that much easier.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS63 S 4Matic is a worthy contender in the upper echelons of the ballistic luxury four-door coupe class.
Despite its advancing years the level of performance from the big V8 and the safety equipment available is as good as anything else around.
A slightly dated interior design and a last generation infotainment system along with tight rear seating are the only weak points in an otherwise very impressive package.