“You know you’ve made it when you’re behind the wheel of an S65,” said Scott Sullivan, who called it the “most luxurious sports car on the planet.” This big granddaddy of full-size luxury sedans is built from the newly updated S-Class and gets a burly V-12 engine and performance upgrades from AMG.
Steve Altman dubbed it “the ideal luxury automobile with some pep,” and Steve Kris touted its “elegance and power perfectly melded with incredible performance.” Judges including Larry Mueller cited the interior design as their favorite aspect of the car, which, along with other current S-Class models, benefits from a full redesign.
Thoughtful details abound in the S65’s cabin. New equipment includes two large widescreen displays that can be controlled via touchpads on the steering wheel, as well as with more familiar knobs and buttons. Leather seats can be fashioned with what designers call placed perforations, which means the holes in the leather never overlap with the stitching. Not surprisingly, David Hurtado proclaimed, “The interior detail is phenomenal.”
Drivers and passengers can choose from several new wellness-oriented programs with names such as “vitality” and “comfort,” which employ the climate control, music, and massaging seats to set a particular mood. Many swooned over the “amazing” massage function, although some judges were torn over which seat was the best in the house. Christopher McKenna advised, “You should be driven in this, not driving it yourself,” but Jon Flint argued, “It’s so nice to drive that I may buy one and become a chauffeur for someone else.”
Although most of our judges didn’t want to relinquish the wheel while testing, the newest S-Class also employs significant advancements in semiautonomous-driving technology, which combines map data with real-time sensors to accelerate, steer, and stop the car while driving around town or on the highway.
Engine: 6-liter, twin-turbocharged V-12
Power: 621 hp @ 4,800–5,400 rpm
Zero to 60 mph: 4.2 sec
Top Speed: 186 mph (limited)
Base Price: $229,500
Price as Tested: $241,295