Mercedes S-Class and S 63 AMG Coupe. DRIVEN

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has always been the technological wunderkind. I've had the good fortune of steering a few elder generations of the Sonderklasse long after their release, and have always been amazed that the technology equipped within these 10-15 year old luxury barges hasn't felt out-dated, or in any way surpassed by younger, impudent rivals. This has always been the raison d'etre of Mercedes' 'Special Class', offering as it does a glimpse into the future. But therein lies a problem.

I– like many drivers who are passionate about cars and the thrill of driving – am resistant to automotive change, viewing innovative technology, brilliant though it may be, as an interference (or worse, nannying). I just about accept traction control and anti-lock braking as positive advancements, but flashing warning lights and high-pitched beeps signifying that I've strayed out of lane, exceeded the speed limit or am about to thump into a lamppost I consider just another case of Skynet interference that, as a human being, I abhor. And the single automotive example that champions this more than most is the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. "Is this advancement for the sake of advancement?', I ask myself, "and do these technologies have a place in the future automotive world?"

Which brings us to today, and the sixth generation's international launch.


Mercedes S-Class and S 63 AMG Coupe. DRIVEN

It can't be possible. It feels like we're cruising. There's no sudden shift in lateral G-Forces. And so here I am, reclining slightly on beautiful leather seats, bracing for the upcoming corner, which is totally unnecessary: I'm uncomfortable in possibly the most comfortable car I've ever been in.

Theoretically I understand what is going on. I've read the press release, I've been given the official lowdown by Mercedes' representatives, and I've read our man Bassam's feature of the S-Class saloon. I've done my damned homework, but I've never experienced this before.


It's about 3pm, and we've reached our destination for today. I pocket deep-seated conundrums for Merc's engineers I've stored in-mind during the morning – "if the S-Class is so technologically advanced, why the hell doesn't it have a cup holder?" – to corner a dude who looks like he's the boss, and ask if I can take the S 63 AMG Coupe out for a spin (fortunately he says "yes, but be back in time for dinner"). There are two reasons why I want to do this. Tomorrow's drive in the AMG is much like today's highway-heavy drive, but in reverse. More importantly though, I need time to 'interface' with these new technologies: does more power equate to more driver involvement?

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