Mercedes S65 L AMG lands in SA
Centurion - We reckon this is one immigrant that will have no problems getting a permanent residence visa; the third-generation Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG has landed in South Africa.
We took a long, hard look at this astonishing combination of mailed fist and velvet glove when it was introduced to the world’s media in November 2013, but as a quick update on what Stuttgart touts as Germany's only high-performance V12 luxury sedan, we'll remind you that it has a 5980cc, quad-cam lump with dual turbos that's rated for 463kW from 4800-5400ropm and 1000Nm from 2300-4300rpm - which is the secret behind its impressive 4.3-second 0-100km/h time.
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Top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h and average fuel consumption is quoted at 11.9 litres per 100km/h - 2.4 litres per 100 less than the previous model.
That car's five-speed auto transmission gives way to a seven-speed AMG Speedshift Plus 7G-tronic with a wide spread of rations to keep engine revs down and reduce fuel consumption, with three driving programmes selectable at the press of a button in the centre console: Controlled Efficiency (C), Sport (S) and Manual (M).
In modes S and M (quiet, Cyril!) the emphasis is on sportiness, defined by the brief, precise cutback of ignition and injection during upshifts under full load. The Idle stop function is always activated in transmission mode C.
According to its parents the new S-Class is the first car able to recognise road-bumps in advance, using a stereo camera, and adjust the suspension to suit the situation, whether in 'Comfort' or 'Sport' mode.
Also standard are dynamic cornering assist, using targeted braking on the inside rear wheel to prevent understeer, and speed-sensitive sports steering with variable steering ratio - fingertip-light in 'Comfort' mode, meaty and precise in 'Sport' mode.
For the first time, the S65 AMG is available exclusively with AMG forged light-alloy rims to reduce unsprung weight; standard issue is 20" hoops, each with 16 twisted spokes to catch the light and wearing 255/40 front and 285/35 rear rubber.
The defining trim features are the nappa leather upholstery in an exclusive diamond-pattern design, with no perforations wherever there is contrasting topstitching for extraordinarily neat seams, a nappa leather headliner, leather-lined dashboard, door centre panels in a diamond-pattern design, leather-clad roof grab handles, lots of wood trim elements and AMG stainless-steel door sill panels illuminated in white.
Special sports seats with electric adjustment, memory function, seat heating and climate control carry AMG badges on their backrests, and the two-spoke AMG sports steering is covered with nappa leather - perforated in the grip area.
A virtual instrument panel is displayed on a high-resolution TFT screen, with special AMG graphics and red and silver needles, and two more virtual gauges for engine and transmission oil temperatures.
Also new on the S65 are a head-up display, projecting important information such as speed, speed limits, navigation information, traffic signs and information from Distronic Plus in a 210mm x 70mm colour display that seems on the bonnet about two metres from the driver, automatically adjusted to suit ambient light, and a 65mm x 45mm touchpad in the hand-rest of the central control unit for the radio, telephone and navigation systems.
Like a smartphone, it can recognise one and two-finger swipe and zoom gestures, and read letters, number, and special characters using handwriting; it can even tell whether the driver's hand is simply resting on the hand-rest or whether the driver is actually making an input.
As with the previous model, the new S65 AMG is available only in long-wheelbase format, at R2 842 700, which includes VAT and a six-year or 100 000km maintenance plan but not CO2 tax.