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Blindingly Brilliant Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupé


THE best car in the world. That's a difficult one. What is it? And, more importantly, what criteria do you apply? Styling? Performance? Practicality? Affordability? Innovation? Economy? Or more subjective ones, such as personal appeal and the way it makes you feel?

See, I told you it was difficult.

But for some, the Mercedes-Benz S 65 AMG Coupé will qualify as the best car in the world on a few fronts. Performance – figure on earth-shaking. Technology – in a second we'll skim over just some of the high-tech this car is laden with. And aesthetics – after all, Mercedes coupés have always been beautiful, going back decades. But, the S-Class Coupe? It goes beyond that, and until you have something to gauge its size against, you don't realize just how big it is. The proportions are that excellent; that well balanced.

The S 65 AMG Coupe is, of course, the halo model of the range, which includes two other engine derivatives. And its firepower is simply formidable.

Indeed, with a new six-litre, V12, biturbo powerplant pouring of 463kW and 1 000Nm of torque, there's something distinctly other-worldly about this car when unleashed. Top speed is usually 250km/h but the model I tested came with the option of an AMG Driver’s Package (R36 000) that raises this to 300km/h. While we're here, other options loaded onto the test car included AMG ceramic brakes (R120 900) and an LED Intelligent Light System with the addition of Swarovski crystals (R120 900 and as gag-worthy as that sounds, this option is executed elegantly enough).

And do I need to tell you that the S 65 AMG Coupé is loaded as standard with every single ancillary, extra and luxury you can possibly conceive of – and some you can't – from a Burmester high-end 3D surround system to a 360-degree camera?

Build quality and levels of sybaritism are eye-wateringly excellent. Still on the subject of technology – and I only have room here to merely skim the surface – the big coupé's sports suspension with curve tilting function is worthy of a mention. What this does is allow the car to lean into bends a bit like a motorcyclist, and the suspension system detects curves up to 15 metres ahead via a stereo camera behind the windscreen, and an additional acceleration sensor. It's all very, very clever – and a little odd to feel the big Benz tilt itself into corners should you choose to activate this setting.

As for fuel consumption, well, ho, ho! Mercedes claims 11.9 litres per 100km in the combined cycle. I saw closer to 20 litres, and that was with only occasionally tapping into the V12's colossal urge. But at this level I'm sure that's the most piffling of concerns.

The “base” S 65 AMG Coupé costs R3 070 700, while the test car I had carried an additional R281 800 worth of options. Ouch! But then this car arguably competes with the likes of a Bentley Continental GT Speed W12 or perhaps a Ferrari FF. Only, it's even more beautiful – although that's a subjective thing, isn't it? And it costs about two bar less, even if the badge lacks quite the same cachet.

Either way, this machine is simply a triumph, in all senses of the word.

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