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    Quick Drive: 2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic


    • When Power Corrupts

    I will admit that I have a thing for high-performance luxury flagships because of the sheer contradiction of them. Here is a type of vehicle whose main purpose is to coddle their passengers and provide smooth ride, and then drop in a bunch of performance goodies to make it into something completely different. But I never had the chance to drive one of these vehicles. That changed at the MAMA Spring Rally back in May where Mercedes-Benz had a 2014 S63 AMG 4Matic available for drives.

    Lets begin with the S-Class itself. The new model I think is one of the best looking S-Classes in quite a while. It takes the last-generation model and refines it. The front end is more imposing with the large grille and headlights, while the three-pointed star takes its requisite spot on top the hood. The back end gets a new trunk lid and revised styling for the tailights. AMG adds some subtle changes such as front bumper with larger air vents, larger matte-finish wheels, different finishes for the trim, and the endless amount of AMG badges. The only thing I would change is the black wheels as it ruins the look of the S63.

    Inside, the S63 AMG is pure class. Mercedes still knows how build a well-crafted interior in their higher-end models with high-quality wood, leather, plastic, and metal everywhere. The seats could rival a laz-a-boy recliner for how comfortable they are. The wide number of adjustments, heat, ventilation, and massaging function are the icing on top. Technology is everywhere with two massive screens stretching across the driver's field of vision. One screen features gauges and trip computer functions, while the other handles infotainment needs.

    Power comes from a twin-turbo 5.5L V8 engine with 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired up to a seven-speed automatic and Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive system. Sorry, no rear-wheel drive is available for this model. Step on the throttle and the S63 moves at rate that only performance sports cars can achieve. 60 MPH is reached in a scant 3.9 seconds and can hit a top speed of 186 MPH. Driving on the back roads in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, it shocked me how quick the S63 can get up to speed.

    But more shocking is how the model rides and handles. The S63 is fitted with an air suspension that adjusted from comfort to sport, larger anti-roll bar, and a stiffer subframe carrier. These changes make S63 handle surprisingly well with no feeling of body lean and feeling very planted. It cannot fully mask the size of S63 though, which is ok. Put the suspension in comfort and it becomes a normal S-Class with a smooth ride and no hint of wind/road noise. Steering has good feel and weight no matter if you decide to drive around town or a back road.

    The S63 AMG 4Matic shows that Mercedes can make their top-of-line luxury sedan become a really enjoyable driver's sedan. You'll just have to pay a very pretty penny for the chance.

    Disclaimer: Mercedes-Benz Provided the S63 AMG 4Matic For The MAMA Spring Rally

    Year: 2014

    Make: Mercedes-Benz

    Model: S-Class

    Trim: S63 AMG 4Matic

    Engine: 5.5L Twin-Turbo V8

    Driveline: Seven-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive

    Horsepower @ RPM: 577 @ 5,500

    Torque @ RPM: 664 @ 2,250 - 3,750

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/23/18

    Curb Weight: N/A

    Location of Manufacture: Sindelfingen, Germany

    Base Price: $139,500

    As Tested Price: $164,535 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:

    Burmester High-End 3D Sound System - $6,400

    Black/Black Exclusive Napa Leather - $4,450

    Driver Assistance Package - $2,800

    Warmth and Comfort Package - $2,600

    Night View Plus - $2,260

    Twenty-Inch AMG 10-Spoke Forged Wheels - Black - $2,200

    Surround View Camera - $900

    Red Brake Calipers - $700

    AMG Performance Steering Wheel with Dinamica Side Grips - $500

    Air Balance Package - $350

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    15 MPG is pretty awful, but mercedes has over a dozen cars getting in the mid teens in the city.

     

    Should really have at least a 9-speed trans if not a 10, this is seriously behind the times. I'd like to see a 12-spd box for ultimate bragging rights... because you know this segment of car buyers like to get together, pull out their owner's manuals and talk about how many gears they have. :rolleyes:  

     

    Let's see, with a sticker of $164K, one can probably grab one new off the lot for $130K or so. Or wait 12 months and get one for the average sticker price of a new S470.

    It's pretty tough to kiss more dollars goodbye due to depreciation on any other car.

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    I agree that this is one of the better looking S-classes in a while probably since the W126 model. The previous one had sort of an imposing look, but the wheel fenders were a bit tacky as time went on.   I'm not a fan of black wheels or red brake calipers, those are options I'd leave behind for sure.  I have wondered how much better Active Body Control makes it, and I've read and seen reviews that with the road scanning suspension that the car basically glides over anything without feeling it.  My car has Airmatic which is great for ride quality but I can see how ABC would help take out any body roll or lean.

     

    I myself thought they would have used the 9-speed, but perhaps they didn't want to risk a new model with a new transmission, but 2015 S-classes still have the 7-speed.  The 2015 CLS will be the first to get the 9-speed, then it will spread to other models, that should help fuel efficiency.  But the S63 still gets better mileage than a CTS-V or BMW M5 despite being larger and more powerful than both of them, and having AWD which hurts fuel economy.

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    I agree that this is one of the better looking S-classes in a while probably since the W126 model. The previous one had sort of an imposing look, but the wheel fenders were a bit tacky as time went on.   I'm not a fan of black wheels or red brake calipers, those are options I'd leave behind for sure.  I have wondered how much better Active Body Control makes it, and I've read and seen reviews that with the road scanning suspension that the car basically glides over anything without feeling it.  My car has Airmatic which is great for ride quality but I can see how ABC would help take out any body roll or lean.

     

    I myself thought they would have used the 9-speed, but perhaps they didn't want to risk a new model with a new transmission, but 2015 S-classes still have the 7-speed.  The 2015 CLS will be the first to get the 9-speed, then it will spread to other models, that should help fuel efficiency.  But the S63 still gets better mileage than a CTS-V or BMW M5 despite being larger and more powerful than both of them, and having AWD which hurts fuel economy.

    Me thinks you have been hitting the Giggle Weed a bit too much. The CTS-V does much better on MPG than this over rated S.

     

    For what is being asked here dollar wise, you get better value and I feel a better over all auto than this S63.

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    Well the EPA rates the CTS-V lower than the S63 so I was going off that.  But Car and Driver in 2 different comparison tests with a CTS-V, one in 2009 and one in 2011 got 11 mpg each time.  So if they got 16 mpg on an S63, that is pretty good.

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    I'd imagine most that can afford this can afford and S65, even though the S63 is quicker 0-60, I'd want an S65 to have the V12.  Once you get into this price strata, why wouldn't you get the V12.

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    Interestingly I read a book about actual millionaires. It suggested people with real wealth often live modestly. I could afford to drive a much more expensive car and choose not to.

    Actually, were I a multi millionaire the Impala is as expensive a car as I would want. And I would prefer a VW GTI to an S class, personally.

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    ...and it is hard for me to like most modern luxury cars. Nothing Infinity builds comes close to a 72 Olds Cutlass visually. Why would I spend 60 grand on a car that looks worse than a car I lusted after in high school?

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    Even greater landslide depreciation??

    Luxury cars and McMansions are keeping the upper middle class broke and in debt. Don't want to get political, but the USA is a debtor nation to Mexico for Christ sake. We need to invest/save more as a society and spend less on frivolous crap (s class perhaps?). IMHO.

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    A friend & client of mine is a multi-millionaire. He once had a 1916 Case steam traction engine, just because. 
    He had a new S430, traded it in on a loaded Tahoe LTZ (had 2 in a row). Currently, he has a hyundai sante fe.

     

    Of course, the iffy reliability, poor dealer service and 8-months long wait for parts on the mercedes might have had something to do with the initial move to Chevy.

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    Also just plain simple and much lower maintenance on American built auto's. While not rich, I consider myself middle income class and saved up 3yrs to buy my Escalade.

     

    Biggest problem is those that want instant gratification without working hard, saving and then buying it. So many people are going in debt without really being ready.

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    A friend & client of mine is a multi-millionaire. He once had a 1916 Case steam traction engine, just because. 

    He had a new S430, traded it in on a loaded Tahoe LTZ (had 2 in a row). Currently, he has a hyundai sante fe.

     

    Of course, the iffy reliability, poor dealer service and 8-months long wait for parts on the mercedes might have had something to do with the initial move to Chevy.

     

     

    MB profoundly has its head up its ass when it comes to taking care of customers.

    Also just plain simple and much lower maintenance on American built auto's. While not rich, I consider myself middle income class and saved up 3yrs to buy my Escalade.

     

    Biggest problem is those that want instant gratification without working hard, saving and then buying it. So many people are going in debt without really being ready.

     

     

    Absolutely.  And if you had it....wouldn't you really rather have a Buick and money in mutual funds or real estate.  I mean....seriously?

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    A friend & client of mine is a multi-millionaire. He once had a 1916 Case steam traction engine, just because. 

    He had a new S430, traded it in on a loaded Tahoe LTZ (had 2 in a row). Currently, he has a hyundai sante fe.

     

    Of course, the iffy reliability, poor dealer service and 8-months long wait for parts on the mercedes might have had something to do with the initial move to Chevy.

     

     

    MB profoundly has its head up its ass when it comes to taking care of customers.

     

    Also just plain simple and much lower maintenance on American built auto's. While not rich, I consider myself middle income class and saved up 3yrs to buy my Escalade.

     

    Biggest problem is those that want instant gratification without working hard, saving and then buying it. So many people are going in debt without really being ready.

     

     

    Absolutely.  And if you had it....wouldn't you really rather have a Buick and money in mutual funds or real estate.  I mean....seriously?

     

    Buick has some great auto's, just have not found one that really fits my Shrek size. One reason I still only drive Full Size SUV's.

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    ...and it is hard for me to like most modern luxury cars. Nothing Infinity builds comes close to a 72 Olds Cutlass visually. Why would I spend 60 grand on a car that looks worse than a car I lusted after in high school?

     

    That was the exact reasoning behind my buying my '81 Oldsmobile instead of making payments on a new car.

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    As much as I make fun of MB as Chevroletdes Benz - my problem with these cars is the economics and longevity. MB for a long time has been bulwark of reliable machines while offering solid build after even 50 years of existence of those machines and there is no denying. I admired those qualities of MB. And given a choice I would like to own the old MB diesels, which I have respect for.

     

    MB has now become a consumer electronics builder with automobiles as secondary objective. And it reflects.

     

    While I was shopping for a car in 2012, the price of a CPO 2008 S600 with 29,000 miles custom Designo interior was $65,000. The car retailed brand new for $147,000. That is hell of a depreciation. A comparable mileage Escalade Platinum Edition or Z06 depreciated by only 35 - 40%.

     

    Besides that, if I buy a used S class, once the warranty runs out, the costs of fixing tech related stuff are astronomical. For e.g. LCD screen in the dashboard - $4,400. You now have a powertrain which is bulletproof saddled by shoddy electronics. Good luck keeping them on road for even 15 years like the past S classes did, because electronics will be outdated and once dead they are gone. MB is not going to supply those old parts as the technology would have advanced.

     

    The MB cars are thus becoming nothing more than glorified appliances. Unfortunately, trying to out-do the Germans the others are following this route. The automobile industry has reached its core-technological peak, now its grasping for crumbs through diversification of non-essential goals.

     

    Gone are the days when S class used to be easy to maintain and practically impossible to destroy. Judging by my BMW 330, great driving car with horrible electronics, my guess is S class will not be too different since it has hundreds of patents boasting how electronically advanced the car is.

     

    How many of us are still using Iphone 1 or Galaxy S1?

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    While I was shopping for a car in 2012, the price of a CPO 2008 S600 with 29,000 miles custom Designo interior was $65,000. The car retailed brand new for $147,000. That is hell of a depreciation.

    4 years of ownership and the depreciation ALONE costs you $82,000 !!

    Nothing quite says 'I'm dumber than dirt" than buying a top-shelf mercedes.

    Continually striving for ever-increased production and heavy downmarket pushing is NOT going to help Mercedes in any other way than to thin out the top of the lineup.

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    While I was shopping for a car in 2012, the price of a CPO 2008 S600 with 29,000 miles custom Designo interior was $65,000. The car retailed brand new for $147,000. That is hell of a depreciation.

    4 years of ownership and the depreciation ALONE costs you $82,000 !!

    Nothing quite says 'I'm dumber than dirt" than buying a top-shelf mercedes.

    Continually striving for ever-increased production and heavy downmarket pushing is NOT going to help Mercedes in any other way than to thin out the top of the lineup.

     

     

    Not that I was interested in buying it, I wanted for $hits and Giggles see what was the cost of owning a V12. A 2007 CPO CL600 at the same dealership was $55,000.

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    A 2007 is a borderline 8 year old car now.  Most cars at 7 or 8 years old are only going to hold 1/3 of their original value.  I have seen 2008 CTS for $15k, so 1/3 what is what new.  An S600 has to depreciate because there aren't many people on the used market that can afford to run a V12.  Only crazy rich people can pay that kind of cost, and they can afford a new one.  The S-class is still the best car in this class, has the most engine options and they have a coupe and soon to have a convertible.

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    Continually striving for ever-increased production and heavy downmarket pushing is NOT going to help Mercedes in any other way than to thin out the top of the lineup.

     

    Cadillac is planning a car below the ATS to compete with the Audi A3 and Mercedes CLA.  If the ATS is $33k, then you gotta figure $28-29k for the new smaller Caddy.  They are copying the Germans at every turn, so GM must think the German strategy works.

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    A 2007 is a borderline 8 year old car now.  Most cars at 7 or 8 years old are only going to hold 1/3 of their original value.  I have seen 2008 CTS for $15k, so 1/3 what is what new.  An S600 has to depreciate because there aren't many people on the used market that can afford to run a V12.  Only crazy rich people can pay that kind of cost, and they can afford a new one.  The S-class is still the best car in this class, has the most engine options and they have a coupe and soon to have a convertible.

     

    Did you read my prior post? It was two years ago, specifically March 2012. In fact CL is one of the highest depreciating cars on the market. And why can't someone afford to own a CPO V12 instead of a V8? Let us hear your logical reasoning. Does it give like 2 mpg that people cannot afford to pay gas? Is it more expensive to maintain? Kinda confirms my notion of the S class being a outrageously priced appliance if you follow your own reasoning.

     

    First, 2008 CTS started at 32,000 and topped off at 45,000 and you are now talking about a seven year old model, which I will agree with the price you mention.

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    If the S-class was overpriced, it wouldn't be a market share god all over the world.  Every competitor undercuts the S-class by about $20,000 and it still outsells the BMW, Lexus, Audi and Jaguar combined.  If the S-class price was too high, buyers would go to cheaper alternatives.  The S-class is almost good value, it is a better car than what you get from a Flying Spur or a Ghost, and those cost over $200,000.

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    • By William Maley
      When I go back and look at the various Kia Optimas I have driven for Cheers & Gears, there has been one variant that I haven’t driven, the 2.0L turbo-four. But this changed back over the summer when a 2016 Kia Optima SXL came into the Cheers & Gears’ Detroit bureau for a week-long evaluation. The SXL serves as the Optima’s flagship trim with more premium materials and the turbo-four.
      As I mentioned in my Optima EX review from earlier this year, the redesigned Optima looks familiar to the previous model. But that isn’t a bad thing per say. It is still as sharp looking as the previous model and the changes done such as a new trunk lid, LED taillights, a smaller grille, and reshaped headlights. The SXL takes it a step further with a set of 18-inch alloy wheels, Turbo badging on the fender vents, and a little bit more chrome. Finished in a dark blue, the Optima SXL is damn good looking midsize sedan. You won’t find many differences in the SXL’s interior compared to other Optima’s. The key one is the seats being wrapped Nappa leather with a quilted pattern. If I am being honest, I can’t really tell difference between the Nappa leather and the standard leather used on other Kia models.  But what I can tell the difference with is the materials used in the SXL’s interior. Kia swaps the soft-touch plastic used on the dash and door panels for stitched leatherette. This is to give the impression that you’re in something more expensive and it works very well. The Optima SXL’s backseat is slightly tighter than the one found in the Optima EX. Why? The SXL comes with a panoramic sunroof as standard, which eats into headroom. Let’s talk about the engine. The SXL features a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder with 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. Leaving a stop, it takes a moment for the engine to fully wake up and you can’t help but wonder where is the power. At first, I thought this new 2.0L developed a bad case of turbo-lag. But I soon realized that it was a lazy throttle that was causing this issue. This is something we have been noticing in recent Hyundai and Kia models equipped with the turbo engine. Once you get over the lazy throttle, the engine moves the Optima with some authority. Merging onto a freeway or making a pass is no problem as the turbo quickly spools up and gives the necessary thrust. It doesn’t hurt the engine is very refined. EPA fuel economy figures stand at 22 City/32 Highway/25 Combined. I achieved a not too shabby 26.1 mpg average for the week. One of my biggest complaints about the last Optima I drove was the uncomfortable ride. The tuning on the EX model let in more bumps and road imperfections inside than what I was expecting. To my surprise, the SXL featured a more comfortable ride. Despite featuring larger wheels, the SXL was able to iron out most bumps and imperfections. I can’t explain why there is a vast difference in terms of ride quality between the two trims at this time. The SXL does retain the sharp handling that we liked in the Optima EX. Body motions are kept in check and the steering provides a nice heft when turning. Some will lament that the steering doesn’t have the same feel as something like the Mazda6, but this has to be Kia’s best effort yet.  The Optima SXL begins at $35,790 and that includes every option available on the Optima as standard equipment - 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, a Harman/Kardon audio system, navigation, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, surround view camera system, and much more. Some might balk at the price. But considering what the SXL brings to the table, along with its improved ride quality, it is very much worth the price. Plus, you might be able to work out a deal to where you’ll be able to cut the price. We’ve seen dealers cutting about $2,000 to $4,000 off Optima SXLs in an effort improve sales of the midsize sedan. Who knows, you might be able to get one of best equipped and decent driving midsize sedans at a surprising price. Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Optima SXL, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Kia
      Model: Optima
      Trim: SXL
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 245 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 1,350-4,000 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/32/25
      Curb Weight: 3,594 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: West Point, Georgia
      Base Price: $35,790
      As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $825.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      N/A
    • By William Maley
      Ever since Mercedes-Benz introduced the new E-Class earlier this year, there has been speculation as to when its sister model, the CLS would be redesigned. A new report says that it will take place in 2018.
      According to Automotive News, the next-generation CLS is expected to go on sale in the summer of 2018 for the U.S. The model will use Mercedes' Modular Rear Architecture (MRA) that is not only lighter than the platform underpinning the current CLS, but also bring more room. Spy shots reveal that the design of the next CLS will evolve, but will not depart from the current look. There is talk that the new inline-six that Mercedes announced earlier this month could be used for the CLS.
      The interesting bit about Automotive News' report is that Mercedes could move the CLS name to a new four-door sedan that AMG is currently developing, while the standard model would use the CLE nameplate. Also under speculation is that CLS shooting brake will be dropped when the next-generation model is introduced.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Ever since Mercedes-Benz introduced the new E-Class earlier this year, there has been speculation as to when its sister model, the CLS would be redesigned. A new report says that it will take place in 2018.
      According to Automotive News, the next-generation CLS is expected to go on sale in the summer of 2018 for the U.S. The model will use Mercedes' Modular Rear Architecture (MRA) that is not only lighter than the platform underpinning the current CLS, but also bring more room. Spy shots reveal that the design of the next CLS will evolve, but will not depart from the current look. There is talk that the new inline-six that Mercedes announced earlier this month could be used for the CLS.
      The interesting bit about Automotive News' report is that Mercedes could move the CLS name to a new four-door sedan that AMG is currently developing, while the standard model would use the CLE nameplate. Also under speculation is that CLS shooting brake will be dropped when the next-generation model is introduced.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
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