Mercedes-Benz S63/S65 Buyers Guide

If you want to roll around town in a mack daddy, big boss lux car, we have to talk about the Mercedes-Benz S63 & S65 AMG.

Usually, people think big body luxury/exotic cars to be the Rolls Royce Ghost/Wraith or the Bentley Continental Flying Spur/GT. While those are amazing cars, the S63 & S65 don’t get their fair share of respect in this market – and that’s just criminal given their current price points, high original MSRP, beautiful design, and their incredible versatility overall.

What’s the difference between the 63 and the 65?

Simple, the powertrain.

The S63 AMG is a 4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine that puts out 612 horsepower and 664 pounds of torque – able to go 0-60 in 3.5 seconds.

While the Mercedes Benz S65 AMG is a 6-liter twin-turbocharged V12 engine tuned to produce 630 horsepower and 738 pounds of torque – rated to go 0-60 in 4.3 seconds.

Now, you may be wondering, is the heavier nature of the S65 what makes it slower than the S63 and the answer is NO.

The real reason for the difference in acceleration from 0 boils down to one sole factor: traction. The S63 is All Wheel Drive while the S65 (while 400 pounds heavier) is Rear Wheel Drive.

The power and torque difference of the S65 is very noticeable when accelerating from a roll.

Aside from the differences in engine and drivetrain, there isn’t much else that separates these big body sedans from one another. They were produced for the same generation of S-Class chassis and are available in both the coupe and sedan body styles.

Driving Experience

Want to feel like a mob boss driving around the suburbs without paying the price tag of a Rolls Royce or a Bentley, this is your answer. I personally have a lot of appreciation for the S63/S65 models from the S-Class series.

There is elegance in the design to elevate the driving experience for both the driver and the passengers, with ample power that still doesn’t jolt uncomfortably, but carries you swiftly down the road with more urgency than the competition. With the AMG power of the finely-tuned V8 or V12 engine, there is a lot of torque, speed, and handling left for the driver to explore that will never leave you bored.

Personally, I think that is where Rolls and certain Bentleys fall short. Yes, they are luxurious and you feel that rich feeling as you are inside, but the fun aspect of driving, the throaty engine, the quick off-the-line starts and higher gear ratios just aren’t there like they are with the S63/S65.

Being Mercedes, the experience inside the cabin is highly elevated, the interior design is always top-notch in these models with beautiful leather seats, easy-to-use & interactive tech, and even in some models, there are bonus features.

Some S63/S65’s feature massage seats, reclining rear chairs, entertainment systems in the back, and even mini-fridges in the rear as well. It is of course eat cars with the higher stickers that have these options, and while not mandatory to have, are appreciated when driving around friends or quests on the way out to a nice dinner.

Mercedes-Benz S63/S65 Common Problems

Now, the Mercedes S-Class lineage has been around for some time. This makes these cars notable, of course, but it also means they have seen their fair share of quirks. For example, these cars are larger and heavier than most of the Mercedes out there so expect to see some suspension issues arise.

Another important point to note is that these cars can be very expensive to insure, and most don’t know this.

Part of the reason is of course due to the high-value nature of the car itself, being a Mercedes, typically the body parts are more expensive, but did you know, that perhaps the main reason why the insurance is so heavy is the fact that the headlights of S63/S65 are legit Swarvorski’s crystals… the life of luxury is costly.

Though due to mass production and a long lifespan of the series, a lot of recalls have come up surrounding the S-class, now not all reference the S63/S65, but I have attached the master recall list for you to review, and just ensure that before purchasing your S63/S65 you not only ensure these recalls were completed but also be sure to get an insurance quote.

https://www.cars.com/research/mercedes_benz-s_class/recalls/ 

Mercedes-Benz S63/S65 Cost of Ownership/Maintenance

Now, maintaining your S-Class won’t be as cheap as owning your C-Class. The S-Class was designed to be Mercedes top-tier sedan/coupe line. While many parts are indeed interchangeable, there are other parts that are completely independent and true to the S-Class genre.

One such instance is the body panels, headlights, etc. All are higher quality and therefore cost much more to install, repair, and replace. But interchangeable parts could be the oil filter, spark plugs, etc and those will be on the cheaper side, but not cheaper than a Honda or Acura, mind you.

Another great point to note is if you chose a Mercedes S63/S65 with gold brakes, then you are getting one with Carbon Ceramic Brakes and most likely you will not need to replace them in your time of ownership, HOWEVER, if there is a defect in the CCB’s… that could be a 20k repair right out of the gate.

So a great way to avoid incurring this cost, and others, is to ensure you get a PPI performed on your S63/S65 before signing any docs. A $300 fee could save you thousands of dollars and ensure your ownership experience is one with as minimal risk as possible.

Mercedes-Benz S63/S65 Year Changes

  • 2003-2007 The S65 (W220) was introduced to the S-Class series in its fourth generation. The S63 was also manufactured but only for Asian and European markets and then came to the US in 2008 at the start of the fifth generation.
  • 2008-2009: The S63/65 (W221) was first released in the 5th generation of the Mercedes S-Class series.
  • 2010-2013: The S63/65 (W221) was given a facelift mid-way through the 5th generational run of the S-Class series. A new bumper, rear taillights, rear diffuser, upgraded tech, etc.
  • 2014-2017: The S63/65 (W222) was reintroduced in the 6th generational series of the S-class, these are the years we begin to consider the S63 a hackable car. Of course upgrades were made, elongated body, upgraded engine new headlight design, new front and rear bumpers, upgraded tech and sleeker interior design.
  • 2018-2020: The S63/65 (W222) was given a facelift wid-way through the 6th generational run of the S-Class series. A new front grill, new front ventilation, new wheel options, upgraded engine output, new interior designs, etc.

Mercedes-Benz S63/S65 Options

Mercedes are a special hybrid of cars when it comes to options. They can be just as crucial to have as Daytona seats in a Ferrari, but not all are necessary.

Ones in the S63/S65 you will want to see are the designo design interior packs, special exterior paints are also appreciated again in designo or metallic options, carbon fiber interior trim is always appreciated as well as drive assistance packages, Burmester sound system upgrade is another value one as well.

Some other options that look great on the sticker but aren’t crucial to have are the reclining rear seats, massage or ventilated front seats, carbon-ceramic brakes, and the aforementioned rear entertainment pack along with the rear mini-fridge as well. These are options that set your car apart from others on the market at the time of resale and allow for a higher price to be justified.

Best Mercedes-Benz S63/S65 To Buy

The thing to bear in mind with the S63/S65 is to keep it within the Fifth-Sixth Generational timeline, we don’t want to play with anything prior to that as they are too old to be considered hacks.

Now, the 2015-2018 S63/S65’s are usually the ones we like to see in terms of depreciation to account for packability, mileage should be around 28k to allow for optimal mileage allowance during a 6-12 month period of ownership.

Some of you may be wondering, is the coupe or sedan better, truly, much like the trim level, it is your decision. However, you will find that just like the S65 commands a higher dollar naturally on the resale market, coupes can sometimes command a higher dollar for both the S63 and S65, but not so much so that they would be the better choice, especially if you are factoring the usability into the hack as with a family, sometimes 2 door isn’t the smartest choice and limits the buyer pool to those also looking for only a coupe.

Conclusion

The Mercedes S63/65 are absolutely wonderful cars to own. There is a lot of elegance in these cars whether or not you get into a coupe or a sedan. Along with a beautiful design, the mechanical engineering is top of the line, giving you the best of both worlds when it comes to looks and driving experience. Whether you are a fan of the coupe or sedan, V8 or V12, the higher end of the Mercedes S-Class line has something for you. Best of all though, they are both certified exotic car hacks. See what I did there?


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