Mercedes’ experience with big, two-door, four-seat models is extensive. Large coupés were a feature of the ‘Ponton’ series of cars that emerged after World War 2 and for subsequent years in many other formats.

However, the S-Class coupé as a distinct modern breed is probably most conveniently traced to the W126 and the SEC variants that appeared at the end of the 1970s. They reappeared with the W140 but were then siphoned off into the CL badge midway through the 1990s.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Editor-at-large
As standard, the S 63 comes with 19-inch 10-spoke AMG alloys

The coupé and cabriolet are a little shorter and lower than the standard-wheelbase S-Class saloon, but their smaller dimensions should not be misinterpreted as a lack of presence. These are still a five-metre-long car with a longer wheelbase than a Ferrari FF’s.

Moreover, atop the king-size chassis, Mercedes has placed a quite striking body. The interplay of concave and convex surfaces is a familiar theme of the manufacturer’s current design language.

Here, the classic rear-drive grand tourer proportions of swooping roofline, high beltline and long bonnet underpin the S 63’s big-money elegance. There are also some minor aerodynamic embellishments to distinguish the car as an AMG product, but the truly meaningful additions lie beneath the glitz.

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

There are no small engines in the S-Class coupé’s and cabriolet's portfolio. Even the cheaper Mercedes-Benz badged S500 gets a 448bhp 4.7-litre V8; in S 63 guise, that becomes a modified version of the CL 63 AMG’s 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8, here making 577bhp and allied to the seven-speed Speedshift MCT automatic transmission. That’s about the same as you got in the most powerful version of its predecessor, although Mercedes says this model’s improved 27.7mpg is class-leading. While the 621bhp Mercedes-AMG S65 powered by a delicious 6.0-litre V12 engine.

The S 63 has also benefited from AMG’s Lightweight Performance strategy, with a 65kg reduction achieved thanks to light forged alloy wheels, a composite braking system and a lithium ion battery. But only without fluids can Mercedes claim to have delivered a sub-two-tonne four-seat coupé and a sub 2.2-tonne four-seat cabriolet.

On our scales, full of fuel and optional kit, the S63 remains a heavyweight at 2140kg. Good, then, that along with uprated AMG suspension, the car gets all manner of chassis wizardry, including an advanced version of Mercedes’ Magic Body Control. No 4Matic all-wheel drive, though. As before, that remains the preserve of left-hand-drive S-Classes.

Mercedes’ Magic Body Control technology will already be familiar to anyone with a passing interest in the S-Class. Like that model, the S 63 incorporates a stereo camera capable of detecting undulations in the road surface ahead. Known as Road Surface Scan, it warns the Active Body Control system — an arrangement of hydraulic cylinders at each strut — of where the wheels are about to be, thus permitting a tailored response to each individual circumstance.

When functioning (which it won’t do in the rain), the optional kit is impressive, but the coupé takes it one step further. It receives an additional function, known as Active Curve Tilting, which uses the same plungers to shift the base point of each strut up and down, in effect leaning the car into corners a bit like a motorcycle. Selected as one of the S 63’s three drive modes, it does this automatically up to an angle of 2.5deg, depending on conditions and speed (it is active from 19 to 112mph).

However, Mercedes insists the system is not about achieving higher cornering speeds. Instead, it says, the objective is greater comfort, by reducing the effects of lateral force on occupants.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week