Mercedes-Benz's AMG division started out as an independent tuner shop run by former Mercedes-Benz engineers. In 1999, Mercedes-Benz bought the AMG shop and made it an in-house tuner.
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The S63 AMG started life out as a standard S-class sedan, and its body retains that styling.
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Recently, the AMG division developed its own 6.3-liter V-8, and has been fitting it into a number of Mercedes-Benz models. In the S63, that engine produces 518 horsepower.
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Each AMG engine is hand-built and fitted with a badge showing the signature of the engineer who put it together.
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The S-class, with its big, European sedan looks, proves a good candidate for the AMG treatment.
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This car has an optional AMG performance package, which gives it 20-inch wheels.
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Besides the S63 badge on the trunk lip, you can tell an AMG car by the four big tailpipes.
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We really like the incredibly clean interior design, with a minimal set of buttons marring the look.
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The rear seats in this car are quite comfortable, with lots of leg room. Each seat has eight-way power adjustment, and there is a sunroof over the rear.
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Along with its powerful engine and performance-tuned transmission, the S63 has top-of-the-line cabin electronics.
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Handling is excellent for such a large car. The suspension uses active damping to keep it flat during cornering.
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The seven-speed transmission is programmed for performance downshifts, while the paddle shifters control lightning quick manual gear shifts.
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With the AMG performance package, the top speed limiter has been moved up to 186 mph. The tach also gets a nice AMG logo.
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Most cabin functions can be controlled with this big metal knob, the primary interface in the COMAND system.
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Along with RCA audio inputs, the S63 AMG also has a video input, as the dashboard LCD can show video from external devices.
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The maps look very good on the S63 AMG's navigation system. But you need to zoom in all the way to see every street name.
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XM live traffic reporting is integrated with the navigation system, letting you see a list of incidents on nearby roads.
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Traffic flow information is also shown on the map, with yellow indicated traffic moving between 20 and 40 mph, while red means traffic going less than 20 mph.
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The navigation system has a typical points-of-interest database, showing useful locations such as restaurants.
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Sirius satellite radio comes as one of the audio sources.
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The six-disc changer plays MP3 CDs and even DVDs.
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The audio quality from the 14-speaker Harmon/Kardon stereo is excellent.
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We found that the voice command system worked very well, with intuitive commands.
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The Night View Assist feature turns the speedometer into a video screen showing what's out in front of the car, using infrared to show what can't be seen with normal light.
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The front seats can be fine-tuned to fit their occupants, and also have a massage mode.
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The rear-view parking camera is very clear on this car.
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