What is it?
It’s an S-class that has been breathed on by Mercedes-Benz’s performance subsidiary, AMG.
Once upon a time, AMG was an independent company and breathed only on those Mercedes it saw fit. But now it’s wholly owned subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler, so it tweaks what it’s told: such as hot versions of the ML and R-Class, and also this: the S-class luxury saloon.
Actually, that’s no bad thing. The S-class is an impressive car in the first place and, despite its all-round two-tonneness, responds well to its AMG enhancements.
What’s it like?
Fairly simple, this bit: it’s like a chuffing great big luxury car with a 518bhp, 6.2-litre V8 under the bonnet.
The S-class’s regular air suspension is only mildly tweaked, so this isn’t a raucous and raw fast car and it still fulfils its original luxury brief pretty well. It’s still immaculately sound insulated (albeit with a noisier engine than usual). Cabin materials, design and fit-and-finish are still all impeccable. It’s still got a big boot, loads of equipment and plenty of space front and rear.
And therein lies part of the problem. It’s perhaps just too much like a regular Mercedes S-class, albeit an apocalyptically fast (0-62mph in 4.6sec) and ludicrously expensive one (around £105,000). Its handling is superior to the regular car's, but it’s not at all agile; it still feels very much like an S-class. So although this is a very special car. It just doesn’t feel quite special enough.