Mercedes-Benz may have shut down the Maybach brand, but that doesn't mean it won't offer immensely prestigious and powerful luxury sedans. Its strategy now revolves around the new S-Class, which it will offer in numerous bodystyles, wheelbase lengths and engine specifications. Unveiled just a few weeks ago at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the new S65 AMG takes the formula set down by the eight-cylinder S63 AMG a step or two further.
The centerpiece of the new S65 is a 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V12 engine that produces an impressive 621 horsepower and an even more prodigious 738 pound-feet of torque. Driving the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission (instead of the five-speed gearbox on the previous model) is enough to propel the big luxury sedan to 60 miles per hour from a standstill in just 4.2 seconds, and on to a top speed electronically limited to 155mph (it would likely exceed 200mph with the limiter removed).
That level of power and prestige propels the S65 beyond the realm of the Audi S8, BMW Alpina B7 and Jaguar XJR, to compete with the likes of the Bentley Flying Spur and Rolls-Royce Ghost — luxury sedans produced by rivals Volkswagen and BMW, respectively — both of which also feature twin-turbo twelve-cylinder engines.
"Soon after the successful launch of the S 63 AMG, we are unveiling the new S 65 AMG. Supreme exclusivity and incomparable dynamism provide the guarantee of a high fascination potential,” says AMG chief Tobias Moers. “With the third generation of the S 65 AMG, we offer our loyal and discerning V12 customers a unique high-performance automobile."
Of course the engine is only part of the equation, and Mercedes has fitted its flagship sedan with an AMG-tuned version of its Magic Body Control suspension, 20-inch wheels and an eminently luxurious cabin with a new head-up display, touchpad interface, and an IWC Shaffahusen clock in the dashboard.
Deliveries are set to commence in March 2014. Although US pricing has yet to be revealed, in the automaker's home market of Germany (where a 19 percent value-added tax is applied), the S65 AMG will sell for €232,050, so expect to pay upwards of a quarter million dollars when it reaches these shores. In other words, the new flagship sedan from Mercedes-Benz will surely remain the exclusive purview of the very wealthy indeed.