Mercedes-AMG S63 V8 vs S65 V12: Which Do You Think Would Be Faster? [67 Pics]

Take the same car, made by the same manufacturer. Give one a V8 and the other a V12, and which would you think would be faster? The V12, right?

That might stand to reason, but as the AMG versions of the latest Mercedes S-Class go to show, it’s not that simple.

Benz’s performance division, as you may have noticed, offers two versions of the big luxury sedan: the S63 and S65. The former packs a 4.0-liter V8 rated at 612 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque, the latter a 6.0-liter V12 with 630 hp and 738 lb-ft – both twin-turbocharged. Yet it’s the less potent of the two that wins off the line. And not by a small margin, either.

While both are electronically limited to 155 miles per hour (or 186 with the optional AMG Driver’s package), the S63 boasts quicker acceleration… much quicker. It takes just 3.5 seconds to reach 62 miles per hour from a standstill, versus the S65’s 4.3 seconds.

So what gives, you ask? Does it come down to weight? The S65 is about 400 pounds heavier, and with most of that difference in mass up in the nose, it might feel more sluggish when the road gets twisty. But that hardly makes that big a difference when they both weigh well over two tons.

No, the difference in performance likely comes down to traction. Where the S63 packs AMG’s performance-oriented 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system, the enormous torque generated by the big V12 is sent entirely to the rear wheels. (Not for nothing, but the S63 also employs a new nine-speed transmission instead of the S65’s seven.)

The AMG S-Class isn’t the only big, expensive performance machine that offers a choice of eight or twelve cylinders. But the difference in Benz terms is the most glaring – and the only one whose performance favors the smaller engine.

Ferrari will sell you a GTC4 Lusso with either a 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 (rated at 602 hp and 561 lb-ft) or a 6.3-liter V12 (681 hp/516 lb-ft), with the quoted 0-62 acceleration times coming within a fraction of second: 3.4 seconds (and 214 mph) for the AWD twelve, or 3.5 seconds (and 199 mph) for the rear-drive eight.

Aston Martin now also offers the DB11 with a V8 or V12, the former a less potent version of the S63’s engine and both twin-turbocharged driving the rear wheels: 503 hp and 498 lb-ft deliver a 4.0-second 0-62 time and 186-mph top speed, while 600 hp and 516 lb-ft offer up 3.9 seconds and 200 mph. Bentley similarly markets eight- and twelve-cylinder versions of its Continental GT and Flying Spur models, but with numerous output levels (ranging from 500 hp to 616) it’s harder to compare them all directly.

The acceleration figures for the Aston and Ferrari are so close that they could come down as much to marketing and product positioning as they do to real-world performance. But the AMGs make it clear as night and day: power is nothing without traction.

2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 4Matic+

2018 Mercedes-AMG S65

  • Joe

    Other than status what is the argument for buying the S63 over the S65?

    • DuDE

      Hi-strung V8 vs Low-strung V12.
      Some people prefer the smoothness of a lazy motor.

    • An Existing Person

      For driving, the V12 is much smoother and not as aggressive as the V8 is. Other than that, there’s no more reason.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      I assume you mean buying the 65 over the 63. But yes, I agree that status is perhaps the only reason.

    • Eduardo Palandi

      the S63 is lighter and cheaper (both to run and to maintain)


    kinda suprised when 65 models were slower than 63 models

    • Jay

      Suprised the heavier v12 was slower?

      • Andrewthecarguy

        No. Surprised that Mercedes would allow such logic to prevail.
        That 65 motor can generate a lot more power than that and it can be tuned to be faster despite its weight, while retaining its smoothness.

        • Jay

          Aparantly not..

    • seriously

      its always been slower………….not sure where youve been or why this article is even news…nobody needs a V12 its about prestige the last 2 generations the V12 was slower so nothing new here

      • Cobrajet

        It can be faster if it had 700hp at least and a better drivetrain. 18 hp is not enough to make any difference.

    • Cobrajet

      If the was S63 was slower, why wouldn’t they spend a bit more for the S65.

  • Finkployd

    Still can’t get over that interior ✨😮✨

    • PK

      same here. that interior’s a masterpiece! <3

  • Elmediterraneo

    First I thought that the S65 was a scam compared to the S63 because :
    – Modern V8 612 hp VS Old V12 630 hp
    – 4 wheel drive VS Rear wheel drive only
    – 9 speed dual-clutch gearbox VS 7 speed classic automatic gearbox (with torque converter)
    – 180 K€ VS 240 K€ (in Europe)
    And then I’ve realized that the S65 has something special
    – An exclusive polished wheels and chrome finish
    – V12 with his heavy sound and smoothness
    And if you spec it very well you will ended up with something far more luxurious and special than a random S63.

    • Darius Davis

      You’re wrong. Both 7 speed auto and 9-speed auto replace the torque converter with a wet clutch pack.

  • Elmediterraneo

    You can even see those two AMG S-classes presentations specs as a contrast between the S63 as the sporty one and S65 as the luxurious one :
    – exterior : Deep dark blue witch chrome grills (S65) VS bright white with black grills (S63)
    – interior : beige and cream leather with wood finishes (S65) VS black and white leather with carbon finishes (S63)
    – wheels : polished brillant multi-spoke wheels with golden brake calippers (S65) VS matte black sports wheels with red brake calippers (S63)

  • rover10

    Does it matter?

  • Bash

    They simply could make the 65 faster, but they just don’t want to! I think not to overlap, they want the 65 to be focused more on smoothness, comfort, luxury, majestic!! While the 63 is more dynamic I shall say.. that’s how they wanted them to be.

  • alexxx

    that brown and white interior is just sublime….pffffff


  • Eduardo Palandi

    if money were no problem, I’d choose the V12. the S-Class is all about luxury, not about raw performance, hence the twelve. and since I prefer the non-AMG versions in every single Benz available, I’d get the S650 in a heartbeat over these two.

  • Craig

    A 600+ hp 4.0 litre V8 is exactly what the new Lexus LS F-Sport needs. That said… I wouldn’t want either version of these Mercedes. But mostly because they are just so incredibly expensive.

    • Ermal Morina

      And so incredibly sophisticated shall I say.I mean,look at the interior man,it puts to shame the competition,or does it have any?

      I think this is one of few cars that deserve the pricetag and wouldn’t think twice of getting one.

      • Craig

        From what I’ve seen – the 2018 Lexus LS won’t have to put a bag over it’s head. The interior in that car is quite amazing as well.

        • Ermal Morina

          Yes it is,but it tried to hard to be like an S class.
          Straight away,that interior reminds you of the Benz,atleast for me personally

  • Tumbi Mtika

    I already knew the answer, but it makes me wonder.

    What if they actually tuned the motor for power, AND put it in the E-Coupe?
    I would love a Black series E63 coupe.

    • Beelzaboot teriaksun

      the E63 S already has 615 + hp , and awd

  • Because the V8 is so fucking vulgar… LOL

  • Elmediterraneo

    But I hope this is last S-class with that old V12. The new one should have a brand new one.
    – Let’s call it 73 because of the SL73 from 1999 and to follow the consistency from the 53 Inline 6 and 63 V8.
    – All new build with brand new technologies suchs as the ISG mild-hybrid system of the Inline 6 and the twin turbo in hot-V position like the V8.
    – 12 cylinders in a 60° V, 48 valves, twin turbo at least 700 hp hand build V12.
    This would destroy all the competition in the 12 cylinder luxury market like the Aston Martin 5.2 liter, the BMW 6.6 liter or the Bentley W12.

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