Day three of our Road Test of the Year sees an automotive giant take the stage, in the form of the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG. It may be one of the most powerful and expensive cars in the German brand's firmament, but can this exclusive limousine really be in with a shout of coming out on top? Daljinder Nagra took to the wheel to find out.
Dry-stone walls litter the more technical sections of our chosen stretch of Welsh B-road, but I hadn't noticed them until I'd climbed aboard the S-Class. Whereas the more diminutive members of our convoy simply weave their way through the sinewy veins of asphalt that cover our Snowdonian playground, the S63 feels more like a roadblock.
Lining up in our convoy, Mercedes' flagship car looks something of an incongruous selection, like the dad who's tried to sneak into the club behind his son's mates.
The never-ending bodywork, statesmanlike design and old-school Mercedes roundel standing proud on the bonnet would look more at home outside a wedding reception than in the windswept Welsh countryside. Our S-Class, however, doesn't look quite so statesmanlike, being finished in a very drug-dealer-esque matte white with black wheels combo. No one's in a hurry to grab the keys. More fool them.
The difference, though, is in the details, the subtle AMG bodykit giving a visual menace completely missing from the regular model.
Behind the wheel, this fiery super-saloon presses home its advantage further. Some of the sumptuous ride quality has been lost to firmer suspension, although this translates into greater body control, with the S63 more eager to change direction and lighter on its feet.
Out on the road, the extent AMG has wrought its magic on this big bruiser simply beggars belief. The S63 has a schizophrenic personality: one moment ready to soothe away your worries with its massaging seats, the next it's a hard-charging monster that can be thrown about like the M4.
A 5.5-litre, two-tonne, 5.2-metre car may be as relevant in today's motoring climate as Vauxhall's 'lifetime' warranty, but it shows that as manufacturers obsess themselves with saving the world one gram of C02 at a time, there is still the desire for fun and outrageous performance. It's a phenomenal motor, the S63, and the world is a better place for it.
Model: Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG
Engine: 5.5-litre, twin-turbo V8
Power: 576bhp, 899Nm
Max speed: 155mph (limited)
MPG (combined): 28.0mpg
Emissions: 237g/km CO2
Read the fourth installment on the Porsche Macan Turbo here.