Title
Subscribe
S 63 AMG Coupé
…and visions of the future. Join us on a trip in the S 63 AMG Coupé with a young man shortlisted to settle on Mars in 2025. We also take a look at the S 65 AMG and the car of tomorrow – the F 015.
Start the journey

Sutherland in the Northern Cape is home to SALT, the South African Large Telescope, where astronomers from around the globe visit to gauge the night skies. What better destination for the stellar S 63 AMG? And who better to join us on this expedition than Divashen Govender, one of the 100 finalists in the Mars One project, which aims to see humans on the red planet in the next ten years. 

Mars starting slide

Once in Sutherland, we also meet amateur astronomer Jurg Wagener, who offers his own interpretation of Divashen's ambitions to be on of the first Mars pioneers.

Title

Before we embark on this starry-eyed expedition, meet the S 63 AMG Coupé, a superb piece of machinery that places special emphasis on driving dynamics and lightweight construction.

Tipping the scales at 65 kilograms less than its predecessor, it boasts exceptionally efficient fuel consumption too.

Title
Chapter
01

The Car

Chapter
01
Scroll to continue
Title

Powerful and exclusive, dynamic and prestigious - the new S 63 AMG Coupé is a visual feast. It's all about sensuous forms, classic architecture and a flowing silhouette with AMG-typical design elements.

And then of course there's the AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine delivering 430 kW of power and 900 Nm of torque. Plus a world first - the curve tilting function of the MAGIC BODY CONTROL suspension system, which further enhances driving pleasure and comfort.

Find a link to the full specs and to book a test drive at the end of this edition.

Title
S 63 AMG exterior

Hot on the heels of the S 63 AMG Coupé is an even more athletic variation of the two-door S-Class. The 12-cylinder S 65 AMG Coupé is a far more brutish animal than its stylish V8-powered sibling. Motoring journalist Jesse Adams compares the two.

S 63 AMG Coupé
On paper the 5.5-litre biturbo V8 inside the S 63 AMG Coupé shows a power, capacity, and acceleration deficit over its bigger V12-engined sibling. But paper doesn't always tell the full story.

At 4.2 seconds from 0-100km/h the 63 might be just one tenth slower than the 65, but throttle taps happen here with much more explosive response. All 430kW and 900Nm are available with seemingly more immediacy, and in gear power bursts punch you back into the perforated nappa leather seats.

As revs rise there's a clear gruffness to the 63's exhaust note which can't be heard in the V12 model. It starts as a deep burble typical of a V8 with such hefty displacement, and as the tacho needle sweeps upward the octet of pistons generates a full-throated roar which resonates through the cabin as if the gas pedal were a volume control. Still the sound is perfectly suited to such a performance flagship, with a non-intrusive but still hedonistic tone.

S 65 AMG Coupé
With 463kW and a mammoth 1000Nm available from its 6-litre biturbo V12, the S 65 AMG Coupé is easily the more powerful of the two. However, the ultimate S-Class delivers its gusto in a surprisingly svelte manner.

The 65's acceleration can best be described as deceptive, because if pedal prods feel a little less dramatic initially, there's no hiding from that mind-warping torque figure and 0-100km/h takes only 4.1 seconds. This car gathers speed steadily and spreads it smoothly across its seven gear ratios as if its pushed along by an almighty wave from behind.

Right from startup it's clear that this engine is tuned to a more sophisticated and polished nature, and even if all twelve cylinders fire with an introductory blap, they soon settle into a sustained baritone hum. The S 65's power band is also broader than the 63's, with huge forward leaps and resultant whooshes regardless of revs or speed. Despite a monstrous power advantage, this is certainly the quieter of the two AMGs. 

Title
S 65 AMG Exterior
Title
S 65 AMG Engine

Review of the Mercedes-Benz S 65 AMG Coupé

Title
Chapter
02

Mission to Mars

Chapter
02
Scroll to continue
Title

Getting humans to Mars is the current focus for NASA - and also for private entrepreneurs and intrepid space explorers. Mars One, a non-profit organisation founded in the Netherlands, hopes to be the first to achieve this inter-galactic goal.

The Dutch founders of this project, Bas Lansdorp and Arno Wielders, insist that they will land four people on Mars - two men and two women - by 2024. And they've already whittled down 200 000 worldwide volunteers for this mission to 100 finalists. 

Title

Durban-based student Divashen Govender is one of five South Africans who've made the final cut. The 23-year-old is both philosophical and optimistic about his potental trip to the red planet. The catch? It's a one-way ticket.

To make the project financially viable, Mars One does not offer a return trip to Earth. Would-be Mars pilgrims like Divashen must count on living - and dying - about 80 million kilometres away from the planet we all call home.

"My girlfriend and parents have accepted my decision," says Divashen. "Of course I'm going to miss them - and I'm going to miss Earth's scenery. But my sense of adventure, exploration and curiosity pushes me beyond the fear of the unknown."

Mars Facts

  • The gravity on the surface of Mars is much lower than it is here on Earth – 62% lower, to be precise. At just 0.38 of the Earth standard, a person who weighs 100 kg on Earth would weigh only 38 kg on Mars.
  • The distance between Earth and Mars ranges between 54 million and 103 million kilometres, due to the elliptical orbits of the two planets.
  • Like Earth, Mars has four seasons – but each season on Mars lasts twice as long as that on Earth.
  • Mars appears red because of the iron oxide dust (rust) that covers its surface.
Title
Title

Despite vocal detractors,  Mars One supporters believe the technology required to create a human settlement on Mars has already been developed. If all goes according to plan, four astronauts will live together in a Life Support Unit which will use Mars's resources to create a habitable living environment.

Solar panels will supply the colony's electricity, while a system will extract frozen water from the soil for drinking. Nitrogen and argon gas will be extracted from Mars's atmosphere and injected into the astronauts' living space as inert gases.

Title

Divashen believes he made the cut because of his age (he'll be 32 in 2024, which is considered the prime age for astronauts) and because he's studying Applied Maths and Physics, which will make him a valuable member of the team. "I'll reserve real excitement until the last minute," he says of his potential adventure.

"Lots of people think Mars One is a crackpot idea, but good science needs constant enquiry and is formed by those for and against. It encourages critical thinking instead of just accepting things. No one believed Einstein's theory of relativity until it was proved. I think Mars One is pushing things in the right direction and reigniting our interest in space travel."

Title

Joys and Fears of living on Mars

Mars One finalist Divashen Govender shares his views about life on the red planet.

0:00
0:00
Title

Despite the challenges of any potential colonisation attempt, many believe humankind has a better chance of survival if we find another planet to call home.

And as long as there are explorers who believe there's something better out there beyond the atmosphere, our passionate love affair with Mars is unlikely to cool anytime soon.

Title
Chapter
03

Journey to the Stars

Chapter
03
Scroll to continue
Title

For someone who has signed up to spend eighth months in a tiny rocket with no showers and only freeze-dried food to reach his end destination of Mars, a drive in the luxurious S 63 AMG Coupé offered an alternate reality.

We travelled with Divashen to Sutherland in the Northern Cape, home to the South African Large Telescope (SALT), to get closer to the planets and stars of the night sky. This telescope is so powerful, it can detect objects as faint as a candle on the moon.

Mars One finalist Divashen Govender drives the S 63 AMG to the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) in Sutherland.

Title

Looming large on a hilltop 18 kilometres outside of Sutherland in the Northern Cape is the South African Large Telescope (SALT). 

Used by astronomers around the world, SALT's 11-metre mirror makes it the largest optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere.

The massive mirror, made from 91 hexagonal panes weighing 100kg each, can detect faint distant objects such as galaxies and quasars (distant objects powered by black holes).

Title

SALT is slightly different from most large telescopes because it points at a fixed angle of 37° (it cannot move up and down), and only rotates in a circle.

To compensate for its limited ability to point at the whole sky, a sophisticated tracker system moves over the main mirror and captures light from 70% of the night sky. Because the Earth rotates, all objects are visible at some point during the night.

Title

While SALT is open to visitors, it is used only by professional astronomers and scientists from around the world. But Sutherland offers another option for starry-eyed travellers who want to know more about the universe.

Title

At Sterland Caravan Park and Camping Site, just 1 km outside the tiny hamlet of Sutherland, Jurg Wagener guides nightly star-gazing safaris at the amphitheatre on his smallholding, complete with six Celestron Go-To telescopes.

Jurg is the first to admit he knows nothing about science or astronomy. "But I'm captivated by how beautiful the night sky is," he says. "I started teaching myself and now I'm addicted to the stars. I feel unsettled if I don't use my telescopes for a day or two. They are very high-tech up at SALT, and my talent is to share the ability to discover new things."

Title

We are in Heaven

Amateur astronomer Jurg Wagener explains why Sutherland is heaven on earth.

0:00
0:00
Title

Jurg is the first to admit he knows nothing about science or astronomy. "But I'm captivated by how beautiful the night sky is," he says. "I started teaching myself and now I'm addicted to the stars. I feel unsettled if I don't use my telescopes for a day or two. They are very high-tech up at SALT, and my talent is to share the ability to discover new things."

Title

The panoramic sunroof can be ordered with Mercedes-Benz's Magic Sky Control self-tinting glass - the perfect way to appreciate a star-studded night sky.

Title
Chapter
04

Cars of the Future

Chapter
04
Scroll to continue
Title

While interplanetary travel is still in its infancy, space-age self-driving cars will soon be part of everyday life.

The Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion concept car shows how a vehicle will become a mobile living space and will transform society as we know it.

Title

Passengers in the F 015 will not only travel in comfort, they'll also be making the best use of their time on the move.

For starters, its unusually long wheelbase and short overhangs mean a generous interior, and the four nappa leather seats rotate to allow passengers to face each other when the car is driving itself.

Whether working, socialising or relaxing while in transit, the six digital touchscreens that form part of the door panel trim and rear compartment will adapt to the situation.

 

Title

Large LED modules showing text alerts such as "Stop" or "Slow" at the front and back of the car means it is able to communicate with pedestrians and other cars on the road. 

To ensure that pedestrians are able to share the road safely, the F 015 also sends out visual and audio signals. For example, the car will use lasers to project a virtual zebra crossing onto the road, showing pedestrians when it is safe to cross. And should the car break down, it will use a laser projection to show exactly where it will come to a halt.

Luxury in Motion: The F 015

Title
Chapter
05

The Offer

Chapter
05
Scroll to continue

Book your test drive and find out more about the S 63 AMG Coupé and S 65 AMG Coupé here.

S 63 AMG Coupé

S 65 AMG Coupé

While interplanetary travel is still in its infancy, space-age self-driving cars will soon be part of everyday life.

Issue 5