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Mercedes’ S65 AMG can’t predict the future, but it can read the road ahead

The 2013 LA Auto Show is just around the corner. Beginning November 20, the world’s premier automakers will unveil 22 all-new global debuts. Delightfully, we don’t have to wait that long for one of the most exciting cars to hit the stage, as Mercedes-Benz revealed the pictures and specs one of its most illustrious LA Auto Show offerings: the 2015 S65 AMG.

Picking up where the S63 AMG left off, the S65 becomes the German automaker’s new performance flagship variant of its full-size S-Class sedan packing the only V12 powerplant in its class. The hand-built, twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 produces 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. This is good for a 0-60 time in 4.2 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Why only 155? Because the Germans don’t think you need to go any faster. That’s why.

Bolted to the prodigious powerplant is a new AMG Speedshift Plus 7G TRONIC transmission that, unlike the outgoing five-speed, allows for a far more precise and smooth driving experience. It can be put into three drive modes: Controlled Efficiency (C), Sport (S), and Manual (M). In C, the automatic start/stop system is activated, which will cut the engine at stoplights, saving fuel. Other automakers call this an E for ‘eco’ mode. Graciously, Mercedes didn’t do something so silly as to fit a 621 hp V12 with an eco mode.

Just like the standard S-Class, the new S65 features the MAGIC BODY CONTROL suspension – and yes, you can read that caps in a shout-y German accent. This innovative suspension system doesn’t simply react to the bumps and imperfections in the road retroactively, it sees them coming with a stereo camera and pretensions or softens the suspension accordingly. So, with the S65 AMG, you get the most refined comfort driving experience in the world and also one of the sportiest and most responsive.

You were lamenting the end of Maybach, why?

That special suspension system pushes some impressive wheels to the road, too. At all four corners, the S65 features forged light-alloy wheels designed as homage to the traditional spoked wheels of 1930s Mercedes. And we thought that Alpina had the monopoly on classic, cool wheel design!

Behind those understated yet hugely elegant wheels are some optional ceramic, high-performance 16.5-inch composite brakes that are 20 percent lighter than the standard steel brakes. Not only do the ceramic units stop far more efficiently, they are also far more resistant to corrosion. These, my Saudi Prince friends, are a must-have option.

On the inside, the story is much the same as the performance tale. AMG designers took the ‘normal’ S-Class and made it that much more choice. The steering wheel remains the same two-spoke model,  again reminiscent of Mercedes of old. Just above it, drivers will see an AMG TFT high-res instrument cluster with two animated dials accented in red and silver. The speedometer goes to 220 mph, seemingly just to taunt the driver. And just next to it – of course – AMG has included a tachometer.

Just over to the right of the large, gorgeous instrument cluster is another high-def COMAND screen controlled by a Mercedes touchpad, which is integrated into the armrest in the center console. Unlike the previous joystick scroll wheel, the touchpad reacts to standard zoom and scroll controls – like that on a tablet – and also recognizes when numbers are drawn on the pad, allowing for quick typing of addresses and other information.

With the reveal, Mercedes-Benz has once again solidified itself as the automaker that gets it all and gets it done right. It can build gorgeous, innovative, luxurious, and wildly athletic cars – seemingly without effort.

If you’re impressed with the S65 AMG just wait for other vehicles Mercedes has in store for the 2013 LA Auto Show. So be sure to check back for more soon.

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Nick Jaynes
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Nick Jaynes is the Automotive Editor for Digital Trends. He developed a passion for writing about cars working his way…
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