The day started off elegantly enough with a breakfast of nasi lemak, cooked-to-order eggs and kuih-muih at the stately Carcosa Seri Negara. Two Mercedes-Benz limousines — the E-Class and the S-Class — parked outside the historic colonial building gave an indication of what was to come.
Mercedes-Benz Malaysia did not just invite the media for a leisurely, albeit luxurious trip north to Ipoh. After a brisk drive to Perak’s capital city in a convoy of E and S-Class cars, followed by a relaxed lunch at yet another colonial mansion, STG or Sabah Tea Garden on the edge of Ipoh, we arrived at Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat to find a range of Mercedes-Benz Dream Cars parked in the courtyard.
The lush and rugged limestone hills in the background served to show off the handsome-looking vehicles that embody the pinnacle of luxury, sexiness and power in the German carmaker’s stable.
The tranquil and idyllic setting was an ideal counterpoint to the Mercedes-AMG cars that stirred excitement at first sight — the GT 63, GT C and the newer C 63 S and GT 63 S. And that wasn’t all. There was the four-door coupe Mercedes-Benz CLS too, the off-road beast Mercedes-Benz G-Class and the Mercedes-Maybach S 560.
A bout of afternoon showers didn’t stop us from eagerly hopping into the driver’s seat and naturally, it had to be the four-door Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S to start with. First spotted parked outside the bungalow at lunch, the matte black body that is part of its included Exterior Night Package beckons one to take a closer look, exuding a sense of edginess that, in fashion terms, would be like dressing up in a rock n’ roll pair of leather trousers.
The top of the range of three model variations, the coupe is marketed as “street legal racer meets Gran Turismo” and is capable of going from 0 to 100 kph in 3.2 seconds, thanks to an additional drift mode race drive programme that turns off all traction controls. It is powered by AMG’s signature 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine, enhanced to deliver 470kW at 5,500 to 6,500 rpm and maximum torque of 900Nm. Fuel consumption is approximately 11.3 litres per 100km. Its racing ability is no overstatement — it was officially certified the world’s fastest series production four-seater on the north loop of the Nürburgring at 7:25:41.
But what would make the GT 63 S appealing to buyers beyond its superb performance is its capability as an everyday car. For one, it is a proper four-seater. Not only can the front seats be configured to suit different modes, there is also an option to customise the rear seat configuration from bench seat to two different individual seats. Of the two, the High-Class package comes with diverse features that can be selected on a touchpad embedded in the console between the seats.
More importantly, in comfort or sport mode, the GT 63 S’s impressive level of smoothness and restraint make low speeds, traffic congestion and traffic lights bearable, though it perks up without hesitation when demanded.
The question is, is it a very sporty sedan or a sedan-like sports car? For the GT 63 S, the ease with which it embodies its sleek racer outlook with decidedly grand tourer sensibilities may be its greatest draw.
However, when it comes to the ultimate luxury car among the German car maker’s dream cars, it would have to be the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, specifically the S 560. An icon of exclusivity and opulence in the Mercedes-Benz universe, the latest build-to-order model updates include a new radiator grille, two-tone paintwork as an option and new colour combinations in the interior.
Inspired by a pin-striped suit, the fine, vertical struts of the reinterpreted grille offer a classic yet contemporary executive touch. The small Maybach logotype between the grille’s louvres on the driver’s side is also new.
Despite its 5,462mm length and 3,365mm wheelbase, the flagship car handles and drives with an ease and agility that surprises, powered by an 3.9cc, V8 biturbo engine, and has a top speed of 250kph. The ride is enhanced with the Magic Body Control suspension, which calibrates to undulations on the road. Perfect for Malaysian roads, the active suspension is achieved with adjustable dampers and road surface scan technology using a stereo camera. The load on each individual wheel is increased or decreased in advance to navigate unevenness and reduce body movement.
Other new options include night view assistance in the form of an infrared camera and thermal imaging camera as well as the Magic Sky Control two-section panoramic sliding sunroof that can change from transparent to dark in seconds.
The Maybach is an easy drive for its substantial size, but naturally, its best features is found in the rear. With its electrically extending footrest and a hot-stone massage function, for example, taking a back seat definitely proves the better option when it comes to this mogul’s model.
This article first appeared on Nov 4, 2019 in The Edge Malaysia.