Mercedes-Benz AMG S70

A black Mercedes-Benz S-Class exudes menace. This AMG-tuned 7.0-litre V12 one has the bite to match the bark. 

Words: Nathan Chadwick Pictures: Richard Pardon

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here's something of the night about this car. And that's why it's most at home prowling the mean city streets under sodium street lighting. Intimidating for bystanders? Yes. But equally for a first-time driver. It's big, you see. Very big. 

It's left-hand drive too, which makes it feel almost overwhelming in the confines of the city. That may be an odd first impression, but when there's a rather special V12 under that impossibly long bonnet capable of developing enormous numbers – and it has reached the higher echelons of its rev range, dominating the vast interior with its rasping howl – you'll understand it completely. 

But first you have to get there, and there's a lot to concentrate on while threading through Belfast. What were highways moments ago are now 2001: Space Odyssey-esque tubes of light, noise and fear. This is going to be a dark night.

There's something very dark about this W140, alright – and we're rather looking forward to getting under its skin. There’s  7.0 litres, 518bhp and 546lb ft of torque to play with. Supercar figures? You'd be right – a variant of this engine ended up powering the Pagani Zonda. Time to slip it into D and start to play…

SPECIFICATIONS
Engine: 7023cc/V12/DOHC
Power: 518bhp@5900rpm
Torque: 546lb ft@4000rpm
Performance: Top speed: 186mph; 0-60mph: 5.4sec
Fuel consumption: 17-21mpg
Transmission: RWD, five-speed automatic