Fans of endurance racing need no introduction to the first ever AMG racing luxury sedan, the 300 SEL 6.8. You non-fans, however, do. Known affectionately as the rote Sau (i.e. Red Pig, though for some reason Daimler left this little factoid out of their otherwise way-more-than-comprehensive press release), the beyond-blueprinted engine (increased from 6.3 to 6.8 liters) kicked out 428 horsepower and allowed the pre-Hammer to smash its way to a startling second place finish at the 1971 24 Hours of Spa.
Let’s rephrase that: the 300 SEL 6.8 AMG bullied its way to an utterly astonishing second place finish, and became the crowd favorite while doing so. Why so unbelievable? The Red Pig weighed a porcine 3,600 pounds, partly because AMG left the heavy air suspension and exotic wood trim in place. Luckily, Spa’s long straights allowed the hard-working brakes plenty of time to cool down, and the heaviest car on the track finished the day way ahead of everyone save the winning Ford Capri and AMG’s expectations.
Fast forward thirty nine years and look what we’ve got here: the 2011 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Thirty-Five. Why Thirty-Five? That’s the same number the rote Sau wore back at Spa. But this is not your rich banker neighbor’s S63. Long gone is the magnificent 6.2-liter V8, having been replaced by the all new yet still hand built twin-turbo 5.5-liter AMG V8. In “stock” form, this motor produces 544 hp and 590 pound-feet of torque. Though the S63 Thirty-Five’s motivator has been BAMMED! up a notch to produce 571 horses (the same amount as the SLS AMG) and 664 lb-ft of twist. Yowza! The big sedan also gets AMG’s frankly awesome wet clutch Speedshift MCT 7-speed transmissions that in full manual mode will embarrass all but the most exotic dual-clutches.
The run to 60 happens in about 4.3 seconds, which is impressive as even though Daimler left the S63 Thirty-Five’s weight out of the press release, it porks clocks in right around 2.5 tons. Once again: Yowza! Also, the big AMG has a roll cage, and those ain’t light. Both identically liveried cars got driven around Spa by none other than Hans Heyer and Clemens Schickentanz, the men behind the wheel for the 1971 race. You can read all about it in the press release after the break.