The Mercedes-AMG E 63 saloon has long been a purveyor of the most intense driving experiences outside the supercar bracket. Indeed, in terms of pure performance, today’s E 63 is the archetypal supercar of a decade ago. Together with its long-time nemesis the BMW M5, the AMG E 63’s bread and butter is blazing a trail into territory where no saloon has gone before. Luxury and performance have never slotted together so harmoniously. With each new incarnation, the numbers just keep getting more stratospheric. 2017, then, would be as good a time as any to usher-in none other than the most powerful E-Class of all time.
As with any machine bearing the AMG logo, performance is everything and the all new E63 continues to push the boundaries of speed and acceleration to the absolute limit. The beating heart of the super saloon is a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 capable of conjuring up an eye-watering 571 bhp and 553lb/ft optimum torque on the ‘standard’ model. Plump for the fully evolved S version and the envelope is pushed to an even mightier 612bhp plus 627 lb/ft of fully variable torque. The sums check out at an asphalt-devouring 0-62 sprint time of 3.4 seconds for the E63 S, with its marginally tamer counterpart hitting the same target a tenth of a second slower. Both models redline at an electronically limited 155mph.
The new E 63 and E 63 S’s nine-speed sports gearbox is mated to a revamped variant of AMG’s 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system which, for the first time, features full torque distribution on the front and rear axles. The system, always strongly rear-biased on previous E 63 incarnations, promises to keep the saloon stuck firm to the road whatever the conditions.
“Where’s the fun in that?”, you may cry. Well, AMG hears you loud and clear and raises you it’s infamous drift mode, otherwise known as the playtime button. With the ‘Race’ drive programme activated and the selectable transmission set to manual, the drift mode toggle transforms the E 63 S into a purely rear-wheel drive beast, primed and ready to paint the track black.
‘Race’ mode is just one of several drive modes available on the new AMG E63. Standard on the S model, this maximum performance setting designed explicitly to be unleashed on closed race circuits is complemented by a further four, fairly self-explanatory drive programmes. Each set-up for progressively less sedate styles of driving, they include ‘Comfort’, ‘Sport’, ‘Sport Plus’ and the fully customisable ‘Individual’ programme.
Those track day enthusiasts among you will be pleased to hear that ‘Racestart’ makes a welcome return, whilst AMG Sport speed-sensitive steering as well as a high-performance braking system both come as standard across the new E 63 stable.
Whilst not a radical departure from its 2014 predecessor’s highly-popular design, the next generation AMG E63 does feature a smattering of key tweaks in the styling department. The bonnet for example is inset between the wings and bumper in the style of Mercedes’ smaller coupés, a first for an AMG saloon. Marginally wider wheel arches house either the standard set of 19 inch 10-spoke light-alloy wheels or the optional 20-inch cross-spoke equivalents. These are cooled via twin air intakes either side of the new silver chrome radiator grille, inset with vertical black struts and AMG lettering across the central louvre.
The E 63 S is distinguishable from its stablemate thanks to silver chrome inserts along the side sill, whilst chrome-plated twin tailpipes from the optional sports exhaust system and a modest spoiler lip round off the rear end with aplomb.
The changes continue in the cabin, where the AMG E 63’s sports steering wheel, available in black nappa leather on the S variant, is equipped with touch Control and shift paddles. For the driver and front passenger, AMG Performance seats with integral head restraints can be added as an option. Meanwhile, the dashboard is itself a work of art, with dials arranged in a chequered-flag design and a twin-monitor multifunction instrument display thrown in as standard with the E 63 S.
The new pinnacle super saloon from Mercedes-AMG will top the billing at the Los Angeles Auto Show where its due to be unveiled on 16 November. Order-books this side of the pond are due to open in mid-January next year, with the first cars arriving in showrooms from May 2017.