Imagine a world where there is a law that states that you’re only allowed to own one car in your entire lifetime – like a marriage but without feeling the need to sign a prenuptial agreement. This means you’d have to get a car that will fulfil any sort of needs that you will have over the course of your life. You could choose a hatchback but what if you want to have a family? What about an SUV then? Seems like a good choice but what if you’re the sort of person who enjoys throwing a car around the bends? Well the guys at Benz have just the perfect tool in case of such unlikely circumstances – meet the (deep breath) Mercedes-AMG E63 4MATIC+.
The Mercedes-AMG E63 is a super sedan version of the regular Mercedes-Benz E-Class, a very superb car on its own. If the E-Class was Clark Kent, the E63 would be Superman – and like Superman, the E63 has its kryptonite, the SUV. It is true that SUVs are out-selling their sedan counterparts as more people shy away from the sedan in favour of a more superior driving position. Sedans have to concede to the fact that SUVs offer (in most instances) more headroom, legroom, larger luggage space and because of their bigger mass, better damped and thus more comfortable suspension. However as we’ve come to know, the AMG brand is not one to fall to the ground and play dead when the odds are stacked against them. The E63 is too much of an iconic AMG symbol (as is the ‘63’ name) to be dropped in favour of SUVs, and thus when it was time for a new model, the best Formula 1 team in the world set their sights on making the E63 a force to be reckoned with.
So with the new E63 now in our presence, let’s take a closer look at what makes this super saloon so special:
Incredible performance in a user-friendly package
Two things that the E63 is notorious for is its mind-bending power figures and an exhaust note which gives you an idea of what the end of the world will sound like – it’s apocalyptic! So to once again stick to this recipe, the boffins at AMG decided to take the M177 4.0 litre twin-turbocharged V8 from the AMG C63 and somehow extrapolated the power and torque numbers. The new E63 is offered in two flavours: hot and hot hot. The least powerful of the two is the E63 4MATIC+ which produces 420 kW and 750 N.m of torque, but fortunately South Africa won’t be receiving this “weak” version – we got no time for weakness! The extra hot version goes by the rather lengthy name Mercedes-AMG E63 S 4MATIC+ and produces 450 kW and 850 N.m of tyre shredding torque. The performance luxury saloon goes from 0 to 100 km/h in an unbelievable 3.4 seconds and is electronically restrained at 250 km/h, although you can pay AMG to increase that to 300 km/h with the optional AMG Drivers Package.
The most conspicuous feature about this car is the sound of the exhaust which now sounds terrific from both inside and outside. Although turbochargers are infamous for ruining an engine’s exhaust noise by silencing it, the pair of twin-scroll turbochargers on the M177 engine fail at restraining the vocal and growling V8 soundtrack in the E63. From the inside, the rumbling intake noises sound like a lion doing its best Adele impression as it sings its way to 7000 rpm. From the outside, it’s the usual “Apocalypse at 8am” growl that you get from most modern AMG vehicles – the #AMGgrowl. The rumbles, crackles and pops give you an impression of what sort of sound would be produced if you were to put nuts and bolts into a food blender and then flipped the switch. Lifting off the throttle produces crackles as the revs simmer down to calmer states. Whoever said sedans are boring has never seen (or heard) an E63 go at it!
4MATIC All-Wheel Drive
Yes you read that right – the E63 is now all-wheel drive. Saying that a vehicle is all-wheel drive is like saying the party ends at 10pm for safety reasons. This is because all-wheel drive cars offer more traction and are thus safer to drive on the limit (and faster too). But the whole theme around the E63 is drama and having a good laugh. Does that mean the new car is boring? Not by one bit, because Mercedes-AMG has us covered on this one. Keeping in mind that the E63 now has supercar rivalling power and performance (it has more power than a 911 Turbo S, around the same power as an Audi R8 V10 Plus and Lamborghini Huracan), there need to be some safety measures so that the performance doesn’t become overwhelming – and the best way to ensure this is by giving it an all-wheel drive system, albeit rear biased.
However, this system is designed to be safe on the road and fun on the track. In the settings, there is a ‘Drift Mode’ that sends 100% of the power to the rear wheels so that the car essentially becomes rear wheel drive and what this means, as the name of the mode suggests, it is capable of pulling off the smokiest of drifts you will ever see. This all-wheel drive system is managed by an electronic rear differential on the E63 S while the regular E63 gets a mechanical one. Power and torque goes through a 9-speed wet clutch automatic transmission which has the ability to disengage the clutch and allow the vehicle to coast in an attempt at reducing fuel consumption.
Interior and Comfort
There’s so much to talk about when it comes to the interior, but realistically, there are only a few things worth knowing. The chunky flat bottom steering doesn’t properly communicate inputs from the front axle on initial turn but things get better once the weight has settled – could this be because of being over-assisted? On the steering wheel, you’ll find steering mounted paddles that give you manual control over the 9-speed gearbox. All is well until you get to actually use them which is when you will discover that its reaction can be a bit delayed, especially on downshifts. The seating position on the well-bolstered bucket seats is low and sporty and is sure to boost driver confidence as you hurl the 2 ton beast around some corners. The ride is firm but not enough to make your teeth chatter – it’s enough to give the car good handling and boosts responsiveness. Among the plethora of technologies and driver assists is a semi-autonomous programme which allows you to take your hands off the steering wheel on the highway/freeway where a change of lane can be achieved by the simple click of the indicator stalk. Sensible interior bits from the regular E-Class such as the double screen setup also make their way into the E63 to remind people that this car is not all about performance – could’ve fooled me!
The E63 S will set you back R1 849 900 which makes it cheaper than the Porsche Panamera Turbo and slightly more expensive than the Audi RS7. You can place your order at your nearest Mercedes-Benz dealership as the E63 S is already available for sale in South Africa.
Earlier I spoke about the SUV being the sedan’s kryptonite but after seeing what the E63 can do, I’m certain that no SUV can keep up with it or be even half as dynamically impressive as it is. The most powerful E63 ever produced is also the most technologically advanced, dynamically capable and most adaptable E-Class Mercedes and AMG have ever built. But beneath the supercar-rivalling performance, the E63 is fundamentally an E-Class which means it will still deliver in terms of luxury and practicality. You’d have to ask yourself what more could you possibly need from an automobile and hence why in the event of a one-car law, the E63 would make a great lifetime automotive companion.
- BMW M5 F90
- Audi RS 7 Sportback Quattro
- Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid