The new Mercedes-AMG E63S sets out to redefine its class – and succeeds
With 604bhp from a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, by some margin this is ‘the most powerful E-class ever,’ says Oliver Wiech, director of vehicle development for Mercedes-AMG. To stand a chance of keeping that output in check, there’s four-wheel drive too. Specially developed to apportion torque to individual wheels as required, rather than simply front-to-back, and hooked up to a nine-speed multi-clutch paddleshift transmission, it combines with AMG-tuned air suspension that operates in three modes (Comfort, Sport and Sport+), gradually firming up with more aggressive throttle and gearshift mapping to match. Plus degrees of exhaust loudness. And there’s a rear-drive-only drift mode too.
The new E63 looks menacing yet tastefully so and, inside, the atmosphere is trad with a modern edge. The V8 fires with a distant rumble and on the motorway it is supple and silent – and deceptively fast. What feels like 60mph is more like double that.
Away from the highway, you get to enjoy the kind of acceleration you might otherwise expect in a supercar: 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds is the kind of force that’s utterly addictive, and it’s unrelenting past that speed too. Comfort mode is great for cruising but, in the twisty mountain roads, Sport ties things down very nicely indeed. Surprisingly, Sport+ mode really works here too, doing little to ruin the exceptional ride refinement while making turn-in sharp, keeping body movement in check and allowing you to exploit the Merc’s exquisite balance.
The four-wheel drive is unobtrusive yet obviously works hard to keep you pointing in the right direction. And the sound of that V8 up-front is very, shall we say, encouraging.
You can read more about the new Mercedes-AMG E63S in the February 2017 issue of Octane, on sale 28 December.
Words: Glen Waddington