A, M and G, three simple letters that when combined can transform a German Mercedes-Benz E220 CDI Taxi into an absolute monster like the E63. Picture a strip of bone dry tarmac stretching as far as the eye can see before melting into a heat hazed horizon. Plant your foot and the rear tyres devour themselves in plumes of smoke before snatching traction and launching forwards to the tune of a brutal V8 accompanied by some more tyre squeal appropriate to the looney torque.
The bonkers AMG stereotype that is enough to make any muscle car wet itself. Add the letter S to the E63 formula and suddenly a lot changes. The E63 S is AMGs first ever production car that drives all-four wheels. Plant your foot in this 4MATIC machine and you will be left astonished time after time.
This engine really needs no introduction as it has featured in almost the entire AMG line-up at some point. The hand built AMG 5.5-liter V8 biturbo engine churned out a hefty 557 brake horsepower and would obliterate its rear tyres courtesy of 720 Nm of torque in the Performance Package equipped E63 AMG S. In the E63 AMG S, however, the power figure has been upped to a flabbergasting 577 brake horsepower. For some context that is more than the 552 bhp Porsche 991 Turbo S and 570 bhp Ferrari 458 Italia, both of which are bona fide
With the hike in power and 720 Nm of torque being sent to all-four-wheels, the E63 AMG S is one of the fastest saloon cars on sale today. As you would expect, the performance figures are very impressive. 0-100 km/h is dispatched in just 3.6 seconds and the E63 S will keep on pulling until it hits its 300 km/h limiter. Launch control combined with all-wheel-drive means that the stated acceleration figures can be achieved consistently time after time.
The AMG Speedshift MCT 7-Speed Sports transmission has always been heavily scrutinised. We expect the next generation of AMG cars to benefit from the modified transmission that features in the AMG GT, but until then the E63 S has to do with the same gearbox as the standard E63. This is no bad thing but there is certainly room for improvement. Sport+ leaves the car in auto and keeps the car in the best gear for enthusiastic driving, a mode that suits the engine very well.
Twist the gearbox dial across to Manual, extend your fingers to reach the familiar metal paddles and the gearbox is now at your command. Accelerate hard and draw for the next gear, as the paddle clicks and the complex systems work to engage the next gear you are rewarded for your bravery with a satisfying bang from the exhaust. Unfortunately, downshifts are not as pleasant as the gearbox hesitates. The slight delay is a shade unnerving but this is something that can be overcome with an adaptation in driving style.
Interior and Design
The interior of the E63 AMG S is typical Mercedes, certainly no bad thing. The ergonomics are as well thought out as you would expect from the premium brand and the materials do not disappoint. There are a number of neat touches that make this car feel a little more special than the average E-Class. For starters, the AMG model is littered with performance inspired materials such as carbon fibre and the sublime Alcantara wrapped steering wheel. The gear selector has been taken straight from the SLS and there are aluminium pedals.
The sporty changes are apparent on the outside too. AMG have treated the car to an aggressive and muscular bodykit. The front apron looks particularly mean and is does its part to differentiate the car from lesser E Classes as well as improving air flow.
When driving the rear-wheel-drive E63 AMG briskly on bendy moist tarmac, an air of caution must be applied as a touch to heavy on the gas could have you clawing for as much opposite lock that you cold reach for. As we mentioned before, the story in the E63 AMG S could not be more different. The all-wheel-drive systems constantly help the drivers confidence grow as you always know that you have significant grip to exploit.
We drove the E63 AMG S on some fantastic roads in the Swiss Alps. In the dry, you could approach a hairpin at outrageous speeds before standing on the impeccable brakes, expensive carbon ceramics on our press car, grabbing a down shift before slingshotting out of the other side with a glorious V8 soundtrack adding to the pleasure.
We then drive the very same roads again in the wet and were left dumbfounded. Even with the traction control off, dampers in their harshest setting and the AMG button pushed, the car still felt friendly and wanted to be tested. Floor the throttle coming out of hairpin bends and the rear steps out but is easily controlled and is comfortably brought back into line courtesy of the traction offered from the front wheels. Time and time again we were left smiling as the rear of the can shimmied and danced as it scrambled to find a way to transfer all 577 horses to the roads surface.
A pleasant surprise was just how well Mercedes-Benz had calibrated the E63 AMG S. The car is supple, soft and quiet when you potter around town. The cabin is remarkably comfortable and the familiar Mercedes layout makes you wonder where other manufacturers are going wrong. When cruising on the Autostrada, wind and tyre noise are insignificant and the masses of torque mean overtaking never even seems to stress the engine, squeeze the throttle and watch the revs rise as everything in the rear-view-mirror becomes smaller and smaller.
There are few cars that are able to do so much as well as the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S. If we could choose one car to use drive to work every days before blasting across Europe in, it would be the E63 AMG S. The car looks fantastic, feels fantastic and will blow a number of supercars out of the water while costing less than half the price (starting from €118,762). Stiffest competition comes from the BMW M5, a car that is currently not available with all-wheel-drive, something that has been confirmed for the next generation car. Audi offer competition in the form of its bludgeoning RS6 Avant. Mercedes hit back with the E63 AMG S in estate form; a car we are yet to drive but are sure is just as capable as the saloon.
There are few cars on sale today that are enjoyable to drive as the E63 AMG S and as a result, it is a car we walked away from with smiles on our faces time and time again.