And here it is, just ahead of the 2016 LA Auto Show: the all-new Mercedes-AMG E63. The highly anticipated performance saloon takes the 2017 E-Class to a whole new level in terms of performance, a whopping 612 hp and 850 Nm of torque in the E63 S set the new benchmark in its class.
The headlines read 4MATIC all-wheel drive, 3.4 seconds to 100 km/h and an updated SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed transmission. With that being said, by far the most exciting part of the new E63 AMG are the changes under its skin. Visually the new performance model reveals few surprises, it’s the ‘basic formula’ that’s been added to the conventional E-Class with similar design elements to the performance models of the C-Class and S-Class.
Interesting is the standard 4MATIC AWD system that goes at the cost of the much appraised rear-wheel drive system that was standard on the previous generation E63 and current generation C63. While many enthusiasts will have their say about this change, the 4MATIC setup will certainly increase the car’s efficiency and performance.
Combining AWD with the immensely powerful V8 Biturbo engine, now tweaked to produce 612 hp (450 kW) at its peak, means a 0-100 km/h sprint of 3.4 seconds, leaving an array of supercar-labelled cars in the dust. In comparison, 3.4 seconds is faster than the much lighter AWD TT RS that we recently drove, and slightly faster than the AWD Jaguar F-Type SVR that we drove earlier this year. These are exciting figures indeed, especially given that the E63 is a full body luxury sedan.
Efficiency of the 4.0-liter V8 is emphasized by the installment of a cylinder-deactivation module as standard. This means that when you’re just cruising down the highway in standard or eco mode, some of the cylinders will be deactivated to save fuel. The intelligent cylinder deactivation system shuts down cylinders two, three, five and eight when driving in COMFORT mode, significantly reducing fuel consumption. The E63’s AWD system also contributes to the car’s handling capabilities, making it easier to push it to its limits and to keep it in line when experiencing wet conditions.
Power to all four wheels is diverted via the updated AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed sports transmission that comes with a wet start-off clutch that replaces the torque converter. This saves weight and optimises the response time to the driver’s accelerator pedal input, particularly when accelerating and during load changes. Torque distribution is now for the first time completely variable in the E63, where in the predecessor it was very much rear-biased.
Less extreme but still very impressive is the new standard E63, good for 571 hp and 750 Nm of torque, numbers that easily exceed those of the C63 S models. The entry model E63 does 0-100 km/h in just 3.5 seconds and also comes with 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive. Go for the AMG driver package and the 250 km/h limiter shifts up to an insane 300 km/h. Partly responsible for the performance bump over the previous generation are the reworked twin-turbochargers. Two twin-scroll turbochargers are deployed for the first time to boost performance and further improve responsiveness.
In an effort to maintain the E63’s brutal character from the past, AMG make it possible to drive just with the rear wheels in RACE mode with DRIFT mode activated. Given that you have switched off the ESP, the performance division from Affalterbach assures plenty of drift and rear-wheel drive fun in RACE mode, embodying characteristics that sure some of you fear are lost by the introduction of AWD. In RACE mode the transmission is configured to manual so drivers take over via the shift paddles behind the wheel and there is a RACE start option that is now even more sophisticated to use, the ultimate engaging driving experience.
For ultimate support and handling the new AMG sports suspension is based on the splendid air suspension that is optional on the E-Class is now available. The three-chamber air suspension kit and its dynamic dampers are fully configurable to one’s preference, further personalizing driving experience. More importantly, in COMFORT mode it turns the E63 into a relaxed highway cruiser, making it a very competent daily driver.
On the other side of the spectrum the E63 S would feel perfectly fine on the track. The standard rear-differential lock and from the AMG GT-R adopted tubular anti-roll bar save a chunk of weight on the car’s rear axle and significantly improve the car’s handling on the racing circuit.
The E-Class benchmark interior is one of the most comprehensive and detailed currently on the market. We have highlighted and praised the new E-Class’ interior a couple of times now, for all the ins and outs please make sure to read about it here and here. The AMG performance studio lets customers customize the car inside out only limited by one’s imagination.
Customers that are looking for something truly special and exclusive, the Edition 1 version of the E63 is there to fulfill your wishes. The Edition 1 E63 will only be available for around a year after the car’s market launch and features distinct and exclusive styling combining the Night package, night black magno paint, characteristic yellow striping and topstitching in the Nappa black interior. New are AMG’s 20-inch forged wheels in matt black with high-gloss polished rim flange. To get a good impression of the special edition’s styling, you should have a look at the C63 Edition 1.
The new Mercedes-AMG E63 and E63 S are celebrating their world premiere at this year’s LA Auto Show, where visitors will get a first glimpse of the new 612 hp beast. The latest AMG is going on sale early next year and first deliveries will take place in Spring 2017. We get to sit behind the wheel of the new E63 at the end of next month, so stay tuned for a full review!