Mercedes-AMG E 63 S review: super sedan
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Mercedes-AMG E 63 S
- Absolute road-going rocket
- Mild hybrid technology
- Forgiving ride quality
- Feels heavy at the limit
- There are cheaper rivals
- Expensive options list
Back in 1997, Mercedes-Benz whipped the covers off the CLK GTR, a roadgoing version of the racecar that claimed two FIA GT championships. This CLK GTR was (and remains) one of the craziest supercars that the world has ever seen, powered by a 6.0-litre V12 engine making 450kW and 775Nm.
With that enormous amount of power and torque on hand, the CLK GTR could rocket to 100km/h around the 3.8-second mark, which was ridiculous performance for its day.
Two decades later, Mercedes-AMG is selling a facelifted version of the E 63 S sedan that not only matches the power figure of the CLK GTR, but betters its torque figure. It will also hit the 100km/h mark faster, and can carry four passengers and a boot full of luggage.
The E 63 S’s 450kW/850Nm have actually remained the same for the facelift, with most of the changes coming in the aesthetic department. The “Panamericana” slatted grille dominates the new front, and a set of horizontal tail lights replace the outgoing vertical ones.
Mercedes-AMG claims a 0-100km/h time of 3.4 seconds, but this seems significantly underrated, and acceleration tests online hint at a figure below the three-second mark. The 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 is assisted by a mild-hybrid system which keeps fuel consumption to a respectable level when (if ever) it isn’t being driven like a stereotypical AMG.
Power is sent to all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission, which can be sleepy in comfort mode, but snaps into action when either of the sport driving modes are selected. Traction levels are absurd, and you’d have to have less-than-ideal road conditions to even think about breaking traction with the sticky Pirelli rubber at every corner. These tyres are complimented by the optional carbon ceramic brakes, which come at a $15,900 premium and are an option that probably can be skipped if you aren’t planning on entering Bathurst as a wildcard.
The highlight of the E 63’s performance is the usability of all its power, thanks to AWD. Peak torque is available from 2500rpm, so overtaking on the open road as well as powering out of corners can be done with ease.
The extremely harsh ride of previous generations has been remedied, and flicking it into Comfort mode will have you thinking that it’s a regular E-Class.
This E-Class gets everything you’d expect from a quarter-million-dollar sedan. Despite the thunderous powertrain, it’s obvious that this E 63 is still a luxury car. High quality materials line the cabin, and while the woodgrain dash can be swapped out for a carbon fibre, we like the traditional touch.
Despite the rise in popularity of the performance SUV in recent times, the full-sized high-performance sedan segment is still well populated. Out of the classic German trio, the AMG is the most expensive, with Audi’s RS 7 from $235,990 and the BMW M5 at $234,300. All are powered by twin-turbo V8s and use all-wheel drive. The Merc sits smack-bang in the middle for power with 450kW: the Audi gets 441kW and the BMW sits on 460kW.
It’s hard to fault what Mercedes-AMG has done with this E 63 S, but then you have to remember it carries a price tag that matches a modest house in Greymouth.