Thursday06 July 2017
For a start, the engine. The 4.0-litre unit is based on the same V8 found in the smaller C63, but its internals have been totally overhauled to give an astonishing 604bhp output. And with 850Nm of torque and four-wheel-drive, the result is simply gut-wrenching acceleration.
That four-wheel-drive is a first for the E 63 in the UK, as is air suspension. The latter means that you can switch between a relaxing ride and one that’s bone-shakingly firm.
Unlike many of AMG’s creations, the E 63’s styling is fairly restrained. There are small winglets in the front bumper, a subtle rear spoiler, quad-exit exhaust and a rear diffuser to differentiate this from standard models.
Inside, the seats are incredibly firm, which is welcome in the corners but can be annoying over longer distances.
The E 63’s blistering performance doesn’t come at the detriment of space – the E-Class is a big car, after all. The boot has plenty of space and the cabin is large enough for even taller adults to be comfortable in the back.
At around £90,000 you might be surprised to learn that many driver assistance features come in an optional package. At £1,695, it comes with blind spot assistance, lane-keeping assistance, and a semi-autonomous driving mode.
In comfort mode you could almost forget you’re in the hot version of the Mercedes E-Class – ignoring the super firm seats, of course. However, flick to Sport mode and everything becomes more responsive and aggressive, with every push of the throttle pushing you back into the plush bucket seat.
The ride can be a bit firm in this mode, though, meaning that bumpy B-roads can unsettle the car – and consequently unsettle the driver. Largely, though, the scintillating straight-line performance is a delight.
We tested the S version of the E63, which is slightly more powerful and more expensive, weighing in at £88,295 – nearly £10,000 more than the ‘standard’ version. For your money, you get the bump in power, 20-inch alloy wheels, active engine mounts, AMG performance seats and even more Nappa leather.
It’s about on-par for the segment, though options such as the aforementioned driver assistance package or the £1,000 performance exhaust feel like they should be standard at this price range.
It’s hard to pigeon-hole E 63 S buyers – the E-Class typically appeals to wealthy buyers looking for a luxury long distance cruiser, but with the ballistic performance, high running costs and firm seats, its character has changed quite a bit. However, those E-Class buyers who are willing to sacrifice some comfort to go very, very fast are well catered for.
Model: Mercedes-AMG E 63 S
Base price: £88,295
Engine tested: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
Max speed: 155mph
0-60mph: 3.1 seconds
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