Mercedes and its AMG engineers have tested prototypes for the E63 extensively – even recruiting former McLaren F1 ace Mika Häkkinen and race driver Klaus Ludwig to fine-tune it – and the end result is the fastest and most powerful version of the E-Class saloon yet.
The new E63 AMG distinguishes itself from the standard Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedans with a newly developed sports suspension system with electronically controlled damping, revised front suspension and unique exterior and interior design.
Despite current concerns about global warming and a possible end to the horsepower war between Germany’s in-house tuners, the new E63 continues with the potent hand-built 6.2L V8, while the rest of the car’s mechanical package has been given a major makeover. Power has been bumped up to 518hp (386kW) and 465lb-ft (630Nm), and all that thrust is funneled through a 7-speed MCT dual-clutch transmission, spurting the sedan from a standstill to 60mph in just 4.4 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155mph. Despite the increase in power, however, the car is now 12% more efficient, checking in at 18.6mpg.
Engineers have also focused on improving the handling and chassis, borrowing a number of features from the new C63 AMG.
The transmission is the real technical update, however, offering four driving modes: "C" (Controlled Efficiency), "S" (Sport), "S+" (Sport plus) and "M" (Manual), which can be selected using a rotary electronic switch in the AMG DRIVE UNIT. Partial suppression of individual cylinders by interrupting ignition and injection during gearshifts under full load lets the transmission change gear even faster than it could otherwise. In M mode, the MCT swaps the gears in just 100 milliseconds.
The sporty AMG model also gets a 56mm wider front track and unique steering ratio compared to the regular E-Class, plus MacPherson strut and multi-link active suspension. The new electronically suspension system, called AMG Ride Control, allows drivers to vary the damping and level of body roll at the push of a button. Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus modes are offered, and these work in conjunction with an updated power steering system and three-stage stability system. Once again, drivers can select from ESP On, Sport, or Off.
Highlights of the exterior include 17mm wider fenders, unique LED daytime running lights, bi-xenon headlights, and 19in alloy wheels shod with 285mm rubber in the rear (18in wheels come standard).
While the new E63 saloon is set to go on sale this November, the Estate wagon version of the car isn’t due to arrive in showrooms until sometime next year.