Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Estate

Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Estate

The all-new 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class has reached showrooms in most parts of the globe, and now we are just a couple of months away from the launch of the ‘Estate’ wagon version. Today, however, at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, Mercedes has unveiled the high-performance E63 AMG Estate.

Mercedes and its AMG engineers have tested prototypes for the E63 Estate extensively--even recruiting former McLaren F1 ace Mika Häkkinen and race driver Klaus Ludwig to finetune it--and the end result is the fastest and most powerful version of the E-Class Estate yet.

Like the E63 Sedan, the new AMG Estate distinguishes itself from the standard E-Class Estate wagons with a newly developed sports suspension system with electronically controlled damping, revised front suspension settings and unique exterior and interior design.

The vehicle also develops 525 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque from its hand-built 6.2-liter V-8 engine and accelerates from 0-62 mph in just 4.6 seconds. It also offers a maximum luggage compartment capacity of 69 cubic-feet and a relatively impressive fuel economy rating of 18.3 mpg.

Sending power rearward is AMG’s new SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission. It offers 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.

A more direct steering feel comes courtesy of the all-new speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering. The steering ratio of 14:1 is 22% more direct than in the standard production models, while a more rigid steering column plus the reconfigured characteristic mapping of the speed-sensitive servo assistance ensure better steering precision and improved road contact.

Handling is also improved thanks to the addition of 18-inch light-alloy wheels. Lightweight forged 19 inch AMG light-alloy wheels remain an option. Other highlights of the exterior include wider fenders, unique LED daytime running lights and bi-xenon headlights.

Sadly, the North American launch of the new E-Class Estate will bring only the E350 4matic version next June, and so far no other E-Class wagon variants are planned for American sale.