Mercedes-AMG has revealed its take on the new E-Class with the E 63 and E 63 S models, which will be offered with all-wheel drive in right-hand drive markets for the first time when it goes on sale in early 2017.
The E 63 will make its first public appearance at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. UK order books will open in January, with the first cars set to arrive here in May 2017.
Like other new models in the Mercedes-AMG line-up, the E 63 has replaced the old 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 engine for a slightly more eco-friendly 4.0-litre version. however, fewer cubic inches does not mean less power. In standard output, it delivers 571hp and 750Nm, which you would consider to be more than enough. But the E 63 S ups this to 612hp and 850Nm, shaving a tenth of a second off the 0-62mph sprint time (3.4 seconds vs 3.5 seconds). The engine has also been fitted with twin-scroll turbochargers for the first time, to improve throttle response and overall performance.
The new engine also features cylinder deactivation, so the V8 can become a V4 under light loads. Fuel consumption is a claimed 31.7mpg on the combined cycle, although few owners are likely to ever see that if they drive it with any enthusiasm.
Visually, the E 63 models follow the usual AMG template of big wheels, deep bumpers and many exhaust pipes. Inside, the usual chunky flat-bottom steering wheel is present, along with an analogue clock designed by F1 partner IWC and lashings of aluminium trim (carbon fibre optional).
The E 63 will be available with all the luxury equipment found in the normal E-Class models, such as a semi-autonomous driving mode, booming stereo systems and huge 12.3-inch dashboard display screens.
Mercedes-AMG promises that the move from rear-wheel drive to all-wheel drive for the E 63 does not mean an end to the traditional tyre-shredding oversteer for which the brand is famous. The driver can engage a Drift mode to disconnect drive to the front wheels and return the E 63 to its rear-drive roots. The transmission is Mercedes’ latest nine-speed multi-clutch unit, claimed to deliver rapid shifts both up and down the gearbox despite the enormous torque being channeled through the driveline.
As usual, the AMG engineers have re-worked the standard E-Class suspension to turn the executive limo into a serious sports saloon. Running a three-chamber air suspension system, the E 63 is claimed to offer very high stability when cornering while maintaining ride comfort. Geometry of the multi-link rear suspension has also been altered to improve traction under high load. The standard E 63 has a mechanical rear differential lock, while the E 63 S gets an electronic version to provide increased sensitivity and control.
The electronic assistance systems have also been retuned, with a three-stage ESP system offering progressively less interference. Even if the system is switched off, it will reactivate temporarily under heavy braking.
To slow the big saloons down from the warp speeds it will easily attain, Mercedes-AMG has fitted the E 63 with 360mm diameter discs front and rear, which are vented and perforated. The E 63 S bumps the front discs up further to 397mm, and is also available with 402mm front (360mm rear) carbon ceramic brake discs.
Mercedes-AMG will offer a launch specification model called Edition 1, which will feature a matte black paint finish, racing stripes, 20-inch forged alloy wheels and the Night package (blacked-out trim and tinted windows).
UK pricing and specifications are yet to be announced.