The evolution of Mercedes-Benz E-Class AMG started years ago and has progressed to the latest and greatest E 63 AMG S model -- now with a colossal 430kW/800Nm from its twin turbo (bi-turbo) petrol V8 engine. It's sufficient to push the 1900kg plus four door luxury projectile from 0-100kmh in about 4.0 seconds and blatt on without let-up to its arbitrarily set terminal velocity.
AMG has fully fettled the beast and installed a swag of special components designed to deliver the goods when it comes to sporty driving. The brakes are huge multi-piston units, the suspension has adjustable damping, the steering is super responsive and even the transmission offers four modes as well as race start - all courtesy of AMG.
But the heart of the E 63 is its 5.5-litre, direct injection V8 with twin variable geometry turbos, variable cam timing and other engineering trickery to help deliver awesome performance and impressive fuel economy along with ‘green' credentials all at the same time.
Where the previous model was offered with a Sports Package for extra power and kit at extra cost, the latest is only available in ‘S' spec - with all the go fast bits included. The price is $249,900.
Included is the locking diff' that the E 63 deserves but which few optioned previously. It has a big influence on how this monumentally powerful rear drive sedan puts its power to the ground and why it behaves so well under pressure. All wheel drive E 63s are available overseas but not here. Something else pretty special is the seven-speed dual clutch transmission with paddle shift and four modes.
The interior is at luxury car level and includes premium audio, full media connectivity, Nappa leather, sports wheel and a 360 degree safety camera. ‘Intelligent' LED headlights complete with selective aiming aid night driving. Driver assist kit includes nearly the full suite of Benz ‘help' as well as active park assist for parallel and nose to kerb parking.
This amount of power is rare in a road car with V8 Supercars cranking out not much more in the way of kilowatts -- and certainly not as much torque. But you can't compare this car with a ‘coarse' V8 racer, the E 63 is a much more refined beast - a veritable iron fist in a silk glove as it offers superlative levels of luxury in a stylish and practical package.
We had a bit of a crack in the latest E 63 at Sandown race track where the largish Benz happily carved up the tight bits and blasted down the straights like a real race car. We were too chicken to go the whole hog and switch everything to off or full manual control on the track but even with one notch to go, the E 63 still delivers the required drive feel sought by enthusiast drivers complete with a measured amount of rear wheel slip and tail-out oversteer. Acceleration is brutal.
The sound burbling out the back is good but nowhere near as stirring as the earlier, naturally-aspirated 6.2-litre V8 (still in the C 63). The look inside is understated and classy, much like the exterior treatment.
It’s a more refined high-performance sedan than the HSV GTS - like a well-educated thug in a classy Hugo Boss suit. It’s a nasty piece of gear and brings out the worst in you. And we’d have it in a heartbeat if money were no object.
Mercedes Benz E 63 AMG
Price: from $249,900
Engine: 5.5-litre 8-cylinder, 430kW/800Nm
Transmission: 7-speed auto, RWD
Thirst: 10L/100km, CO2 234g/km
0-100kmh: approximately 4.0 seconds
Price: from $229,145
Engine: 4.4L eight-cylinder, 412kW/680Nm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic, RWD
Price: from $189,900
Engine: 5.0L eight-cylinder, 375kW/625Nm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, RWD
Price: from $230,000
Engine: 4.0L eight-cylinder, 412kW/700Nm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, 4WD