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Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG on the way

With 430kW of power and 800Nm of torque, it is capable of blasting from 0-100km/h in a Ferrari-like 3.6 seconds.

Benz has sent the performance community into a spin with news this morning that it will bring its top of the line 430kW E63 AMG sedan to Australia, despite the fact it can't offer the car with four-wheel drive.

The high performance, 5.5-litre Bi-Turbo V8 engined car will not be quite as quick off the line as the four-wheel drive, 4MATIC version in Germany, but in all other respects it will be the same - Aussie buyers won't miss out.

Just like the compact GLK off-roader, which has never been offered here, the 4MATIC model is not engineered for right-hand drive countries - a decision that has probably cost Benz millions in lost sales over the past few years. You'd think they would have learned from their mistakes?

Although it offers larger, four-wheel drive off-roaders like the M and GL-Class, four-wheel drive versions of its passenger cars are still a couple of years away. That's unfortunate, because in the case of the E63 AMG 4MATIC S model, four-wheel drive is required to get all that power to the ground.

With a whopping 430kW of power and 800Nm of torque, it is capable of blasting from 0-100km/h in a Ferrari-like 3.6 seconds. While the rear-wheel drive version of the car that we have been promised will struggle, Benz claims it will still be good for 3.8-3.9 seconds - it hasn't been tested yet.

This compares with the standard, 410kW/720Nm rear-wheel drive E63 AMG that will also be sold in Australia which does the dash in 4.2 seconds. Benz describes the new and improved version of its engine as the most efficient series production V8 engine in the world.

Along with other design and technological changes to the E-Class range, it should cement the car's place as a leader in the market. A spokesman for Benz Australia says the E63 AMG is an important car to Australia, which has one of the highest up-takes of high performance AMG models in the world - at 7.6 per cent of sales.

But they are not for everyone, not at a starting price of $240,000. There's no word on prices for the new model at this stage, except to say the figures will be “assertive.” This also applies the rest of the E Class range which arrives in August.

Benz also confirmed this morning that the lineup will include the E300 hybrid diesel, which offers fuel consumption of an incredible 4.1 litres/100km - with no sacrifice in performance. The hybrid with diesel and electric motors produces a combined 170kW of power and 750Nm of torque and is expected to replace the both the E350 and E500 petrol models.

The small volume wagon will also continue to be offered, in E250CDI and E400 petrol form, as well as an AMG. No word yet on the coupe and cabriolet which are due later in the year.

The spokesman told Carsguide this morning the company was convinced the large car market was far from dead in Australia. He said people were attracted by the size of cars like the E-Class, but wanted smaller, more efficient engines - provided of course they did not have to sacrifice anything in terms of performance.

He said they were also popular as they benefited from an effective $6000 discount,  because all of the four cylinder models consume less than 7.0 litres of fuel per 100km. Surprisingly, 80 per cent of E Class sales last year were four cylinder models, either petrol or diesel engines. “It's almost a case of build it and they will come,” he said.

This reporter is on Twitter: @IamChrisRiley


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