Mercedes-Benz E63 S review

By: Scott Newman

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Mercedes-Benz E63 S Mercedes-Benz E63 S Mercedes-Benz E63 S
Mercedes-Benz E63 S Mercedes-Benz E63 S Mercedes-Benz E63 S
Mercedes-Benz E63 S Mercedes-Benz E63 S Mercedes-Benz E63 S

Merc's latest sports sedan proves too much is never enough...

Mercedes-Benz E63 S review
Driven: Mercedes-Benz E63 S

 

Mercedes-Benz E63 S

On 10 December, 1954, Dr.John Paul Stapp, a member of the US Air Force, was strapped aboard the rocket sled Sonic Wind I and sent to 632mph, his body subjected to 20G of acceleration. Having now driven the new Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG ‘S’, I have some idea of what Dr. Stapp went through.

Floor the throttle and you’re squashed into the seat as the E63 S destroys the 0-100km/h sprint in just over four seconds and passes 200km/h around eight seconds later. Disable the 250km/h limiter and I’m not sure the E63 S would ever stop accelerating.

Responsibility for this fairground-ride level of thrust lies with the 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 under the bonnet. A small increase in boost pressure (from 0.9 to 1.0bar) lifts power to a slightly ridiculous 430kW at 5500rpm, but it’s the engine’s outrageous torque figure – 800Nm from 1750-5000rpm – that throws the knockout punch, delivering a hefty thump in the back regardless of road speed
or gear selected. This is just as well, as the seven-speed auto can still be frustratingly tardy in its responses at times.

Of course, all the power in the world is useless if it can’t be applied to the road, but AMG’s locking differential (standard on the E63 S) does a heroic job of stopping those wide 285/30ZR19 rear Continentals (255s up front) from evaporating into smoke.

Traction is remarkably strong, though with the ESP in its ‘Sports’ setting a dose of throttle is the perfect way of neutralising the mild understeer caused by that big V8 up front. The electronics can be disabled completely, but it’d be a brave move in the dry and possibly suicidal in the wet.

The steering is accurate and well-weighted and the enormous brakes (360mm rotors front and rear with six- and four-piston calipers respectively) are stupendous in their power and feel. Three-stage adjustable dampers deliver a firm but compliant ride in ‘comfort’ but can be stiffened for better body control on smooth roads or racetracks.

All in all, the E63 feels a smaller, lighter car than its 1845kg kerb weight suggests, a trick it also pulls off visually thanks to its recent facelift. The gawky quad-headlight front is gone – replaced by a sexy set of LED lamps – as are the flared rear guards, the new car’s slim hips making it look more C- than E-Class from some angles.

On the inside, every sense is treated with leather and carbon everywhere, a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system, heated and cooled massage seats and a full raft of active safety equipment (lane assist, blind spot assist, pre-safe braking and much more) should you get too distracted.

Australia is one of only three countries (along with the UK and South Africa) to receive the 430kW engine in rear-drive form (left-hand drive E63 S are all-wheel drive) and it appears we’re well aware of how lucky we are, as this year’s allocation of this benchmark sports sedan is already sold out.


SPECIFICATIONS

MERCEDES-BENZ E63 S

Engine: 5461cc V8, DOHC, 32v, twin turbochargers
Power: 430kW @ 5500rpm
Torque: 800Nm @ 1750-5000rpm
Weight: 1845kg
Gearbox: 7-speed auto
0-100Km/h: 4.1sec (claimed)
Top speed: 250km/h (limited)
Price: $249,545
Our rating: 9.0/10

 

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