The Mercedes E-Class was recently upgraded and we tested its most extreme version, the AMG E63S, powered by a 612 HP 4.0 V8 ! This car is an “over the top” saloon, capable of swallowing kilometres at undecent pace, weather conditions being irrelevant as it’s got 4-wheel drive to cope with anything. Our test was performed during hellish weather so we know what we talk about… However, first things first.
Launched back in Spring 2016, the Type 213 E Class received some styling tweaks last year, resulting in a serious facelift. Reworked front and taillights, improved interior… enough to resist the competition in a most serene way, until it will be ultimately pensioned-off. The current fad may be entirely focused on electrics and hybrids, however we tested the football players’ car, the one with a gently gurgling V8 waiting to be trashed to give its best. True, a rather fat bank account is needed : not only to purchase this beautiful machine but also to feed it, as it is particularly keen on petrol. However, the popular saying is true “when one’s in love, money’s no object”.
I like it
What a joy to find such an exquisite piece of engineering (should I write jewellery?) under the bonnet of a car. Car lovers are truly aware that such nice engines might soon be a thing of the past. Lifting the bonnet is therefore made all the more enjoyable knowing this. The two turbos are located in the middle of the 90° V8; ensuring the compactness of the lump. However, they must be carefully cooled using the air / water exchangers. As mentioned before, this engine delivers 612 hp and 850 Nm. It benefits from cylinders’ switch off between 1000 and 3250 rpm in Comfort mode. There is just a small light on the dashboard telling the driver it’s happening. Going downhill means no power demand : the transmission disengages itself and the engine just idles, saving petrol. In short, everything is done to reduce CO² emissions as much as possible, however it won’t be enough to save this aristocratic engine from its death knell.
The 9-speed automatic gearbox is a perfect match for the engine. Regardless of the chosen driving mode, it’s always brilliant. One thing should be emphasized : comfort wise, the E 63s beats its direct competitors, the BMW M5 and the Audi RS6 hands down. The air suspension of this sporty version does real wonders, providing passengers with a totally unexpected delightful comfort. Several driving modes are available (Comfort, Sport, Sport + and even Race) some of them tightening up the settings but the car never feels uncomfortable or underdamped. Our test car also featured the remote control exhaust with dual vanes, allowing some funny backlash noises when you get your right foot off the loud pedal. Despite their € 7,200 retail price, we must stress the impressive efficiency of the ceramic composite brake discs…
Not to my liking
The AMG E63s is expensive, thirsty and portly. These are the only demerits of this exceptional car. The first two will not surprise anyone. It is difficult to keep a light foot on the right pedal. Fuel consumption is rarely under 10 l / 100 km and it can easily goes way beyond 25 l / 100 km when driven flat out on a German autobahn or on a track. Admittedly, the 80-litre tank offers a decent range but filling it up will cost more than 100 euros in all instances. Weight wise, it stands at a real portly 1,880 kg… while the former version was “just” 1,770 kg. This is undoubtedly the price to pay for ever more substantial on-board technology.
Why I am buying it
A V8 or nothing. After the phasing-out of V12 engines (even if there is still a W12 Bentley available), 8 cylinders lumps are slowly being pensioned-off. These pleasure- and thrill- inducing un-ecofriendly engines, are now unfortunately doomed. So let’s celebrate the joy of riding in a V8 machine and listening to the unique V-cylinders high speed soundtrack while we can still do so. Derestricted autobahn sections still allow to take full advantage of such engines, even though this is ever more questioned by green activists. True, buying such a car can be seen as silliness, even madness, however enjoying an E63S at its best will be a priceless pleasure. Top roadholding, comfort and technology all show the quality of impressive work Mercedes can achieve. Having driven it through a real storm, its 4-wheel drive chassis fitted with Michelin Pilot S was utterly safe and competent, no matter what the driving pace was.
Why I won’t buy it
Obviously, I don’t have the € 123,299 needed to get access to such a gem of a car on my bank account. To be even more precise, the car we tested costs € 148,697. Not mentioning the various compulsory taxes levied by a state that has never robbed the automotive sector in such a way in the past while making its everyday life harder and harder all the time. However, that’s another debate. On the one hand, the few saved banknotes will likely fly away with every tank of petrol but, on the other hand, you’ll get one of the fastest five seater saloon on the market, not to mention its 540-litre boot. (Translation: Dimitri Urbain – Pictures: Pierre Fontignies – find out more on our Facebook page)