Put the E in epic

Twin-turbo V8 meets nine­speed auto in the surg­ing sedan.

Herald Sun - Motoring - - PRESTIGE | MERCEDES-AMG E63 S - By John Carey

AT Mercedes-AMG, too much power is never enough. It’s a credo that ex­plains why the new E63 S breaks through the 600-horse­power bar­rier with its twin-turbo V8 roar­ing.

In ear­lier times this achieve­ment would likely have been hailed a mile­stone in the evo­lu­tion of the sports sedan but its met­ric equiv­a­lent, 450kW, doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

Aus­tralians have a healthy ap­petite for the very fast, loud and ex­pen­sive cars from the Mercedes-AMG fac­tory in Af­fal­ter­bach, out­side Stuttgart. They make up a big­ger pro­por­tion of to­tal Mercedes-Benz sales here — about 14 per cent — than any other coun­try.

Even though the new E63 S will cost about $250,000, a sim­i­lar price to the model it re­places, there’s sure to be a queue of re­peat cus­tomers lined up when it ar­rives in about eight months. In­creased power is just one of sev­eral very good rea­sons to pre­fer the new­comer.

The 2017 ver­sion of the E63 S is based on the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of the big E-Class sedan, known to car ob­ses­sives by its W213 model code. This is the E-Class that at last fixes a long-run­ning Mercedes-Benz mis­take (yes, even Ger­mans make them).

Un­til now, Mercedes-Benz’s all-wheel-drive was only com­pat­i­ble with left-hand drive. With the W123, it has fi­nally de­vel­oped a set-up for right-hand drive cars, the smartest ver­sion yet of Stuttgart’s AWD tech­nol­ogy.

The en­hanced trac­tion means the ad­di­tional power Mercedes-AMG ex­tracts from its hand-built 4.0-litre twin­turbo V8 doesn’t go to tyre-smok­ing waste.

Mercedes-AMG claims just 3.4 sec­onds for the sprint from rest to 0-100km/h, so this hefty, five-seat sedan has ac­cel­er­a­tion to ri­val ex­otic, two-seat su­per­cars cost­ing much more.

The im­prove­ments don’t end here. The new E63 S is also the first Mercedes-AMG equipped with the com­pany’s nine-speed au­to­matic.

There’s also im­proved air sus­pen­sion, with three­cham­ber pneu­matic springs.

Un­der the bon­net, the big­gest change is the adop­tion of twin-scroll tur­bocharg­ers. Th­ese are the key to the ex­tra power, ac­cord­ing to Mercedes-AMG engi­neers.

While they were at it, they also im­proved fuel ef­fi­ciency by adding cylin­der de­ac­ti­va­tion. When only a frac­tion of the V8’s power is needed, it can turn it­self into a V4.

The E-Class is the most ad­vanced car Mercedes-Benz builds (for now). All of the hitech ac­tive safety, driver-aid and in­fo­tain­ment gear that make it so are in the E63 S.

No­tice­able dif­fer­ences are a sportier, Al­can­tara-wrapped steer­ing wheel and snug-fit sports seats. Ex­te­rior al­ter­ations in­clude new front guards, bon­net and bumper, plus a wind-tun­nel tested bootlid spoiler and chrome-tipped quad ex­hausts.

In nor­mal driv­ing, say on a mo­tor­way, the E63 S oozes the same air of tech­ni­cal so­phis­ti­ca­tion and leath­ery lux­ury as any E-Class. With its driv­ing mode set to com­fort, the sedan rides smoothly.

The only thing to dis­turb the peace is painful noise from the sticky 20-inch Miche­lin Pi­lot Su­per Sport tyres.

It only takes a lit­tle pres­sure on the ac­cel­er­a­tor to un­leash the other side of the E63 S’s char­ac­ter. Over­tak­ing is ridicu­lously easy in this car, thanks to the re­lent­less surge of ac­cel­er­a­tion de­liv­ered by the epic engine and swift-shift­ing auto work­ing to­gether.

Switch to sport or sport plus modes for sharper han­dling and it is also ca­pa­ble of ef­fort­less speed on a wind­ing road.

The best place to see what the E63 S can re­ally do is a race­track. Thought­fully, the cir­cuit at Por­ti­mao in south­ern Por­tu­gal was hired for the in­ter­na­tional launch.

As the af­ter­noon light faded, you could see the front brake discs glow­ing red as the cars slowed for the track’s tighter cor­ners. After lean­ing slightly through the curves, there was the blar­ing sound of one of the world’s best V8 ex­haust notes.

It was, all in all, a fair im­pres­sion of a V8 race car.

But Mercedes-AMG won’t stop here. There’s al­ready some­one at Af­fal­ter­bach, you can be sure, work­ing on a way to bust the 500kW bar­rier.

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