ON TRACK

Evo - - MERCEDES - AMG E63 S 4MATIC + V PORSCHE PANAMERA T - WB

Each car re­tains its essen­tial char­ac­ter on track, but traits are ex­ag­ger­ated and there’s a greater dis­tinc­tion be­tween them. The Panam­era feels di­rect and ag­ile when you turn in ag­gres­sively, but be­yond the first phase of a cor­ner its softer chas­sis means it starts to feel heavy, al­most cum­ber­some. Body roll ab­sorbs much of your in­puts, mean­ing it’s dif­fi­cult to make fine corrections, and the front axle pushes on if you’re too ea­ger with the throt­tle. Once you’ve found a flow, how­ever, the Panam­era ex­hibits that dev­as­tat­ing point-to­point pace that it shows on the road.

The E63 feels more at home on track, as­ton­ish­ingly so for an al­most- two-ton saloon. With sharp steer­ing and the damp­ing set to firm, it feels alert, while the bullish en­gine means there’s enough throt­tle ad­justably even when it’s driv­ing all four wheels. Its heft can’t be dis­guised com­pletely, though; the exit of a cor­ner can be tricky as you deal with a touch of weight trans­fer.

Ac­ti­vat­ing Drift Mode and un­cou­pling the front drive­shafts il­lus­trates ex­actly why the E63 has four-wheel drive. It wants to over­steer ev­ery­where and the tran­si­tion is prac­ti­cally in­stant, though the long wheel­base means slides are eas­ily held. Not the most ef­fec­tive way round a track, but hugely en­ter­tain­ing.

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