When the Mercedes-Benz E 55 AMG broke cover back in 2002, no one had seen it coming. Not only did it whip king BMW M5’s comfortable ass, but it also went after the supercars of the time. Having snuck in through the backdoor without rivals noticing, the E 55 AMG became an icon, a legend during its own lifetime. Ask any motoring hack who drove one and the one thing they will all agree on is how bloody quick it was. I had one in 2004 and the only description I could come up with was “sledgehammer”; it just hit and hit hard. Unfortunately because of its maker’s philosophical disposition, handling was just not part of its brilliant powertrain package.
Things have apparently improved and to prove it Daimler SA invited us to the legendary Kalayami race track to check out the brand new E 63 AMG. The 6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 kicks out 386kW and 630Nm of torque. Driving things to the rear wheels is the same 7-speed MCT transmission found in the SL 63. Changes are notably quicker than in the 7G-Tronic and can be actuated through paddles behind the sports steering wheel.
Though my nanny – a driving instructor from the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Driving Academy – didn’t say much during my laps around the famed circuit, one always plays extra cautious when a passenger is around. So I can’t say how quick the car can really go there, suffice to say handling is tighter than in a normal E-Class and improved on the E 55 AMG and its successor the previous-generation E 63 AMG. There’s definitely over-assistance from the Ride Control sports suspension which puts some distance between driver and machine. It kinda reminds you that this is after all, a Merc.
A nice feature is the launch control system that although quick off the block, produces no drama at all. Mercedes-Benz says unlike other rivals’ systems, this one can be activated over 20 times in succession without any mechanical over exposure. The process is simple enough; wait for engine temperatures of at least 82 degrees Celsius, step on the brake with your left foot, engage D (Drive) on the gearbox, toggle the round switch through C, S, S+ and M into RS mode, confirm through the right paddle, push right foot on accelerator, release brake and go. Oh, also the steering wheel needs to be 100% straight. Phew.
They say it will go from 0 – 100km/h in 4.5 seconds and reach a limited top speed of 250km/h. But an optional AMG Driver’s Package will add another 50km/h on that for a restricted top whack of 300km/h. You probably wouldn’t reach that in most Gauteng areas lately, thanks to all the road construction.
Comfort is a big issue with Merc and therefore the interior is loaded with plush features (some of which are optional) such as power steering, individual air conditioning, COMAND, leather-covered steering wheel, nappa leather, alcantara panels, and aluminium foot pedals.
The E 63 AMG distinguishes itself from run-of-the-mill Es through a number of exterior kit pieces such as wide wings, large air intakes, a sportier front grille, 6.3 AMG lettering on the sides, AMG side sill panels, an AMG rear apron with a black insert and four chrome-plated tailpipes. Lightweight forged 19-inch
AMG light-alloy wheels with size 255/35 R 19 tyres at the front and 285/30 R 19 at the rear are fitted. You can check the sweet AMG-branded brake callipers through these. Stopping was no biggie around Kayalami and through four laps the brakes never once showed fade or smoked.
Safety is a priority for Mercedes-Benz so the E 63 AMG is fitted with all manner of keep-me-on-the-road gadgets like ABS brakes with BAS, lane keeping assist, attention assist, blind spot assist and a host of airbags if all else fails. Advanced Driving Dynamics training is available to buyers at the Zwartkops race track west of Pretoria.
This is the best overall E-Class AMG sedan based on the best E-Class ever. I can’t wait to put it through its everyday paces, or maybe even against a worthy competitor...
Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG Pricing
Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG (R1 150 000)