Mercedes E63 AMG Estate review
The Mercedes E63 AMG Estate combines performance and practicality in an explosive package
The Mercedes E63 AMG Estate takes the hugely practical E-Class Estate and adds the sensational performance and handling we expect from the AMG tuning division. It stands alone in the class for the moment, with new versions of the BMW M5 Touring and Audi RS6 Avant some way away from showrooms. Power comes from a 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8, which sends 549bhp and 720Nm of torque to the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic gearbox. Opt for the S-Model, and this climbs to 579bhp and 800Nm respectively. But the car is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, with only minor updates over the regular E-Class Estate hinting at its enormous potential – although the sound from the quad exhausts gives the game away.
Our choice: Mercedes E63 AMG Estate
Buyers who want the world to know they’ve spent £70,000-plus on a performance estate should look elsewhere – the Mercedes E63 AMG Estate doesn’t exactly shout about its potential. It has a wider track at the front, which combines with the unique alloy wheels to give more road presence than in a regular E-Class Estate, but an AMG bodykit and badges, and four growling exhausts are the only other distinguishing features on the outside. Inside, it’s equally subtle, with AMG-badged sports seats and a three-spoke steering wheel trimmed in Nappa leather, plus loads of kit. But as in any other E-Class, the dash is a bit dated, even after receiving a round of updates in its mid-life facelift.
The MCT Speedshift seven-speeed twin-clutch gearbox in the E63 AMG gives a choice of Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Manual modes, and provides lightning fast gearshifts to get the most out of the V8 engine. The car covers 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds and hits an electronically controlled 155mph top speed. There’s also adaptive damping with Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus settings, so you can adjust the balance of ride and handling to suit the conditions – taking the E63 from a refined motorway cruiser to a razor-sharp performance estate for B-road blasts at the flick of a switch. It’s enormous fun to drive.
There’s a generous list of standard safety equipment in the top-of-the-range E-Class, including Mercedes’ sophisticated Attention Assist system – which sounds an alarm if it senses the driver is nodding off when behind the wheel. There’s a three-stage stability control system, allowing keen drivers to adjust the level of intervention, while tyre pressure monitors and ISOFIX child seat mountings are also included. There’s a whole host of airbags, too, including knee and pelvis bags. The standard E-Class finished third in our Driver Power 2012 satisfaction survey, with owners full of praise for its reliability in particular, and this excellent reputation extends to the E63 AMG Estate.
Even though the E63 AMG Estate is a focused perfomance car, it’s based on one of the most spacious and practical estates on the new car market. So press the button to open the powered tailgate, and the boot still offers a massive 695-litre capacity with the rear seats in place; fold them, and this increases to a van-like 1,950 litres – more than in any executive class rival. Bag hooks and the clever Mercedes EasyPack system, with underfloor storage, add to the load area’s versatility, while further forward, rear passengers get plenty of legroom in which to stretch out.
The E63 AMG is expensive to buy, even though it comes with the full range of Mercedes driver aids and safety systems. It won’t be cheap to run, either: stop-start ensures this Mercedes is much more efficient than the previous 6.2-litre model, with 28.3mpg economy and 230g/km CO2 emissions, but the latter still means big tax bills for private and company drivers alike. Servicing isn’t exactly cheap, although buyers choosing a car in this market would do so with their eyes wide open – you’d expect such huge performance potential to go hand-in-hand with hefty maintenance bills.