Mercedes E63 AMG Estate review
The Mercedes E63 AMG Estate combines performance and practicality in an explosive package
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.
As well as the styling changes recently introduced to the rest of the E-Class range
late last year, the AMG gets a bold, F1-style front bumper insert finished in black, a sporty rear diffuser and a menacing quad exit exhaust layout. Two-tone 10-spoke, 19-inch alloy wheels and classy silver trim inserts complete the Mercedes’ visual upgrade.
Other eye-catching details include the all-LED headlights. These throw out a brilliantly bright beam, plus benefit from a cornering function and automatic high-beam control.
Inside, the E63 feels very driver-focused. There’s a lovely Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel featuring large metal paddles, plus a special stubby automatic shift lever. Located on the centre console are four additional switches and a small rotary dial. The latter controls the car’s gearbox shift modes, while the former allow you to alter the damper and stability control settings.
Heavily bolstered, leather-trimmed sports seats and a smattering of AMG logos add the finishing touches to an interior that creates enough drama for most. As you’d expect, the quality inside is first rate. Top-notch materials are used throughout, the finish is excellent and the switchgear is precise.
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.
The controls are heavily weighted and solidly engineered, with everything from the thick metal steering wheel shift paddles to the chunky throttle pedal needing purposeful inputs to move.
Rock-solid body control, strong grip and well weighted steering inspire confidence and allow you to throw the Mercedes around with surprising abandon - the taut E-Class always feels planted and poised.
And while the traction control works overtime to rein in wheelspin in wet conditions, in the dry this car feels composed. Of course, if you switch off the stability control, it can easily be coaxed into lurid, smoking tailslides.
Yet this agility doesn’t come at the expense of refinement. On the motorway there’s not much wind noise, while the engine settles down to a background hum.
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 27th in our Driver Power 2014 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.
Pay an extra £255 and you can add the Easy Pack load securing kit that comprises floor-mounted rails, a collapsible crate under the boot floor and protective strip for the load sill. Elsewhere inside you’ll find lots of storage, including numerous cup-holders.
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.