Mercedes E63 AMG review
Punchy and impressively efficient V8 engine helps Mercedes E63 AMG keep up with the latest BMW M5
The Mercedes E63 AMG is the pinnacle of the E-Class saloon range, and a fine rival to the likes of the BMW M5 and Jaguar XFR. It will also give the forthcoming Audi RS6 a run for its money, as it combines punchy performance from its 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 engine with decent efficiency. The restrained design inside and out is beginning to show its age, but it will still appeal to drivers who prefer not to stand out, while the impressive level of luxury and technology on offer makes the very expensive price tag a bit easier to justify.
Our choice: Mercedes E63 AMG
The top-spec E63 AMG features full LED headlights as standard, which help make the car look modern and sleek, but the wider AMG front bumper, with its big air inlet, actually softens the look of the car making this one of the least aggressive AMG E-Class cars yet. It still looks muscular thanks to an AMG bodykit and quad exhaust pipes, while 19-inch alloy wheels add to the sense of purpose. Inside are leather sports seats and a Nappa leather steering wheel, as well as drilled pedals, while a race timer in the instrument cluster provides a constant reminder of the huge performance on tap.
The latest E63 AMG is powered by the same 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 engine as in AMG versions of the CLS and M-Class. It delivers 549bhp and 720Nm of torque through a seven-speed automatic gearbox, and gives the car a frightening turn of speed. Not enough? Then you can opt for the E63 AMG S-Model, which ups power to 579bhp and 800Nm. All models are accompanied by an irresistible rumble from under the bonnet. And while a BMW M5 is faster, the Mercedes has the edge because of its sheer character: this car is much more involving, with meaty, direct steering. So whichever one of the various suspension and gearbox modes you select, you’re guaranteed to have fun.
The top-spec E-Class is crammed with most of the latest safety technology available to Mercedes, ranging from Attention Assist – which alerts the driver if they’re showing signs of drowsiness on the road – to the company’s clever Pre-Safe system, which anticipates and reacts to imminent collisions. An array of advanced airbags is also included, as is a tyre pressure monitoring system. Plus, the standard E-Class has been awarded consistently high scores by owners for reliability in our Driver Power satisfaction surveys over the years, and the range-topping model is likely to prove as dependable as any other version.
It’s easy to find a comfortable driving position in the E63 AMG, thanks to those electrically adjustable memory seats, while the steering adjusts electrically for reach and rake, too. Plus, the hi-tech instrument dials are really simple to use. Passengers in the rear will find there’s plenty of head and legroom, even if the black leather upholstery can make the cabin feel a bit dark, while the boot can swallow a massive 540 litres of luggage – that’s more than the BMW M5 or Jaguar XFR can manage. Standard ISOFIX child seat mountings add to the car’s practical appeal.
This level of performance comes with a price tag to match, and the Mercedes E63 AMG is more expensive than its BMW M5 and Jaguar XFR rivals. But the price buys a huge range of standard safety features, as well as luxury features like electrically adjustable heated leather sports seats with a memory function and a multifunction steering wheel. The car’s 28.8mpg fuel economy and 230g/km CO2 emissions are competitive for this market, although whichever way you look at it, they mean large petrol bills and a hefty outlay for road tax or company car tax.