A first glance at the new Mercedes-AMG E63 S reveals what might be a heavy and luxurious sedan. It is both of these and easily one of the fastest production cars we've driven.
The acronym is synonymous with Mercedes racing team partners and also has been linked with "ah my god," a fitting slang after being thrown back in your seat from raw acceleration.
• Power that seemingly never stops
• Drifting is a mode
• Strong nine-speed
• Heavy steering
• Comfort mode – not so much
• High learning curve, even for the tech savvy
At production facilities in Affalterback, Germany, a single technician is responsible for each V-8 biturbo engine placed in the base and S model. To increase efficiency, each turbo meticulously is aligned with exhaust pulses for increased spooling.
All this sophistication results in a mind-blowing 3.3 second time from a dead stop to 60 mph. That puts the E63 close to exotic offerings from Lamborghini Aventador, Bugatti and the electric Tesla SP90D.
What impressed us with all this power is its new nine-speed transmission with all-wheel-drive. It is capable of sending all power to its rear wheels through a torque splitter, effectively setting up a Drift mode, if you dare try it. We didn't out of respect for its 20-inch Pilot Sport run flat tires.
Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Race modes are easily dialed in through a 12.3-inch center screen control panel. Don't worry, the Comfort setting delivers the same jaw-dropping performance with a more cushioned ride. And there is an Individual mode if you want to decide what's best.
Gearing is rock solid with instant transfer to manage its 627 pound-foot torque. You also can use this racer in a sedate version for daily commuting through cylinder reduction to four with improved mileage numbers. Normal driving in Comfort mode delivers fuel economy in the 15 to 22 mpg range, although we found those numbers shrink to 10 to 12 under power.
In Sport and Track modes, the exhaust note is slightly amplified through a $5,000 Burmester 3D sound system. Outside, the exhaust marks gear changes with a provoked gruff snap. For safety, this supercar is electronically limited to 186 mph.
Seems that 600 horsepower has become the new norm for super sport sedans with the Cadillac CTS-V and BMW's M5 – and even the Ford Focus RS and VW Golf R are not far behind in performance.
Inside, cabin amenities are plentiful and enriched with stitched leather seating, heated and cooled with multi-adjustable massage settings. Home buttons are in triplicate, and there are numerous layers of menus for rear and bird's eye view cameras, ambient lighting with full color palette choices along with time adjustable segments, vehicle and climate options, left and right dash gauge look, and BMW-like I-Drive dial, touchpad and joystick on the center armrest.
Ambient lighting threads extend from rear to front door panels along both sides, creating a changeable rainbow appearance. Add in carbon fiber trim and leather everywhere, and the Mercedes look and feel is worth every penny of its $134,140 price.
• Contact independent automotive columnist Len Ingrassia at email@example.com.
2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Sedan
Engine: 4.0-liter V-8 biturbo, 603 horsepower, 627pound-foot of torque; AWD, dual-clutch automatic transmission, nine-speed
Weight: 4,557 pounds
Assembly: Full production of the AMG E63 S Sedan is completed at a Mercedes plant in Affalterback, Germany. Parts content information was not available.
Crash Test Ratings: The AMG E63 S Sedan earned five stars out of a possible five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for overall crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the AMG E63 S a Top Safety Pick Plus award and gave its highest "Good" rating for small and moderate overlap protection for driver and passenger, side impact, roof strength, head restraints and seats and a Superior "rating for front crash protection.
Warranty: 4-year/50,000-mile limited and powertrain coverage. No scheduled maintenance included.