The new Mercedes E63 AMG was introduced to the Indian market yesterday. Featuring a shiny new 5.5-liter biturbo engine unlike the naturally aspirated unit on the earlier E63 AMG, the new car boasts better engine-transmission performance, superior handling, better fuel efficiency and more features.
We were among a handful of guys who drove the new Mercedes E63 AMG at the Buddh international circuit during the launch ceremony of the car. While a few more laps in the car during the media drive event could probably have helped us understand the car even better, even with our allocated time we managed to get a fair degree of understanding about the car. Moreover, there is hardly anything more a motoring enthusiast could ask for than driving a near 560bhp car on one of the fastest race circuits of the world. Here’s our experiential log.
Note: Head to Page 4 directly for the Drive experience>>
Based on the recently introduced New E-class, the New E63 AMG is sufficiently differentiated from its non AMG version, which itself is quite a looker. The headline news on the AMG variant for the E-class is the new three-dimensional front apron. Representing the new AMG design philosophy, the front bumper-cum-air-inlet roughly forms what the blokes at M-B like calling the “A-wing”, representing the AMG signature A.
Two large air intake openings at the sides are the most dominating aspects of the front view. At the bottom of the front panel a splitter helps reduce lift. The E63 AMG is also fitted with LED High-Performance headlamps, which along with its Daytime Running Lights look absolutely amazing. The radiator grille is sharply styled too with twin blades in silver chrome and a large, centrally positioned Mercedes-Benz star.
In profile, you have a carbon fiber insert on the side skirt to differentiate this powerful monster from its humbler sibling. The wheel arches are 34 mm wider for that extra visual intimidation. Behind the wheel, before the door, the V8 BITURBO lettering would make sure that fellow road-users have been warned sufficiently before they let any competitive thoughts sneak into their minds. Sexy looking 10-spoke AMG light-alloy wheels in titanium grey with AMG calipers peeping through add some more glamour to the profile.
At the rear, the dynamic and sporty theme continues. While the tail-lamps on this line of cars are some of the most beautiful we have ever witnessed, there are some other exotic elements too. The black carbon fiber under-cladding with a functional diffuser, along with a contrasting chrome painted angular quad exhaust makes for an aggressive looking rear.
Internationally an even more powerful S variant of the E63 AMG is available. This model has further differentiation from the ‘normal’ E63 AMG to be identified as the top dog within its breed.
Next page for cabin Comfort and features>>>
Cabin comfort and features
Inside, the cabin, the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG has quite a few toys over the stock E, not just to enhance performance, but for superior comfort as well. The comfort inside, high quality of materials, superior workmanship and sporty AMG elements make sure the cabin feels a special place to be.
The high quality AMG steering wheel would generally allow you to hold it for precipitous price, but just as a money-saving note, we’d let you know that you can experience it at a much cheaper price with the C-class AMG edition, where the visual experience behind that mildly flat bottomed wheel is uncannily similar – the hi-res central MID in the instrumentation cluster is familiar too.
The three pod instrument area has the tacho to the right, speedo cum MID in the middle and the engine temp and fuel gauge combo to the right. There is a dash integrated central screen above the center console, below which you have an exquisitely made clock, adding some old world charm to the modernity, somewhat in S-class style. There is a carbon fiber insert running across the dash in the place where you generally have wood inserts. You also have sporty steel pedals with rubber studs.
Below the familiar audio controls, you have an array of silver finish controls for heated / cooled seats for driver and passenger, Park Assist toggle and ECO Pro mode toggle. Under this line of buttons you have the automatic air conditioner controls.
The AMG sports seats are designed to increase motorized incremental lateral support as you drive hard into a corner. They feel absolutely awesome when at work. All seats, armrests and door centre panels are covered in nappa leather. The AMG instrument cluster welcomes the driver with the AMG logo on the colour TFT display. In RACE mode, the RACETIMER becomes available. The driver can use this to record lap times on a closed-off racing circuit. The gear display is located above the central display.
On the floating panel between the two front seats you have the AMG DRIVE UNIT. The selector lever here is quite unique with embossed AMG emblem. To the right of the drive selector you have the control dials for the MCT sports transmission, the ESP functions, the suspension set-up and the AMG programme.
The first dial, as mentioned earlier, lets you choose between the C, S, S+ or the RaceStart RS mode. Underneath the first dial is the 3-stage ESP control. The button enables the driver to choose between the ON, SPORT Handling and OFF modes. The display in the AMG instrument cluster indicates the currently active state. In ESP ON mode, the system swings into action early on, reducing engine torque and braking wheels individually on detecting instability. In SPORT Handling mode, the system tries to read the over or understeer and the system interferes accordingly to allow for higher levels of drift angles. ESP OFF avoids intervening as you have fun, but would cut in when braking.
Below the ESP button, you have the AMG RIDE CONTROL button which can stiffen the suspension for attacking the racetrack.
Finally, there is a third button with AMG lettering. It is meant to store the personal set-up for transmission, suspension mode and the 3-stage ESP. Keeping the AMG button pressed brings up the configuration options – you can pick, choose and save your preferred setting. The current settings may be viewed in the AMG instrument cluster by pressing the AMG button at any time.
In addition to the other features, you have additional controls for seats between the seats and the central floating panel. You can control the under-thigh support, massage function, motorized lateral support and lumbar support using these buttons. The normal seat adjustment buttons are positioned separately in the door panels.
Next page for Engine and Transmission>>
Engine and transmission
Breathing under the bonnet of the E63 AMG is more compact than earlier, but technologically much more advanced, and a more powerful twin-turbocharged engine. Boasting technologies such as direct injection, Biturbo, air-water charge air cooling and generator management, the E 63 manages to deliver some astounding power figures, while managing to offer better fuel efficiency too.
The base models for the E63 AMG cars (which happens to be the one launched in India) delivers ‘only’ 557 bhp of power at 5500 rpm, and 720 nm of torque between 1750 – 5250 rpm. In the stock form this model comes with rear wheel drive. This is an increment of 32bhp and 20 Newton metres over the previous model.
As we mentioned earlier, though, there is a more powerful ‘S’ variant which boasts 585 hp and 800 Newton metres of torque. The more powerful version also comes with a newly developed performance-oriented AMG 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system. This system can be had optionally with the less powerful variants too.
Acceleration timings represent those mad power figures, with 0-100km/h sprint taken care of in 4.2 seconds for the India spec E63 AMG. The S variant would do the trick in 3.6 seconds though. Top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h. And as we realized during our test run at BIC, it wouldn’t take you any more length than the back-straight of the India F1 circuit to achieve that speed – braking distance to come back to a halt included. Now that’s pretty quick!
Transmission duties are taken care of by the top of the line AMG Speedshift MCT-7 multi-clutch transmission. The sports transmission is exclusive to Mercedes-AMG and is M-B’s answer to the Audi S-Tronic for lightening fast shifts. The highly advanced transmission is sporty, direct and has an incredible emotional appeal for the performance enthusiast.
The MCT (stands for Multi Clutch Technology) transmission is essentially the 7G-Tronic automatic transmission without a torque converter. The system features a compact wet startup clutch to launch the car from a stop and features many modes. The AMG sports transmission also impresses with its low weight of just 80 kilograms, which has been made possible through the use of lightweight magnesium for the transmission housing.
The transmission offers four drive modes C (Controlled efficiency), S (Sport), S+ (Sport plus) and M (Manual). In C mode, the transmission shifts relatively early, and at lower rpm, with variations depending on driving style.
In S (Sport) mode, the engine and transmission get more aggressive and urgent. The engine speed is allowed to go higher in each gear, and the gearshifts are 25% faster than in C mode.
The S+ mode shifts the gears another 25 percent faster than in S. The M mode is as fast as the S+ mode, but does not upshift or downshift automatically, and holds on to revs until there is a manual input. The shift time of 100 milliseconds in M and S+ modes is blitzy fast for any variety of transmission in the world.
Finally, the E63 has another cool trick up its sleeve, the RACESTART function. The new Race start Function is AMG’s version of Launch Control for the quickest acceleration from a standstill. This is ensured by managing optimum traction for the driven wheels. While you never need to use your left foot in an automatic car, for the Racestart function, you actually do. To attain maximum acceleration from a standstill in RACESTART mode, this is what you need to do.
• Depress the brake pedal with your left foot, and keep it depressed.
• Choose the RS (Racestart) mode on the drive mode select dial
• The multifunction display will now show a message. RACE START Confirm: Paddle UP Cancel: Paddle DOWN
• Pull the right steering wheel shift paddle to confirm.
• Now the multifunction display will show that RACE START is available, and will ask you to depress accelerator. Remember, you should have the brake pedal depressed with your left foot all this while.
• Depress the accelerator pedal fully within 2 seconds to avoid RS mode cancelation.
• When you keep the accelerator pedal depressed, the engine speed should increase to around 4000 rpm.
• The multifunction display will now prompt you to release brakes.
• Take your foot off the brake, but keep the accelerator pedal depressed. If you don’t take your foot off the brakes in 7 seconds, RaceStart will be canceled.
• You’ll get launched at the maximum possible acceleration (according to Mercedes)
• Once you reach 50km/h RS mode is deactivated and transmission mode shifts automatically to Sport+ mode
Next Page for Drive Experience>>
The drive experience
The previous generation E63 AMG was quite a monster. The full blown sedan had more than 500 horses and a happy tail. Dab the pedal a little more than ideal on a turn, especially at slow speeds, and you would see her posterior swinging to one side. Driving this more powerful, twin turbo E-Class, on a racetrack which was wet, thanks to incessant rains, seemed like a perturbing thought in the beginning. Those apprehensions were going to evaporate soon.
At a standstill, the E63 AMG, while idling snarls in a muffled, but very assertive way. The bursts of burnt air from those angular quad exhausts come out in big, forceful chunks. Rev it and the sound gets louder, with a hoarse burbly note to it. It’s not blaringly loud yet extremely enticing, and the lightweight sports exhaust system has a characteristic eight cylinder AMG sound signature.
The cabin, however, is incredibly well insulated from outside noise, including that of the engine. Not necessarily a virtue though, for some of us like it loud in there when the sound is that of a big AMG engine. The cabin in incredibly refined and luxurious for a performance sedan. To start with, I put the car in a relatively sober S mode with dampers set to stiff.
I took the first corner with caution with the memories of the intimidating predecessor of this machine still fresh in my memory. The wet track was another reason why I wanted to observe discretion before letting this beauty stretch her legs.
By the time I took the uphill corner leading up to the long back-straight it was quite clear that I was driving a much more refined and balanced E63 this time around. Once on the long straight, I truly realized how quiet the cabin was. The tacho needle made some quick trips a little short of redline and with the speedo showing 230 km/h. 250 km/h is easily achievable here, but this one being the first lap of the drive, the driver in the lead car was very cautious with the brake lights coming on much before the turn. The sound inside was still surprisingly muffled, with the radio communications from the driver in the SLS AMG lead car clearly audible above the engine noise.
On the sharp downward curve after back-straight, I waited for the lead car to pull away, and turned in with a bit more speed and turn-in angle than ideal to see how the rear behaved. I felt just that mild hint of the boot’s proclivity to let itself out, but in a very predictable and enjoyable way. If you can control the posterior of your machine at high speeds on a racetrack, it would be one of the most enjoyable things you would ever experience in the world.
Around the next corner, which is a longish left-hand sweeper, I felt the body sway towards the right. There is a wee bit of body roll on this one, a tad more than I would have imagined, though it’s nothing worth a worry. The E63 handled the chicane that followed adeptly, changing direction in an impressively agile manner.
On the penultimate corner, which forms the crest of an elevated curve I was tempted to go sideways, especially with so much power in hand and the track conditions also favoring the trick. However, with a lead car in sight, I wasn’t supposed to, and I didn’t.
We entered the start-finish straight at a slow speed, with the lead car waiting for the rest of the cars to appear in his RVM. Once everyone appeared, the SLS AMG shot ahead. I switched into the S+ mode this time, and gunned the E63 behind the gull-winged exotic.
It’s surprising how the E63 builds speed from a standstill. Unlike other cars, it doesn’t thrust you back into the seats. Power and speeds builds up fast, but in a very deceptive, soft and beguiling manner. While we were not driving, and saw the cars speed through the start finish straight from the pit-lane the contraptions looked menacingly fast and violent.
As we braked hard entering into the first corner again, I heard the car kick-down violently, and in the process releasing the extra load of burnt gases in big bursts, making for an intoxicating aural experience. The turn in into the first corner was much faster this time, and by this time I was convinced that this E63 didn’t have even a shade of the menacing traits of its predecessor.
There was much more conviction in the rest of the drive. The 250km/h mark on the backstraight came easily, and I didn’t mind letting the tail out mildly a couple of times. We sure would have liked to drive the new E63 AMG a lot more, preferably without any leading or trailing cars in sight. But even during the short experience at the fab BIC, the E63 AMG managed to leave us amazed with its potent engine, unruffled demeanor and lithe handling.
Next Page for Price, Tech Specs and Image gallery>>>
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Price in India as tested: Rs 1.29 Crore ex-showroom
|Number of cylinders/arrangement||8 Cylinder – V – Biturbo Engine|
|Number of valves per cylinder||4|
|Displacement (bore x stroke)||5461 cm3 (98.0 mm x 90.5 mm)|
|Rated output||410 kW (557 hp) at 5250-5750 1/min|
|Rated torque||720 Nm at 1750-5000 1/min|
|Governed maximum speed||6300 rpm|
|Compression ratio||10.1 : 1|
|Fuel preparation||Spray-guided direct injection|
|Emissions standard||EURO 6|