Here’s an article on the new 2014 E63 AMG from the National Post by John LeBlanc reprinted in its entirety.
2014 Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG a grenade on wheels
First Drive: 2014 Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG 4MATIC
BARCELONA, Spain — It looks like the folks at Mercedes-Benz have deemed smoky burnouts, lurid donuts and oversteering drifts are now verboten. Because while the refreshed 2014 E 63 AMG sedans and wagons can now sport up to a supercar-like 585 horsepower, all that extra oomph is being reined in via a new, AMG-designed version of Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system.
All-wheel-drive isn’t new to the German automaker’s high-performance AMG portfolio, but only on SUVs such as the ML 63 AMG. Yet more and more luxury sedan customers are demanding the potential safety of traction at all four wheels, especially when there’s gobs of power on hand. So, as part of a mid-cycle refresh that sees the entire lineup get new exterior and interior styling and a host of other upgrades, the only rear-wheel-drive model left in the 2014 E-Class range is the E 400 Hybrid.
But we’re not driving hybrids today. Nope. We’re in sunny Spain, northeast of Barcelona. Where the idea of having to deal with snow or ice on roads is as foreign as toques and long underwear. Funnily enough, this is where AMG decided to launch its first-ever AWD car. (In truth, the new E 63 AMG will still be available in some foreign markets as a rear driver.)
When they go on sale in Canada this September, the 2014 five-passenger, four-door E 63 AMG 4MATIC sedan and wagon will be available in two levels of tune. The “regular” model gets 557 hp and 531 pound-feet of torque (gains of 39 and 15, respectively). There’s also the new E 63 AMG S-Model 4MATIC, with its outrageous 585 hp and 590 lb-ft rating. Both models continue using a twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre eight-cylinder. As before, AMG’s seven-speed MCT (multi-clutch transmission) is the lone gearbox choice.
Even with the additional 70 kilograms, AMG says the new AWD gear adds to the E 63 AMG, zero to 100 kilometres per hour acceleration times have been shaved by about half a second. At 3.6 seconds, the quickest model is the E 63 AMG S-Model 4MATIC sedan. The relatively slowest is the E 63 AMG 4MATIC Wagon, but only 0.2 seconds behind. For comparison, an $82,300 Audi S6 4.0 TFSI Quattro sedan (with 420 hp) takes 4.7 seconds, while a RWD, $101,500 BMW M5 sedan (560 hp) takes 4.4 seconds.
Base prices for the 2014 models haven’t been announced yet, but we don’t expect any huge gains over last year’s $99,700/$102,300 for the rear-drive E 63 AMG sedan/wagon, with perhaps a $12,000 to $15,000 premium for the S-Models.
Just like AMG’s first try at combining nuclear-grade power with a mundane Mercedes mid-sized car, the 1986 Hammer, the new AMG E-Class continues its predecessors Jekyll and Hyde impersonations.
When cruising, the Mercedes is a roomy, gadget-laden, comfortable, luxury sedan, capable of handling both a long drive with the family and a daily commute. Employing the standard AMG Ride Control’s least aggressive of four selectable driving modes, Controlled Efficiency, the fuel-saving ECO start/stop function is active and the auto box’s gearshifts are soft, smooth and early in the rev range.
Knowing what lies underneath your right foot in the E 63 AMG, though, is like holding a grenade. Before you pull the pin, you’ll want to dial-up the tauter Sport and Sport+ modes. Suddenly, the AMG-tuned Mercedes grows fangs, the exhaust barks like a Gatling gun and the big sedan rockets ahead like a car half its size. And now with traction at all four wheels, drivers without racing licenses have more confidence, too.
To prevent said burnouts, spinning donuts, etc., AMG split the torque 33:67 front-to-rear (instead of varying the split between 30:70 and 70:30 as the road conditions dictate in the original, 4MATIC system) and added a three-stage electric stability program to its Torque Vectoring Brake system that can brake individual wheels when the ESP’s more lenient Sport Handling mode is selected.
Despite its gaudy power ratings, it was quite easy to access all the mojo from the topline, E 63 AMG S-Model 4MATIC sedan I drove. A revised suspension blesses the 2014 version with a more direct and communicative feel. Turn-in seems sharper than the old RWD version (I’m assuming that the front wheels are helping out here, but the AWD was transparent on the dry, Spanish roads). And you can now apply the throttle earlier and with more thrust, with less fear you’re going to spin your $100,000-plus super sedan/wagon into the woods.
Hoon artists won’t be happy. And back in Canada, you’ll need a racetrack to get the full measure of the E 63 AMG S-Model 4MATIC’s supercar-like performance. However, now knowing AWD is now along for the ride should only tempt drivers to exploit the AMG sedan’s outrageous power on a more regular basis on public roads all year round.