The new Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG uses AMG’s twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre M157 power-plant in place of the earlier atmospheric 6.2-litre V8 unit. The engine is familiar from the CLS 63 AMG; as is the case with the CLS, the ‘63’ model designation stays.
The blown engine offers 525PS and 700Nm in standard form; an optional AMG performance package takes the outputs to 557PS and 800Nm, mainly by virtue of an increase in boost pressure from 1.0 bar to 1.3 bar, though performance gains are very small. NEDC fuel consumption, at 9.8l/100km (28.8mpg) for the saloon, is 22 per cent. below that of its predecessor.
AMG’s biturbo engine has a number of noteworthy features, including spray-guided direct injection, piezo injectors and air/water intercooling. The maximum torque is maintained from 1750rpm to 5000rpm.
The V8 drives through AMG’s Speedshift MCT seven-speed automatic transmission. In place of a conventional torque converter, this unit uses a compact wet start-up clutch. The E 63 AMG has a stop/start function as standard, though this works only with the car in Controlled Efficiency (‘C’) driving mode. In ‘C’, the E 63 will always pull away in second gear. The other modes — Sport, Sport Plus and Manual — offer quicker gear-change times, quicker responses and higher engine speeds; double-declutching during downchanges is theoretically aimed at matching input and output shaft speeds, though we suspect there’s an alternative agenda.
The E 63 AMG uses AMG’s Ride Control sports suspension with a specially designed front axle: the track has been widened by 56mm. Negative camber at the front is increased, giving better turn-in and grip during cornering. Steel suspension struts (instead of aluminium) on the front axle also feature, along with self-levelling air suspension struts at the back. Electronically controlled damping is standard, as you would expect. Steering assistance is electromechanical, with the degree of assistance determined by the current driving mode.
The standard braking system uses composite discs at the front. An all-composite set-up is an option; this offers a claimed 40 per cent. saving in unsprung mass. AMG’s alloy wheels are produced using a process known as ‘flow-forming’, which allegedly saves ‘up to’ 800g per wheel and improves durability.
Driver assistance systems include Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist. Active Blind Spot Assist uses short-range radar sensors to detect if there is a risk of collision should the vehicle change lanes. If the driver ignores the system’s warnings and comes dangerously close to the vehicle in the next lane, the system applies braking force to the wheels on the opposite side of the vehicle, controlled through the three-stage ESP system; this creates a yaw movement — that is, it swerves the car.
Attention to detail: selector for AMG automatic transmission. Manual control is by way of aluminium paddles.
Active Lane Keeping Assist is also linked to the ESP system. This system kicks in if the driver inadvertently drifts over a solid line to the right or left of a lane. In this case, Active Lane Keeping Assist brakes the opposite wheels and thereby prevents the vehicle from crossing the line. A display on the instrument cluster warns the driver at the same time. If broken lane markings are crossed, the system triggers an electric pulse generator in the steering wheel which generates vibrations for a short period. Before the braking system intervenes, the steering wheel always vibrates to provide a warning.
The E 63 AMG with the new AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine is available in either saloon or estate versions, with the market launch beginning in September 2011.