What happens when two nutcase auto engineers combine their engine tuning prowess? If the two are German and their interest happens to be modifying run of the mill Mercedes engine blocks into performance monsters, you eventually end up creating a successful tuning company. Many have known the AMG for decades primarily because of their insanity. The AMG division is known for pushing the limits of performance and then pushing it a little further making the cars coming out of their boilers bitter sweet. They are just as punishing for a newbie as they are rewarding for a seasoned driver. Most AMG parts also scream insanity from the outside itself. Flared wheel arches, low ground clearance body kit, super big rear spoilers, bright ceramic brake calipers that has AMG written in big capitals, AMG chrome lettering on every inch of the body work. It is quite a bit difficult to convince your better half to be present in the co passenger’s seat with that amount of insanity. Otherwise she has to be Angelina Jolie in Gone in 60 seconds which is unlikely for most of us.
The AMG has nothing subtle about the way they do their business. Unlike the R versions of the Jaguar or the older M sports division BMWs, the AMGs have never heard of the word understatement. There is an exception to every rule though in this world. I have come across the AMG exception of screaming out loud on top of your lungs rule in America. As part of my recent expedition to California, I have discovered a bunch of new and forbidden fruits that are yet to be in the Indian market. I love the Cadillac CTS-V with its insane Corvette engine sitting to break free from its engine harnesses. Also I love the new Ford Sync that comes with all new Ford cars. They are such an intuitive feature and so natural to operate that you wonder why other car makers have not adopted something like the Sync. Tired of being called the fat boy in the car manufacturing world the American car market is undergoing a flurry of innovations and improvements that there is no other better time to be a car buff to visit America. The Honda has been quietly experimenting with their biblically complicated and revolutionary FCX Clarity that is going to change the way we see fuel and fuel cells. Then the F-150 raptor, a truck built with Americans in mind but can do some real world off roads too. Yet the F-150 is a breathtakingly beautiful beast to look at. Yes, I am excited about a lot of things and it shows in my words.
But what I am more excited is the ‘AMG exception to its own rule’ E63 sedan. The car looks like any other E-Class. Slightly boring, but with the updated twin trapezoid head lamps it adds a certain flair to its otherwise staid design. The rear looks a lot like somebody from Saab designed it. Very boring there too! But if you look closely there is a badge that says AMG. I am aroused immediately, and so much so that I wanted to drive her right away.
Do not be fooled by the plane Jane looks. There is more than what meets the eye. She packs a punch under her belly too. The machine is powered by a beautiful handmade 6.2L V8 naturally aspirated power plant with a rated output of 518bhp and a torque of 628 Nm. This can propel her from 0-100 in 4.4 sec. The maximum speed is limited to a 250 km/h. If you manage to take off the limiter then the E63 will manage to clock 300kmph.
What makes the E63 exceptional is its transmission.The AMG engine is mated with a superlative wet clutch linked 7 speed AMG MCT Speedshift automatic gearbox that can shift gears in 100milli seconds. This gearbox has the reflexes of a fly. You wiggle your fingers and it has already found the right cogs, just as simple as that. The other surprise is the rev matched down shifts. It is what an automatic gearbox should be in any car period. The gear box is comparable to the GTR, and you are getting this in a four door sedan with air conditioner, massaging seats and HD Radio.
The AMG did some hard soul searching before they came up with the suspension design for E63. It delivers some of the most interesting combinations of technology in any car currently available. Many of us already know the air suspension will make a car smoother but less amenable to direction changes than a coil spring one. To circumvent the issues of dynamic performance, what AMG has done is the oldest trick in the world. Mix and match. The front carries independent coil springs and a McPherson strut. The rear end features an air suspension setup. It is very much similar to the Jaguar XJ’s way of approaching the balance between comfort and dynamic performance.
This Mercedes just loves corners. In the AMG mode the ESP allows a little bit of kicking the tail out fun too, although very well nannied. This E63 is a very well balanced automobile engineering. It’s beautiful AMG engine goodness is complemented with a brilliant AMG Speedshift gearbox, a very well thought out suspension setup and extremely precise handling controls. This car also is very subtle in its AMG logo placements.
What Mercedes has done here with the AMG E63 is create the best driving package. There are no ruining moments with the E63, but something more than that. It is a very intelligently made car, and Mercedes was never in this league ever before. It is still a bonkers of a car and I am very sure twenty or thirty years down the lane people will see this AMG as a classic. For now though it is a Mercedes that I want to buy.
Verdict: Bravo, Mercedes is back in the game. They have an M5 killer with the new AMG E63. This car has stopped my Mercedes bashing bout.
BMW M5: The category bench mark. A tough act to beat. The car is just perfect as it is.
Jaguar XF-R: Gorgeous exteriors, Brilliant Jaguar AJ-V8 Gen 3 Supercharged engine, Comparable performance to an M5 and a bit easier on the pocket when you actually use the car. Keep an eye on the histrionic electricals and interiors though.
Video: The International Engine Awards 2010 featuring the new 6.2L AMG E63 Mercedes Benz.