• Epic twin-turbo V8; brilliant gearbox and steering; ride comfort and refinement; challenging, communictive dynamics
  • Ultimately not razor-sharp, particularly at the front end; rear end is edgy, lively; expensive; Australia misses all-wheel-drive traction

9 / 10

2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Review
2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Review
2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Review
by Daniel DeGasperi

At no point has any Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG driver thought this big, burly, twin-turbo V8 sedan needed more power. Not one.

Yet power is exactly what AMG, the Mercedes-Benz specialist performance division, continues to give the flagship E-Class. Prior to this facelift the E63 made 386kW of power and 720Nm of torque, with an optional Performance Pack taking those figures to 410kW and 800Nm; that optional extra and grunt advantage is now standard.

A new E63 AMG S-Model has been introduced, however, taking power to 430kW, and reducing the 0-100km/h sprint from 4.1 to 3.6 seconds.

To properly harness all that extra grunt the E63 AMG has migrated from being rear-wheel drive to all-wheel drive in S-Model guise only. Fears that an E63 sending partial drive to the front wheels would dilute the classic, tail-out oversteer antics for which AMG products are renowned are partially addressed by a fixed torque split – 67 per cent of drive always goes to the rear wheels, with only 33 per cent to the axle that does the steering.

Then came the big news that rested fears altogether – the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model coming to Australia will get the maximum outputs but with drive only going to the rear wheels.

Someone in Affalterbach may have heard that Aussies love rear-drive Commodores and Falcons and sent the ‘drifto-spec’ E63 AMG to our shores, but the reality is much more pragmatic.

2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Review
2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Review
2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Review
2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Review

Simply, the front driveshaft props right (literally) out of the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox meaning that steering gear on right-hand-drive models wouldn’t fit beside it. Any E-Class 4MATIC model, AMG or not, can therefore only be made in left-hand drive.

On our punt through the hills of Catalonia, in central Spain, we split the difference and drove a facelifted ‘standard’ 410kW/800Nm E63 AMG rear-driver, and a 430kW/800Nm E63 AMG S-Model 4MATIC. No Australian-spec S-Model rear-pushers were available.

From the engine-firing ‘whumpf’, to the shrill past 7000rpm, and the cannon-fire exhaust blurt when changing gears under full throttle the 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG continues to be an experience beyond numbers.

Swapping between 410kW and 430kW versions doesn’t immediately reveal the sort of half-second advantage to 100km/h that the specification sheet dictates. That’s likely because the S-Model is 70kg heavier, and its quicker performance time is down to better traction off the line.

The S-Model also includes a sophisticated launch control system in addition to all-wheel drive, meaning more of what the huffing V8 offers can be transferred to the ground more easily.

It’s as simple an equation as digging a big hole with four shovels instead of two – the speed and effectiveness is doubled.

2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Review
2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Review
2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Review
2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Review

Most of the Spanish mountain roads were driven in the rear-drive version, the damp-to-west surface perhaps highlighting that a bit of front-end traction wouldn’t ruin the fun, but would help out with pace and composure.

Despite many regular E-Class models being offered with 18-inch wheels, the standard E63 AMG we drove gets 285mm-wide 18s, too – the S-Model upgrades to 19-inch alloys of the same tyre width. (Other S-Model distinguishers include silver seatbelts, an Affalterbach logo on the headrests, and high-gloss chrome inserts in the front bumper and rear diffuser.)

Tighter corners require a careful tip-in procedure. Ensuring that enough speed is washed off before turn in is paramount because the E63 AMG doesn’t have the sharpest of front ends for a sports sedan. It places pressure on the tyres early, and they will wash out if cornering with all the subtlety of crushing a tinnie on your forehead.

Yet corner exits also require extreme patience. On a couple of corners, even featherlight throttle applications had the rear-end of the E63 AMG wanting to step out slightly; no bad thing if intended, but there’s a definite snappiness or edginess that simply comes from lots of power being fed to relatively modest Pirelli P Zero rubber.

As with the pre-facelift version, the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG continues to be a sports sedan more about an immersive, communicative, theatrical driving experience than one finely honed to produce stunning Nurburgring lap times.

2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Review
2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Review
2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Review
2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Review

Maybe that’s what the S-Model all-wheel drive has been introduced to achieve, with Mercedes-Benz referencing a “less than eight minutes” lap time around the iconic German racetrack-cum-testing centre.

To call the E63 AMG narrow-focused is unfair, however. It certainly neccessitates a careful, delicate driving style to extract its best – unless there’s miles of tar-top to burn rubber and throw it around aggressively – but the way it can also perform the role of large, luxury cruiser is an impressive double act.

Ride comfort on the standard Airmatic air suspension is superb. In its softest setting, road scars are absorbed with soothing nonchalance, backed by wonderful noise suppression (of wind and road noise, not engine noise, thankfully) and a spacious cabin full of leathery loaded luxury.

Lots of cool circular switchgear beside the transmission lever also lifts the otherwise business-minded cabin and does some very important things, like dialling-up harder suspension, firmer steering and more aggressive throttle and gearbox calibration.

The latter moves through Comfort (with stop-start technology), Sport, Sport+ and Manual modes, with all bar the first setting offering faster shifting between gears and rev-matching on downshifts. ‘S’ is quite fine for around town driving, with a liveliness that isn’t felt in ‘C’, while ‘S+’ is a wonderfully disciplined, focused driving partner, holding gears assertively and fluently.

2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Review

As with the regular E-Class, the adaptive suspension offers nuances of change from a fine, comfortable base, but the two harder settings in the E63 AMG do offer noticeably more bump thump and intrusion – save them for the race track.

Part of that immersive connection between driver and chassis is down to the steering in the E63 AMG – even in weightier Sport mode, which is a bit needless, the feel and feedback through the steering wheel remains A-grade. Curiously, the E63 AMG gets a fixed-ratio, linear steering system where all regular E-Class models gets a ratio that constantly changes to feel faster or more measured. Impressively, the switch to electro-mechanical steering hasn’t resulted in any dynamic downgrade.

There’s plenty of ultra-quick, fast four-doors on offer for upwards of $200,000 in Australia, not least the BMW M5 and Jaguar XFR. Our local HSV and FPV products offer a lot of bang for a lot less buck. None offer the tactility, theatre and – now, thanks to the S-Model – outright speed of the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG. Meanwhile only the HSV matches the E63 with wagon availability.

Most are probably better resolved overall, and quicker on a sinuous mountain road, but there’s a reason why die-hard AMG fans want their E63 in max-power, rear-drive guise. Lap times isn’t one of them.

Thank our right-hand-drive market, because come September we get the purist, if not the smartest, Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model.

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2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Review
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  • Devil666

    RWD S pack E63? We are definitely the lucky country.

  • Frostie

    240K for that???
    No way. FPV F6-E please.

    • Fraud Squad

      Get real Frostie, you are comparing apples with cow dung. Maybe
      something out of China or Russia might convince people to consider the cheap
      and nasty, poorly build Australian made Fraud – which is exactly what the claim
      of aftersales service is when you buy one of the heaps of junk!

      • Rocket

        Australian made is a lot better than you think you know and very few people could ever afford to own an AMG so your comments are irrelevant.

        • Al Tungupon

          But unfortunately, it’s never better than what the Japanese and Koreans (that’s right, they’ve gone a long way) have to offer.

        • Fraud Squad

          I am not knocking Australian made cars, I have owned Fords,
          Toyotas and Holden’s for around 35 years – all of them Australian made, the
          Toyota and Holden products never had a spanner on them, the other brand was
          always in the repair shop – and NEVER fixed, ever! PS. I will be buying a VF
          SSV later in the year, because I too cannot afford a E63 AMG!

    • MikeLarry

      Fraud Squad don’t ever comment again you’re just a simpleton. Look at the new merc models can’t even tell them apart from hyundais any more, what ever cache they think they have is gone in the new E class. I choose Australian Models over Germans when I can obviously tell its a blatant mark up rip off

  • uberwagon

    S Wagon please!

    • Exar Kun

      Indeed.  So much want!

      • Sam

         Erma Gerd…twn terbo wergn…must has.

    • Zaccy16

      yep id love one in black! for some reason i like this more than the m5, that engine is a masterpiece of german engineering!

  • Hector

    $240K for that? give me the Polo Gti anyday of the week. wipe the floor with this thing. 

    • Tom

      You cannot be serious.

      • Guest

        Point?  Meet Tom.

  • Sam

    240K for that?  I’ll take 2!  One wagon and one sedan.  If I had a car like this, I would want to park it in my lounge room so I could look at it all day when im not driving it.

    • Sam

       Make it a black sedan and a white wagon…..nice.

  • Ryan

    I know i might be the odd one out, but i really doing like the styling. The front seems more boy racer then prestige german automobile. 

    The previous model had a much more assertive yet refined front end. 

    Apart from that, love the car and hope to own a E63 someday.

  • Merc

    The pic with the Black rear end looks like a TRD Aurion.

    • Brett

      I’m a big fan of this car, but like you indicated Merc, the rear end just hasn’t got that aggressiveness that others have. I love the the look of the XFR-S! I know some might think that the big rear spoiler may be a bit bogan, but I could almost garuantee that more heads would swivel at the sight of the cat.

      • Zaccy16

        again in black the jag looks the goods!

  • Brayden Cresswell

    I would not say Australia missing out on AWD is a con of the car RWD all the way with that kind of power.

  • Fullesky

    As if the decision to bring the RWD version to Oz was becasue we love our RWD Commos and Falcos.

  • Theo

    It’s cool because most of the folk that drive it can actually afford it.

Mercedes-Benz E63 Specs

Car Details
212 MY12
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$150,590 - $171,130
Dealer Retail
$145,500 - $173,030
Dealer Trade
$115,700 - $136,900
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
700Nm @  1750rpm
Max. Power
386kW @  5250rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
10L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:0  Unbrake:0
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
255/35 R19
Rear Tyres
285/30 R19
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Air Springs, Self levelling
Standard Features
Power front seats with memory, Power Sunroof, Sport Seats
Control & Handling
Premium Brake Package, Sports Suspension, Traction Control System
Parking Distance Control, Power Steering, Reversing Camera, Satellite Navigation, Trip Computer, Voice Recognition System
Premium Sound System, Television
Metallic Paint, Rear Spoiler, Xenon Headlights
Leather Upholstery, Power Windows, Wood Grain Trim
PreSafe, Side Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats
Optional Features
Engine & Transmission
Power Pack
Service Interval
24 months /  25,000 kms
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Front Floor
Country of Origin