• Refined ride, handling and luxury; big yet flexible power and torque; addictive exhaust noises
  • Front end less than sharp; rear-wheel drive only; soft brake feel; cheaper rivals coming

OUR RATING
9 / 10



Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model Review
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model Review
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model Review

Facelifted for 2013, the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model replaces both the previous E63 and E63 Performance Pack models in Australia.

The new E63 AMG S-Model gets more power than both older models – 430kW up from 386kW and the Performance Pack’s 410kW – with only minor tuning modifications performed to the existing 5.5-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the changes keep the hard-hitting Mercedes-Benz sedan ahead of newer rivals, such as the 404kW Jaguar XFR-S and 412kW Audi RS6, though the supercharged HSV GTS matches the E63’s output.

We tested the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model at its international launch in Spain, but only in all-wheel-drive guise. Although all left-hand-drive S-Models send drive to all four wheels, equally, all right-hand-drive models maintain the last iteration’s rear-drive layout.

That makes this our first time in the new E63 AMG with the S-Model’s 430kW exclusively powering the rear wheels. Four laps of Melbourne’s 3.1km Sandown raceway should be just enough to see whether the all-paw system was required for reasons other than just to increase off-the-line traction for faster performance times – the rear-drive claims 0-100km/h in 4.1 seconds compared with 3.6sec for the AWD.

Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model Review
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model Review
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model Review
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model Review

So with the front driveshaft eliminated from the S-Model’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, we slid into the black leather AMG sports seat, gripped the black leather and Alcantara AMG steering wheel and headed out for the first local drive of the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model.

Starting with the gearbox, adaptive suspension, steering and exhaust in ‘Comfort’ mode, the AMG is smooth, comfortable and (relatively) quiet. It absorbs Sandown’s notorious bumps and high ripple strips with ease and shifts gears subtly. Gears can still be manually selected via steering wheel mounted paddles, however, the system retakes full control soon after the last slap of the paddle.

Driven sedately, the light and communicative (and new-for-2013 electro-mechanical) steering combines well with the engine’s effortless low-end grunt, seemingly retaining the E63’s ability to be gentlemanly transport during normal driving.

With lap one almost gone, the switch from Dr Jekyll to Mr Hyde takes place. ‘Sport’ is skipped and the most aggressive ‘Sport+’ mode is selected via a dial located on the centre console. The button for the suspension, placed just below, is then pressed twice to provide the firmest setting.

A single corner and 900 metres of front straight is more than enough to notice to the change. The throttle is sharper, the exhaust louder, the steering heavier and the S-Model’s 1870kg body feels more strapped down.

From over 200km/h the big E63 pulls up well under hard braking. The brakes, comprising 360mm front and rear brake discs and red-painted six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers, are hugely effective despite soft pedal travel after being lapped enthusiastically.

Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model Review
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model Review
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model Review
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model Review

Another round of bumps and ripple strips are felt more through the wheel and heard in the cabin but are still handled with aplomb, never upsetting car or driver. Turn-in requires marginally more effort from the arms and while the steering is sharper, when pushed hard into a corner, the E63’s front end doesn’t feel as keen as that of its luxo rival the BMW M5.

Corner exit in the E63 AMG S-Model is all about managing the 285mm-wide, 19-inch Continental rear tyres by the tilt angle of the driver’s right foot. With no front-end pull, it’s time to see if 430kW at 5500rpm and 800Nm at 1750-5000rpm is too much for just two wheels…

Get on the throttle early and hard and rear-end slip through the limited-slip differential is guaranteed, even with the three-stage stability control left on. But there is still impressive grip, and therefore traction, unless the throttle really is treated with disdain. The S-Model’s extra power only forces the driver to be a bit more subtle, with the engine never working against the chassis.

Once going, the force-fed V8 simply unwinds without hesitation all the way to its 6500rpm redline, gear after gear, with each shift accompanied by excellent exhaust bangs. Exceeding 230km/h is easily achieved up Sandown’s 910m-long back straight.

Laps two, three and four vanish into burnt fuel and CO2 emissions – far beyond its rated 10.0L/100km and 234g/km – and the drive is over.

Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model Review
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model Review
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model Review

Priced at $249,900 the new E63 AMG S-Model costs $8915 more than the ‘base’ E63 but $8945 less than the E63 AMG Performance Pack – almost halfway between the two cars it replaces. The S-Model’s power hike over the PP is certainly a plus, but extra technology including auto parking, auto braking, lane detection and active cruise, seals the new car as being better value too.

Some AMG fans will rejoice in not having a front driveshaft present to hinder the E63’s long-standing tyre destroying potential. But even better for enthusiasts of all kinds, the rear-drive Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG remains a cohesive and capable large performance sedan. It doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the extra power; but as with the pre-facelift E63 AMG, smoke and sideways silliness can be easily provoked.

With only mild tweaks to the suspension, the E63 AMG S-Model should also still prove a comfortable cruiser on public roads. That test awaits its formal arrival in September, just in time to do battle with the XFR-S, RS6 and GTS…


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MERCEDES-BENZ E63 BREAKDOWN

Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model Review
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  • Mohammed Smith

    meant to be driven naked

    • Smart US

      must agree

  • ash

    Looks awesome love the new styling, but doesnt look like a 250k sports sedan, massively overpriced

  • Explicit63

    Ordered one this week, arrives in November.

    Burn out!

    Cannot wait.

    • Fred Frink

      Hows the car going? Just curious, what do you do for a living? (to afford the car).
      Im not sure how many millions id have to have before i’d drop so much on a car, amazing as it is.
      cheers

  • Zaccy16

    extremely impressive car! i would rather this over a M5 IMO

  • Damien

    a stock standard FG XR6 Turbo keeps up with this car with ease!

    • Corporal Clegg

      Erm, no.

    • Steve

      Lol wishful thinking.

Mercedes-Benz E63 Specs

AMG S : 5.5L TURBO MPFI - 7 SP AUTOMATIC - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 4D SEDAN
Car Details
Make
MERCEDES-BENZ
Model
E63
Variant
AMG S
Series
212 MY13
Year
2013
Body Type
4D SEDAN
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
TURBO MPFI
Engine Size
5.5L
Cylinders
TURBO V8
Max. Torque
800Nm @  1750rpm
Max. Power
430kW @  5500rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
228.8W/kg
Bore & Stroke
98x90.5mm
Compression Ratio
10
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
7 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
REAR WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
0
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
0
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
10L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1879
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1452mm
Length
4900mm
Width
1873mm
Ground Clearance
113mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:0  Unbrake:0
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11
Front Rim Size
9.0x19
Rear Rim Size
9.5x19
Front Tyres
255/35 R19
Rear Tyres
285/30 R19
Wheel Base
2874
Front Track
1602
Rear Track
1583
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Heated Front Seats
Control & Handling
19 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Stability Program, Hill Holder
Driver
Cruise Control Intelligent/Active, Leather Steering Wheel
Engine & Transmission
Diff Locks
Exterior
Body Kit, Fog Lights - Front
Interior
Leather Upholstery
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Comfort
Rear seat enhancement pack
Interior
Carbon Fibre Trim
Other
Service Interval
24 months /  25,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
10-O-18
Country of Origin
GERMANY