2012 Mercedes E63 AMG Review

It’s as if your uncle turns out to be in the Expendables

By Shahzad Sheikh

Mercedes E63 AMG

The Mercedes E-Class is the middle-Mercedes, for Middle Managers, usually middle-aged men who are overall quite middling – leaving the C-Class for go-getters and the S-Class for top achievers. It’s actually a great car, as Imthishan concluded in his review of the E350 (read here), and for most is all the executive car you’ll ever need.

But for some it’s a car your uncle would drive. You know the smart, well-to-do one that always seem to be dressed in a crisp white shirt even on his day off. Whenever he comes around he is polite and moderately interesting, eats moderately, speaks moderately and acts moderately. He’s okay, but he’s hardly your favourite uncle.

What if he was hiding a secret though? What if underneath that collar-size 16½ shirt is a six-pack, some bulging biceps and scars that tell a different story. What if those deliberately dull eyes hide a keen alertness that sees right through you the moment you suspect something? What if he’s actually an ex-commando type, trying to hide his mercenary alter ego?

Take a look at that E-Class again. Is that front spoiler a lot deeper and hungrier looking than you first thought? Are there snug LEDs with their back against the wall in the side intakes? Does it have gills in the trailing edges of the bumper? Are the wheels way too big and little menacing? Oh and aren’t the front wheelarches just a bit more flared out than normal (it accommodates a wider track)? Is that a spoiler on the back and are those, wait, Quad Pipes at the back? What about that extra scallop on the fenders – ah, there’s the giveaway. That badge. What does it say? ‘V8 Biturbo’.

Time to drop your preconceptions. There’s a 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 under the bonnet of this E63 AMG boasting 557bhp with the full-fat Performance Pack specced (520bhp without) plus 590lb ft of torque. That’s good for a 0-100kph time of 4.2seconds and still decent fuel economy at 9.8L/100km. There’s sports suspension and inside there’s a gear-lever on the centre console rather than on the steering column. You can go sport or full-manual on the 7-Speed Speedshift MCT transmission, choose firmer suspension settings and dial back the traction control a little – or feed all of these settings into an ‘AMG’ button.

Yes, it’s a perfectly practical and still remarkably sensible four-door saloon ideal for the office commute and to safely get the kids off to school. It doesn’t lose any of the plus points of the regular E.
But punch all the buttons and it’s like Dolph Lundgren’s character in the Expendables – deadly lethal but more than slightly unhinged. The ever-present low-rumble remains indicative of the latent potency, but it’s only when you dig your right foot in that things get spectacular and explosive.

The turbos work their magic immediately – don’t go hunting for high revs, you won’t need them – and the power delivery is instant and brutal. In Sports mode you can go slidey-widey, and with the suspension dialled up the body control is tight, leading to able handling.

Admittedly it’s not quite as precise or sophisticated as the BMW M5, which feels most like a sports car compared the E63’s muscle-car persona.

The BMW is also more expensive at over AED600k. But not by that much. The starting price of the E63 is around AED450k – a bit more than the Jaguar XFR. But as tested the price was closer to AED583,000. That of course includes AED31,187 for the AMG performance pack (for those extra horses) and AED42,671 for the ceramic brakes – which are stupendous, but you could do without, unless you take it to the track regularly.

Maybe also ditch the Exclusive Package for the design leather upholstery at AED17,328, and other trim options, but keep the larger fuel tank (AED659), 19-inch AMG wheels (AED3798) and the reversing camera (AED1788). That would bring your total to AED489,686.

It’s fast, it’s furious and it’s subtle, perhaps too subtle. But it’s another solid and desirable offering in a packed segment of supersaloons – you’ve never had it so good (click here to read about three other supersaloons).

2012 Mercedes E63 AMG
Specs
Price: AED452k ($122,900k) See text above
Engine: 5.5-litre V8 Twin turbo, 557bhp @ 5250rpm-5750rpm, 590b ft @ 2000-4500rpm
Performance: 0-100kph 4.2s, 250kph
Transmission: 7-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Weight: 1840kg

 

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