With 603 horsepower, AMG E63 checks in as most powerful E-Class

By Paul Borden

(June 13, 2018) I’m just guessing here, but it must be fun to be an engineer assigned to design AMG versions of Mercedes-Benz vehicles. While many automotive thinkers today are concerned with computers for self-driving vehicles and/or getting extra mile out of a gallon of fuel, the AMG guys keep amping up the horsepower and taking Mercedes-Benz products to a new level in performance, looks, and handling characteristics.

Why don’t we put more carbon fiber in here must be heard a lot around the lab. They don’t just think outside the box. They are never inside the box.

Just take a look at what they have done with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

A midsize luxury sedan that gets high ratings across the board with its posh interior and driving characteristics, the E-Class reaches a new level in performance and handling since AMG got its hands on it.

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S is the most powerful E-Class of all-time with its 4.0-liter,  biturbo V8 engine pumping out 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque to all  four wheels via a 9-speed automatic transmission. Its zero-to-60 mph time of 3.3 seconds makes it one of the fastest production sedans in the world.

It’s even a tick quicker than the Mercedes-AMG S65 with its 664 lb.-ft. torque number and a full 2.0 seconds faster than the base Mercedes-Benz E400 4MATIC on which the AMG E63 is based.

Tobias Moers, chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG, says "The new E63 S represents the biggest step forward we've ever taken from one generation to the next.”

Spend a week behind the wheel of the E63 as I recently was privileged to and you’ll find it hard to argue with that.

You can modify the performance characteristics to your liking with Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual settings to alter engine, transmission, suspension, and steering response.

Want to shift gears manually? Simply press the “M” button and use the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Even with all that power, with a cylinder deactivation system as standard the E63 still delivers fuel mileage of 15 miles-per-gallon in the city, 22 on the highway, and 18 combined — not great numbers but decent considering the response you get when you press the accelerator pedal.

There is more to the AMG E63 than just performance, however. It’s impressive looking as well.

Designers gave the E63 special AMG touches to the exterior with a new radiator grille and hood that is inset coupe-style between the fenders and bumpers. At 83.9 inches (including mirrors), it is nearly an inch wider than its predecessor with larger wheels at the front.

It looks ready to scoop up anything in its way and spit it out the available twin tailpipe sport exhaust system at the rear.

Inside, the AMG E63 offers the most in comfort and high quality materials.The sport seats in the front are heated and ventilated with lumbar support and an available massage function, and they provide improved lateral support as well. Nappa leather seating surfaces with silver stitching comes with no charge.

Front-seat occupants get up to 41.4 inches of legroom. Thanks to its length of 208.5 inches (nearly 15 more than the E400) and wheelbase of 124.6 (nearly 9 more than the E400), the E63 offers backseat riders up to 43.1 inches of legroom.

Standard equipment for the E63 includes a refined 4MATIC all-wheel drive system, sport suspension, high-performance braking system, Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone automatic climate control, multi-color ambient lighting, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, COMAND navigation, Active Brake Assist, rearview camera, blind-spot assist, and a parking assist system.

All that is included in the base MSRP of $104,400.

Adding extras like an upgraded sound system, exterior carbon fiber touches, heated rear seats and rapid heated fronts, an AMG Premium Package, AMG black forged cross-spoke wheels, and a performance exhaust package ran the total to my test AMG E63 S to $131,140 including the $995 destination and delivery charge.

What I liked about the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S: The E63 S looks and acts the part of a performance vehicle. Few sedans are as fun to drive or look as cool just sitting still in your driveway. Designers also have done a nice job of incorporating the 12.3 display screen into the flow of the dash instead of leaving it sticking up like a misplaced iPad.

What I didn’t like about the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S: To get really picky, the trunk (13.1 cubic feet) is on the small size.

Would I buy the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S? If money were no object, sure. But money often is, right? Even with a six-figure starting price, a lot of the good stuff (surround view camera, performance exhaust, front seat massage) comes as options and packages that can add another $30,000 or so to the cost. But I definitely could live without the Burmester High-End 3D Surround Sound system that added $4,550 to the bottom line. Perhaps you can, too.