Although I’m not much of a fan of Mercedes current product lineup, the AMG vehicles hold a special place in my heart – they’re not dynamically superior to BMW’s M cars, or even some of the quicker Audis, and you can’t get them with a proper manual gearbox; but they are a naked display of conspicuous consumption, and for that, I love them. So news of an all-new, all-wheel drive AMG product neither surprises nor disappoints me.
As Car and Driver‘s Csaba Csere points out, AMG has ceased to become a skunkworks special for most customers – instead it’s merely another trim level, and therefore just a status symbol for Mercedes customers. If you want the real goodness, you have to step up to the Black Series.
The 2014 E63 will be sold with rear-wheel drive in world markets, but the North American version will only be offered with 4Matic all-wheel drive. Mercedes denies that this is some kind of move to broaden the AMG cars appeal in the snowbelt. It’s hard to take this denial seriously, but even so, who cares? Most Mercedes cars sold in the United States are 4MATIC anyways, and there are plenty of M5 customers who likely buy their cars due to its pricetag, not performance. AMG now has another competitive advantage against Audi, which is becoming a real threat to both M-B and BMW.
Purists will undoubtedly complain that the AWD system adds “weight” or “complexity”, but let’s be real here; these cars are so heavy and complex that another 130 lbs is inconsequential. And nobody has ever complained about the level of grip in an Evo, GT-R or any of the RS cars. Besides, we now have a reasonable facsimile of the RS6 wagon, that can be bought in America. But it comes with a three-pointed star, rather than four rings.