Mercedes E63 AMG Review

Jay Shoemaker
by Jay Shoemaker
mercedes e63 amg review

OK, I admit it: I’ve consumed way too much AMG Kool Aid. I own multiple sets of the Mercedes tuner’s black license plate frames and key rings, an AMG logo-shirt, a cashmere V-neck sweater, half a dozen hats, a pair of driving shoes, a winter coat and a limited edition AMG watch. I would have more of their stuff, but recently I was introduced to a gentleman from Italy who spied the AMG logo on the back of my car and pronounced it, “Eye-Em-Gay,” and that sort of cooled me off. And then I drove the E63 AMG.

Even before I saw it, the E63 AMG had a mountain to climb. The new car has been roundly criticized by owners of the previous generation uber-E for offering less torque than their 5.5-liter supercharged V8 (465 vs. 516 ft.-lbs.). Without a doubt, the stupidly powerful E55 AMG was a giggle, particularly with the traction control turned off. But modulating the throttle from initial tip-in without whipsawing the heads of your passengers was a challenge. The flabby steering made cornering automotive Marco Polo. The electronic brakes were grabby. The E55 AMG was basically fun for the first few drag races, and then the cacophony of brake squeal and supercharger whine wore thin. So, you ask, how’s the new E63 AMG?

The E63 is the best machine ever (so far?) produced by the house of AMG. And boy, does it look it. Merc’s uber tuners have fitted the standard E with more aggressive lower bodywork all ‘round, a small trunk lip spoiler, more aerodynamic (i.e. autobahn friendly) side mirrors and four fat chromed tailpipes. The mad Merc hunkers down on five-spoke eighteen inch AMG wheels revealing massive binders beneath. OK, maybe the two gill slits behind the front bumper are a bit much. And I fear the “6.3 AMG” logos may become something of an embarrassment. Even though it’s not exactly a Q-ship, the E63 is perfectly positioned on the tasty side of obnoxious.

The E63’s interior also offers some delicious new flourishes. The steering wheel has an organic shape that seduces you into grasping it at the optimal 10 and 2 positions; including perforated leather at the optimal grips points. The paddle shifters peeking out from behind the helm’s fat rim are heavy gauge aluminum invitations to adrenal exuberance. Wherever thick Napa leather isn’t liberally applied, Alcantara supplants, including a lovely little piece at the front of the transmission stalk. The seats are massively bolstered with an incredible range of adjustment, comfort headrests and the Mt. Everest of lumbar support. Aluminum and black pedals complete the pseudo-racer treatment.

Once underway, it’s entirely possible to drive your spouse around town like a normal E350 kind of guy (providing your better half's deaf to low frequency burbling). As long as BMW keeps sticking the macabre SMG transmission in their M cars, lazy (if speed-crazed) well-to-do old guys like me will continue to flock to AMG to enjoy Mercedes’ mocha latte smooth seven speed transmission. The E63’s new steering and brakes are also magnificent, and not just in comparison to the old car. Though turn-in is not Porsche precise, you now know exactly where the car’s front tire are at all times. The brakes are as fearsome as before, now with added feel, precise bite and silent running.

Pull the trigger and the E63’s exhaust note is positively Wagnerian– only this is one opera I can sit through. Admittedly, the new car is somewhat less entertaining from rest than the old 5.5-liter, lacking that final measure of unbridled aggression. But it’s much smoother. If you set aside bragging rights, the ultimate performance differential between the two machines is not relevant in real world driving; you are guaranteed to run out of road and license well before the E63 runs out of breath. We’re talking about a four-door luxury automobile that makes the zero to sixty sprint in less than 4.5 seconds, and you’re complaining?

The E63’s handling is on another level entirely; it’s the best I’ve experienced from any vehicle in the Mercedes line. The car corners flatly and briskly, completely belying the gravitation effects of the sedan’s weight (4063 lbs.) and size (16” from top to tail). Only the tightest radii remind you of its mass. Despite the suspension’s high cornering capabilities, the ride quality is no worse than the E550 with the sport package: firm and communicative at level two on the adjustable Airmatic DC suspension, and plush at the normal setting.

The price for all this E63 virtuosity: $84k, the usual AMG parachute-style depreciation and 14mpg in the city (less when used in anger). If you can afford it, pay it. You can’t take it with you. And if you can, if you’re driving this mean machine, they’ll never catch you.

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  • MaintenanceCosts Despite my hostile comments above I really can't wait to see a video of one of these at the strip. A production car running mid-eights is just bats. I just hope that at least one owner lets it happen, rather than offloading the car from the trailer straight into a helium-filled bag that goes into a dark secured warehouse until Barrett-Jackson 2056.
  • Schurkey Decades later, I'm still peeved that Honda failed to recall and repair the seat belts in my '80 Civic. Well-known issue with the retractors failing to retract.Honda cut a deal with the NHTSA at that time, to put a "lifetime warranty" on FUTURE seat belts, in return for not having to deal with the existing problems.Dirtbags all around. Customers screwed, corporation and Government moves on.
  • Bullnuke An acquaintance of mine 50+ years ago who was attending MIT (until General Hershey's folks sent him his "Greetings" letter) converted an Austin Mini from its staid 4 cylinder to an electric motored fuel cell vehicle. It was done as a project during his progression toward a Master Degree in Electrical Engineering. He told me it worked pretty well but wasn't something to use as a daily driver given the technology and availability of suitable components of the time. Fueling LH2 and LOX was somewhat problematic. Upon completion he removed his fuel cell and equipment and, for another project, reinstalled the 4 banger but reassembled it without mechanical fasteners using an experimental epoxy adhesive instead which, he said, worked much better and was a daily driver...for awhile. He went on to be an enlisted Reactor Operator on a submarine for a few years.
  • Ajla $100k is walking around money but this is almost certainly the last Dodge V8 vehicle and it's likely to be the most powerful factory-installed and warrantied pushrod engine ever. So there is some historical applicability to things even if you have an otherwise low opinion of the Challenger.And, like I said up thread, if you still hate it will be gone soon anyway.
  • Carlson Fan GM completely blew the marketing of the Volt. The commercials were terrible. You'd swear they told the advertising company to come up with an ad that would make sure no one went out and shopped a Volt after seeing it!...........LOL My buddy asked why I bought a car that only goes 40 miles on a charge? That pretty much sums up how confusing and uninformative the advertising was.