By on December 6, 2012

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.

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26 Comments on “Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Gets AWD, You Get An RS6 Alternative...”

  • avatar

    It’s actually smart. All of the latest AMGs have been basically traction limited up over 60 mph. This is a good way to deal with all the horsepower.

    And you’re right that 130 lbs. in context is pretty irrelevant. It is basically a choice for the customer between tire-shredding tail-happiness or more of a direct “GO” button. Since most folks leave the traction control on anyway, AWD will make the car much faster in regular driving than would another 100 horsepower.

    • 0 avatar

      Absolutely correct. Most of the power can’t be put down until higher speeds. The AWD will help.

    • 0 avatar

      I like AWD for allowing you to have immediate torque and confidence in inclement weather, but when it comes right down to it, the better off-the-line performer will be the RWD car with low curb weight and a forced induction small block. Think Ford Capri, Toyota Supra, Nissan GTR etc. Even a VEYRON SUPER SPORT can’t touch those tuners in the quarter mile.

      The E-AMG even with RWD is gonna sell in small numbers. Rich people are buying the E350 mostly and ignoring the E550/E63 -probably due to gas prices and the cheaper lease.

      • 0 avatar

        The Veyron Super Sport does the 1/4 mile in less than 10 seconds, a full second faster than the Nissan GTR. Is that what you meant by “can’t touch?”

        In any case, low curb weight isn’t exactly an option when you’re talking E-class. With AWD the E63 can better handle the power, and at that level of porkiness, the extra weight of the AWD is pretty much irrelevant.

      • 0 avatar

        “Ford Capri, Toyota Supra, Nissan GTR” … “Even a VEYRON SUPER SPORT can’t touch those tuners in the quarter mile.”




      • 0 avatar

        You do realize that tuner cars are hitting the quarter mile IN LESS THAN 10 SECONDS RIGHT?

        Do you know what an AMS GT-R is?

        EVER DRIVEN an 8 second Capri? I have.


  • avatar

    Derek can you please expand a bit on why you love AMG because its a “naked display of conspicuous consumption”? I mean I get that AMG is, and I totally agree with you, but how in that regard is AMG any different from BMW’s M line or the equivalent trim level from Audi?

    • 0 avatar

      I find that AMG, moreso than Audi’s S cars and the M cars, have become a car for soccer moms and wealthy exchange students to tool around in – granted this is becoming the case more and more with those lines, but it’s been happening with AMG cars for a lot longer. When the ML63 came out, a lot of moms were buying them just because it was the most expensive ML.

      • 0 avatar

        I’d venture that you see more moms driving AMG’s due to the fact that they have been available with automatics or been automatic only for longer than the others (Audi and BMW). Also, AMG availability is and has been been more broadly distributed through the entire model range than either of the other two. Hell, you could get an AMG’d R-class (not completely sure or care if the engine was different but the body add-ons sure said AMG). You can finally get an X5M and you still cannot get a Q7-S (yet).

      • 0 avatar

        Another reason, there IS NO Audi performance SUV, and there wasn’t a BMW performance SUV until when, 2011?

      • 0 avatar

        And bless those rich soccer mom’s! More on the market for me to buy used after the current models get restyled and the mom’s need a refresh.

  • avatar

    i hope my mom buys me one for christmas – an ML63 that is.

  • avatar

    When the ML63 came out, a lot of moms were buying them just because it was the most expensive ML.

    this is really to make a statement loud & bold that I am a Nouveau riche,
    a ML with so much power is the least likelihood that u go off rd, these thing don even have a low gear do they?
    and being so high up how fast can u turn a corner?
    I guess one can pedal to metal the computer will cut power accordingly, or else u’ll be hanging on the tel phone as a christmas ornament.s
    your straight line acceleration being heavy is not going to out run many other cars.

    so driving that is like wearing a gold rolex presidente with diamonds filled the whole face.

    u’re there to annoy the have nots.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey, blowfish: speaking of annoying the have nots, did you think you were texting with your comment? Is that why you use “u” for you?

      Make yourself a note: you may be typing on your phone, but it’s not texting unless you’re sending your directly to another phone.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    They look vulgar, all of them (specially those ridiculous exhaust tips). The V8 sounds AWESOME. The brakes are big and the body kits wouldn’t look out of place in a rice rocket.

    Yeap, that’s the correct way to slap people with your d*beep*, sorry, “show off”.

  • avatar

    “Most Mercedes cars sold in the United States are 4MATIC anyways”

    This is news to me. In California, and indeed most of the south and west, AWD luxury cars are virtually non-existent.

  • avatar

    Once….just once… I want to read about a nice car from Germany without some loser trying to prop himself up by bashing on the “rich”. You don’t like the car. Ok, fine. Then don’t buy one. But quit trying to pigeon hole everyone who drives something too expensive for you to afford as “Nouveau riche”. Even though using big words makes you feel good about yourself.

    Do you see Mercedes drivers commenting on those dirty poor people in their Miatas? No. Try aspiring for more rather than pulling others down and it might make sense one day.

    I may not be rich, but I will be someday. Mostly because when I see a nice car, I don’t have jealousy or envy, just inspiration.

  • avatar

    I drove a AWD and a RWD CLS 550 recently back-to-back. I was amazed at how the AWD CLS felt slower and handled worse than the RWD. Yet, for Audi, their AWD is a must have, since their FWD cars are horrible.

    i read that the AWD in the AMG models will be different than the AWD in the standard cars. Perhaps they will eliminate the dead feel of Merc’s 4-matic.

    • 0 avatar

      I would not go as far as saying that Audi FWD cars are horrible, but I do see your point. Going AWD was the way Audi found to compete with the RWD cars from MB and BMW without having to design an expensive RWD architecture to use in its more expensive cars. And also a way to associate its lineup with the rallying heritage of the original Quattro.

      Whereas Mercedes doesn’t need AWD, I can’t wait to see what kind of power output they are planning to achive with those AWD AMGs. I’m sure this decision of bringing AWD to the AMG line will spawn another HP war.

    • 0 avatar

      my bro had a 90ish porsche carrera awd, he said it handles a bit sluggish and compare to his newer rwd.
      I drove his awd once going fast on a hwy 100+ km, doing a S curve, did first curve on but 2nd curve felt like she didnt want to turn, took 1-2 sec longer before it respond, i was kind of scared too but during the split sec, u dont wanna to react anyways, it did pulled thru or else i would have been bottom of the hill near whistler!
      Now he has a turbo AWD porsche, he didnt say anything, but at close to 70s he aint going to drive as fats.

      IMHO AWD are not meant for real purist drivers, but for the folks who wants all the bells & whistles.
      not sure how those lambos & Ferrari FF with AWD does?

  • avatar

    Lets not forget the AWD-only Bentley Continental, which as a coupe weighs over 6000 lbs–more than even the not-insubstantial Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé. Yet the Bentley Continental handily uses that AWD system to a performance advantage…

  • avatar

    For about the last 20 years, I just can’t even pretend to be current on, or care about, the elitist/wannabe brands like this. Back when they were well above average, it was news. They are no longer that. Most Mercedes that I drive by turn out to actually be Hyundai.

  • avatar

    Audi’s executives must be laughing their a**es off at this news.

    Took MB 30 years to admit that AWD+high performance are a natural fit.

    EL OH EL!

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