Mercedes-Benz Goes Insane, Offers 'Drift Mode' on the 2018 AMG E63 S

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
mercedes benz goes insane offers 8216 drift mode on the 2018 amg e63 s

The Mercedes-AMG E63 is a notoriously maniacal car, but Americans have been saddled with the 4Matic all-wheel-drive version while Europeans enjoyed the option of rear-wheel drive. That meant no ludicrous AMG-induced burnouts west of the Atlantic for E-Class customers.

Now everyone can have an all-wheel-drive AMG E63, and everyone — with the money — can also do glorious burnouts while proudly waving their various flags out the driver’s side window.

That’s because the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Sedan comes standard with, and I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, an official “Drift Mode.” While previous models favored a definitively rear-wheel bias, it was still technically around the clock 4Matic all-wheel-drive.

The fifth generation E-Class AMGs get the benefit of 4Matic Plus, which allows for variable torque distribution between the front and rear axles. And, should you want to burn off a pair of tires, you can spend the extra money on the E63 S and press a button that sends all of the power to the rear end.

And there should be adequate power, too. The AMG 4.0-liter biturbo on the E63 S makes 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque available from 2,500 to 4,500 rpm. Mercedes says this gives the German monster a 3.3 second 0-60 time. If you want to keep your tires a little longer, the “regular” AMG E63 offers up 563 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. While only a tenth of a second slower to sixty miles per hour, it is electronically limited to 155 mph — compared to the S sedan’s 186 mph.

That’s a major upgrade for both cars, considering the previous E63 S sedan’s twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 produced 577 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque.

Both cars come with a nine-speed transmission with wet start-off clutch in lieu of a torque converter. They also come with selectable drive programs that modify the response of the engine, transmission, suspension, steering, and ESP. They range from “Comfort” to “Sport Plus” on the AMG E63, while the S Sedan also gets a “RACE” mode that Mercedes-Benz decided to word in all caps to further illustrate how extreme it must be. While intended for track use, the race mode will really only ever be used as active launch control for explosive stoplight getaways or paired with drift mode to do donuts in an affluent cul-de-sac.

The new E-Class performance sedans will officially premiere on November 16 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. U.S. dealerships should have them in the summer of 2017.

[Images: Mercedes-Benz]

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  • StarAZ StarAZ on Oct 26, 2016

    Great. Another car to look out for in addition to the Mustang and Focus RS

  • Lon888 Lon888 on Oct 26, 2016

    Call me crazy but I don't see 99.9% of the buyers of this car doing any hoonage. I see these as being owned by straight-laced cardiologists.

  • FreedMike This article fails to mention that Toyota is also investing heavily in solid state battery tech - which would solve a lot of inherent EV problems - and plans to deploy it soon. course, Toyota being Toyota, it will use the tech in hybrids first, which is smart - that will give them the chance to iron out the wrinkles, so to speak. But having said that, I’m with Toyota here - I’m not sold on an all EV future happening anytime soon. But clearly the market share for these vehicles has nowhere to go but up; how far up depends mainly on charging availability. And whether Toyota’s competitors are all in is debatable. Plenty of bet-hedging is going on among makers in the North American market.
  • Jeff S I am not against EVs but I completely understand Toyota's position. As for Greenpeace putting Toyota at the bottom of their environmental list is more drama. A good hybrid uses less gas, is cleaner than most other ICE, and is more affordable than most EVs. Prius has proven longevity and low maintenance cost. Having had a hybrid Maverick since April and averaging 40 to 50 mpg in city driving it has been smooth driving and very economical. Ford also has very good hybrids and some of the earlier Escapes are still going strong at 300k miles. The only thing I would have liked in my hybrid Maverick would be a plug in but it didn't come with it. If Toyota made a plug in hybrid compact pickup like the Maverick it would sell well. I would consider an EV in the future but price, battery technology, and infrastructure has to advance and improve. I don't buy a vehicle based on the recommendation of Greenpeace, as a status symbol, or peer pressure. I buy a vehicle on what best needs my needs and that I actually like.
  • Mobes Kind of a weird thing that probably only bothers me, but when you see someone driving a car with ball joints clearly about to fail. I really don't want to be around a car with massive negative camber that's not intentional.
  • Jeff S How reliable are Audi? Seems the Mazda, CRV, and Rav4 in the higher trim would not only be a better value but would be more reliable in the long term. Interior wise and the overall package the Mazda would be the best choice.
  • Pickles69 They have a point. All things (or engines/propulsion) to all people. Yet, when the analogy of being, “a department store,” of options is used, I shudder. Department stores are failing faster than any other retail. Just something to chew on.