Mercedes E63 AMG reviewed

* Fastest ever E-Class * Twin-turbo V8 * On sale September...

Mercedes E63 AMG reviewed

What is it? Its the fastest ever E-Class. Yes, we know there's been an E63 AMG before, but this one's powered by Mercedes new 5.5-litre twin-turbo, direct-injection V8 in place of the of old naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8.

Outright power remains the same at 517bhp, but the new motor develops 11% more torque, giving it a Jaguar XFR-crushing 516lb ft.

If you want even more muscle, you can add an optional performance package, which increases power to 550bhp and torque to 590lb ft.

Despite the extra power, the new car is 22% more efficient thanks partly to a new stop-start system with average economy of 28.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 230g/km.

What's it like to drive?
The new turbocharged engine which is also used in the CLS63 AMG is massively more flexible, pulling powerfully from 1750rpm. That makes the E63s shattering performance so much more accessible.

To get the best from the old 6.2-litre engine you needed to venture close to 7000rpm. Not so in the new car, because peak power is available from just 5250rpm.

Against the clock, the new E63 is quicker than before, too, blasting it from 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds down from 4.5 seconds.

Go for the Performance Package and that time drops to 4.2 seconds. This package also includes the removal of the 155mph speed limiter, so goes up to 186mph.

Ultimately, the new car may be only marginally quicker, but its brutal power is far more usable than ever before.

The new engine tone is slightly more muted, but it still has that thunderous AMG throb that changes to a deafening roar as you pile on the revs.

As before, the E63 AMG grips and handles exceptionally well for such a large car, and although the ride is quite stiff, it isnt uncomfortable if you keep the adjustable suspension in its softest setting.

What's it like inside?
Not much different to a regular E-Class, really, but that's the point of the E63 AMG. A big part of its appeal is that it can deliver Porsche 911 performance in a package that is as practical and understated as a regular executive saloon.

In truth, interior design has never been the E-Classs strength. However, most of the drab, grey plastic dashboard you'll find in a 30k diesel version has been wrapped in leather, so it does at least feel more upmarket. A new three-spoke, flat-bottomed steering is a nice touch, too.

Special mention should be made to the front seats, which come with an array of buttons and switches the most interesting of which is a dynamic mode, which inflates the seat bolsters automatically as you turn the steering wheel. Turn to the left and the right-hand bolster inflates, and vice-versa keeping you in place as the forces increase.

Should I buy one???
Prices have yet to be confirmed, but Mercedes says the new E63 will cost near enough the same as the previous one when it goes on sale in September. That puts the price of the saloon at roughly 74,000 and the estate at 76,000. The Performance Pack will add another 7500.

That's a lot of money for an E-Class no matter how fast it is but if youre looking for a ludicrously fast and capable super-saloon or estate, the new E63 AMG is it.

Before you even think about slapping down a deposit, though, you'll do well to consider a couple of things: First, the new BMW M5 is just around the corner. It'll be based on a better car the BMW 5 Series and will be even more powerful with 552hp. Well be driving it in the next few weeks.

Secondly, Mercedes' very own CLS63 AMG has just gone on sale. It offers the same blistering performance as the E63 in a much more elegant if slightly less practical package. At 80,645 it is more expensive, but if youre thinking of spending upwards of 70k on a super saloon, another 6000 is unlikely to be a deal-breaker.