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Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+: Track test review

Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+: Track test review

Snapshot: Mercedes-AMG unleashes the 612bhp Bi-Turbo V8 E 63 S 4MATIC+ for the Indian market. Essentially a completely new version with more power, clever all-wheel drive system and added luxury. Here's a few laps around BIC to taste its track abilities.

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Mercedes have really outdone themselves with the new E 63 S this time around. As I approach towards the Buddh International Circuit parking lot, the deep thunderous noise of a Bi-turbo V8 fills the entire atmosphere. It’s like you can actually hear petrol being exploded through the veins of a metal raptor stuck on the ground via four rubber suction cups. Drifting off topic here, we’ve just been called to test drive the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E 62 S 4MATIC+ on a race track. The earlier version of the E 63 AMG was a monster in straight line and a maniac through corners lighting up its rear at the slightest hint of throttle. This one is, errrr exactly the same, but only when you want it to be.

Design

Quite obviously we have a ruled format so I must start with the way it looks. Straight it looks a sleeper calm sedate saloon with no intentions of harming any egos. It looks elegant delivering you to that posh high class ball dance parties slowly floating towards the driveway sitting on its 3-chamber air suspension. And when you’re done with your hoity-toity dinner around your rich friends, the concierge won’t have to bang the door when you sit, he gently presses it and an optional electric motor closes it shut. All those added aero trimmings like the splitter, diffuser, quad exhausts, that V8 BiTurbo moniker on the sides and tiny boot lip spoiler are tiny but effective details. But you have to give it to Mercedes to strike the perfect balance between a thunderstorm and gentle breeze.

Interior

The reason we all prefer Mercedes interior is because despite the knowledge that everything is laser cut and finessed to the tiniest detail, it still feels warm with a human touch. A sense that an experienced chef has crushed rocket leafs by his own hand and prepared you a salad than used a mincer. All material used is top quality with flawless fit and finish. Driver’s station is a bit more focussed now. Sport mode and above will put a large rev-counter in the middle with further sport displays on the central screen. Both the instrument cluster and infotainment screens are large 12.3inch displays which are very legible and vivid. And yes it is a top spec Merc, centre of the dash has a magnificent IWC watch. The standard Nappa leather seats are excellent for comfort and support, but you can go one better with AMG performance seats which have better side bolstering for holding you through aggressive cornering. These are comfortable too for regular use in the real world. But a detail review has to wait as this is a track test only.

Engine and performance

The centre piece in any AMG is its engine. The previous generation was a monster running on steroids. This AMG 4.0L twin-turbocharged V8 makes the earlier version slower. It develops 612bhp of maximum power and a colossal 850Nm peak torque backed by the one of the loudest stock exhaust thundering down the straights. Even the mean green AMG GT R does not make that amount of power, it makes 585bhp and is 0.2seconds slower to 100kmph. Not even the mighty Nissan GT-R or Audi R8 V10 Plus make this amount of power, and E 63 S is a legit four seater saloon. The sprint to 100kmph from a standstill takes just 3.4seconds and top speed is electronically restricted to 250kmph. However top whack can be increased to 300kmph with the AMG Driver’s package for very committed aficionados. All that power is carefully delivered to all 4 wheels via an extremely clever 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system. Although rear biased, the ‘+’ in the 4MATIC means a 100 per cent of the power can be delivered to the front wheels when needed. Essentially the exact opposite of when you oversteered out of a fast corner screaming, with the new one the front will pull you out securely. Very un-AMG but what a feeling! And this new race tuned SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed sports transmission is a huge leap ahead than the previous. It’s very quick and listens to your instructions patiently. Obviously the performance exhaust system is loud and can be tuned for even more noise as the most welcome feature. Louder and deeper, better!

Ride and handling

This would be the happiest surprise that AMG gave us. Performance Mercs are more pantomime than scalpel preciseness, but this new E 63 S is chain saw made by brain surgeons. Still very very capable of scaring you to death, but will respond if treated by an experienced hand. This all-wheel drive feels like a rear wheel drive car belting around the long sweepers of BIC, but when you at the brink of losing it, a bucket load of torque is sent to the front wheels and it pulls itself out from a tricky situation. It also has a ‘Drift Mode’! This can be operated by pulling both the paddle shift levers in Race mode and the car locks power to the rear wheels only. So whatever your mood is, this car has the mode for you. The chassis too is more rigid than earlier giving you better and sharper cornering control. You can choose carbon ceramic brakes to stop all that 850Nm. Since I haven’t the slightest clue how will it fair on the normal regular everyday roads, but I can surely say this ride is a bit stiff and you will feel rough roads on your bum. Anyway it still is a monster so you’ll have to understand.

Verdict

Mercedes have taken a big powerful monster, trained it, and sent it back to play with you. So it has more power, more style, more equipment but most of all it has better handling making it more a precise tool than a sledgehammer. Its only issue is the elephant edging in the room, which is the new AWD BMW M5. That too will have similar trick torque splitting system and equivalent performance numbers. However for now nothing comes close to the value proposition that the new Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+ is. It’s a 612bhp 4-door BiTurbo V8 powered four seater for Rs 1.5Cr(ex showroom Delhi) making it a huge bargain.

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