Mercedes-AMG E63 - Prices announced for 603bhp sledgehammer saloon

Mercedes-AMG reveals prices for its E63 4MATIC+. Buyers will need nearly £80k for Mercedes' latest AMG product.

The Mercedes-AMG E43 might be quick, cossetting and beautifully crafted but if we have one major complaint its that it doesn't really feel like an AMG product.

That should change with the new Mercedes-AMG E63, which replaces the E43's 3-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 for the familiar 4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 of other AMG models.

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UK pricing has been revealed, with the standard E63 4MATIC+ starting at £78,935 and the ‘S’ model rising to £88,295. If that is not enough, Mercedes-AMG will sell you a limited run ‘Edition 1’ model for £106,585 and that is before the £6,995 carbon ceramic brake option is ticked. 

In regular E63 form the V8 - whose turbochargers sit between each bank of cylinders in a 'hot vee' configuration - produces 563bhp, and 553lb ft of torque. But as the E63 S the E-class now breaches the 600bhp barrier by three horses, and eclipses the regular E63 with its 627lb ft torque figure between 2500-4500rpm.

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> Also read: Mercedes-AMG E43 4Matic review

0-62mph takes 3.5sec in the E63 and 3.4sec in the E63 S, with a limited 155mph top speed - or 186mph if you ask your Mercedes dealer nicely.

Controlling this grunt is a nine-speed AMG Speedshift MCT "multi-cluch transmission" and a standard 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system. If that sounds all too sensible for a car whose predecessors were among the best around for turning rubber into opaque, acrid clouds, the clue to the contrary is in the "+" suffix.

For the first time, the 4Matic system can fully vary torque between the two axles - and that gives it the ability to send 100 per cent of the engine's torque to the rear axle if necessary. Select Race mode in the E63's driver settings, deactivate the ESP and drop the transmission into manual mode and the E63 (both regular and S) become rear-wheel drive only and tyre smoke is there for the making.

The rest of the time - most of the time, if we're honest - the all-wheel drive system should give it strong traction just as it does in the E43, and on smaller throttle openings and light engine loads there's also now cylinder deactivation technology. This won't suddenly render the E63 a Prius and nor should it, but by dropping cylinders two, three, five and eight at opportune moments it should help stem the V8's thirst.

Suspension is by an AMG-tweaked version of Mercedes' Air Body Control, which can lower the car at speed to improve aerodynamics and adjust damping to ensure the car is comfortable in a straight line and responsive in the corners.

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> More: Porsche Panamera review - the best luxury sports saloon?

Styling is a visual step above the E43 models, with 17mm wider arches, new alloy wheels and redesigned front and rear bumpers. The bonnet too is more pronounced in its contours than that of standard E-class models.

It's set to be an exciting time for the performance luxury saloon market, with Porsche's new Panamera already available and the new BMW M5, based on the latest 5-series, joining shortly.

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