The new E63 S is the fastest E-Class ever and also an excellent combination of practicality and prestige.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

The new E63 S is the fastest E-Class ever and also an excellent combination of practicality and prestige.

My Reading Room

CARS are generally built for a specific purpose. 

Sports cars need lots of power and torque, and be agile in handling. They usually come with two doors and have comparatively little space for passengers and baggage. 

Family cars need to have four doors, seats for five passengers and a sizeable boot for grocery runs. They also need to be easy enough for everyone in the family to drive – from the father who has been driving for 25 years to the son with a newly minted driving licence. 

Luxury cars must have brand appeal, presence and rear legroom that the towkays will approve of. 

Few cars have all the key attributes of a sports car, family car and luxury car bundled into one package. The new Mercedes-AMG E63 S 4Matic+ is one of the rare few.

For the test drive of the new E63 S in Portugal, the folks at Mercedes made the journalists drive 110 kilometres from the airport to the Algarve racetrack at Portimao instead of to a hotel. 

The three-hour stop at the racetrack was necessary, as the E-Class being tested is a thoroughbred track machine, although it is based on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class launched last year. 

The Mercedes minders at the track were so serious about track driving that the journalists had to wear helmets and balaclavas.

I managed to take the car 10 times around the clockwise 4.7km Algarve track. 

The highest speed I clocked was about 230km/h, and the scariest part of the circuit was a blind climb to a hilltop, followed by a dip of what felt like several storeys.

I entered a particularly tight corner with too much speed and felt like I was not going to steer the car out of the corner cleanly, but the car’s 4Matic+ four-wheel-drive system kept me on the track and away from the gravel. 

I do not know exactly how it worked, but it would have adjusted and redistributed the torque at the four wheels so that I could get out of the tight corner. 

I am not an out-and-out aggressive driver, but still, I appreciated what that safety feature did for me. 

For those who think that the four-wheel-drive system is relevant only at the racetrack or unnecessary in everyday motoring, consider this: You never know when you will get into a slippery situation where the four-wheel-drive will get you out of trouble, fast.


ENGINE 3982cc, 32-valves, V8, turbocharged 

MAX POWER 612bhp at 5750-6500rpm

MAX TORQUE 850Nm at 2500-4500rpm

POWER TO WEIGHT 325.5bhp per tonne

GEARBOX 9-speed automatic with manual select

0-100KM/H 3.4 seconds

TOP SPEED 250km/h (governed)

CONSUMPTION 11.4km/L (combined)

CO2 EMISSION 199g/km

PRICE INCL. COE To be announced


ENGINE 3982cc, 32-valves, V8, turbocharged 

MAX POWER 571bhp at 5750-6500rpm

MAX TORQUE 750Nm at 2250-5000rpm

POWER TO WEIGHT 304.5bhp per tonne

GEARBOX 9-speed automatic with manual select

0-100KM/H 3.5 seconds

TOP SPEED 250km/h (governed)

CONSUMPTION 11.4km/L (combined)

CO2 EMISSION 199g/km

PRICE INCL. COE To be announced

My Reading Room

It is the first time Mercedes-AMG equipped the souped-up E-Class with the 4Matic+ system as standard gear.

After the jaunt at the racetrack, it was time to head to the hotel. At that point, I was battling jet lag and all I wanted was to get to the hotel for a shower.

Night had descended in wintry Portugal and I was not particularly looking forward to driving in the dark in an unfamiliar part of Europe where highways are mostly lit by cat’s eyes rather than street lamps.

The E63 S has four drive modes: Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Race.

While the various sport modes were used on the racetrack, I switched to the Comfort mode for the 75km drive to the hotel.

The car showed a totally different character. It provided a cosseting side that was sharply different from the track machine that I had just experienced.

It had all the creature comforts of a standard E-Class saloon. There were soothing interior ambient lights to calm the driver. The high beams dipped automatically for oncoming cars, with the lights even lingering at informational road signs long enough for me to read them. There were heaters to keep the driver and passengers warm. The only thing missing was massage seats.

It was as if the E63 S has the bipolar behaviour of a sports car and a luxury saloon, with both accessible at the flick of a switch.

There are many things to rave about the car, starting with the technology that went into it.

The engine in the E63 S may be the same powerplant found in the Mercedes-AMG GT S and C63 S, but it has a significantly higher power output of 612bhp (versus 510bhp for GT S and C63 S) and 850Nm (versus 650Nm for GT S and 700Nm for C63 S).

Matthias Schottle, who headed the development of the car, said at the press conference that the newcomer is “the most powerful E-Class ever built”. He could also have called it the fastest E-Class ever.

For me, most rave-worthy is that the AMG E-Class hits a sweet spot.

It is a Swiss Army knife of a car. It is lightning-quick on the track and has four doors plus a spacious boot, so it can be a family car with the prestige of Mercedes’ three-pointed star.

The car also has a limousine-like presence on the road and enough rear legroom, so those switching from the flagship S-Class wouldn’t feel like it’s a downgrade.

Those keen on the new E63 S have to wait until the second quarter of this year to find out the price. For such an all-in-one saloon with performance, practicality and prestige packed into a package, the car already feels priceless.