While the growling engine of the updated Mercedes-AMG E63 S still belts out hard rock, the super-sedan’s chassis now has some of the subtle smoothness of a nightclub crooner.
As before, the AMG-made twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 beneath the bonnet is the car’s headline act. Its massive punch, delivered with a spine-tingling bellow, makes it undisputed star of the show. But the Mercedes-AMG audience apparently likes a bit of variety when it comes to support acts.
This is why the one of the big changes in this mid-life update of the E63 S is a revised suspension set-up. With adjustable multi-chamber air springs and adaptive shock absorbers, the Mercedes-AMG has the technology to deliver sporty, comfy, or anything in between.
Taking advantage of the system’s innate tunability, the company’s suspension engineers left the stiff end of the spectrum unchanged but greatly expanded the comfort zone.
The changes were made for a reason, explains Mercedes-AMG E-Class models product manager Philipp Uttikal. The company has done some serious research since the launch of the current E63 back in 2017.
They interviewed people who bought the car, as well as potential customers who test-drove the E63 and picked something else. They also looked at reviews and comparisons by specialist media, and listened to the opinions of their own test drivers.
What many wanted, Mercedes-AMG learned, was for the E63 to be better at blocking the bumps when the driver presses the Comfort button. So the suspension was softened substantially for this driving mode.
The E63 S is better for the changes. It’s a more serene machine in situations where sporty handling isn’t needed, such as urban driving or on motorways.
On unrestricted stretches German autobahn, the E63 S unsurprisingly feels right at home. That mighty engine can deliver serious shove above 150km/h, a speed at which the Mercedes-AMG feels totally unstressed. But its natural home is the fast lane, at 200km/h and more.
The E63 S has lost none of its agility with the update. In Sport or Sport+ modes this hefty big sedan is happy to be hurled through bends at almost sports car speeds. Its nine-speed transmission does a great job of picking the right gear in the go-fast modes, while the all-wheel-drive system aids insanely swift acceleration out of slow corners.
So the technical changes are a success. But Mercedes-AMG has done more than just improve parts of the E63 S that can’t be seen …
They have also altered the way their entire E-Class-based line-up looks. This applies to the six-cylinder E53 models, as well as the E63 S. The change is not something anyone will fail to notice.
All models have a new nose that features a reshaped and restyled grille. Its toothy array of vertical bars is both a little retro and a lot like the so-called ‘Panamericana’ grille that first appeared in 2016 on AMG’s two-seat GT-R super sports coupe.
Inside, the updated models have the new AMG Performance steering wheel. And the E63 S now features a touchpad menu interface on its centre console.
There is also a new, AMG-specific colour on offer. According to Philipp Uttikal, customers were telling Mercedes-AMG they’d like to be able to make their cars stand out from the ordinary E-Class crowd. Brilliant Blue, as it’s called, has a matt finish.
It suits the E53 Cabriolet, which was also available to test at the international launch of the Mercedes-AMG E-Class range in Germany recently.
As with the E63, there are no big changes to the electric-boosted turbo 3.0-litre six under the bonnet. This muscular and musical engine gives the four-seat soft-top strong enough performance to impress, while its chassis delivers a nicely judged blend of ride comfort and handling prowess.
The updated E53 Cabriolet, Coupe and sedan, as well as the E63 S sedan, are scheduled to arrive in Australia through late October and early November.
MERCEDES-AMG E63 S VITALS
Price: $250,000 (est)
Safety: 5 stars
Engine: 4.0-litre V8 twin turbo; 450kW/850Nm
Transmission: 9-speed auto; AWD
0-100km/h: 3.4 secs