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New York show: Benz turbocharges E63 AMG

Badge engineering: It's still called the E63, but the 2012 model eschews its forebear's 6.2-litre V8 and misleading 'AMG 6.3' badge for a twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 and a 'V8 BITURBO' badge.

Twin-turbocharged Mercedes E63 AMG sedan and wagon emerge in New York

25 Apr 2011

THE substitution of AMG’s bahnstorming 6.2-litre V8 with a smaller 5.5-litre twin-turbocharged bent-eight continues apace, with Mercedes-Benz revealing quicker and more fuel-efficient E63 AMG sedan and wagon models at last week’s New York motor show.

Due in Australian showrooms by November, the upgraded 2012 E-class AMGs follow the debut of the all-new twin-turbo V8 here in the facelifted CL63 AMG coupe last November, before the downsized S63 AMG sedan was released here in February.

The lower-displacement force-fed V8 - designated by a 'V8 BITURBO' front-quarter badging rather than '6.3 V8' lettering as before - will also power the second-generation CLS63 AMG coupe-sedan due here mid-year, as well as the next year’s top-shelf AMG version of the redesigned SLK roadster.

The facelifted C63 AMG sedan, wagon and all-new coupe will continue with a more efficient version of Mercedes-AMG’s naturally-aspirated 6.2 – a dry-sump version of which powers the range-topping SLS AMG ‘Gullwing’ – when they are released here before the end of this year.

4 center imageSo, unless Mercedes-Benz backflips on its plan not to produce AMG versions of the E-class coupe or cabriolet, AMG’s biturbo V8 should appear next in either the M or GL-class SUVs, or the car-maker’s flagship convertible (at least until the topless SLS AMG appears), the SL-class.

In line with the German performance house’s “AMG Performance 2015” model strategy, the efficiency gains of the 2012 E63, which is now available to order in Germany but won't be delivered there until October - are just as impressive as those delivered by the larger CL and S-class AMGs.

Producing the same 386kW of power between 5250 and 5750rpm (or 410kW with the optional AMG Performance package) as the CLS63 AMG, the enhanced E63 also offers up some 700Nm of torque between just 1750 and 5000rpm (800Nm between 2000 and 4500rpm in ‘Performance’ guise).

Top speed remains electronically limited to 250km/h, but the upgraded E63 AMG sedan now sprints to 100km/h in a claimed 4.3 seconds – two-tenths quicker than before – while the optional Performance package makes it a further tenth quicker.

It is also some 22 per cent more fuel-efficient than its 6.2-litre predecessor, the combined NEDC fuel consumption figure reducing by 2.8L/100km to 9.8L/100km with or without the Performance pack, while CO2 emissions are reduced to 230 grams per kilometre.

Mercedes-Benz says at least some of that extra efficiency is attributable to AMG’s new electromechanical speed-sensitive sports steering system, which offers a more direct 14:1 ratio and only draws power when the vehicle is actually being steered.

But the key to the more efficient performance is the oversquare 5461cc all-aluminium DOHC V8, which features spray-guided direct petrol injection with piezo injectors, variable valve timing, air/water intercooling, generator management and a switchable idle-stop system.

Under the bonnet, Performance versions increase maximum turbo boost pressure from 1.0 to 1.3 bar and gain a genuine carbon-fibre engine cover, but also come with an AMG Performance steering wheel with black Alcantara grips, red brake callipers and, in the sedan’s case, an electric rear window blind and genuine carbon-fibre AMG bootlid spoiler.

Both models continue to come standard with the AMG Speedshift MCT seven-speed automatic transmission, which features a wet start-up clutch instead of a conventional torque converter.

Three-mode selectable damping and electronic stability control systems are fitted, along with 40 per cent lighter brakes with composite front discs and new 18-inch 10-spoke AMG alloys with 255/40 front and 285/35 rear rubber.

Like the 2012 E63’s three-spoke AMG steering wheel, a three-dimensional full-colour TFT display in the centre of the speedo is also adopted from the CLS63.

Naturally, all other E63 features remain and a host of optional extras will continue to be available, including AMG Ride Control comprising rear air suspension and revised front steel-spring suspension, the latter with a 56mm-wider wheel track, independent wheel carriers and increased negative camber.

In Germany, other E63 options include 19-inch alloys with 255/35 front and 285/30 rear tyres, a limited (60 per cent) slip rear differential, ceramic composite brakes, AMG Exterior Carbon package, carbon/black piano lacquer interior trim, illuminated door sills and the AMG Driver’s Package, which lifts top speed to 300km/h and includes an AMG Driving Academy training course.

Among a host of safety features fitted to the E63 are the radar-based Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist systems.

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