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Ballistic new Benz E63 AMG touches down

Heavy breather: The Mercedes-Benz E63's engine is said to be the world's most powerful normally aspirated production V8.

Orders flood in for new-generation E63 AMG super-sedan from Mercedes-Benz

15 Dec 2009

MERCEDES-BENZ launched its hairy-chested new E63 AMG super-sedan on the same Classic Adelaide rally roads where the car made its recent Australian debut in the hands of five-times world MotoGP champion and past owner of no fewer than 10 AMG models, Mick Doohan.

The brutish new Benz has already attracted about 30 orders from well-heeled Australian fans, despite a hefty $234,900 list price, which represents a $4056 saving over the model it replaces, due largely to Mercedes’ more aggressive Australian pricing policy and a five per cent import duty reduction in 2010.

The new E63 is therefore positioned about $6900 cheaper than its most direct rival in BMW’s M5 sedan ($241,816), as well as mid-way between Audi’s S6 quattro sedan ($204,900) and twin-turbo RS6 quattro sedan ($263,500), all of which are V10-powered.

According to Mercedes, the new E63, which arrives here earlier than expected with a unique specification for Australia following its global debut at the New York motor show in April, also comes with more than $32,000 of extra equipment over its predecessor.

4 center imageWhile BMW’s next-generation M5 is expected to eschew its 5.0-litre V10 in favour of a smaller twin-turbo V8, the E63 continues to pack a bespoke 6.2-litre V8 from AMG.

Just as the next M5 will be based on the redesigned F10-generation 5 Series sedan that will debut at the Detroit motor show in January, the E63 is underpinned by the angular new W212 E-class sedan that went on sale here in August.

The E-class has outsold its arch-rival from BMW almost two to one in 2009, with the new sedan arriving here simultaneously with the ‘all-new’ C-class-based E-class Coupe, which replaces the CLK coupe and, eventually, convertible.

Naturally, with the E63 four-door new to market, Mercedes-Benz has thus denied it will produce a two-door E63 AMG Coupe, leaving the AMG-badged, 285kW 5.5-litre V8-equipped E500 Coupe ($174,500) as the flagship E-class Coupe, which is claimed to be the world’s most aerodynamic production car.

For now, for the $56,000 price premium over the E500 Avantgarde sedan ($178,900), the 2010 E63 comes with a slightly more powerful 386kW (up from 378kW) version of AMG’s hand-built petrol V8. Now as powerful as the S63, SL63 and CL63 AMGs, the E63 produces the same 630Nm of peak torque and revs to 7200rpm.

Claimed to be the world’s most powerful naturally-aspirated V8, the engine features a unique block design with different bore spacings to the 5.5-litre M155 V8. The same oversquare V8 (with a 102.2mm bore and 94.6mm stroke) will also power the gullwinged SLS AMG supercar, which in dry-sump guise delivers 420kW at 6800rpm and 650Nm of torque from 4750rpm.

Despite the extra 8kW, combined average fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are reduced by about 16 per cent to a respective 12.7L/100km and 298g/km, thanks to weight reduction, on-demand fuel and alternator management, brake energy recuperation on overrun and an AMG-exclusive twin-wire arc spray coating process used on the cylinder walls.

Filtering down to the E63 from the top-shelf SL63 is a new water-cooling system and an upgraded AMG Speedshift MCT version of Mercedes-Benz’s seven-speed automatic transmission.

The revised AMG auto features a wet start-off clutch to replace the previous torque converter. It features a throttle-blipping function and four driving modes, with gearshifts claimed to be 20 per cent faster in ‘S’ (sports) mode compared to ‘C’ (comfort) mode, another 20 per cent faster in ‘S+’ mode and a further 10 per cent faster in ‘M’ mode – in which they are claimed to take place in 100 milliseconds.

A ‘Race Start’ function for optimum takeoffs sees the new E-class sedan flagship blast to 100km/h in 4.5 seconds, officially making it about as quick as the C63 AMG sedan and, more importantly, quicker than the M5. Unlike buyers in other markets, Australian customers will not have the ex-factory option of removing the E63’s standard 250km/h speed-limiter.

The latest E63 also has a dedicated new front axle with new steel spring-struts (the rear-end comprises AMG-specific air springs), a 45mm-wider track, tubular stabiliser bar, new control arms and wheel bearings, new elastokinematics and new hub carriers for more negative camber. A new AMG Ride Control sports suspension system features the three-mode variable damping function from the C63 and SL63.

Other new E63 technologies include an individual three-stage electronic stability control program, a 22 per cent more direct (14:1 ratio) speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion power steering system and a high-performance AMG braking system with 360mm vented and perforated rotors all round.

Unique to Australia’s E63, along with a rear bootlid spoiler and sun protection package are 19-inch AMG alloy wheels measuring nine inches wide at the front and 9.5 inches wide at the rear, wrapped in 255/40 R19 and 285/35 R19 tyres respectively. In Europe, the E63 comes standard with 18-inch wheels.

The E63 is differentiated by a more aggressive front bumper with ‘AMG 6.3’ lettering and specific LED daytime running lights, plus tinted headlights, AMG side skirts and an AMG rear bumper with black diffuser and twin chromed exhaust outlets.

Exclusive standard features include powered front AMG sports seats with improved lateral support, a four-spoke AMG sports steering wheel with AMG shift paddles, Nappa leather upholstery in three different colours, an AMG instrument cluster with an AMG main menu, AMG-badged door entry sills and brushed stainless steel pedals.

Standard safety equipment extends to Mercedes’ new ‘Attention Assist’ drowsiness detection system, the ‘Pre-Safe’ preventive occupant protection system, ‘Brake Assist Plus’, seven airbags and crash-responsive ‘Neck-Pro’ head restraints.

A reversing camera, ‘Parking Guidance’ system, ventilated and heated luxury front seats, active multi-contoured front-seat backrests, panoramic sunroof, ‘Keyless Go’ remote entry/starting system and an ‘Exclusive’ leather interior are also available.

While our E63 already gets 19s and a rear spoiler from Europe’s optional Performance package as standard, in Australia the latter will comprise an even firmer ‘Performance’ suspension setting, a limited-slip differential with 40 per cent mechanical locking action, smaller three-spoke ‘Performance’ steering wheel, AMG floor mats, illuminated AMG door sills and an inside/outside carbon-fibre trim package. AMG’s carbon-ceramic brake package will become available for the E63 next year.

2010 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG pricing:
E63 AMG sedan $234,900

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