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Mercedes E63 4Matic to be sedan only Down Under
Europe loves a fast estate but the wagon market has dried up in SUV-crazy Oz
1 Dec 2016
By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in PORTUGAL
MERCEDES-AMG will launch the next-generation E63 4Matic in top-spec S sedan guise for now, as it seeks to dominate the $250,000 high-performance market that includes the likes of the BMW M5 and Audi RS6 Avant.
While the 2017 E63 4Matic Estate has yet to be formally confirmed, it will most likely take the lion’s share of E63 sales in the European and UK markets, but the wagon will be a non-starter in Australia due to low take-up of the previous-generation version.
The wagon hasn’t been announced yet, but we expect it will be … and if so we would not be taking it,” Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific senior manager public relations, product and corporate communications David McCarthy revealed.
“We haven’t been able to get reasonable sales from an E63 Estate – it can barely crack double digits annually, versus the current C63 Estate, which this year will hit 150 units.” Mr McCarthy said that Australians seem to have an aversion to spending big money on fast wagons. While the outgoing S212-series E63 AMG available from 2011 to 2013 kicked off from $244,000, its far more successful smaller C63 sibling starts from a smidgen under $160,000.
“Obviously price has everything to do with it,” Mr McCarthy said. “The do really well in Europe including the UK but the market for quarter of a million dollar wagons is very clearly fairly limited.” Mercedes has high hopes for the sedan, with the company confident the E63 S 4Matic could become the best-selling iteration in the model’s decade-long-plus history when sales commence later in the second quarter of next year.
While pricing and final specification is yet been revealed for Australia, the goal is to keep the newcomer as close to the $250,000 (plus on-road) ask as the outgoing version.
“When we launched the rear-drive with 430kW, we sold around 200 units in the first year or so,” Mr McCarthy said.
“We’d like to do a couple of hundred this time around, because it is so good and it is far better equipped than the outgoing version, with all that extra performance, 4Matic all-wheel drive, and the driver-assist systems.
“In fact, we have high ambitions for it because we think it’s so far ahead of the competition as well as what came before. Hopefully the rivals will get used to the E63’s tail-lights because that’s all they will see of it.” Asked whether the lower-powered non-S 4Matic version is in the pipeline, Mr McCarthy said the company would take a wait-and-see approach.
“Of course we will take the E63 S, even though we haven’t negotiated the price yet,” he said. “But no decision has yet been made on the lower-powered non-S version.
“History tells us the Australian market only likes the higher-powered version with the highest level of equipment, so to bring in the lower-powered version you have to take kit out as well, so we’re not sure whether we will do it.” The so-called ‘base’ E63 4Matic that may not come to Australia is powered by a slightly detuned version of the E63 S 4Matic’s 450kW/850Nm 4.0-litre Biturbo V8, pumping out 30kW and 100Nm less power and torque respectively.
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