Time for two very different takes on the hot-hatch formula to face off
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The Top Gear car review:Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG
For:Masses of space, masses of performance. Estate version
Against:Running it will ruin you. We don't get the four-wheel drive one in the UK
E63 5dr Auto Bi-Turbo
Mercedes has gifted the über amazing E63 AMG four-wheel drive. But only for the European market
A lovely Benz to loaf around in that posts some seriously astonishing economy numbers. Could be pricey, though
Merc has upped the ante: the M5 won’t have things all its own way
Does fast and comfortable pretty well. Also manages sporty nearly as well as a BMW M5, but at a cost.
A really good solid mid-size Mercedes Benz, but it lacks the sparkle to make it a great car.
Beware the numbers. Everyone can buy AMG wheels these days, a fair few come with similar body kits and you can’t hear yourself think for the non-...
What we say:
Street-race Q-car that can crush continents? Erm, yes please.
What is it?
Four-wheel-drive E63 rewrites the performance saloon car landscape. Which makes it even more disappointing that we don’t get it.
We don’t get the 4WD version, which is a shame. You can tell within 30 yards which car you’re driving. When you accelerate in a straight line, it grips. When you turn into a corner, it grips. When you boot it in the middle of the corner, it grips. It’s the best of both worlds - still fun, and also faster. Compare it to the RWD version, which is basically in a constant battle between torque and tarmac. The 2WD E is still quick, but it’s more of a struggle.
Firm but fair. The E63 is less precise than something like an M5, but has better bum-soft cruising ability. There’s plenty of space and the seats feel like armchairs. Even rolling burnouts deliver very little vibration into the cabin (we’ve, er, heard from a source) and there’s precisely no wind noise.
If you deploy all the 577bhp in one go, you’ll get 0-62mph in just 3.6 seconds and a headbang on the limiter at 155mph, which is quite lovely.
On the inside
Loads of room (it’s an E-class after all) for all involved and a 540-litre boot mean that if you want big, practical speed this is the one for you. Don’t forget that that if you really want to inventively murder your dogs then there’s an E63 Estate.
Feels like the AMG people get very serious with their micrometers. The E63 feels handbuilt (in a good way), and there’s a solidity in everything that means that you’d be quite happy buying a third-hand E63.
It’ll do a claimed 27.6mpg and servicing can only be paid for with raw bullion. Tax will be quite sharp too.