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Mercedes E63 AMG Estate
8/10

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Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate Estate

Driven October 2009

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A Mercedes E63 AMG estate reaches 155mph in very short order. It'll get to 186, but that takes longer. You have to do an AMG driving course and prove you're worthy before they'll remove the 155 speed limiter.

Few cars can do as many things as well as the E63 AMG estate. It's a blast to drive and can cross a country at a backside-on-fire pace. It'll also hold lots of people and even more baggage.

But of course, if you deployed all those talents at once you'd be battered by flying cargo and pebble-dashed with the vomit of the unfortunates seated in the back.

With the XFR out of the estate-car running, this car has little opposition. Even if it did, it'd have no great cause to be scared.

That V8 is a hilarious companion. On the overrun it bangs and pops in excitement, and on throttle it booms like Brian Blessed with a firework up his chuff. The seven-speed MCT paddleshift (an autobox but with the torque converter replaced by real clutches) is sharp and marvellously attentive.

Amid that drama, you take a while to realise the AMG isn't anything like as real-world quick as the mountainously torquey Audi RS6.

In compensation, there's a life and subtlety to the E63's handing. It's bolted to the road but has enough feel and progression that you feel OK about peering over the edge of what the massive tyres can do. Yet the ride is never harsh.

It's a far, far better car than the old E55.

Oh, and did I mention the launch control? Leaving a tidy pair of black lines seems as stylish way as any to depart the Ikea car park.

Paul Horrell

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