Changes add comfort without damaging driver appeal. Bulls-eye
Price has risen significantly, complex infotainment user interface
What is it?
The world’s most pugnacious super saloon. Only maybe not quite so pugnacious as before. The Mercedes-AMG E63 has been upgraded and the idea, says Mercedes, is to offer ‘enhanced everyday comfort’. Good, since that’s about the only real criticism we had of its mighty predecessor.
That arrived four years ago in late 2016, bringing with it a twin turbo 4.0-litre V8 mated to The Best 4WD System In The World™. Not only was it very effective at getting its power down on difficult roads and conditions, it could also be very effective at NOT getting its power down if you disconnected the front driveshafts and locked it into Drift mode. Not for the faint-hearted. Anyway, none of that has been touched – this is a mid-life facelift for the E63, which means a bit of sculpting, but no fundamental changes. A chance for the engineers and designers to do some light, less consequential fettling.
The engine is untouched (although seeing as engines are as central to AMG as they are to Ferrari, we kind of doubt it), meaning you still have the choice of plain 567bhp E63, or E63 S with 604bhp, Drift mode and other niceties, though that choice is only available overseas: as with other AMG models, just the S comes to the UK.
Performance is unchanged, with a 186mph max and 0-62 in 3.4secs for the S. That also returns 277g/km and 23.2mpg. The wagon has a 180mph top end, is 0.1secs slower and slightly heavier on fuel (283g/km and 22.8mpg).
At the front you’ll find a new splitter and even bigger frontal intakes, sweeping back towards front arches that are now 27mm wider each side. They cloak wider track widths and bigger/wider front tyres – the most significant mechanical enhancement made.
Inside there’s an updated steering wheel complete with even more touch-sensitive controls, and an enhanced one-piece-of-glass, twin screen layout for all instrumentation and infotainment. The clickwheel has gone completely, in its place a neater, cleaner, larger touchpad.
The outward enhancements have given the E63 a more rounded front end with a more pronounced grille that’s presumably good for aero and cooling, but lends the E63 a slightly toothy face. The rear lights are new and nicely worked, although more anonymous on the estate than the saloon. It appears Mercedes has not gone in for the more overt visual stance and aggression of the Audi RS6. What they have gone in for is a price to match the Audi: £98,370 for the AMG 63 S saloon, or exactly £2,000 more for the estate (that’s the one you really want), the E63 is a six-figure car with even a brief visit to the options list.
What's the verdict?
The facelifted E63 does the job Merc needs it to do: deliver a bit more passenger comfort without removing any of the driver appeal. It still sounds great, goes hard and makes the driver feel like a small, giddy child every time they climb behind the steering wheel.
But it now makes their passengers feel more relaxed too. It’s not that the ride is much softer, it’s that the vibration and harshness is better damped, making the car feel more grown up. Just be warned the new steering wheel and complex infotainment is very much aimed at a younger generation. You’ll get used to it.
For us, the update reinforces the E63's position as the best super-saloon and estate there is. The changes not only improve comfort, but add some dynamic polish that make it more invigorating and eager. An RS6 is more refined and has amazing stance, the M5 is the most accomplished to drive, but the E63 remains the most thrilling. Now with fewer complaints from your passengers.