2014 Mercedes E63 AMG First Drive Video

Words John Clark | December 26, 2012
The face-lifted E-class arrives with the 2014 model year and the E63 is not far behind
Words John Clark December 26, 2012

Competition continues to heat up in the battle of sport sedans, and while the BMW M5 has reigned for years, the Audi S6 was titled champ in one test. And now, to increase its standings, the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG is doing what was once thought unthinkable. It will feature an all-wheel drive setup for the 2014 model year. Though rear-wheel drive was thought as the optimal way that power should be delivered in a sports car, that dynamic has been changed upside down in recent years. With torque vectoring and other high-tech systems, it’s pretty clear that to remain competitive at the highest level, AWD will be the next step for manufacturers. So, while details about the AWD AMG have remained tucked away, now we’re hearing some of the NEW details for the FIRST time.

Check out the clip below to hear all about Mercedes’ upcoming 2014 E63 AMG.

From Car and Driver

In late November, barely 12 months after the introduction of the most recent Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, we were offered the opportunity to ride along with AMG’s top managers during a sign-off drive of the upcoming 2014 E63. What’s more, this will mark the third major revision of the E63 since the current-generation E-class, the W212, was introduced to the press in the summer of 2009 as a 2010 model. Among the luxury-car competition, Mercedes seems to put a higher priority on the prompt introduction of its high-performance variants than do the others.

The motivation for this latest change is the midcycle enhancement to the E-class line as a whole. Most of the German carmakers operate on a six-year interval between major redesigns, with a face lift halfway through the cycle. The face-lifted E-class arrives with the 2014 model year and the E63 is not far behind.

U.S. cars go AWD

Of course, we wouldn’t bother with a new E63 if it received nothing more than differently creased sheetmetal. But this 2014 model will come with something that we’ve never before experienced on an AMG passenger car—all-wheel drive. Not only will the E63 have the Mercedes 4MATIC system, but that’s the only way it will come to America, although the rest of the world will still be able to order a rear-drive version.

While we usually regard the move from front-wheel drive to AWD as a performance enhancement, the benefits of adding powered front wheels to a rear-drive car are less obvious. In fact, our first suspicious thought was that rather than improve performance, AWD was being added to broaden the appeal of AMG cars in northern climates, where most Mercedes are sold with 4MATIC. Since many AMG buyers—unlike BMW M buyers—seem to regard the AMG models as the top-of-the line rather than as pure performance versions, this would broaden the market for the AMG cars.

Torque-split personality

Ola Källenius, AMG’s CEO, explains that its products should have a split personality: “AMG cars are all designed so that that they can be driven everyday. But they are also expected to perform well at the track. We think 4MATIC will enhance this dual capability.”

Källenius goes on to explain: “It has taken us about two and a half years of engineering to take the basics of the 4MATIC and redevelop it for AMG purposes. For AMG, the 4MATIC torque split is revised, biased 67 percent to the rear axle, 33 percent to the front, and it is actually quicker on the track than our previous rear-drive configuration.”

The additional 4MATIC hardware adds weight—about 130 pounds. Based on the last E63 we tested, which weighed 4233 pounds, the additional weight moves the E63 from among the lightest to the heaviest cars in the segment, although by only about 100 pounds.

More power, Scotty

Making up for the additional weight is an uprated engine. It’s still a twin-turbocharged 5461-cc V-8, but a judicious increase in boost increases power from 518 to 550 hp, while peak torque rises from 516 to 531 lb-ft. Coupled with the improved traction, expect a 0-to-60 time of less than 3.5 seconds and a quarter-mile time in the high 11s at no less than 125 mph.

The usual Performance package with even more power and torque will be announced later, but expect to see at least an additional 26 ponies and another 26 lb-ft of torque, along with a relaxed governor that allows top speed to rise from 155 to 186 mph. There was a hint that this package might include other upgrades as well, along with some clear visual identification.