by Matthew Wilson
Mercedes-Benz AMG doesn't mess around. They know their competitors come not only from Germany, but also from Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. Therefore, it's vital that they must do everything - styling, performance, and luxury - better than the rest. Although the competition is fierce, the German automaker and their performance division remain firmly in control of everything they do.
The previous generation E63 AMG was an amazing thing and many fans were dismayed to learn that its 6.2-liter V-8 would be downsized to a new 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 for 2012. This shouldn't come as any surprise, since other automakers, including BMW, have been doing the same due to upcoming CAFE standards. But fear not, dear super sedan lovers, AMG will deliver. And deliver they have. The new 2012 E63 AMG is powered by a new direct-injection engine with 518hp, the same output as its predecessor.
Torque, however, is up to 516 lb-ft. Fuel economy is also improved, now rated at 15/22 mpg city/highway, which is good enough to avoid that pesky gas guzzler tax. Power is delivered to the rear wheels via an AMG Speedshift seven-speed automatic. This is a wet clutch pack that takes the place of a torque converter. And with the added assistance of the race start launch-control mode and the AMG Performance Pack, it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. Speaking of that Performance Pack, for a bit more dough ($12,900), you're treated to an increased output of 550hp and 590 lb-ft.
And unlike some other German automakers, Mercedes-Benz will still offer a wagon variant E63 AMG in the U.S, although it must be specially ordered. As usual, Mercedes hasn't missed a beat with interior design and layout. The material and build quality are outstanding, feeling both luxurious and sporty. As you can imagine, power everything comes standard, in addition to a 14-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system, 14-way power-adjustable seats, and a central high-definition 7-inch screen. The firm and supportive seats are covered in beautiful leather upholstery and buyers will have their choice of either Burl Walnut or Black Ash wood trim.
But now we must ask: If the thing is powered by a 5.5-liter engine, then why do they still call it an E63? Others have been wondering the same, but Mercedes has made clear that future models won't have the same nomenclature in relation to the engine displacement as they've had in the past. Clearly, this is another of those times are a changin' signs. The likely answer is that AMG executives were probably hesitant to change an established name like E63 in fear that a name like a numerically correct E55 will make it sound like the car is less powerful than it actually is.
Weighing a total of 4,050 pounds, it comes in 227 pounds less than the CLS63 AMG. Speaking of which, that four-door coupe shares its underpinnings with the E-Class. Regardless of the former's sleeker styling, E63 owners don't have to deal with the CLS's more limited rear visibility and back seat passengers have more headroom. Is the CLS-Class prettier than the E-Class? Depends on your personal tastes, but we're all in agreement here that the new E63 AMG is much better looking than its predecessor. Mercedes has also come a long way with their exterior designs from just a few years ago, which were quite conservative and lacked passion.
Their latest styling, on the other hand, is absolutely fantastic. Compared to the Russian babushka doll design mentality of Audi lately, Mercedes is doing a much better job differentiating their models. And like BMW's previous Bangle era, Mercedes is now taking a more daring styling approach with the crisper lines and an overall bolder appearance. Pricing for the 2012 E63 AMG starts at around $87,000, but that Performance Pack is a must-have, regardless of the price. And that's the whole message here. Regardless of the E63 AMG's price, you're being treated to near priceless perfection.