by John Tallodi
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedans received a full redesign last year with the E43 AMG initially being the most powerful version on offer. New for 2018 is the full-fat AMG E63 S and shoppers now have the option of two AMG models in the range.
There was not much wrong with the previous generation E-Class interior however the revised cabin of the redesigned models is a real step up.
The dashboard and door inserts are still covered in soft-touch plastics and leather while the seats offer great support for both front and rear occupants, the big changes come with the new virtual cockpit and thoroughly modern dashboard design.
There is plenty of space for taller adults and their luggage, the cabin is also filled with storage areas for odds and ends. In all, a masterclass in modern interior design, it needs to be the latest BMW 5-series and Audi A6 are tough competitors.
Previous generations of the E-Class tended to fall short of the class leaders when it came to driving dynamics, the latest AMG models however are now some of the most enjoyable luxury sedans to steer along a challenging road. The direct steering, strong brakes and sharp chassis are now well up to coping with whatever the AMG-fettled engines can throw at them.
The four-wheel drive system adds an extra level of grip in slippery conditions and allows the driver to put the power down out of corners early on, there is a tendency to understeer slightly at the limit though. The sport-tuned suspension is firmer than in base models but the ride is still great over most surfaces and these two AMG models offer near-silent highway capabilities.
The AMG E43 starts things off with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 producing 396 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. The AMG E63S raises the stakes with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 which makes 603 hp and 627 lb-ft. A 9-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive is standard on both while a limited-slip differential is fitted to the E63S.
Both models offer strong acceleration figures, the AMG E43 managing a 4.5-second 0-60mph time with the E63 S completing the sprint in 3.4-seconds. The E43 may not be quite as quick as the similarly priced BMW M550i but it is more than rapid enough for just about every driving situation.
If you want even more then the added grunt of the AMG E63 and that V8 rumble is hard to ignore, despite the difference in power both models offer identical fuel consumption figures of 19mpg in city driving and 25mpg on the highway.
The AMG E43 is fitted with most of the features found in the less powerful models in the range and its standard equipment includes LED headlights, 12.3-inch infotainment system with integrated smartphone compatibility, leather upholstery and power front seats.
Safety systems are comprehensive too and include active parking assist, active brake assist and adaptive braking technology. AMG specification brakes, exhaust and suspension settings are also standard fitment.
The AMG E63 adds the V8 engine and offers a number of additional standard features such as a Burmester high-end audio system, ventilated front seats, limited-slip differential.
Carbon-ceramic brakes are an available option on the AMG E63 but there are a range of available packages for both models. One notable extra is the AMG Premium Package which adds advanced safety equipment such as active steering assist and evasive steering assist as well as a head-up display.
When it comes to luxury mid-sized sedans, Mercedes-Benz tends to the benchmark everyone else aspires to. The recently redesigned E-Class is such a car and it has raised the bar even further with the AMG E43 and new AMG E63 performance variants.
Both models offer supreme levels of comfort and technology and, when the time is right, sports car levels of handling and acceleration.