The Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG is an executive four-door saloon powered by a twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 that produces 549bhp in standard form, or an impressive 579bhp if you opt for the even-higher performance S-Model. Sat proudly at the top of the E-Class range, competition comes from the BMW M5 and Jaguar XF R. Under full acceleration, the AMG saloon produces an incredible noise and even though it weighs nearly two-tonnes, performance is stunning. Featuring a seven-speed automatic gearbox with four driving modes - comfort, sport, sport plus and manual - the E63 is remarkably versatile and is very easy to drive on an everyday basis. This comes at a price, however, because, at over £70,000, the E63 is very expensive. Inside, the interior features swathes of leather and most of the optional kit found in the rest of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class range.
Driving the E63 AMG is a fantastic experience. Top speed is electronically limited to 155mph, while the 0-62mph sprint is completed in just 4.2 seconds. Smooth executive saloon one minute, angry muscle car the next, Mercedes' top-of-the-range E-Class is a car with two characters. Fitted with a brilliant seven-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles, the system has four driving modes: comfort, sport, sport plus and manual. In both sport plus and manual modes the E63 changes gear with savage precision, but select comfort and the car makes for an ideal long-distance cruiser. Despite overly light steering, the big Mercedes also handles better than any other E-Class in the range.
Rear passengers are treated to very high levels of comfort and thanks to the fantastic AMG leather sports seats the front cabin is even better. The adjustable suspension provides three different settings allowing drivers to soften or stiffen the ride depending on the type of journey or road surface. Passengers are very well insulated from road noise, too.
Bullet-proof reliability has been a Mercedes trait for many years and the range-topping E63 AMG model is no exception, with no widely known problems. It also exudes quality. Crash tested in 2010 by Euro NCAP, the E-Class scored the full five stars. Mercedes accident-sensing Collision Prevention Assist is included as standard, as is Distronic adaptive cruise control, which can steer the car as well as regulate speed automatically. Seven airbags are fitted as standard, as are side impact protection bars and Attention Assist, a system that monitors steering behaviour to alert drivers if they fall asleep at the wheel.
There are loads of practical features inside the E63 - the steering wheel is electronically adjustable for reach and rake, for example, and the computer control dial is very easy to use. The rear seats provide passengers with a very comfortable ride, too, offering limousine levels of head and legroom. The boot is massive, as well, measuring 540 litres.
Value for money
At over £70,000, the E63 AMG is very expensive to buy, but, fitted with one of the most impressive engines currently on sale, you do get a lot of very fast car for your money. It can also carry up to five people in high levels of comfort. Very well kitted-out as standard, buyers can also add optional equipment such as a panoramic sunroof, carbon fibre trim and a reversing camera.
The combined fuel economy figure of 28.8mpg for the E63 is a massive improvement over the older 6.2-litre version. However, owners can expect that figure to drop dramatically if they regularly use the engine power on offer or opt for the even more powerful S-Model. Huge fuel bills and large annual road tax bills are just the start. Depreciation is also a major issue with top-end Mercedes saloons.