The recently debuted Mercedes-AMG E43 sedan is a cool car, but it’s not the full-on AMG nutjob you’ve been waiting for. The one you want is this, the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63, an E-Class that’s gone off the deep end. Like the last E63, this one comes standard with all-wheel-drive, but this time, it has Drift Mode.
Before we get to the tire smoke though, let’s tackle some details. In the standard E63, AMG’s now-familiar 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 produces 563 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. In the E63 S, you get 603 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. In the AMG GT and C63, we’ve seen versions of this engine paired to seven-speed gearboxes, but the E63 gets a new nine-speed multi-clutch gearbox with a wet startup clutch replacing the traditional torque converter.
The E63 S may have 40 more horsepower than the standard car, but their acceleration times aren’t too different. The E63 runs from 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds and the E63 S shaves off just 0.1 seconds from that time. There is a a big difference in top speed, though. The regular E63 is limited to just 155 mph, while the S has a limited top speed of 186, which if you haven’t noticed, is rather fast. And remember, that’s limited. Imagine what it can do if the limiter is removed. In a casual nod to sanity, the E63’s V8 can turn off half of its cylinders to get better highway fuel economy.
Keeping all the E63’s power under control is a new all-wheel-drive system dubbed 4Matic+, which offers a variable torque split between the front and rear axles. By contrast, the AMG E43’s all-wheel-drive system has a fixed torque split of 31:69 front-to-rear. 4Matic+ also enables the E63’s Drift Mode, but unlike the Ford Focus RS’s Drift Mode, the AMG’s is quite simple.
Pull both shift paddles at the same time with Race mode enabled and ESP turned off, and the E63’s front axle disconnects entirely. Yes, this effectively turns the E63 into a rear-wheel-drive car, and yes, we’re just as excited about this as you are.
With the E63, AMG also threw in air suspension, and widened the front fenders by 0.67 inches to accommodate bigger tires. It also looks like the E63 sits on Michelin’s new Pilot Sport 4 S tires, which replace the much-loved Pilot Super Sport.
All told, the new E63 is quite a departure from both the standard E-Class and even the E43. It makes its in-person debut next month at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and hits U.S. dealers next summer. We can’t wait to drive it, ideally sideways.