What's all this about?
Something utterly unhinged and therefore evilly brilliant, courtesy of Mercedes-AMG. This newcomer was entirely predictable, of course, but that doesn't make it any the less welcome, as this is the E 63 4Matic+ Estate. Never mind that hoary old chestnut about squashing the Labrador against the rear windscreen - this monster wagon has the ability to utterly terrify the poor mutt in the boot under hard acceleration, such is its power.
Go on, how much grunt has it got?
Like its four-door brother, the E 63 features the 4.0-litre 'hot inside V' twin-turbo V8 that is seeing service in much of AMG's produce these days. You can have it with mammoth power of 571hp at 5,750- to 6,500rpm, backed up by 750Nm of torque from 2,250- to 5,000rpm. That, driving all four wheels (hence the 4Matic+ bit of the name) through an AMG Speedshift nine-speed MCT gearbox, allows this 1,985kg wagon to hit 62mph from rest in... wait for this... 3.6 seconds. But you don't want the E 63.
Why ever not?!
Because you can have the E 63 S 4Matic+ Estate, which gets the ultimate iteration of the 4.0 biturbo V8, this thing delivering a fulsome 612hp (over the same rev range as the, er, 'normal' E 63) and a megalithic 850Nm from 2,500- to 4,000rpm. With a nominal extra 10kg to lug about, it's still quicker as the 'S' trims another tenth off the 0-62mph sprint for a mind-bending 3.5-second stat, but it'll be in the midrange where that extra 100Nm makes itself well and truly known. Both E 63s, of course, are limited to 155mph, but an AMG Driver's Package will at least lift the electronic speed-stopper to 180mph. There's no doubt either of them would surpass 200mph by some distance, given the right road (an empty autobahn) and the chance...
Presumably the E 63's chassis has been uprated to cope?
Yes, all of it. The brakes are huge 360mm ventilated and perforated discs all round on the E 63, the S increasing the front stoppers to 390mm as standard. Six-piston callipers are up front on both cars, while the S can be optioned with carbon ceramic brakes that increase the front axle discs' size to 402mm. The air suspension has been beefed up to cope, either E 63 gets a rear diff lock (mechanical on the non-S, electronically controlled on the 612hp car) and the S also benefits from an additional 'Race' mode in the AMG Dynamic Select (there are four modes on the 571hp E 63) and the presence of dynamic engine mounts.
Daft question, but what's the fuel economy like?
You're right, it is a daft question. Actually... it's not that silly. The E 63 can shut off half of its cylinders under light throttle loads in order to save fuel. That means the ultimate numbers (identical for both cars, as Mercedes-AMG doesn't quote any difference between 571- or 612hp) aren't far off the 'lesser' E 43 4Matic that already exists: that machine, with a 401hp/520Nm 3.0-litre biturbo V6, gives back bests of 33.6mpg and 197g/km of CO2 emissions; the E 63, by contrast, is only marginally worse, offering up 31mpg and 206g/km. Deeply impressive stuff from two-tonne estate missiles like this.
How about the looks, outside and in?
It's really lower down the Mercedes-AMG E 63's body where the changes have happened, as it has bugling wheel arches to accommodate the 27mm wider track of the V8 model. Along with the A-wing front air dam, the twin chrome strakes in the grille, a bonnet that's unique to the 63 in the E-Class family (it's 'inset' between the wings and bumper, in order to make you think of coupes), chunkier quad exhausts, a rear diffuser, bigger alloys and meatier side sills, there's enough there to ensure you should be able to clock a 63 easily enough when held up to a 43. Inside, the three-spoke steering wheel gets quarter-to-three Alcantara grips, a 12 o'clock marker in grey and the AMG lettering on the lower spoke's chrome trim, while there's an AMG logo on the centre console and different displays for the digital displays.
What about the boot?
Like all the latest-gen E-Class models, the E 63 has a gigantic cargo area measuring 640 litres with all seats in place. Tilt the backrests of the rear chairs forward by up to ten degrees and another 30 litres is added to that capacity, without the need to chuck out some human passengers, while folding down the rear bench liberates 1,820 litres of storage space.
And are there any other salient nuggets?
Yes, two tasty morsels: firstly, Mercedes-AMG says it has tuned the 'hallmark AMG V8' voice specifically for the Estate model and so it is bound to sound absolutely awesome; and secondly, the E 63 and the E 63 S will get their global debuts at the Geneva Motor Show in March, ahead of sales starting in spring and deliveries in summer. Your pet Labrador should be worried about this autumn...
Matt Robinson - 1 Feb 2017