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FIRST DRIVES

E Blast

Mercedes launches a renewed assault on the fast four-door segment with its all-new E63 AMG. Gautam Sharma samples the brawny V8 thumper It’s been a great 12 months for aficionados of steroidal sedans. Leaving aside the existing bMW M5 (which has worn the test of time remarkably well), we’ve been spoiled by the arrival of the Cadillac Cts-V, Jaguar XFr and audi rs6. naturally, Mercedes wasn’t going to sit on its hands while the high-horsepower slugfest escalated, and here’s its riposte: the new e63 aMg, which carries over its predecessor’s 6.2-litre V8 (Merc cheekily refers to the 6208cc unit as a “6.3”), but ditches pretty much everything else. based on the new-generation W212 e-Class, the latest aMg

road rocket is distinguished by sharp-edged headlights and more chiselled styling that its organiclooking forerunner. It’s also grown, measuring about 40mm longer and 50mm wider than the oldie – but Merc has managed to keep the weight from blowing out as it tips the scales at a near-identical 1840kg. the big V8 thumps out 518bhp and 630nm, which might be slightly down on the rs6 and Cts-V, but a 0-100km/h sprint of 4.5sec is none-too-shabby, while the electronically governed top whack of 250km/h should suffice for most. In case it doesn’t, you can opt for the optional Performance

E63 AMG’s beefy stance makes it far more imposing than standard E-Class

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Chiselled, squared-off lines of the new E63 AMG are offset by trapezoidal-shaped tailpipes; Five-spoke rims are also a new design

Vitals

factfile

Cabin is adorned by drilled alloy pedals, as well as an assortment of metal-look finishes and piano-black trim

Package ($7822), which raises top speed to 300km/h, as well as bringing goodies such as 19-inch aMg alloys and a rear differential with 40 per cent locking action. Our wheel time was limited to some hot laps at abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit, and immediately apparent was the massive grunt that’s on tap (although a Caddy Cts-V has even greater reserves), while the exhaust note makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. the quartet of tailpipes emit a bellow that’s part old-school nasCar and part DtM (Deutsche tourenwagen Masters – germany’s premier tin-

top championship). the sheer straight-line urge is impressive, and the Merc proved capable of setting a respectable pace around the tight and technical Yas Marina Circuit. that said, it’s nowhere near as nimble as its smaller C63 aMg sibling (which we also thrashed on the same day). Where the C63 can be flung with abandon into corners, with the e you have to wind on steering lock a bit more gradually and wait for the front tyres to bite into the tarmac. It’s also not quite as flat and composed in mid-corner as its baby brother. the esP (electronic stability Program) has

three settings – “esP On”, “esP sPOrt” and “esP OFF” – but unfortunately we weren’t allowed to select the last of these settings on the day. this being the case, the electronic nannies spoiled the fun a little, cutting power just when you needed it to make a nice drifting exit to corners. there’s a couple of heavy braking points on the Yas Circuit (even on the subsection that we used), but the 360mm ventilated discs were equal to the challenge, resisting fade even after four or five hard laps. not much to fault about the aMg sPeeDsHIFt MCt seven-speed sequential

MERCEdES-BEnz E63 AMG

Engine Power Torque Transmission Length Width Height Kerb weight 0-100km/h Top speed Price On sale

6.2-litre V8 518bhp at 6800rpm 630Nm at 5200rpm Seven-speed auto 4891Nm 1872mm 1442mm 1840kg 4.5sec 250km/h (limited) From $117,000 Now

gearbox, although it’s occasionally a bit reluctant to downshift in manual mode. Visually, the e63 aMg gets an unreserved thumbs-up from me. Where the standard e-Class looks a bit tippy-toey and under-tyred, the aMg hotshoe has a beefy, hunkereddown stance thanks to its lowered suspension, large wheel/rubber combo, aggressive front spoiler and sidesill extensions. Pricing, too, is a strong suit, with an entry point of $117,000 in the Middle east, which is one of the first regions worldwide to get the car into showrooms. January 2010 WWW.AUTOCARMAG.COM 31

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