Words: Calvin Chan
Published: June 19, 2020
Hold onto your hats, because 600 horsepower just became the new norm. Both mid-size rocket ships from BMW and Mercedes have just been recently announced for 2021, and you can’t forget about the upcoming Audi RS6 Wagon either. For this model year, the E-Class receives some slight revisions, and is the last AMG model to finally receive the Panamericana vertical-slat front grill. It appears striking, and gives onlookers an easier way to differentiate from those lowly non-AMG models. New headlights and taillights that now extend into the trunk lid, wider wheel arches to accompany the wider track and new styled and more aerodynamic 20-inch wheels, and new paint colours such as Graphite Grey, High-Tech Silver, and Brilliant Magno Blue round up the aesthetic revisions. New grill aside, something about those softer and slimmer headlights make me prefer the outgoing model more. It was more muscular and more imposing, whereas this new appearance comes off a bit less distinctive. Alas, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
But there’s no denying that the new five-spoke steering wheel is the star of the interior, dripping in metal, leather, and your choice of carbon fibre or Alcantara. It continues to use high-quality buttons with touch-capacitive pads to control both the instrument cluster and infotainment screen. There are also new paddle shifters mounted lower behind the wheel, as well as the continuation of the driver-selectable knobs budding out of the lower spokes, just like in the GT 4-Door. The right dial controls the driving mode, while the left one can be configured to trigger the exhaust mode, suspension settings, traction control, and auto start/stop feature. Handy when you need some extra pizzazz in a pinch.
Power remains unchanged for 2021. Canada only receives the top-tier S model, which means the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 continues to produce a prodigious 603 hp and 627 lb-ft, with a 9-speed automatic sending it to all four wheels via a rear-biased, fully variable all-wheel drive system. 0-100 km/h comes in a swift 3.4 seconds (3.5 s for the Wagon), one-tenths slower than the 2021 BMW M5. AMG has noted that due to customer feedback, they have softened the ride a touch, addressing our own criticisms of its harsh and at times, punishing ride, which made us prefer the M5 for long-distance or daily-driving duties. The 2021 E 63 S also carries over with dynamic engine mounts, Drift Mode that disconnects the front axle, and an adjustable air suspension. Both sedans and wagons are still available for the E 63 S, and if you’ve read our prior reviews, you know which one we prefer.
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+ in both sedan and wagon guise will be available in Canadian showrooms at the beginning of 2021. Pricing has yet to be announced.
Since the introduction of the legendary "Hammer" in 1986, the E-Class has grown to become one of the central models that form the brand core of Mercedes-AMG. In its latest form, the exceptional comfort and luxury of the E-Class has been combined with the performance and feel typical of Mercedes-AMG. Both the Sedan and Wagon have undergone extensive design updates, and now sport a significantly larger, completely restyled front section that bears the AMG-specific radiator grille and proudly displays a larger central star. Combined with flatter all-LED multibeam head lights, flared wheel arches, and a rounded-fit hood with prominent powerdomes, these new models from Affalterbach benefit from a more aggressive look. A restyled front apron in a jet-wing design that houses three large air intakes and a front splitter, emphasizes the vehicle's overall proportions, and has the added benefit of reducing lift at the front axle. Much like the exterior, the interior of the E 63 S 4MATIC+ Sedan and Wagon has been thoroughly enhanced with treatments that further denote its membership in the AMG family.
"Thanks to our efficient V8 engine and fully variable all-wheel drive, the E 63 S 4MATIC+ offers outstanding vehicle dynamics and performance at the highest level. With this latest revision of the Sedan and Wagon, we have significantly increased comfort, all whilst retaining the hallmark AMG character. In conjunction with an extensive design update, which has had the added benefit of improved aerodynamics, our customers are now presented with an even more attractive overall package," says Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
The new look of the E 63 S 4MATIC+ is not solely inspired by aesthetics, and is in large part due to technical reasons. Designers and aerodynamics experts worked in tandem during development. Their insights not only resulted in the striking AMG body styling, but also produced an optimized aero balance for agile handling characteristics on both smooth and rough roads. Through this redesign, the aerodynamics experts were also able to reduce wind resistance.
The restyled E 63 S 4MATIC+ Sedan and Wagon benefit from a restyled front section that features a striking flap in high-gloss black that extends across the entire front apron, and continues into the outer edge of the jet-wing, rounding off outwards towards the sides. The front splitter is finished in Silver Shadow as standard, but can be optioned in carbon fibre or high gloss black. The wheel arches are now 27 millimetres wider, and have grown to accommodate the greater track width and the larger wheels on the front axle.
New design of rear end conveys more elegance and lightness
Two new, flatter tail lights with two sections grace the rear end of the Sedan. They now extend into the trunk lid, where they are visually linked with a trim strip in high-gloss chrome. On the Wagon, this trim strip extends even further, and continues on until the end of the outer rear lamps. The shape of the lights have remained unchanged, but have been updated with a new interior design in the look of the Sedan. The spoiler lip on the trunk lid of the Sedan is painted in the colour of the vehicle, unless optioned in carbon fibre.
The reshaped rear apron emphasizes the broad presence of the Sedan and Wagon, and also has a positive effect on aerodynamics. The lower part of the rear apron is in high-gloss black and is structured with a trim strip in Silver Shadow that runs over the entire width of the car and takes up the contour of the twin-tailpipe trim elements. With the AMG Night Package, this trim strip is made available in high-gloss black. The rounded 90 mm trapezoidal twin-tailpipes feature a new design in titanium matte with interior and exterior fluting. The rear section is rounded off by the high-gloss black diffuser, also restyled, with two longitudinal fins.
Aerodynamically optimized wheels and individual Design Packages
As standard, the E 63 S 4MATIC+ Sedan and Wagon is shod in new, aerodynamically optimized 20-inch 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels. The wheels feature a wider aero rim edge, and are finished in high-gloss tantalum grey as standard, or matte black as an option.
The new body colours of graphite grey metallic, high-tech silver metallic, and brilliant blue MAGNO are now available for selection. The latter was previously reserved for the AMG GT Family and is now available as an AMG-exclusive colour shade for the E-Class Sedan and Wagon, solely for the 63-series models.
With the optional AMG Night Package, the exterior mirror housings, window frames, and trim inserts and elements in the front are rear apron are kept in high-gloss black. The tailpipe trim elements sport black chrome. Exclusive to the 63-series models, the front splitter, in addition to trim inserts and elements in the rear apron can be ordered in carbon fibre. The mirror caps, and spoiler lip (Sedan-only) are also available in carbon fibre.
A sporty interior with high levels of comfort
The look and feel typical of the AMG brand is continued in the high-quality interior of the E 63 S 4MATIC+, which is characterized by a resolutely sporty ambience and an exclusive flair. The AMG seats upholstered in nappa leather provide optimum lateral support, and have an AMG-specific seat pattern layout with an "AMG" badge in the front backrests. As standard, nappa leather is also used for the dashboard and beltline trim. As an option, seat belts can be made available in crystal grey. As a new AMG-specific upholstery, nappa leather in black/titanium grey pearl with yellow contrast topstitching is now available.
AMG-specific interior appointments and controls lend the cockpit a hallmark AMG flair, and encourage agile and precise handling. The centre console includes an AMG-specific control unit with additional switches that are used to regulate the drive programs, media volume, 3-stage ESP®, manual transmission mode, Adaptive Damping System, AMG Performance exhaust system, ECO start/stop function and the reversing camera. Door sill panels and black floor mats with "AMG" lettering complement the AMG brushed stainless steel sports pedals, and accentuate the E 63 S 4MATIC+ Sedan and Wagon's sporty look.
A further highlight of the interior is the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system with touchscreen and touchpad, intelligent voice control, and AMG-specific displays and settings. Visually, the two displays for the instrument cluster and multimedia displays blend beneath a shared glass cover to form the Widescreen Cockpit. Customers can choose between the three AMG display styles of "Modern Classic", "Sport" and "Supersport" for the instrument cluster. "Supersport" mode is particularly striking, and features a central, round rev counter and additional information presented in the form of bars to the left. Via the AMG menu, the driver can call up various special displays such as Engine Data, gear speed indicator, Warm-up, Set-up, G-Meter and RACETIMER.
On first-name terms: "Hey Mercedes" with additional functions
The trailblazing voice control activated with the words "Hey Mercedes" is also part of the standard specification of the new E 63 S 4MATIC+ Sedan and Wagon. Through artificial intelligence, MBUX instantly recognizes and understands nearly all sentences from the fields of infotainment and vehicle operation, even if expressed indirectly. New to MBUX is the ability to have the weather forecast for certain regions read out in virtually all languages.
New AMG Performance steering wheel with seamlessly integrated buttons
With a fresh design and seamlessly integrated buttons, the new AMG Performance steering wheel creates an even closer bond between driver and vehicle. The three rounded twin spokes combine stability with lightness, and the steering wheel rim with a flattened lower section is a hallmark motorsport feature. The cover is available in leather; in DINAMICA microfibre, or as a combination of leather and microfibre – with standard steering wheel heating. The steering wheel rim has within it a capacitive sensor mat to recognize "hands-on". If the system detects that the driver does not have his/her hands on the steering wheel for a certain time, a warning is initiated, which finally activates Emergency Brake Assist if the driver continues to be inactive.
These capacitive switches are seamlessly integrated into the surfaces of the steering wheel's horizontal twin spokes and sport a very elegant look. Haptic sensing aids in the area of the symbols make control easier. The instrument cluster can be operated via the left-hand sensor on the upper steering wheel spokes, whereas the media display can be controlled via the right-hand sensor surface.
The lower spokes contain the controls for the cruise control/DISTRONIC (left) and telephone/hands-free system/volume control (right). The optional steering wheel buttons for actuating the drive programs include even more brilliant displays and are now both round.
The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9G transmission can be manually operated via the aluminum shift paddles located on the left and right hand sides behind the steering wheel rim. The restyled paddles are ergonomically adapted to the new AMG Performance steering wheel, slightly larger than the previous ones, and are positioned further down.
AMG 4.0 litre V8 biturbo engine with twin-scroll turbochargers
Powered by a hand-built AMG V8 biturbo engine, the E 63 S 4MATIC+ can deliver an impressive power output of 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. It is available across a wide range of engine speeds (2,500 to 4,500 rpm) and conveys the feeling of effortless superiority with every accelerator pedal position. The Sedan completes the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds, and the Wagon completes the jaunt in 3.5 seconds.
In order to ensure optimum output and response from the AMG 4.0-litre V8 engine, the two exhaust gas turbochargers feature twin-scroll technology. This technology reduces the exhaust gas back-pressure and optimizes the gas cycle. As a result of the standard cylinder shutoff, the performance models are highly efficient. When the driver has selected the "Comfort" drive program, the cylinder deactivation system is available in a wide range of engine speed, from 1,000 to 3,250 rpm. A special display in the instrument cluster indicates whether the cylinder deactivation system is in use and whether the engine is operating in four or eight-cylinder mode. The transition between these two operating states is immediate, fast, and torque neutral, so the occupants do not have to sacrifice any comfort.
The E 63 S 4MATIC+ is the only car in its competitive segment that is fitted with dynamic engine mounts. These mounts solve the conflicting goals of achieving a soft connection to the powertrain for the purpose of high comfort, and a rigid connection for optimum driving dynamics. The dynamic mounts are quickly and variably able to adapt their stiffness to the driving conditions and requirements in real time.
Short shift times, high efficiency: the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed transmission
The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-Speed transmission is specially tuned to the requirements of the E 63 S 4MATIC+ Sedan and Wagon. The autonomous software enables extremely short shift times and multiple fast downshifts, while the double-clutching function makes for an emotive gear shifting experience. A wet multi-plate start-off clutch replaces the torque converter. It saves weight and optimizes responses, especially when accelerating or coming off the power.
The highlights of the transmission include:
Specially developed suspension for maximum lateral and longitudinal dynamics
The agile and highly dynamic lateral acceleration of the new E 63 S 4MATIC+ Sedan and Wagon is a direct result of the AMG RIDE CONTROL+ suspension. High levels of camber stability, driving dynamics, and steering precision is ensured by the multi-chamber air suspension and adaptive adjustable damping ADS+ system. With the current model enhancement, the comfort characteristics of the suspension have been tangibly increased as a result of retuning and revised elastokinematics.
A four-link front axle design uses forged aluminum components with wishbones, strut rod and a spring link. Independent wheel control and suspension elements enable high lateral acceleration with minimal torque steer. The rear axle is autonomous and has been tuned accordingly. Working in tandem with the ADS+ system, the suspension allows for an obvious distinction between high long-distance comfort and sporty vehicle dynamics.
The Adaptive Damping System, in combination with a special spring and damper set-up, guarantee exemplary driving dynamics, along with excellent road roar and tire vibration characteristics. The stiffness of the air springs can be adjusted by activating or deactivating individual air chambers, making for perceptibly enhanced comfort and handling. Depending on the selected drive program and current driving status, there are three degrees of spring tuning. The spring rate is hardened automatically in the event of sudden load changes, fast cornering, heavy acceleration or heavy breaking, and effectively reduces roll and pitching while stabilizing the vehicle.
The Adaptive Damping System can be set in three states of "Comfort", "Sport" and "Sport+". The rebound and compression levels are adjusted independently of each other, and the freely programmable maps permit a wide spread between minimum and maximum damper forces. The difference between the comfort and sporty suspension settings has been refined, and is clearly noticeable.
AMG Performance 4MATIC+ variable all-wheel drive with Drift Mode
All E 63 variants are equipped with the AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive as standard. This intelligent system combines the optimal traction necessary for dynamic driving with a high-level of safety. An electromechanically controlled clutch connects the permanently driven rear axle variably to the front axle. The best possible torque distribution is continuously calculated. The E 63 S 4MATIC+ Sedan and Wagon can thus be driven in a continuously variable way: from traction-oriented all-wheel drive, to pure rear-wheel drive. In addition, the all-wheel drive system also improves the longitudinal dynamics for even more powerful acceleration.
As a result of fully variable torque distribution, it is still possible to sustain a drift. Available as standard, the Drift Mode can be activated in the "RACE" drive program using the shift paddles, provided that ESP® is deactivated and the transmission is in manual mode. When Drift Mode is activated, the E 63 S 4MATIC+ becomes a purely rear-wheel drive vehicle. Drift Mode remains engaged until the driver deactivates it again.
Rear-axle locking differential: optimum traction
For improved traction and driving dynamics, the E 63 S 4MATIC+ Sedan and Wagon are equipped with an electronically regulated rear-axle locking differential. Without any control intervention in the braking system, the locking differential reduces the slip on the inside wheel when cornering. The driver is able to accelerate out of bends earlier and more powerfully. The car remains more stable when braking from high speeds, and the locking differential improves traction when moving off. The greatest benefit of the electronic rear-axle locking differential is the even more sensitive and proactive control, which pushes the thresholds higher and makes it easier to drive at the vehicle's limits. The three-stage ESP® with "ESP ON", "ESP SPORT Handling Mode" and "ESP OFF" settings works in precise unison with the rear-axle locking differential and the all-wheel drive, and is optimally tuned to the outstanding dynamics.
Direct and with clear feedback: the AMG speed-sensitive steering
The electromechanical speed-sensitive power steering has a variable ratio and impresses with its precise, authentic feedback. The steering servo assistance is reduced at high speeds, and continuously increases at lower speeds. This means that comparatively little steering force is required at low speeds, while the best possible control over the vehicle is maintained at high speeds. The steering assistance is assigned to the various stages of the AMG DYNAMICS system. Comfortable steering tuning is set in "Basic". In "Advanced" and "Master/Pro", the driver receives incrementally more feedback about the driving status thanks to sportier steering tuning.
Good control and fade-resistant: the AMG high-performance brake system
In line with the high output values and their associated performance, the new E 63 S 4MATIC+ is fitted with a large-sized high-performance compound brake system that is reliable, quick, and fade-resistant even under high loads. The compound brake discs are internally ventilated and perforated, and measure 390 x 36 mm with six-piston fixed callipers at the front, and measure 360 x 26 mm with single-piston floating brake callipers on the rear axle. In addition, there is an AMG Carbon Ceramic brake system available as an option, with brake discs measuring 402 x 39 mm on the front axle and 360 x 32 mm on the rear axle.
For a personalized experience: AMG DYNAMIC SELECT and AMG DYNAMICS
With the six DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs of "Slippery", "Comfort", "Sport", "Sport+", "Individual" and "RACE", the characteristics of the new E 63 S 4MATIC+ models can be adjusted by the tap of a finger. The available range extends from efficient and comfortable to very sporty. The various modes modify key parameters like engine response, transmission, suspension, and steering. Independent of the DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs, the driver has the option of switching to manual mode, in which gearshifts are executed the steering wheel shift paddles. The suspension set-ups can also be specifically selected as needed.
The AMG DYNAMICS vehicle dynamics control is integrated into the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive program. In the "Basic", "Advanced", "Pro" and "Master" levels, it influences the control strategies of the ESP ® (Electronic Stability Program) or the all-wheel drive. The intelligent pilot control anticipates the desired vehicle behaviour based on the driver's actions and the sensor data. The spectrum ranges from extremely stable to highly dynamic. AMG DYNAMICS functions can also be individually selected via the AMG steering wheel buttons.
Parameters relevant to driving, such as the response of the engine and suspension, the control strategy of the all-wheel drive system, and the control thresholds of the ESP® are intelligently adapted according to the drive program. The spectrum ranges from safety-oriented to highly dynamic. The "Master" mode stored in the "RACE" drive program ensures optimum agility and brings out the high driving dynamics potential to optimum effect - for example through higher yaw rates and a faster response from the accelerator pedal, gearshift system, electronically controlled rear-axle locking differential or brake force distribution of the all-wheel drive system.