Mercedes rolls out über estate
How fast can you transport a brace of labradors these days? Very fast, now that Mercedes has announced an estate version of its latest generation Mercedes AMG E63.
The new E 63 estate uses a downsized V8 4.0 litre biturbo engine to produce 571 bhp and four-wheel drive to launch the car to 0 – 62 mph in just 3.6 seconds.
Even the upgraded run-out Performance version of Audi’s RS6 Avant, the current putative fast estate champion, can only muster a pedestrian 3.7 seconds for the acceleration benchmark. And if the standard AMG isn’t fast enough, Mercedes also offers an even-faster S version with 0 – 62 in 3.5 seconds, thanks to an uprated 612 bhp power plant.
Even if you don’t notice that tenth of a second difference, you will feel the increase in torque, or pulling power, with the S version boasting 850Nm versus 750Nm in the standard model. Whichever version you go for, flooring the throttle is likely to leave the labradors howling as they get hurled towards the rear of the boot and quite likely your human passengers will be making similar noises too. But most of the time you will probably find yourself wafting along with the lightest throttle and effortless acceleration, sitting comfortably in the nappa leather-lined interior.
Bearing in mind the prodigious performance on offer, official economy figures are an impressive 30 – 31 mpg for either engine thanks to cylinder deactivation. But if you are looking for an economical car to run, look elsewhere down the range for a humbler diesel. AMG is all about performance.
The luxury estate offers has independently configurable 9‑speed automatic gearbox, suspension and steering controls, allowing you to choose whether you want a sportier or more comfortable ride. The four different drive programmes are Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual. You can also press the M button to switch directly to manual mode and shift using paddles on the steering wheel. The S version comes with the RACE drive programme for driving on closed circuits. At around two tonnes in weight, this is not the most obvious race car, but a track is the only place you are ever going to be able to safely test it to its true limits.
The standard model has a mechanical rear-axle limited-slip differential, while the S comes with an electronically controlled version. Both reduce the slip on the inside wheel when cornering, so you can accelerate out of bends earlier and with more power. The S model also gets dynamic engine mounts, which can adapt their stiffness, helping to enhance the vehicle’s precision when driven hard, while increasing comfort on the softer setting.
For the first time on an AMG estate, the bonnet is inset between the wings and bumper. More powerful-looking and 27 millimetres wider, the wheel arches accommodate the greater track width and the larger wheels on the front axle.
The side sill panels make the estate appear to sit lower on the road and elongate the overall line, with an apron insert sporting a diffuser and two high-gloss chrome-plated twin exhaust tailpipes. The hallmark AMG V8 sound has been tuned specifically for the estate model.
And of course, being an E‑Class estate, there is class-leading boot space (640 litres) and possibly even room for a wardrobe with the back seats folded down (1820 litres). The rear seat back can also be positioned at a 10-degree steeper angle for an extra 30 litres of cargo space while keeping five seats and the rear seat back can be folded down electronically in a 40:20:40 split.
Inside, the AMG performance steering wheel in black nappa leather is ideal for a sporty driving style. The driver and front passenger enjoy a secure position in the front sports seat, thanks to the improved lateral support.
All important information appears within the driver’s field of vision on the AMG instrument cluster. Dials in a carbon-fibre look and the distinctive typography lend the displays a sporty touch. Infotainment is top quality. A widescreen multifunction display with two monitors comes as standard in the S version and is an option on the standard model.
The world première of the Mercedes AMG E63 estate was at the recent Geneva Motor Show. The UK sales release is in early April, with first UK deliveries expected to arrive in August.
Doug Bentall , editor of audicarnews.co.uk