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Mercedes-Benz E-Class AMG engines, drive and performance

2002 - 2008 (change model)
Performance rating: 5 out of 55.0

Written by David Ross Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

Originally the E-Class AMG was powered by a supercharged 5.4-litre V8 (despite being badged E55) which gives it a 0-62mph time of 4.7 seconds (4.8 seconds in the estate) and – as you’d expect – immense pulling power from low down. When driven normally it behaves in the same refined manner as the rest of the E-Class range but when pushed it reveals its performance side with immense acceleration and an accompanying howl from the exhaust.

In June 2006 this was replaced by a 6.2-litre V8 (without a supercharger or turbocharger) that develops 514bhp. Badged as the E63 AMG, it has slightly less torque than the previous E55 model but 0-62mph is a fraction quicker at 4.5 seconds (4.6 seconds in the estate). It comes with a seven-speed automatic transmission which has three programmes: comfort, sport and manual.

In manual mode, upshifts have to be carried out manually to avoid the engine bouncing off the rev limiter.

AMG versions of the E-Class have stiffer suspension than the standard car along with a lower ride height. You’re always aware that you’re in a performance car, but it is still impressively smooth and soaks up bumps well. The AMG uses an air suspension system with three settings. The standard setting is the most comfort-oriented, while pushing a button on the centre console results in stiffer behaviour.

A second push makes it firmer still. You don’t notice much of a difference when driving slowly over smooth roads, but in its most extreme mode it feels more composed when pushing hard, although the ride starts to become jarring over poor surfaces. Steering feel and feedback help create a more involving drive compared with a standard E-Class and there is plenty of grip.