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

2009 - 2016 (change model)
Performance rating: 4.5 out of 54.5

Written by Kieren Puffett Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG performance is prodigious. Initially the 6.2-litre V8 engine from the previous E63 was used to power the new model. It’s a big engine that packs a lot of horsepower but more importantly and usefully, it has huge amounts of pulling power.

Combined with the slick-shifting seven-speed automatic gearbox, the E-Class makes overtaking extremely easy – especially when it comes to passing slower lorries or caravans on single carriageways.

The driver can also select between Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus modes that speed up the automatic gearchange times respectively, while the manual mode allows the driver to use the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel to change up and down the seven gears. Given how quickly and cleanly the automatic gear changes are (especially with Sport or Sport Plus selected), the manual mode seems superfluous but it is fun to use and the driving experience is even more enjoyable.
In 2011, the engine was down-sized to a 5.5-litre twin-turbocharged V8 which made 517bhp. This engine was upgraded further in 2013, producing 549bhp in normal AMG form and 577bhp in AMG S form. That’s enough for a sprint to 62mph in 4.2 seconds for the former and 3.6 second for the latter (or 3.7 in the estate model).

This is the area where Mercedes has made the biggest improvements compared to the previous-generation E63 AMG. The car comes with AMG Ride Control sports suspension as standard with three modes of Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus. In Comfort mode the car provides a sumptuous driving experience enabling driver and passengers to cover large distances relatively stress-free and in plenty of comfort.

For enthusiastic drivers selecting Sport or Sport Mode sharpens the handling noticeably and provides a really involving drive on smooth and twisty A-roads. However, on lumpy country lanes the stiff suspension never feels completely at home and can deliver a bumpy ride. The steering feels sharp and direct, and the bespoke steering wheel is a pleasure to use.

The car features speed-sensitive steering that requires more steering input at higher speeds and less at lower speeds. This helps to give more feedback and makes you feel more connected to the car.