Is the Mercedes-AMG E63 really £10,000 slower than the E63 S?

The ‘basic’ E63 goes up against the TG clock. Do you need the S version?

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Until now, it’s been the Mercedes-AMG E63 S that’s had all the super saloon attention in 2017. Mainly, because ‘Drift Mode’.

But, let’s imagine for a second you’re a moderately rational person. An individual who is quite happy to tool around in what’s probably AMG’s finest creation to date – the greatest super saloon ever, in fact – without the party trick of disconnecting the front driveshafts once traction control is disabled. Unleashing north of 600bhp on two driven wheels with zero safety net is great for instant Instagram infamy, but even we have to admit it’s hardly a chuckle-a-day feature.

For the sensible, considerate folk who still want a rip-snorting Devil’s E-Class, there is the standard Mercedes-AMG E63. Or, as everyone is calling it, the ‘non-S’. 

The non-S doesn’t have Drift Mode. It has a mechanical differential instead of a trick electric one, slightly smaller brakes, and a bit less power. It’s also getting on for ten thousand pounds cheaper overall. The only bodywork tell between ‘em is the missing ‘S’ badge on the bootlid. And lots of dents on the S, if you’ve been using Drift Mode.

Here’s a quick, digestible numbers breakdown:

Table 4

However, we already know the E63 S likes to outrun what AMG conservatively claims it’ll run against the clock. The first one we ever tested cracked 0-97kph in 3.2sec, and that was with a photographer and all his kit riding shotgun. It matched a hybrid Honda NSX from 0-161kph too, nailing the ton in 7.3 seconds. Here’s how it got on against a Tesla Model S P100D.

Anyway, here’s the breakdown of E63 vs E63 S. Both times were set with cars in the UK, on fresh tyres, both with one driver (duh), no passengers and half a tank of fuel on board, along a dry track. Once you’ve soaked these up we’ll regroup below for a debrief…

E63               E63 S      
0-10:                 0.53                0.52
0-20:                 1.03                1.01
0-30:                 1.75                1.50
0-40:                 2.27                1.99
0-50:                 2.90                2.59
0-60:                 3.56                3.27
0-70:                 4.51                4.18
0-80:                 5.54                5.13
0-90:                 6.72                6.12
0-100:               8.00                7.34
0-110:               9.50                8.85
30-70mph:       2.76                 2.68

Despite their standard-fit, super easy to use launch control (select Sport, Sport Plus, or, in the E63 S only, Race Mode, then hold the brake and throttle until you’re ready), both Es struggle to get away cleanly. You get half a wheel rotation of spin, they stutter as the computers heroically calculate what the hell’s going on, then all four wheels dig back into the surface and hurl each respective E63 forward. Check out the initial getaways: at 32kph, there’s just 0.02sec between the E63 and the E63 S.

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From there, the E63 S lets rip on its little brother. Raw extra power hauls the pricier car to 97kph in a whisker under 3.3 seconds, while the lesser model is three-tenths down. Yes, these are old-fashioned 0-97kph times rather than the industry standard 0-100kph, but both cars were near as dammit what AMG claims. With a bit more tyre temperature to sort out the crucial getaway phase, I don’t doubt both would’ve gone miles faster than the official brochure brags.

It’s only above 113kph that it feels safe to blink in a hard-charging E63. The first three gears are blinkingly short and stacked right on top of each other, and the changes are just rampant. Both cars were left in auto mode for their drag runs, so they banged in consistently perfect changes. 

By 161kph, the E63 S is more than 0.6sec ahead of the E63, which makes the ton in a satisfyingly round 8.00 seconds dead. Interesting how both Es then take exactly 1.5 seconds to add another 16kph to that – that extra gearchange is your first proper pause for breath.

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So, yes, the E63 S is appreciably, noticeably quicker than the standard E63, if you’re going to select the angry modes, engage the thoroughly antisocial Race Start, and run them out to illegal speeds. And that, plus the S-car’s trick tech and power figure beginning with a seductive six, will be more than enough for some to justify the extra £9,360. In fact, the standard car’s steering is a touch less accurate, and its balance a little less playful, which we’ll explore in a full road test of the new E63, coming soon. 

But before you go, just look at that 30-70mph (48-113kph) comparison one more time. That’s the proper real-world, roll-on performance benchmark. The motorway sliproad stakes. Exiting-a-village A-road fun time. The E63 is just 0.08sec behind.

That’s almost a whole tenth of a second extra to enjoy that walloping, thunderous V8 soundtrack…

TopGear
Author: TopGear
TopGear is the world’s best-selling motoring magazine. The Malaysian edition holds similar status, as acknowledged by the industry.

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