What’s better than a jet-black sport sedan with 329 horsepower and a zero-to-60 time of 4.5 seconds? A matte-gray sport sedan with 603 horsepower that can rocket from zero to 60 in just 3.3 seconds! And that comparison illustrates the beauty of the versatile 2018 Mercedes E-Class lineup. Because following a week with the raucous E43, we got to sample the more hardcore version of this luxury sedan, the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S.
Introduced for the 2018 model year, the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S is the ultimate performance version of the fifth-gen E-Class, and it competes against equally impressive sedans like the Cadillac CTS-V, Audi RS 7, BMW M5, and Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Keep reading to find out what it’s like to live with!
2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Exterior
As cool as our E43 looked done up in a surprisingly understated mix of metallic black and carbon fiber, this 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S looks as menacing as its spec sheet would suggest. The entire front end (from the A-pillar forward) is exclusive to the E63 presumably for improved aerodynamics and engine cooling. Almost the entire fascia is made up of functional air intakes, and the lower air splitter looks like something that was developed for a Mercedes-AMG racecar! The rear of the E63 has been tuned for better aerodynamics as well with a larger rear spoiler and more pronounced diffuser.
Overall, the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S is almost two inches longer and 2.2 inches wider than the E43, and the latter was necessary to accommodate the 20-inch tires that are 9.5 inches wide up front and 10 inches wide at the rear. This tester was painted in the designo Selenite Grey Magno – simply calling it “matte grey” doesn’t do this car justice, and certainly doesn’t sound quite as worthy of the $3,950 option cost. But it’s truly stunning. And as if the paint’s finish wasn’t eye catching enough, this car also featured optional ($1,700) matte-black forged wheels, and high-gloss trim pieces from the $750 AMG Night Package. All told, it looks wicked.
2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Interior
Like the E43, the interior of the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S adds sporty touches to the E-Class’ high-lux cabin. Up front, the sport bucket seats offer plenty of support during spirited driving with large side bolsters, yet they were still comfortable enough in everyday driving; the optional ($1,320) active multicontour front seats with massage function were delightfully soothing on long drives. My favorite part of the cabin, though, was the fat-rimmed, flat-bottomed AMG performance steering wheel with perfectly positioned paddle shifters, and it came wrapped in a mix of nappa leather and Mercedes’ Dinamica suede-like material.
The highlight of the E-Class cabin is, of course, the pair of 12.3-inch high-definition displays for the gauge cluster and infotainment screen that creates a massive single screen and spans two-thirds of the whole instrument panel. Controlling these screens are easy either using the touch-sensitive steering wheel buttons or the console-mounted COMAND controller, and the use of this technology is easy and intuitive. To be honest, the E43’s cabin looked a bit sportier with the carbon fiber trim, but metallic dash trim and dark perforated leather seats (with more Dinamica suede) proved to be more than sporty enough for this high-performance sedan.
2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Powertrain
Of all the improvements Mercedes-Benz made to its AMG-tuned E-Class, the powertrain was given the most attention. The sedan is still powered by a hand-built (with a plaque of the engine builder on the engine cover) AMG biturbo V8, and while displacement dropped from 5.5 liter to 4.0 liters, power output jumped from 577 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque up to 603 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. Not that fuel economy matters on a performance car like the E63 S, but this sedan does skirt gas guzzler status with EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 15 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway**.
It’s easy to heap all the praise on this amazing engine, but the true highlight of the all-new E63 S is what’s behind the engine. For starters, the quick-shifting AMG nine-speed automatic is fun whether it’s left in automatic mode or full manual mode. And then there’s the AMG Performance 4MATIC+ permanent all-wheel drive with variable torque distribution and drift mode; this latter mode sends all the power to the rear wheels. Despite weighing 370 pounds more than the E43 sedan, the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S can accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 3.3 seconds as well as being able to hit a top speed of 186 mph.
Equally impressive as the powertrain’s ability to give this 4,515-pound sedan such amazing performance numbers is the suspension tuning’s ability to let the E63 feel like Jekyll and Hyde. In standard drive mode, the steering and suspension are remarkably smooth, but opting for the Sport or Sport+ drive modes brings more than just the meaner exhaust note with lots of snaps, crackles and pops. The response of the suspension, steering and throttle are all tightened up, which makes this big sedan corner like a true sports car. Even the brakes of the E63 are beefier with front rotors that are 1.2 inches larger in diameter than the E43. Bottom line, the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S might be able to take on the Nürburgring, but it’s still ready for daily commutes and Sunday drives.
2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Safety
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class received a five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In addition to the long list of standard safety features available on the new E-class, this E63 tester was equipped with the $3,600 AMG Premium Package, which added Active Distance Assist Distronic, active lane change assist, active emergency stop assist, active brake assist with cross-traffic function, active steering assist, evasive steering assist, active lane keeping assist, active blind spot assist, rear-end collision protection, Surround View System and head-up display.
2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Overall
Mercedes-Benz has definitely blurred the line between sports cars and sedans recently with segment-busting models like the CLS and all-new AMG GT four door, while the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S is a more traditional take on a high-powered family sedan. Not that long ago, topping 600 horsepower and hitting zero to 60 in a little over three seconds were accomplishments reserved for supercars, and even though cars are faster and more powerful than ever, the E63 S still feels supercar fast — plus it has seating for five, and a huge trunk!
Not surprisingly, a pure-bred sport sedan like the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S doesn’t come cheap. In fact, its starting price of $104,400* is almost double the base MSRP ($53,500) of a 2018 E300, and this modestly equipped tester had a short list (for a Mercedes press car) of options and an as-tested price of $122,060.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation-affiliated Mercedes-Benz dealership and test drive the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2018 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.