It's a sign of the mother company's big plans for the E-Class (not to mention big desire to change its still conservative image versus sporty BMW in particular) that they have dropped the same drivetrain from the SL63, along with the universally acclaimed front axle tech from the C63. The Affalterbach folks have exceeded what we thought they could ever do with this model and those are the brave corporate moves that make the difference when competition for the choicest buyers' attention heats up.

Happily, too, this keenly improved mid-large AMG was just launched in the U.S. last October at a starting price of $85,750. All I'd add would be the full-on Performance Package, ceramic brakes, and delimited top speed. These are certainly many dollars, but Europeans pay tons more, and in any case this is identical to the price of the former E63. Not too shabby.

Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG

Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive

6.2-liter V8, dohc, 32-valve

Seven-speed AMG-Speedshift MCT automatic

Dampers and steel springs by Sachs, front axle with alloy control arms (f), electro-pneumatic adaptive AMG Ride Control air suspension (r), anti-roll bars

Six-piston calipers with 14.2-inch ventilated steel discs with perforated friction rings (f), four-piston calipers with 14.2-inch rotors (r), three-stage ESP; optional ceramic rotors

Length/Width/Height (in.):
Wheelbase: 113.2 in.
Curb Weight: 4,015 lb
MSRP: $85,750

Peak Power: 518 hp @ 6800 rpm
Peak Torque: 465 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm
0-62 mph: 4.5 sec.
Top Speed: 155 mph* (limited)
*186 mph with "code 250" Performance Pack option

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