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Super-rev super sedan

Mercedes-Benz’s AMG vehicles have never been wanting for straight-line speed.

Mercedes-Benz’s AMG vehicles have never been wanting for straight-line speed. So it was no surprise AMG’s take on the freshly-minted 2010 E-Class sedan, the 518 hp 6.2L V8 E63, proved a formidable autobahn missile — rock solid, quiet and still pressing the backside hard into the 14-way sport seats at speeds that would have had yours truly on the front pages and behind the pipes in Ontario.

But it’s away from this natural AMG habitat where the new E63 surprises. Like the 2009 C63 AMG compact sedan that plays in the same sandbox as the poetic BMW M3, this E63 aspires to run with the $106,900 500 hp V10 BMW M5 — and closes the gap considerably.

The 2010 E63 AMG will be arriving in Canada during the fourth quarter of 2009. It should come in close to the current car’s $121,100 list.

The E63 combines a front steel suspension for better road feel with self-leveling rear air suspension. The newly developed three-link front setup sports a wider track (up 56 mm) and increased negative camber for more front-end bite,

As with most mega-performance German saloons, one is presented with a dizzying number of dynamic possibilities. ESP (electronic stability program) has three settings — On, Sport or Off. How brave are you feeling? A three-level adaptive damper system firms things up when the going gets frisky, or can be set to sport or the more extreme sport plus.

The seven-speed Speedshift MTC features four selectable modes: the short-shifting economy C mode, the more aggressive Sport and Sport Plus modes (throttle response sharpens too), and finally the fully manual M mode wherein the steering-wheel mounted paddles beckon the ratios.

Not a twin-clutch or torque converter type transmission, AMG’s unique multi-plate wet clutch setup works a treat. Shifts are smooth and quick and it double-declutches on downshifts with sexy rev-matching. There is launch control as well.

The soul of any AMG product lies in the engine, and doing duty underhood is AMG’s hand-built hi-revving 6208 cc V8 that is massaged to produce 518 hp at 6800 r.p.m. (up 11 hp from last year’s E63) and 465 lb.ft. of torque at 5200 r.p.m.

Foregoing the turbo and supercharger route, this DOHC 32-valve V8 makes its power the old fashioned way — lots of displacement and lots of revs.

And what a soundtrack. This big bent-eight gets all NASCAR on us when caned, bellowing like a randy moose.

At 1840 kg, the 2010 E63 is no lightweight, yet its mass is easily dismissed by this fabulous engine and transmission. It dashes to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds.

The 2010 E63 AMG does not overtly advertise its muscle. Despite the 17mm wider front wings (to cover the increased front track), sill extensions, more aggressive front and rear aprons, smoked headlights, standard 18” alloys and quad tail-pipes, it still looks fairly restrained. Which is probably a good thing considering this car’s license-vapourizing potential.

Of course, the E63 AMG is foremost a premium luxury Mercedes-Benz sedan, bristling with the marque’s latest safety technologies and pampering its occupants with a finely crafted interior awash in comfort and convenience features.

How much longer hyper-sedans like these will be around is anybody’s guess. If you’re in the market, best step up to the plate now.

2010 M-B AMG E63
Type: Premium luxury sedan
Price: from $125,000
Engine: 6208 cc DOHC V8
HP/Torque: 518/465 lb.-ft.

Highlights
• Hand-built engine
• Sport settings
• Latest safety technologies and comfort features

 
 
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