What Is It?
Three of our favorite letters in the automotive alphabet are AMG — anytime these letters get affixed to a Mercedes, it means the vehicle is configured for maximum performance. For the luxurious Mercedes-Benz E-Class midsize sedan, the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S heads the entire E-Class family. With a nearly perfect blend of high-tech luxury and extreme performance, the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S rightfully commands attention as a proper high-end German muscle car.
Mercedes-Benz provided us with a 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Sedan painted in Graphite Gray Metallic. Not only is the E 63 S the most powerful model in the E-Class lineup, it also comes from the factory well outfitted with standard equipment. However, there’s always room for more goodies. The test vehicle also arrived with AMG ceramic brakes, cabin air fragrance, 20-inch AMG 5-spoke wheels, a panoramic sunroof, massaging front seats, a Burmester surround-sound audio system, a driver-assistance package, an AMG Night Package and Acoustic Comfort Package for a total MSRP of $134,440. Competitors to the E 63 S include the BMW M5 Competition, Audi RS6, Dodge Charger Hellcat, Porsche Panamera Turbo S and Tesla Model S.
Updates for 2021
Mercedes gives the AMG E 63 S a face-lift for the 2021 model year with the primary updates occurring up front. The distinctive AMG grille features vertical slats and a larger star logo in the center, helping to differentiate AMG variants from less powerful E-Class offerings. The grille opening is larger than the previous version to provides better cooling for the big V8 engine.
The all-LED multibeam headlights of the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S have an updated, flatter style flanking the new grille. More aggressive wheel arches and twin power domes in the hood give the car a more assertive demeanor as well. The reshaped front bumper has three large air intakes, and a new front splitter not only adds to the sporty styling, it also significantly reduces front-end lift.
At the rear of the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S, designers gave the sedan flatter taillights that now extend into the trunk lid. A strip of high-gloss chrome runs across the top to connect the lights. As expected of almost every AMG vehicle, quad exhaust outlets add to the visual and aural presence of the E 63 S.
Under the Hood
In keeping with any AMG-badged vehicle from Mercedes, the E 63 S boasts some serious power under the hood. That potency comes from a handcrafted AMG 4.0-liter biturbo V8 engine that produces 603 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque, teamed with a quick-shifting AMG SPEEDSHIFT 9-speed automatic transmission. Gears can be shifted via paddle shifters on the steering column; however, the transmission works amazingly well when left to its own devices, so to speak.
To ensure the E 63 S takes full advantage of its powerful engine, this fast sedan comes with AMG Performance 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive with variable torque distribution. And for those who seek a bit more excitement, a Drift mode sends all the power to the rear wheels. An electronically controlled rear-axle limited-slip differential further improves driving dynamics.
The AMG Ride Control+ suspension system of the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S uses new three-chamber air suspension with an adaptive damping system to adjust the ride and driving dynamics based on driver preference or the current driving conditions.
As mentioned previously, the test vehicle arrived with an AMG carbon ceramic brake system that employs 15.8-inch discs up front and 14.2 inches in the rear. Six-piston brake calipers up front and a single-piston floating brake caliper at the rear ensure the big sedan’s speed can be quickly reduced as necessary.
Granted it may seem like a run-of-the-mill, luxurious 4-door sedan, but make no mistake — the E 63 S is outrageously quick. A sprint to 60 mph takes a mere 3.3 seconds and, given enough road (or track), this German muscle car will hit 186 mph — its electronically limited top speed.
Mercedes-Benz also includes updates to the interior of the 2021 E 63 S, equipping this quick sedan with the latest MBUX infotainment system featuring two 12.3-inch display screens housed behind one piece of glass in what Mercedes refers to as a Widescreen Cockpit. The display can be configured as Modern Classic, Sport or Supersport — the latter features a round tachometer in the center with a 3D look to the display. A new twin-spoke AMG Performance steering wheel boasts better integration of wheel-mounted controls.
Mercedes-Benz moved to a stalk-mounted gear shift system several years ago, and we still have difficulty getting used to it every time we drive a Mercedes vehicle for the first time. Perhaps as owners we would become more accustomed to it, although the stalk still seems like a suboptimal location to place the shifter. Since the stalk looks and feels like a traditional lever for operating wipers, on several occasions we put the car in neutral accidentally when it started raining.
Showcasing the luxury and performance aspects of the E 63 S, the AMG variant’s front seats are trimmed in soft Nappa leather and also provide noticeable lateral support with their large side bolsters. Integrated seat massagers also offer relaxation services, with multiple programs that range from Classic to Hot Relaxing massage — a soothing feature for those longer drives.
The E-Class offers decent space in the rear seat — when limited to two occupants. The middle seat is tight and offers precious little legroom. Overall, the rear seats seem a bit stiff and would be a bit uncomfortable after extended travel.
As a midsize sedan, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class has plenty of space in its sizable trunk that can easily handle multiple pieces of luggage or other gear.
On the Road
The Mercedes-AMG E 63 S is a car of many personalities, and frankly it’s tough not to fall in love with all of them. Adjusting the drive mode dial on the steering wheel to Comfort results in a smooth, quiet ride. The abundant power is always there on demand, and seamless shifts ensure that overall the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S is incredibly easy to drive comfortably. Cruising the highway in Comfort mode with seat massagers on and tunes playing on the high-end Burmester audio system is befitting of this luxurious E-Class sedan with a secret beneath its hood.
Sport + Mode
Turning the dial to Sport + mode is the equivalent of waking Mr. Hyde. Immediately the exhaust begins to grumble at idle and full throttle launches this four door as if it were stung on its backside. Acceleration is immediate and doesn’t diminish until the car is well into triple digits on the speedo. Gear shifts are very quick and abrupt, and the accompanying soundtrack is more evil growl than roar — although still abundantly pleasing.
Sports Car Handling
Although it remains a midsize 4-door sedan, with all the AMG go-fast componentry the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S handles like a sports car. Steering is precise and provides precise feedback, and thanks to excellent grip we thoroughly enjoyed putting this big sedan through its paces on favorite winding backroads of the Pacific Northwest. Simply put, the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S is one of those rare cars that seems to continually beg to be driven faster.
In keeping with other AMG models tested, the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S offers a wonderful blend of luxury and performance in an accomplished, attractive midsize sedan. The styling updates help the E 63 S better tell the world that it is something special — and if the looks don’t do it, simply starting it up in Sport + mode will do the trick. Drivers who desire luxury with the power and performance of a sports car — and also possess the means to afford the E 63 S’s lofty price tag — won’t be disappointed with this amazing German muscle car.