Test Drive: 2012 Mercedes Benz E 63 AMG car test drives reviews mercedes benz luxury cars
2012 Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG. Click image to enlarge

Test Drive: 2010 Mercedes-Benz E 350 sedan

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Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2012 Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG

Since 2008, AMG has reduced the CO2 emissions of its prodigiously potent fleet by 25 percent. Considering this specialized manufacturer, operating within the Mercedes-Benz family, only makes crazy-fast versions of Mercedes vehicles along with their in-house SLS AMG supercar, this is no mean feat.

And the fact that my 2012 Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG tester “only” dinged me for 13.5 L/100 km of premium fuel over a few days of (mostly) sane motoring is also somewhat impressive when looking at this sedan’s resume. In base trim, at $99,500, the E 63’s 5.5L twin-turbo direct-injection V8 makes 518 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, and rockets this five-place mid-size sedan to 100 km/h in 4.3 seconds.

Test Drive: 2012 Mercedes Benz E 63 AMG car test drives reviews mercedes benz luxury cars
2012 Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG. Click image to enlarge

This is no happy accident. At a recent visit to the AMG facility in Affalterbach, Germany for the tuner’s 45th anniversary, the subjects of fuel consumption, sustainability, future compact AMG offerings, and, gasp, hybrids were front and centre. We saw their 2.0L turbo-four from the upcoming A 45 AMG hot hatch (based on the new Mercedes A-Class) going through rigorous abuse in the engine durability testing lab.

This from a company whose director only a few years ago stated an AMG vehicle would never be powered by anything less than a V8 or V12.

Just to show they hadn’t gone all soft on us, AMG pulled the wraps off the 2013 SLS AMG GT, a hotter version of their gull-winged (and drop-top) supercar that now boasts 591 hp from its 6.2L V8 and a more track-focused chassis.

Test Drive: 2012 Mercedes Benz E 63 AMG car test drives reviews mercedes benz luxury cars
2012 Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG. Click image to enlarge

In reality, AMG doesn’t have to answer to the call of sustainability. Being a small division of Mercedes-Benz, they are protected from the mandated corporate average fuel economy standards by the legions of small fuel-efficient Mercs. And gosh knows there are enough rich horsepower-hungry people in the world to keep them cranking out the big guns until the camels come home.

Case in point is the insane 612-hp twin-turbo V12 version of the ancient G-Class SUV—introduced just this year (not available in North America). It commands about $300,000. AMG chairman Ola Källenius says, “Yes, they thought we lost our marbles on this one. But we couldn’t defend ourselves against the customers’ requests, so we built it.”

But he stresses, “We are an engineering company first and foremost, and our new frontier is compact cars.”

While the A 45 AMG is not headed to North America (at this point), he says there are two other small AMG vehicles definitely slated for our market.

Test Drive: 2012 Mercedes Benz E 63 AMG car test drives reviews mercedes benz luxury cars
2012 Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG. Click image to enlarge

And what about AMG’s spectacular and oh-so-thirsty 6.2L naturally aspirated V8 that currently powers the SLS AMG and gives the compact C 63 its insane attitude? Källenius says with a wry smile, “That engine is in the prime of its career.” In other words, better scoop up the reasonably priced C 63 AMG soon if you want to be in possession of one of the greatest V8 engines ever fashioned by humankind.

I took a C 63 AMG Coupe for a boot around the Bavarian countryside and believe me, fuel economy was the farthest thing from my mind. In my opinion, this is the best AMG vehicle for pure, raw, scintillating, OMG-this-thing-rocks(!) performance.

AMG’s eco poster-child is the future-thinking SLS AMG E-Cell, a fully electric version of their gull-wing projectile. With a full carbon-fibre tub and an electric motor at each corner, this coupe makes 533 hp, 650 lb-ft and launches to 100 km/h in 4.0 seconds. One hundred will be available in Europe next year.
Ah, but back to Ontario, where my E 63 tester is like a race horse stuck in a kiddies playground.




About Peter

Peter Bleakney is a Toronto-based automotive journalist. He is also a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).