Mercedes-Benz Australia has dropped the entry price to AMG E63 ownership by $40,000 on the switch to the all-new all-wheel drive model now only months away from launch.
A two-pronged attack on the super sports sedan segment will see both the Mercedes-AMG E63 and E63 S arrive, priced from $209,900 and $239,900 plus on-road costs respectively. Initially only the top model was expected to arrive, given historically there has been a preference for the most powerful, most expensive version among Australian buyers.
The 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8, nine-speed automatic-equipped duo split their $30K price difference in the areas of both power and equipment. The ‘base’ E63 delivers 420kW from 5750rpm until 6500rpm and 750Nm between 2250rpm and 5000rpm; the E63 S makes 450kW and 850Nm over the same revs.
There is only a tenth between them in the 0-100km/h stakes – 3.5 seconds versus 3.4sec – but the E63 S takes the electronically-limited top speed from 250km/h to 300km/h.
Standard kit includes AMG 20-inch five-twin-spoke alloy wheels, a mechanical rear limited-slip differential (LSD), chrome exterior design elements and tri-zone climate control. The E63 S adds matte-black forged alloys, ‘night package’ darkened exterior theme, performance seats, Nappa leather dashboard, digital TV tuner and wireless charging.
Other chassis changes to the E63 S include an electronically activated mechanical LSD, a Race setting that can drop the front driveshaft and power only to the rear wheels in concert with a Drift Mode, active engine mounts, switchable exhaust and red-painted brake callipers.
For all that, the E63 S is just 5kg heavier than the base model, at 1955kg. It will also arrive in Australia first, in June 2017, while standard E63 deliveries will start in December 2017.
From launch, E63 S buyers can also choose an $18,900 Edition 1 package comprising ‘designo’ matte-grey paint, carbon-ceramic brakes, black lower sidestripes, black Nappa leather, Alcantara-like microfibre steering wheel, carbonfibre trim and, according to Benz, “subtle” yellow highlights on the seatbelts and leather and steering wheel stitching.
Mercedes-Benz Australia public relations manager Jerry Stamoulis admitted that while most buyers will continue to go for the E63 S, the E63 reduced the pricing gap from the $159,900 Mercedes-AMG E43 and could tempt punters out of the $189,615 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63.
“Realistically, we see this as three [E-Class] AMG models, the E43, E63 and E63 S,” he told MOTOR.
“Historically buyers of E63 models have leaned towards the top-end model especially from launch, and we expect that to continue with this model. In the previous car [E63] when we had a performance package, we saw that the non-performance package car was 20 per cent of the volume. So we’re not expecting huge numbers from the E63.
“But there’s also an opportunity considering the performance of the E63 model that there may be some incremental volume in that segment. While small, it might encourage some GLE 63 buyers to consider an E63.”
With the ageing, formerly $189,900 BMW M5 Pure almost out of the picture, and the Audi RS6 Avant wearing a $245,116 sticker, Stamoulis argued that even with the base E63, “the performance figures put it on a segment on its own.”
Sadly, though, the E63 and E63 S Estate continue to be ruled out for Australia, with the local public relations manager citing extremely low volume of the previous-generation load lugger that made its inclusion in the range impossible to justify.