A Benz for Big Daddy Don Garlits Yes, childish. We know. By Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief Date posted: 05-02-2007 507-hp 6.2-liter V8 - 7-speed automatic transmission - 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds - 18-inch wheels and tires At 113 mph, the 2007 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG covers a car length in just a tenth of a second. Normally such a ridiculous speed/time/distance calculation would rank on our "Just Don't Care" list, just below American Idol. But not this time. This time we care. We care because this car length in a tenth of a second makes the E63 AMG the quickest sedan with an automatic transmission that we've ever tested. From a dead stop, it tears through the quarter-mile in just 12.7 seconds at 113 mph, one-tenth of a second quicker than your best friend's SMG-equipped 2007 BMW M5. If you still just don't care, you've obviously never beaten your best friend in a good old-fashioned drag race. We have, and it's like channel-banging at 3 a.m. and finding Smokey and the Bandit. There's just no putting a price on it. Well, that is until today. The E63 AMG starts at $84,000 and our black test car carries an as-tested price of $97,000. It's Quicker Than That, Too Mercedes even allows you to completely shut off the car's stability control, which just isn't possible in the M5 manual. We know what you're thinking, "But what if my friend just bought an M5 with the six-speed manual transmission?" First of all, don't panic. M5 owners can smell fear as quickly as a black bear. It's true the M5 manual can match the E63's quarter-mile performance, but the Benz still stomps the 5 Series from traffic light to traffic light, with a time to 60 mph of just 4.3 seconds. Simply challenge your friend to short contests of speed and your victory is assured. But enough about your friend and his M5. The Mercedes E63 AMG is more than just an M5 beater. This normally aspirated replacement for the supercharged E55 AMG is an equal opportunity killer, and can just as easily outrun your doctor's Porsche 911, your lawyer's Ferrari F430 and your bookie's Chevrolet Corvette. Under the Hood Developed completely by AMG, Mercedes' in-house go-fast division, the engine delivers 507 hp at 6,800 rpm and 469 lb-ft of torque at 6,100 rpm. If you're surprised by all this, you must have a stiff neck from sleeping under that rock. The E63 is powered by the largest and most powerful normally aspirated V8 out there, the same 6.2-liter all-aluminum V8 used in the wicked-quick ML63 AMG we tested in December and the wicked-quick CLS63 AMG we tested just a few weeks ago. Forget about those 6.3-liter badges on the sedan's fenders, because the actual displacement of the double-overhead-cam engine is 6,208cc. Either way, it's substantially larger in displacement than the 500-hp 5.0-liter V10 under the hood of your pal's M5. More powerful, too. Developed completely by AMG, Mercedes' in-house go-fast company, the engine delivers 507 hp at 6,800 rpm and 469 pound-feet of torque at 6,100 rpm to the sedan's rear wheels through a quick-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission. Although the big V8 happily finds its lofty 7,000-rpm redline, this is not a high-strung drive. The big V8's torque curve is flatter than the Florida Turnpike and there's enough stomp just off idle to roast the car's rear tires like 18-inch-diameter marshmallows. Laying into the gas is so much fun, all you'll want to do is drag race for the first few days. It doesn't matter who it is over in the next lane, they're getting shut down just so you can hear that V8 bellow and feel that seven-speed click off a few firm upshifts. The E63's awesome forward thrust is so addictive you'll spend the better part of a day blowing the sliding doors off minivans before it gets old. Turns and Stops, Too Drilled rotors hide behind five-spoke 18-inch wheels. As fast as it is, however, the E63 is still not as athletic as the BMW. Its test-track performance numbers are very good but don't lead the class, with 0.84g on the skid pad, 65.0 mph through the slalom and a stopping distance of 115 feet from 60 mph. The M5 still manages to out-handle and out-stop the E63, but not by much. The trade-off is ride comfort. Even in the stiffest of its three settings (Comfort, Normal and Sport), the Benz's Airmatic suspension system puts a higher premium on a smooth ride than ultimate agility. The car is sprung more softly than the BMW, but body roll is very well controlled and the heavy sedan feels pretty light on its feet. Although it still doesn't deliver the feedback BMW steering is famous for, the E63's steering is communicative, nicely weighted and quick. The brakes also provide excellent control feel and an immediate bite still found only in German cars. Mercedes even allows you to completely shut off the E63's stability control, which just isn't possible in the manual-transmission model of the M5. This of course means big, lewd powerslides are on the menu should you be in the mood. We always are, and can attest to the E63's desire to be tossed around. In fact, this car is so easy to control while sliding that its quickest slalom speed was achieved with the stability control shut off and its tail wagging. If sideways isn't your thing, not to worry. On a curvy mountain road, the E63 offers more grip than you'll ever need (with or without its electronic stability system active), and it will understeer predictably if you push things too far. Our only complaint is that the seven-speed transmission does not match revs when it's manually downshifted, though similar automatics from Infiniti and Jaguar incorporate this feature. Luxurious, Too The wheel is wrapped in the same perforated leather as the seats, which are well bolstered for hard driving. And that's one of the reasons why the E63 is happiest in the city or out on the open road, where its quick reactions and endless torque make it a truly great drive. Make no mistake; this is a luxury car first, and it's designed to pamper as well as thrill. Its interior is standard Benz, only with the addition of a 200-mph speedometer, stainless-steel pedal covers and shift paddles mounted behind the sausage-thick rim of the four-spoke steering wheel. The wheel is wrapped in the same perforated leather as the seats, which are well bolstered for hard driving, but still fit all but the widest of wide bodies. The headliner is suede. Mercedes is one of the few companies that understands how to properly use chrome to enrich an interior. Chrome door handles, gauge bezels and a few other small touches of brightwork give the E63's modern interior just enough old-world charm. Miscues are limited to an analog clock that dominates too much of the gauge cluster and a temperature gauge that reads in Celsius. Given a choice, we would choose a smaller clock and a larger tach, not to mention Fahrenheit because who the heck wants to do math conversion at 100 mph? The gear indicator needs to be larger, too. Speed Fixes Time Miscues are limited to an analog clock that dominates too much of the gauge cluster and a temperature gauge that reads in Celsius. But the E63's insufficient instrumentation becomes a nonissue the instant you put the hammer down. Trust us, when that big V8 has you pinned in the seat, you won't care what size the clock is. You'll also forget all about your boss and your wife. Tuition bill got you down? Well, it's nothing a little full throttle can't fix. And that's the magic that is the Mercedes E63 AMG. It's a 507-hp happy machine. A problem solver to help you get through life. Meanwhile, your M5 buddy isn't only losing to you from stoplight to stoplight, he's dealing with iDrive. And personally we'd even rather hear Sanjaya croon than deal with that. Those four oversize exhaust pipes are perfect, however. What Works: Quickest automatic transmission sedan we've ever tested, cush ride, high levels of luxury and fit and finish. What Needs Work: Tach is as small as the clock, transmission doesn't match revs on downshifts. Bottom Line: The quickest sedan we've ever tested is also one of the best Mercedes-Benz sedans ever.