Kyalami - Mercedes-AMG has upped the super saloon ante with its new E63 S 4Matic+, the most powerful E-Class yet created.

Launched in South Africa this week, along with its tamer E43 sibling, the latest uber-E gets its gusto from the same 4-litre bi-turbo V8 we know well from numerous other AMGs, but with outputs raised to 450kW and 850Nm. 

That’s 30kW and 100Nm more than the normal E63 (which won’t be sold in our market), but also 20kW and 150Nm more than the AMG GT R supercar. Up until now, the GT R was the most powerful car using this engine.

To make sure these insane numbers make it down to the road, and to ensure no forward force is lost to wheelspin when blasting off the line, Mercedes has made the range-topping E-Class available with 4Matic all-wheel drive only. 

It’s an AMG-specific drivetrain though, so it goes without saying that drive is diverted mostly to the rear axle in most driving situations. And, if you want to get seriously playful, there’s a drift mode function to allow some sideways shuffle.

The 63 S 4Matic+ also uses the same nine-speed multi-clutch auto gearbox as other AMG cars, but here it’s equipped with a new “wet start-up” clutch that makes for smoother (and less harsh at launch control) pulloffs.

All this adds up to one of the quickest Mercs ever made, with 100km/h coming in a claimed 3.4 seconds. Yip, it’s faster than any of the AMG GT models, and there’s space for a few passengers and a decent amount of luggage. Top speed is, as usual, governed to 250km/h but pay in for the optional Driver’s Package and this is lifted to 300.

This crazy performance comes on top of all the usual luxury items available in regular E-Class models, including latest semi-autonomous driving aids, air suspension, perfume dispensers, massaging seats, Burmester sound systems, wireless phone charging and connected services.

In fact, there’s even a new Mercedes Me app which works hand in hand with a Remote Online service to offer owners access to vehicle information remotely.

This feature then allows remote locking and unlocking, parked vehicle locator, vehicle tracking, and geofencing (you’ll know if your car crosses a predefined border). Mercedes South Africa requires registration of Mercedes Me and Remote Online to unlock the full six-year/100 000km Premium Drive maintenance contracts.

E43 - the tamer (or saner) option

For those who want the thrills of a fast, all-wheel drive AMG E-Class, but don’t necessarily need (or can’t afford) the ludicrous figures attached to the 63, Mercedes has also introduced a new 43 4Matic option.

This variant comes with two fewer cylinders, but still has plenty of oomph with outputs of 295kW and 520Nm. Under the hood is the same 3-litre bi-turbo V6 already in use in plenty of other 43-badged Mercs, but here is tuned up to its most powerful guise yet. Claimed performance figures are set at 4.6 seconds for 0-100km/h, and top speed is limited to 250 (no Driver’s Package available here).

The 43 shares a similar drivetrain with the full monte 63 with a nine-speed gearbox driving all four wheels, but here the 4Matic system is set at a permanent 31:69 percent front/rear axle split. The 43 also comes with Merc’s Air Body Control pneumatic suspension as standard, and the same connected services as the 63 are also possible here.

PRICES

Mercedes-AMG E43 4MATIC 295kW/520NmR1 165 800
Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+ 450kW/850NmR1 868 400

ALTERNATIVES

BMW 540i M Sport250kW/450NmR1 040 216
Audi S6 quattro331kW/550NmR1 151 500
Mercedes-AMG E43 4MATIC 295kW/520NmR1 165 800
Jaguar XF S280kW/450NmR1 289 692

BMW M5 M-DTC (in run-out phase)412kW/680NmR1 526 268
Audi RS7 Sportback quattro412kW/700NmR1 757 000
Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+ 450kW/850NmR1 868 400
BMW M6 Gran Coupe Competition441kW/700NmR2 130 668

IOL Motoring

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