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CarWale Track Day 2019: Mercedes-Benz E63S AMG

Introduction

There is no treading shrewdly on this hot summer afternoon. My first encounter with the Mercedes E63S AMG involved climbing into the back of a truck trailer and reversing it rather gingerly. Once unloaded, I got out and took a step back as it burbled at idle with a deep resonance. 

“Why would anyone be so thrilled at the sight of a grey four-door sedan?” You would wonder.

But this was no ordinary family sedan. Perhaps I am in the minority, but if you ask me, the E63 with its flared haunches, quad exhausts, yellow brake calipers and carbon ceramic discs the size of extra-large pizzas, looks pedantically exotic. The looks alone might rationalise the E63’s presence in this year’s CarWale Track Day, but it’s mostly that absurdly powerful twin-turbo V8 and the tricky all-wheel drive system that eventually left us all in shock and awe. 

0-100-0

For this year’s Track Day, we have come up with an extra dose of number crunching. Most readers are familiar with the ‘lap time’ test that we have been running over the years but this time around, we upped our game and added the 0-100-0 test which evaluates both horsepower and braking in equal measure. Speaking of horsepower, making 612bhp from a 4-litre motor is pretty impressive. However, what’s really difficult is putting all that power to the ground without smoking the tyres. And to give the E63S a fair chance to put its metal-twisting torque to the pavement, we installed a brand new set of sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres for more traction. 

No messing around here, the E63S AMG is devastatingly fast off the line. With Ameya at the helm, it smashed past the 100kmph mark in 3.91 seconds. For contrast, the much lighter two-door GT C took 4.05 seconds. What’s amusing though is that it takes minimal effort to holeshot the E – hold it on the brakes using your left foot, throttle flat to the floor, lift off and boom! You are off to another dimension. “Traction off the line is unbeatable thanks to the all-wheel drive distributing power across both axles in milliseconds. I like the 9-speed auto as well. It delivers lightning fast upshifts and drops gears in split seconds as one goes hard on the brakes”, Ameya explained. 

Paired to 402mm (read as massive) carbon ceramic discs, the use of Michelins in this test also paid off, helping the E63S set its quickest time of 6.64 seconds. That’s it! That's the time it took this big and heavy four-door sedan to accelerate from zero to 100kmph and back to zero. As for distance, the E ran a total of 97.01m, losing out only to the AMG GT C.

Lap Time

It’s difficult to believe that the E63S makes 612bhp and 850Nm of torque, until, of course, you floor it. The whole thing simply hunkers down as it spears towards the horizon with that raw, bellowing soundtrack. We love coming to the MMRT every year because it’s a perfect automotive equaliser – it’s got recurring sweeping corners which favour pointy, light weight cars whereas the long back straights give powerful heavyweights like the E63S a chance to make up time. On our flying lap, the brutal acceleration certainly mattered, especially when flying past the start-finish straight and punching out of C3. Over the long straight that followed, there was simply no stopping this hulk of a sedan – peak power comes in at 6,500rpm, however, it’s the surprisingly wide torque band that makes the E63 a giant killer. You get most of the 850 torques from as low as 2,500rpm, all the way till 5,000rpm which means this thing pulls hard no matter what speed or gear you are in. In fact, on the two long straights before C4 and C8, the E63 pulls like the most powerful locomotive there ever was, but it’s when you drop the anchor at speed that you realise the weight – if you brake hard and flick the wheel at the same time, chances are you will shift the weight far too forward and run wide. As a result, executing a clean run demands just the right amount of steering lock and using the strong brakes to curb speed in corner entries in order to aide trajectory. Once you learn to follow this specific way of hustling it, the E63S is remarkably obedient to shift its bulk around the track. 

The second half of the MMRT is where the Merc really shines, especially at C8 which is a 90-degree right-hand corner that’s shortly followed by a similarly angled off-camber left-hander. Here, the E appeared surprisingly agile in the hands of Ameya who pointed out that its chassis is unfazed by the smack of a curb or off-camber turns. However, given all that weight, it’s easy to overwhelm the grip from its tyres if you enter a corner too hot or power out of the mid corner because at that point, the car is tipping on its nose with a lot of weight over the front axle. In the end, the E63S AMG pulled a 1m 57.37s lap time which is frankly unbelievable given its weight disadvantage. Better still, in the right hands, this car can take three more people and perhaps pull a sub 2-min lap time still. Take that, Vento race car!   

Conclusion

Does the new E63S live up to the AMG badge? Absolutely! And more so at a racetrack where there is so much to explore. Everything from the beautifully weighted steering, the powerful brakes to the sheer roar and pull of the V8 make it so addictive. After all, gathering the E63S up is a big part of the tussle – no matter where you point it, it pulls itself forward with more force and you invariably end up hitting the braking point with more speed than you would anticipate, at which point the chassis, tyres and the brakes work overtime to keep you off the grass. It’s all part of the neurotic experience of hustling the E63S around a race track which, again, is highly addictive. Think of it this way: it is currently the best of the fast four-door heavyweights, one that defies our fundamental understanding of speed and handling.

Pictures by Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi

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Mercedes-Benz E-Class Price in India

CityOn-Road Prices
Bangalore₹ 73.4 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 69.46 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 68.88 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 64 Lakhs onwards
Mumbai₹ 68.31 Lakhs onwards
New Delhi₹ 66.62 Lakhs onwards
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