The Mercedes-AMG E63 is a notoriously maniacal car, but Americans have been saddled with the 4Matic all-wheel-drive version while Europeans enjoyed the option of rear-wheel drive. That meant no ludicrous AMG-induced burnouts west of the Atlantic for E-Class customers.
Now everyone can have an all-wheel-drive AMG E63, and everyone — with the money — can also do glorious burnouts while proudly waving their various flags out the driver’s side window.
That’s because the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Sedan comes standard with, and I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, an official “Drift Mode.” While previous models favored a definitively rear-wheel bias, it was still technically around the clock 4Matic all-wheel-drive.
The fifth generation E-Class AMGs get the benefit of 4Matic Plus, which allows for variable torque distribution between the front and rear axles. And, should you want to burn off a pair of tires, you can spend the extra money on the E63 S and press a button that sends all of the power to the rear end.
And there should be adequate power, too. The AMG 4.0-liter biturbo on the E63 S makes 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque available from 2,500 to 4,500 rpm. Mercedes says this gives the German monster a 3.3 second 0-60 time. If you want to keep your tires a little longer, the “regular” AMG E63 offers up 563 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. While only a tenth of a second slower to sixty miles per hour, it is electronically limited to 155 mph — compared to the S sedan’s 186 mph.
That’s a major upgrade for both cars, considering the previous E63 S sedan’s twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 produced 577 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque.
Both cars come with a nine-speed transmission with wet start-off clutch in lieu of a torque converter. They also come with selectable drive programs that modify the response of the engine, transmission, suspension, steering, and ESP. They range from “Comfort” to “Sport Plus” on the AMG E63, while the S Sedan also gets a “RACE” mode that Mercedes-Benz decided to word in all caps to further illustrate how extreme it must be. While intended for track use, the race mode will really only ever be used as active launch control for explosive stoplight getaways or paired with drift mode to do donuts in an affluent cul-de-sac.
The new E-Class performance sedans will officially premiere on November 16 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. U.S. dealerships should have them in the summer of 2017.