Our recent drive of the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E550 confirmed the latest E-class as being a near-perfect luxury sedan. It’s creamy where it counts and even more refined and involving than the previous generation. Some of us are starting to appreciate the new styling, and we’re slowly coming to grips with the newest electro-nannies, which include a somewhat-silly drowsiness detector that flashes a coffee-cup icon to signal that it’s time for a break. A cup of joe might be a satisfactory wake-up for the sleepy E350 or E550 driver, but it’s a safe bet that pilots of the forthcoming AMG-massaged E won’t need a caffeine injection to stay alert at the wheel. Should the sandman start to work his magic, they’ll simply need to roll down the windows for a dose of 6.2-liter V-8 howl.
The E with the Heart of an SL
The 63-series motor is a favorite engine around our office. We were fans of the last E63, especially in wagon form, which we used to humble the Audi R8 at the drag strip. The engine is fundamentally the same in the new car, but is now tuned to match the output of the latest SL63 roadster: 518 hp, an increase of 11 hp over the last E63. Torque stands unchanged at 465 lb-ft.
The new sedan also benefits from the MCT seven-speed automatic heretofore only seen in the SL63, which has a wet clutch installed where a torque converter normally sits. There are four shift programs to choose from—C (Controlled Efficiency), S (Sport), S+ (Sport Plus), and M (Manual). The engine computer can interrupt ignition and injection during full-throttle upshifts, facilitating 100-millisecond gearswaps in M mode. Barking, throttle-blipped downshifts and a launch-control mode, dubbed Race Start, are among the transmission’s bag of tricks. Mercedes claims the new E63 hits 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, but we hope that’s a conservative estimate, as we ran the previous E63 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds during a comparison test. Top speed is once again limited to 155 mph.
Keep Reading: 2010 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Sedan - Auto Shows