What is it?
It only seems like yesterday that Mercedes-Benz launched the latest E63 AMG, and with it a new twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 engine. But, in a sign of just how quickly things move in the automotive world, we're already being served up a facelifted version of the rapid performance saloon and estate pairing.
The new model is significant as it is the first AMG model to benefit from a new design lineage we're told will be reflected on all upcoming models from Mercedes-Benz's performance car off-shoot.
It's immediately evident when you lay eyes on the new E63 AMG, whose aggressive new front end gives it an even more distinctive look than its predecessor and more clearly separates it visually from the E-class upon which is it based and produced alongside in Germany.
The big news, however, concerns the engine. The E63 AMG's twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 has never lacked for reserves, but that hasn't deterred Mercedes-Benz's performance car off-shoot from providing the new model with a touch more as sweetner to tempt prospective buyers.
What is it like?
In standard guise, as driven here, the 90-degree unit now delivers an added 31bhp and 15lb ft at 549bhp and 531lb ft. The range topping E63 AMG S-model, which replaces the performance package option, gets an even brawnier 577bhp and 590lb ft some 25bhp and 89lb ft more than the BMW M5's twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8. The increases are achieved primarily through a new inlet manifold and a new electronics package.
The added firepower continues to be channeled through AMG's seven speed MCT (multi-clutch transmission) offering four different driving modes to the rear wheels. Selected markets get a 4Matic four-wheel drive option for the E63 AMG S-model. However, packaging problems with the front driveshaft geometry means it will be denied UK buyers.
No matter. The rear-wheel drive E63 AMG, with its multitude of driver assistance systems and an optional mechanical locking differential, proves adept enough at getting its power to the ground that four wheel drive is rarely called for in all but the most severe weather conditions.
This is a car of two distinct characters. On the one hand it is a consummate cruiser, delivering vast flexibility and highly refined properties in comfort mode out on the motorway. But, boy, does it go when the right road presents itself and you dial the gearbox into Sport + mode and lay the throttle back. The herculean efforts of the engine provide the E63 AMG with a pace that belies its heft, pushing it marginally clear of the M5 for standing start acceleration.
But there's more to it than sheer shove. Changes to the E63 AMG's electro-mechanical steering system and damping rates of the suspension also provide the facelifted model an even more direct and communicative feel.
Should I buy one?
It'll be a rare chance that you'll get to use the full extent of the E63 AMG's performance on British roads, but those that do will experience one of the finest and most entertaining four-door performance cars ever built.
Yes, it's that good!
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG
Price £74,920; 0-62mph 4.2sec; Top speed 155mph (limited); Economy 30.7mpg; CO2 230g/km; Kerb weight 1770kg; Engine V8, 5461cc, twin turbo petrol; Power 549bhp at 5500rpm; Torque 531lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 7-speed automatic