What's New for 2014
For 2014, the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG gets a new look and more power and comes exclusively with all-wheel drive. The E-Class also gains a new E250 model with a turbodiesel engine.
Vulgar displays of rear-wheel-drive tire abuse are made for sunny states like California, Florida and Texas. But buyers in more slippery winter climates like the Northeast and Midwest often won't consider a performance sedan unless it's offered with all-wheel drive. It is those buyers Mercedes-Benz wants to reach with its 2014 E63 AMG sedan and wagon.
Four driven wheels isn't a bad thing in any road condition when those wheels are spurred by 550 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque from the E63's twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8. And that's assuming you don't opt for the more potent S-Model, which replaces the former Performance package and wicks power up to 577 hp and 590 lb-ft. A seven-speed automatic transmission routes power through an AMG-tuned all-wheel-drive system.
The system is still set up with a rear bias, though, sending nearly 70 percent of its power to the rear wheels in normal driving. Mercedes claims the E63 AMG covers zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, a ludicrously fast time for a well-mannered family sedan. Rear-drive purists may lament the E63's shift to all-wheel drive, but Mercedes says the system adds just 154 pounds and improves handling, especially when stringing together a series of quick, tight turns. The E63 AMG also comes standard with 19-inch alloy wheels and an adaptive damping suspension. The S-Model also offers the option of carbon-ceramic brakes.
To complement the new drivetrain underneath the sheet metal, the body design evolves slightly, with a new grille that replaces traditional slats with the newer Mercedes "twin-blade" design. The more curvaceous front airdam looks almost like a Formula 1-inspired piece.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class lineup also gains a new member in the E250, using a 2.1-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder that replaces the former 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 in the E350 Bluetec (the normally aspirated V6 in the E350 carries over unchanged). The new diesel sounds small, but it delivers big torque: 369 lb-ft, along with 195 hp and available all-wheel-drive.
The E63 wagon will only be available in S-Model form -- Mercedes says that more than half of the old E63's buyers opted for the Performance package -- and for U.S. buyers, it's only available as a special order. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG goes on sale in July. Pricing has not been announced, but expect a moderate spike from the current base price of nearly $90,000. Check back for a full review, including specs, driving impressions and buying advice, as it becomes available.