Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG: Self-driving, supercar-eating, cyborg on wheels

As fast as a Lamborghini. Brainier than a Brian Cox pie

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The new Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 ain't just another turbo-charged, paddle-shifted uber barge. It has the most advanced self-driving technology we've experienced. It's as fast as a super car. And it's at least as much fun to drive.

The last bit is actually surprising. On paper the E63 AMG looks awfully similar to, say, BMW's latest M5. V8 lump up front. Two turbos. Paddle shifter. 500-odd horsepower. It's all much of a muchness.

With the addition of an all-wheel-drive 4Matic option (not for the UK, but we'll come back to that) and in estate car format, you can spec it to within millimeters of Audi's RS6, too.

Brainy but bonkers

Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG

And yet the E63 is in a different ballpark for sheer, giddy fun. That's some achievement. While its Bavarian brethren are undoubtedly crazily capable, the E63 is takes things to another level. It's very possibly the most technologically advanced car we've driven.

This is a car that ought to be anodyne. A car that impresses with its intelligent features, like Park Assist, collision avoidance or anti-glare headlights that detect other cars and adjust their beams to suit.

Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG

But a car that connects on an emotional level? It doesn't seem likely from the cyborg-killer spec.

Big numbers

First, let's deal with the headline numbers. The standard Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG cranks out 557hp from a 5.5-litre twin turbo V8.

That's enough to hit 62mph in just 4.2 seconds and rip on to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. That's for the two-wheel drive model available in the UK.

Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG

Superior traction allows the four-wheel drive 4Matic model to nail the sprint to 62mph in just 3.7 seconds. Either way, we're talking full-on supercar performance. Delimited, 200mph would be on the cards.

If that's not enough – and bear in mind you shave a few tenths off those acceleration numbers to arrive at old school 0-60mph times – AMG will give you even more. The E63 AMG S model ups the ante to 585hp and takes around a tenth off the acceleration time. Pure silliness.

As for efficiency, the official combined MPG figure is 30.7mpg, which is frankly stunning for such a powerful machine. CO2 emissions are quoted at 230g/km.

Brains as well as brawn

If the grunt is impressive, however, there's almost too much to take in when it comes to tech. The E63 AMG is part of the new Mercedes-Benz E Class range and that means it's plastered in sensors and features that combine to deliver what M-B calls "Intelligent Drive".

Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG

One of the big enablers here is a stereo camera mounted in the windscreen behind the rear view mirror. It essentially gives the car a 3D, 500 metre view of the road ahead.

Everything from other cars to road signs and even pedestrians are detected and fed into the system. Add in all-round radar sensor data and you have a car that's almost omiscient in terms of what's happening around it.

But what does that actually mean? A lot of things, actually. The E Class can now almost drive itself on motorways, thanks to Distronic Plus with Steering Assist and Brake Assist Plus, for instance.

Road-going robot

Together, those systems can both help keep you in lane and keep a safe distance to the car in front, including vehicles that suddenly cut in.

Active Parking Assist, meanwhile, is Merc's take on automated parking. And it's one of if not the best such systems we've tried. Simply drive past a parking space, the system detects it. Hit the brakes, select OK and the steering wheel and follow the instructions.

It's utterly painless to use, unlike some rival systems which can be a bit of a phaff, and in our testing works flawlessly.