2010 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG (© Mercedes-Benz USA)Click to enlarge picture

2010 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG

Mercedes-Benz's AMG performance division chief, Volker Mornhinweg, offers this procedure for those who want to get the most out of the all-new 2010 E63 AMG:

Step 1. Fully depress brake pedal.
Step 2. Shift transmission to D.
Step 3. Switch electronic stability program to sport mode.
Step 4. Switch transmission to race-start mode.
Step 5. Click upshift paddle to confirm.
Step 6. Fully depress accelerator pedal.
Step 7. Release brake.

To that process, we might add a precautionary Step 8, "Hang on for dear life," because this version of the all-new E-class sedan looks like a rocket just waiting for someone to light the fuse.
Set for its global debut at the New York auto show, the high-performance E63 AMG will arrive in November, following the midsummer release of the 2010 E-class sedan and coupe. And while the new E-class is a surprise in itself, the E63 is more of a shocker — a statement that the E-class is leaping well beyond its staid past to establish itself as a clear alternative to BMW's M sedans and Audi's S models, among others.

Completely restyled sheetmetal — along with powertrain, suspension, interior and safety-equipment improvements — highlight the 2010 model. The E63 picks up much of the reborn E-class styling, taking it to an extreme level with wider fenders, side skirts, AMG-specific front and rear fascias and quad rectangular tailpipes. Inside, sport seats and a four-spoke AMG steering wheel with shift paddles and a center-console-mounted shift lever are among the special features.

Under the hood, the 6.3-liter V8 continues from the previous model, with improvements that increase horsepower by 11, to 518 hp (torque remains at 465 lb-ft). At the same time, fuel economy is up by 12 percent (to more than 17 mpg combined) thanks to more efficient engine management and reduced cylinder-wall friction, along with the shift to the multidisc wet-clutch AMG Speedshift MCT seven-speed automatic transmission. It's that tranny, previously offered only in the SL63 AMG, that promises the largest jump in the E63's fun-for-the-money ratio, featuring the race-start option, which provides maximum possible acceleration, along with four other settings: controlled efficiency, sport, sport plus and manual.Chassis upgrades include AMG's newly developed electronic ride and damping control, which uses air springs in the rear to maintain constant height and variable shock settings to reduce body roll. A new front axle, with a wider track and a design that migrates from the C63 AMG, improves grip, while a 22-percent-quicker steering ratio adds responsiveness and precision.

An optional AMG Performance Package adds 19-inch wheels and tires, a stiffer suspension, a partially locking rear differential and a three-spoke AMG steering wheel. Oh, and a revised top speed of 186 mph (up from 155 mph).