It’s all very well smoking a supercar in another supercar, but there are few things more satisfying than easing away from a high-performance two-seater while sitting behind the wheel of a comfortable family saloon.

That’s why the clever money often goes on the wolf in sheep’s clothing rather than the fashionista’s favourite. But would you really chose a Mercedes E63 AMG over a Lamborghini Gallardo?

The folks at Luxury Leasing argue that you no longer need a weekend car. With over 600bhp on offer, you can now buy a Mercedes saloon that can smoke a supercar. These brutal executive cars can do the school run Monday-to-Friday, cruise to the Nürburgring at the weekend and comfortably lap the track just as fast as more purpose-built machinery.

Adam Hope takes a look at one such protagonist – the Mercedes E63 AMG.

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Sensible doesn’t have to be boring

With the executive car market characterised by exceptionally powerful saloons, the line between fast car and certified ‘supercar’ is becoming ever more blurred.

The Mercedes E63 AMG is a fine example – a sensible family saloon capable of sprinting from 0 to 62mph in only 4.2 seconds, or 3.6 seconds for the 577bhp E63 AMG S-Model with 4MATIC all-wheel drive. Figures to rival those of a mainstream supercar, in one smart, business-ready package.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the graphic below, or better still, watch this video, in which a sensible Mercedes E63 AMG Estate smokes a Bentley Continental GT Speed, Aston Martin Vanquish and Porsche 911 C4S.

E63-vs-Gallardo-NnewDespite their vastly different price tags, the E63 AMG will match the Gallardo for performance on normal roads yet cost considerably less to run. Performance figures for the E63 as fitted with optional AMG Drivers Package. (Financial data: CAP)

We’ve seen our fair share of die-hard performance fans opt for impractical sports cars, while paying upwards of £100k more, even though a nice comfortable BMW M5 could lap the Nürburgring just as fast (7:54 for the 2013 M5 Competition Package).

So the question is: if we no longer have to sacrifice performance for practicality, why should we?

The Price of Performance

The hefty price tag of a supercar reflects its glamorous looks and intimidating road presence, but as we’ve seen, the performance of some can be matched by many a humble super-saloon.

But let’s say you’ve got your heart set on a Lamborghini Gallardo and have reasoned that paying twice as much is worth it for the kudos and respect you gain on the street. How much more would it really cost to finance your dream supercar?

With one of our latest Mercedes lease deals, you could get your hands on a humble (yet supercar rivaling) E63 AMG by making an up-front payment of £3,617.94, followed by 23 monthly payments of £602.99. That’s a total of £17,486.71 over the 24 month term.

By comparison, the best deal we could find for a Gallardo LP560-4 starts with an eye-watering down payment of £19,530 followed by 35 monthly payments of £3,255. That’s a total of £133,455 over the 3-year period.

Mercedes E63 AMG Saloon Lamborghini Gallardo Coupe LP 560-4
£602.99 £3,255.00
24 months, 10k Miles p/a 36 months, 10k Miles p/a
Initial Payment: £3,617 Initial Payment: £19,530

Quotes provided by Luxury Leasing (Mercedes) and Egon Car Leasing (Lamborghini). Terms and conditions apply.

There are better deals to be found on the latest Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4, including one from Leasing Options which requires £21,919 up-front followed by 23 monthly payments of £3,653. Even so, that’s a total outlay of £105,938 over the 24 month term and a little over ‘six’ times the cost of financing an E63 AMG.

Supercar buyers aren’t afraid to shell out considerable sums for lookers like the Gallardo, but its glamorous appeal might not be enough to appease those nagging doubts that the money, however abundant, could be better spent elsewhere.

There are plenty of affordable super-saloon alternatives such as Merc’s E63 AMG, BMW’s M5, Audi’s RS6 and of course Jaguar’s XFR-S, while Mercedes (AMG GT), Audi (R8) and now even BMW (i8) offer glamorous sports cars which blur the line between mainstream and exotic car makers.

Meanwhile Mercedes continue their domination of the executive car market, with the E and C Class models holding firm on the segment with a colossal 50% share.

Mercedes and the Super-Saloon

Super saloons are nothing new to Mercedes-Benz. The 1990 W124 500E was hand-built by Porsche, featuring a naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 engine from the 500 SL together with upgraded suspension, brakes and drivetrain. With its wider body, lower stance and 322 bhp powerplant, it rocketed from zero to 62mph in 6.1 seconds on its way to more than 160 mph.

This high-performance version of the W124 E-Class marked a milestone for Mercedes-Benz, a unique blend of performance with practicality, and towards the end of its life was built on the same production line as the Audi RS2. It was also a real ‘brains and brawn’ combo which still holds its place as one of the greats today.

But it wasn’t the first W124 super-saloon. Four years earlier in the quiet town of Affalterbach, independent tuning company AMG inserted a 355bhp 5.0-litre V8 engine in an E-class coupe. It became known as “The Hammer”, because in 1986 getting from 0-60mph in 5 seconds flat was a serious achievment, as was a top speed of 178 mph and 60-120 mph acceleration which was said to be faster than the Lamborghini Countach.

  • Mercedes-W124-AMG-Hammer
  • Mercedes-W124-500E

L to R: The awesome 1986 AMG Hammer. 1990 Mercedes-Benz 500E.

It was arguably the first true ‘super-saloon’ and the making of the AMG name, which thereafter joined the Daimler-Benz family in 1989.

Nowadays the AMG Mercedes range comprises more than 20 models, from the 355bhp A45 to the 621bhp S65.

The V12-powered Mercedes S65 AMG is no doubt worth a mention, considering it’s the most powerful Mercedes road car of all time with a price tag of nearly £200,000. There’s even a speedometer that goes up to 224mph, which provides an exciting hint of what’s to come in terms of performance.

Next year’s 4.0-litre twin-turbo C63 AMG will grab most of the headlines though. A beastly 470bhp promising 4.1 second 0-62mph performance reigned in by an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. There’s even a 503bhp S-model, all wrapped up in one gloriously practical package. And with a starting price of just £59,795, the latest in a long line of AMG super-saloons is all set to put the frighteners up a new generation of supercar.

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Credit: Nürburgring lap times provided by fastestlaps.com. Running costs provided by CAP.