We might wax lyrically about the sound and emotion of the most characterful V8 engines, but the simple truth is that they’re becoming a marginal choice for many buyers. With turbo-diesel engines having become the default choice for most saloon/sedan buyers in the UK or Europe, residual values have fallen.

Mercedes are describing their latest update to the E 63 AMG as being about adding higher-quality equipment to their class-leading sports saloon, but what stands out most are the changes made to its engine and drivetrain.

Thanks to a package of efficiency-enhancing measures, Mercedes-AMG has achieved a reduction in fuel consumption by almost 12% in the E 63 AMG to achieve 22.5 mpg on the combined cycle. The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine in the E 63 AMG now develops an output of 518 bhp (386 kW) and torque of 630 Nm, 11 bhp up on its predecessor and matching those figures for the SL 63 AMG.

The SL 63 has also donated its AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission to the E 63 AMG. This transmission dispenses with a conventional torque converter and uses a compact, wet start-up clutch. In conjunction with the four individual drive modes – “C” (Controlled Efficiency), “S” (Sport), “S+” (Sport plus) and “M” (Manual) – the double-declutching and RACE START functions, the resulting direct connection to the powertrain allows a more emotional and dynamic driving experience, which can be adjusted to suit the driver’s mood at the touch of a button.

Partial suppression of individual cylinders by interrupting ignition and injection briefly during gearshifts under full load leads to considerably faster shift times. In S+ and M modes, the 7-speed sports transmission allows gearshifts to be performed in 100 milliseconds.

The E 63 AMG accelerates from a standstill to 62 mph in just 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of 156 mph (electronically limited).

New ceramic braking system

A newly developed ceramic composite braking system is also optionally available for the top-of-the-range E-Class model. The optional ceramic composite brakes with even larger brake discs guarantee even better braking performance. The ceramic brake discs perform reliably at even higher operating temperatures thanks to their greater hardness, all combined with an impressive weight reduction of around 40 percent.

Electronically controlled damping system

The E 63 AMG also receives an upgrade to its suspension and steering. While steel spring struts are used on the front axle, the rear suspension features AMG-specific air springs. The advantage of this solution, which is exclusive to AMG, is that the front steel spring struts ensure more sensitive responses while the rear air struts, with their automatic level control system, keep the vehicle at a constant height irrespective of the load.

An electronically controlled damping system automatically varies the damping characteristics according to the driving situation, reducing the roll angle of the body. The result is instant adjustment to provide the best possible ride comfort together with greater agility. In addition, the driver is able to choose between the three suspension modes of Comfort, Sport and Sport plus at the touch of a button.

The E 63 AMG is also equipped with a dedicated front axle with a 56-millimetre wider track, a tubular stabiliser, new control arms, new wheel bearings, new elastokinematics and new hub carriers for more negative camber – thereby providing more grip when taking bends at speed. The AMG-specific kinematics also ensure significantly more precision. This is a highly sophisticated axle design whose principle has already been proven in the C 63 AMG. The rear axle likewise has more negative camber, optimised elastokinematics and a new sub-frame mounting for greater stability at the physical limits.

Changes to exterior bodywork and interior equipment

The interior of the E 63 AMG can nowbe refined even further with a host of new, attractive options. This is the AMG Performance steering wheel in a three-spoke design with Alcantara inserts in the grip areas.

The E63 AMG has received more than the usual mid-life spruce up – the front-end is now characterised by 17mm wider wings bearing “6.3 AMG” lettering, the AMG front apron with large intake air apertures and the AMG-specific daytime driving lights in LED technology. In conjunction with an optional Intelligent Light System (ILS), the E 63 AMG is equipped with tinted main headlamps. The striking visual presence is further enhanced by the side sill panels and a rear apron with a black insert. As a hallmark of the brand, the sports exhaust system retains its two chrome-plated twin tailpipes.

The interior of the E 63 AMG is a blend of high-grade materials and functional sportiness. Exclusive features include the dedicated, electrically adjustable sports seats with improved lateral support and the sports steering wheel in a four-spoke design with shift paddles. The AMG DRIVE UNIT provides adjustments for the MCT sports transmission, the ESP® functions, the suspension set-up and the AMG drive modes.

The E-SELECT selector lever in the centre console enables the driver to shift directly between R, N and D simply by nudging the lever, all thanks to drive-by-wire, while the parking lock P can only be selected by pressing a separate button. Standard equipment also includes high-grade leather upholstery in three different colours, the instrument cluster with an AMG main menu, door entry sills with AMG lettering and a sports pedal cluster – both in brushed stainless steel.

The upper section of the dashboard and also the door beltlines are now finished in ARTICO leather, while the centre console trim around the AMG DRIVE UNIT boasts an elegant black piano lacquer finish.

Mercedes-AMG are happy to lighten your wallet further with two exclusive new upgrade packages; the Performance package which includes lightweight, forged AMG light-alloy wheels, AMG RIDE CONTROL Performance suspension with a stiffer set-up, AMG rear axle locking differential with 40 percent locking action, AMG spoiler lip on the boot lid, Alcantara covered AMG Performance steering wheel in a three-spoke design and a roller blind for rear window.

The AMG Exclusive package includes, Nappa leather for the seats, top section of the dashboard, the beltlines, the door armrests as well as the centre console and door centre panels, the roof liner as well as A, B and C-pillars and sun visors in Alcantara plus a set of AMG floor mats.

Then of course there are those AMG ceramic composite brakes that you’re welcome to add on top of these packages.

So, the good news is that Mercedes have made the E63 AMG even quicker and more frugal to drive, plus there’s plenty more equipment to differentiate it from the ‘ordinary looking’ E-class saloons. Just don’t mention residual values..