Mercedes-Benz is adding all-wheel drive to the E63 AMG performance sedan, but the E won’t be the only all-wheel drive AMG sedan for long. Mercedes is adapting the E63’s performance-tuned all-wheel drive system for the CLS63 AMG “four-door coupe” and Shooting Brake. The CLS63 AMG gets most of the same updates as the E63 for 2014, including a new S-Model package.
The CLS and the E-Class may look very different, but they actually share a platform. With two medium-sized four-door cars in the range, it’s not surprising that Mercedes and in-house tuner AMG would apply the same hardware to both.
The new all-wheel drive system is a modified version of the 4Matic system Mercedes uses in its regular models. The torque split is fixed at 33 percent front, 67 percent rear, so the CLS63 AMG should perform like the old rear-wheel drive version, but it should also be more tractable.
Drivers will need all the help they can get, because the 2014 CLS63 AMG is still packing a 5.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V8. It’s still the same V8 AMG uses in most of its other models, and it produces 550 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque.
Another new edition for 2014 is the S-Model. This essentially replaces previous models’ AMG Performance Package; Mercedes is now considering it a standalone model. Either way, the S-Model nets a boost in power, to 577 hp and 590 lb-ft, and a limited-slip differential. The electronically limited top speed is also raised from 155 mph to 186 mph.
All-wheel drive will be optional on the “base” CLS63, and will be standard on the S-Model. However, Stuttgart is not saying what combinations Americans will have to choose from: Mercedes did not say whether the S-Model would come to the United States, or whether rear-wheel drive CLS63 models would still be sold here.
We do know that the CLS Shooting Brake will not be sold in the U.S. It might poach what few American wagon sales remain from the refreshed 2014 E-Class wagon.