Could the next Mercedes E63 AMG be AWD-only?

Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG

The next-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class is set to arrive in 2016, and the range-topping E63 AMG could possibly lose its rear-wheel drive option abroad.

AMG Chief Executive Tobias Moers told Motoring that the luxury sedan will likely equip 4MATIC all-wheel drive as standard in right-hand drive markets like Australia, which could mean the dissolution of the rear-wheel drive option altogether.

The new model will ride on Mercedes’ MRA platform, which is very versatile in its ability to accommodate multiple wheelbases and packages. Still, when asked if RWD would be axed for the E63 AMG’s fifth generation, Moers said, “We are in discussion about that. That’s open.”

“If we can manage it then we have a nice all-wheel drive system in the car which provides a nice drifting behavior,” he continued. “Then it’s OK. The success of the all-wheel drive [in] the left-hand markets is tremendous.”

Moers also added that 4MATIC-equipped models have proven to be much faster in racetrack testing, and they also sell in much higher numbers.

The E63 AMG may benefit from the added traction of standard AWD, because the new car will feature the 4.0-liter M178 V8 from the Mercedes-AMG GT.

The engine is 1.5-liters smaller than the twin-turbo V8 from the current car, which produces 550 horsepower, but Moers says the dry-sump V8 from the GT has a very high power ceiling.

“It’s a really capable engine,” he said. “It is not in a big stress level now with 375kW (503 hp). The technology in that engine is really great and there is lot more room for more horsepower and more torque.”