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"It's the descendant of the 'Hammer,'" noted Nick Martin, AMG product manager for the United States. "This really is how AMG got its start."

Indeed, even though other AMG models have overshadowed the E63 in recent years, its predecessor arguably put Mercedes' firm from Affalterbach on the map. The 500E, affectionately known as the Hammer, was produced from 1991 to 1994 and kick-started the idea of a performance-tuned, factory-built version of Mercedes' otherwise ubiquitous midsize sedan. The E55 AMG of the 1990s cemented the idea further.

Now, the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 unveiled at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show continues in this tradition, introducing several new elements to the AMG family. It is the first model to get this particular version of AMG's 4.0-liter V8, featuring a twin-scroll turbocharger in place of the single-scroll unit found in the AMG GT. That advancement contributes to a staggering 563 horsepower in the E63 and 603 hp in the E63S. To put that into perspective, the twin-turbo V12 in the "65" AMG models produces 621 hp. Of course, that engine still has a substantial torque advantage, but 553 and 627 pound-feet, respectively, is nothing to sneeze at. Nor is the E63 S' 0-60-mph estimate of 3.3 seconds.

The 2018 E63 is also the first AMG with its new nine-speed Speedshift MCT transmission, while its sport-tuned adaptive suspension now has air chambers at all four wheels – the previous E63 had them only at the rear. The spread between the suspension's three settings is said to now be greater, which should aid ride comfort.

Another pioneering element is AMG's new 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system. Certainly influenced by those who balked at a high-powered AMG engine having its tire-smoking, tail-out tendencies neutered, 4Matic+ adds a new Race mode in the E63S that decouples the front axle completely. Hilarity will ensue, although we're told there are certain grave instances when the front wheels will re-enter to save your bacon.

Besides its new, hooligan Race function, 4Matic+ also gains a fully variable torque split. Whereas the current 4Matic system defaults to a 33-percent front, 67-percent rear torque split, this can constantly vary itself based on traction and drive mode (Comfort, Sport and Sport +). A limited-slip differential, mechanical in the E63 and electronic in the E63S, effectively handles torque vectoring left to right.

Launching the 2018 E63 will be the First Edition, which took the stage here in LA. It comes standard with the otherwise optional carbon-ceramic brakes, upgraded AMG performance seats and the exterior Night package that adds glass black trim to various areas that would normally be gloss silver or chrome. Also included is special yellow interior stitching and Designo matte black paint, which like all of Mercedes matte finishes, features a ceramic coating that makes cleaning and maintaining it a smidge easier. The 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 will arrive in dealers in summer 2017.

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