The all-wheel drive is 4Matic+, and that + bit is said to be important. Mercedes says it is an “intelligent drive strategy that raises the limits of the performance saloon's vehicle dynamics to a new level”. One change over the the last-gen E63 AMG in all-wheel drive form is that the torque distribution between front and rear axles is fully variable.
It’s this new torque arrangement that makes the Drift mode possible, says Mercedes. So, turn off the ESP, select manual gears, go to the Race programme and select Drift… and off you go, with 612 horses stampeding the rear wheels only. Watch out for some really smoky new AMG videos soon…
The rest is pretty much as expected, with multi-chamber air springs working with a re-engineered AMG sports suspension set-up for what Mercedes says is “a completely new blend of sportiness and comfort on long journeys”. The transmission is the nine-speed Speedshift multi-clutch jobbie, combined with a wet start-off clutch for the first time for added smoothness. On light throttle four cylinders of the 4.0-litre V8 shut down to save fuel, though as yet we have no official fuel or CO2 figures.
Then there are the looks. Like a Merc coupe, the bonnet is inset and this, with the other changes – 17mm wider front arches, bigger wheels, wide front apron and big splitter, plus the new-look grille with black struts – does lend the car a more dynamic air from the front.