Other aspects are familiar from the E63 sedan, including the bi-turbo 4.0-litre V8 with 612bhp for the S model, or 41bhp less for the entry car (which is only one-tenth of a second slower from 0-62). There’s the same nine-speed Speedshift transmission and smart all-wheel-drive system with fully variable torque split between front and rear axles. The suspension is by way of air springs and continuously variable damping.
AMG’s Dynamic Select programme is included with its familiar driver choices including, in the S version, a Race mode tailored to track driving. Carbon ceramic brakes are an option.
So is it the world’s fastest estate? 3.5 seconds is brisk enough for the 612bhp AMG to drive past the 605bhp Audi RS6 (3.7 seconds) and match on acceleration the shooting-brake three-door Ferrari GTC4, at least in V8 Turbo form. The Ferrari might have the higher top speed – plus a much smaller boot and a larger price tag of course – but on getaways from the lights, they are neck and neck. In the true “load lugger” stakes there’s nothing quicker, which is what you’d expect of a company that has been championing the performance-estate formula for 40 years.