The Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon and Porsche Cayenne Turbo have different shapes but follow the same blueprint: they’re cargo haulers with a virile twin turbo V8 engine, upgraded brakes, and as much in the way of tyres as you’d ever want. More detail of the two can be found if you compare cars at motoring.com.au.
The Cayenne has a more pleasing interior than the E63, although there’s a severe case of button pox and the optional shift lever resembles a large, funky alien head. The E63 keeps switches to a minimum. A reviewer for motoring.com.au, oft-described as the source of Australia’s most comprehensive automotive coverage, said it would be possible to drive from Brisbane to Melbourne in an E63 without having to stretch.
The Porsche Cayenne Turbo boasts 500hp, more than twice that of the least powerful Cayenne. The E63, meanwhile, has 518hp. You might think you don’t need more than 500hp, but you don’t need dessert, either, but it’s still nice. The Cayenne can pull 0.91g on the skidpad, while the E63 pulls 0.90g. The Carrera is the most entertaining thing currently built by Porsche.
Despite significant weight and power disadvantages, the Cayenne is only three seconds behind the Mercedes’ lap time around Michigan’s GingerMan raceway. It’s possible to approach a corner in the Carrera the same way twice but get drastically different results. The Carrera is also prone to jumping around when under throttle, which reminds you that it’s an SUV. Braking brings speed down swiftly from 120mph – the Cayenne is the only SUV to have carbon ceramic brakes as standard, which is a sports car-like attribute. Nevertheless, the E63 beat the Cayenne in braking at both 60 and 80mph, even if the costly option of ceramic brakes is not chosen.
The E63’s transmission changes more sharply than the Carrera’s. It carries its weight more evenly and the damper settings have been exquisitely chosen.
The engine of the E63 makes a fantastic noise. It’s deep and rich in a manner that so many manufacturers of turbocharged engines can’t emulate. The Cayenne reaches 60mph in 4.2 seconds while the E63 achieves the same in 3.8.
There are some minor blemishes to the Cayenne’s outward appearance: the eye for the optional active cruise control stands out horribly from the egg crate grille and the Sport Design package features an unpleasant bi-plane rear spoiler and other excesses. The E63 has a smooth front end design while its predecessors had an angular form. Mercedes-Benz’s manager for Corporate Communications in Australia, Jerry Stamoulis, said the new front bumper treatment was “more aggressive,” but added, “I don’t think it’ll put people offside.” It was, he said, impossible to please everybody with a new car.
Boring, but Essential
As for the more mundane stuff, the seats of the E63 are amazing, with active air bladders to keep you in place when taking corners, and a massage function. The capacity of the E63 is three cubic feet more than the Carrera. Unlike the E63, the Cayenne can tow – as much as 7716 pounds.
Opinion favours the E63. One reviewer said he wanted to purchase a gun to prevent anyone from taking the keys to his E63. Another said he wished his funeral procession to be made of 100 E63s.