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Mercedes-AMG explains why the 2021 E63 uses the same powertrain as before

AMG didn't want the E63 to best the GT63, and adding mild-hybrid tech simply wasn't an option.

The twin-turbo V8 engine carries over from the previous model.

When the updated 2021 Mercedes-AMG E63 S made its debut on Wednesday, I was a little surprised to learn the powertrain had carried over unchanged from the previous car. I mean, I'm definitely not upset that the E63 continues to use AMG's 603-horsepower, 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8. But the lack of any update here just seemed... curious.

"We were very happy with the engine size [and] driving characteristics," Drummond Jacoy, Mercedes-AMG's director of vehicle development, told me on the phone during a media roundtable on Thursday. "We decided not to work on that, not to change that."

But there's more to that statement. "We have a car lineup," Jacoy noted, "and above the E63 we have the GT63 S, so we don't want to have an overlap there. We kept the more power exclusive to the GT63 S."

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG E63 S sedan and wagon make 603 hp and 627 pound-feet of torque from the 4.0-liter V8 engine. The GT63 S, meanwhile, produces 630 hp and 664 lb.-ft. The E63 S sedan can accelerate to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, while the GT63 S can do the same sprint in 3.1.

Mercedes-Benz has made a big electrification push over the past few years, most notably by adding its EQ-Boost mild-hybrid tech to a range of cars -- including various versions of the E-Class. But again, this is something that didn't find its way into the E63 for 2021. And it's not just because it would've added more GT63-usurping power.

"We want a Race Start [launch control feature], we want quick shifting," Jacoy said. "To do that we've used our electromechanical clutch and not a torque converter," the latter of which works with the integrated starter-generator (ISG) setup found in the EQ-Boost mild-hybrid tech. "To be completely honest with you, we have package restraints, so we couldn't fit the ISG in there."

Does any of this change how I feel about the E63 S? Not at all. The previous version was a hoot and a half to drive -- especially the wagon -- and the new car brings a number of other thoughtful updates, like sharper styling and Mercedes' excellent MBUX tech. Besides, 603 hp is a monstrous amount of power, and the character of the V8 engine is so incredibly good, so I'm glad Mercedes didn't risk screwing that up. If the new car drives like the old one, you won't hear me complaining.