The high mileage Mercedes Benz E63 AMG ownership experience

If you haven’t scrolled through your favourite local motoring classifieds feeling progressively more depressed, then you aren’t a real petrolhead.


It doesn’t matter what is currently in the garage. There’s always the inner voice that torments us with thoughts of what should or could be next. Part of this is because of the law of diminishing marginal returns, which simply means that we get used to nice things and then crave something different.

It all comes down to psychology

This is why your first car at the age of 18, equipped with a broken radio and no air-con, quite possibly made you happier than the German econobox you now have in the garage with all the important amenities. It all comes down to psychology and how we perceive our own happiness.

Enter the sh1tbox. The beater. The POS we park under the tree and secretly love far more than we are willing to admit. The expectation is that it shouldn’t work and will be uncomfortable, so any outcome better than awful is considered to be a win.


Somehow, this ends up being more fun than a far better car that disappoints us. Again, it’s all about psychology.

changing car as often as practically possible.

It’s rare to find a car that manages to stay in our hearts for an extended period. Many car enthusiasts love changing car as often as practically possible. It’s a bit like travel; if you enjoy travel, then you aren’t going to go to the Kruger every year for 50 years. Variety is the spice of life and cars are no different.

Sometimes, it’s important to remember why you bought a particular car and what the realistic expectations were when going into it. This has certainly been the case with my E63 AMG, which has been a mixed bag in the first few months of ownership. I nearly decided to sell the car (and almost everything is for sale at the right price at any time), but I’ve decided to hang on for now.


The dreaded engine light made an appearance

Soon after getting the car in mid-2021, it developed an issue. The dreaded engine light made an appearance after a spirited drive through the hills of Durbanville. By spirited, I mean fast and loud. By issue, I mean frustrating and expensive.

After an extensive inspection, it was found to be a relatively minor issue by AMG standards. Sadly, anything that breaks on an AMG isn’t relatively minor once the invoice arrives. The dealer I bought the car from, Grid Auto, behaved really well under the circumstances and picked up an appropriate portion of the bill.

While in the workshop, I obviously took the opportunity to make the car even louder. The funny thing with the AMGs is that the noise disappears out the back, which means the driver has to pay for the (enormous) fuel consumption for everyone else’s benefit. It’s like buying all your friends a ticket to a rock concert and then not attending it yourself.


sound deadening is no match for E63’s behemoth of a V8

An X-pipe sorts that problem out. I’m not sure if the E63 is even more cushioned than the C63 from a noise perspective, but even Germany’s finest sound deadening is no match for this behemoth of a V8 with its throat successfully cleared.

After a couple of noisy and enjoyable months of feeling like an up-and-coming narcotics dealer every time I drove around, the dreaded air suspension gave up. I now know that a funny smell in the garage after parking the car is air that has escaped, which means that your pension savings are about to take a hard knock.

There are ways to limit the pain. Fitting a non-OEM shock is the only sensible route to take. The price of an OEM shock is similar to the GDP of Rwanda, so that’s just not an option. I did fit a new OEM pump, similar in price to the GDP of Gabon.

I decided to ignore the E63 for a few weeks


By this stage, I had decided to sell the car. I decided to ignore the thing for a few weeks, so I could drive the sh1tbox and then go back to the E63 to make a final decision.

There are many sensible reasons why I should sell the E63. Although the air suspension is now sorted, the AMG is an engineering marvel of violently expensive components. When a car cost more than a million bucks over 15 years ago, the cost of keeping it alive is no joke.

grumpy stare from the resident Karen

Finally, I plucked up the courage to drive it. I rolled down the windows and drove to the Cape Town CBD. I used my favourite engine braking trick under the highway near the CTICC, which rewarded me with a symphony of pure power echoing around me. As always, this was met with generally approving looks from people in the area and one grumpy stare from the resident Karen. Success.

Fine. I’ll keep it.

Rob Peche was the founder of Carbs and Coffee, you can read more from his column HERE.