Living with a high mileage Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG

Look, it was risky.

Your financial advisor isn’t going to approve of a decision to buy a thunderous V8 with around 160,000kms on the clock. Then again, your financial advisor is probably driving a Golf, so I’m not sure that’s the right place to get advice on this particular matter.

Funnily enough, the high mileage AMG route isn’t a stupid financial decision in my view. I paid around R230,000 for the car, which makes it similar in price to a Renault Kwid and the annual holiday you’ll need to take to manage your Kwid-related depression.

What do you get for the money?


the feeling of thunk

Firstly, the feeling of thunk. The E63 was built for executives during an energy-driven bull market. They didn’t care about the fuel price. They cared about going fast and doing it in safety. Going fast is important but being alive to raise your kids is importanter, as an adaptation of the old joke goes. The build quality is extraordinary. Even with this mileage, the interior is in practically perfect condition. The leather feels great and the wooden finish on the dashboard has aged incredibly well, unlike many other cars in this class.

Secondly, the feeling of irritation. This car was launched at a time of BlackBerries. The first iPhone was launched in June 2007 and only the wealthiest kids at varsity had them. Long story short: if you’re looking for a car with a great infotainment system, the E63 is a shocking choice. To make it worse, the radio has an intermittent issue where it sometimes dies for minutes at a time. To upset me, it usually does this after a decent song has finally started playing on one of the many channels I’ve flicked though.

Oh yeah, by the way, there are far more radio stations in the Western Cape than I realised. In cheap hatchbacks, the antenna can’t pick them up. In the Merc, I can pretend that I’m a resident of some long-forgotten dorpie up the West Coast, listening to their local DJ execute a disastrous sequence of songs while reminding people that the weekend is just three days away.


AMG punishes the rear wheels with 378kW

Thirdly, a noise that makes the radio easy to forget about. There are few cars that sound more brutal than an AMG from this era. These aren’t the pops-and-bangs found in the modern turbo cars. This is the sound of internal combustion destroying your monthly fuel budget and pension, while punishing the rear wheels with 378kW. It sounds even better to describe this as 507hp. Yes – that is Five Hundred Horsepower sir, for a price of R230,000. That’s a horsepower / price ratio that even a financial advisor can get behind.

Speaking of being alive to raise the kids, looking forward to the weekend and having plenty of noise available at the press of a pedal, this has been a wonderful car to share with my toddler. He is now a certifiable petrolhead, screaming “daddy’s car” whenever he sees the Merc. If you ask him what sound the car makes, he does a decent rendition of an angry engine.

Try achieving that with your Renault Kwid.

It would be silly not to mention the performance here. The AMG is faster than anyone needs on a public road, with the ability to take you on a time warp. The “whoosh” feeling of being thrown back in your seat is easily achievable. Quite honestly, you can drive with normal traffic without going over 2,500rpm in any of the gears. There are many German horses under the bonnet and all of them work.


The downside? The fuel consumption is spectacularly bad. It’s so bad that I can’t even do Franschhoek on a Sunday morning anymore, for fear of having to sell my toddler to pay for the fuel. Running at around 23l/100kms isn’t great with current fuel prices. Thankfully, my monthly mileage is minimal, so the per kilometre rate is bonkers but my absolute spend every month is reasonable.

This is the truth of the world we live in: the best things in life aren’t free, no matter what anyone tells you.

the AMG has paid for itself

This E63 has already cemented an interest in cars in my son. With many years ahead to share that interest with him, the Merc has paid for itself in ways that can only be measured in love, not money. Everything else like the power, the thunk, the noise and the West Coast DJs simply pales in comparison.

It’s been a year with the AMG that most people told me I was mad for buying. I’m so glad I did it anyway.