E-Class Of Its Own

Sabotage Times meets the new ultra-luxurious (and exceptionally intelligent) Mercedes E63 AMG – and its spiritual home. No, not Stuttgart – Surrey.
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More than any other marque, Mercedes-Benz has perfected the art of making cars that can do everything.

OK, they don’t fly (yet). But apart from that minor technicality, they tick just about every box you can throw at them.

The new E63 AMG is no exception to the Mercedes rule: it really can do everything – and do it well.

Fancy taking on a Porsche at the traffic lights? No problemo. Want to rag it round a circuit on a trackday and embarrass the hordes of Lotus Elises? Consider it done. You could even take it to your local Lidl carpark and out-doughnut the local yoofs – but obviously you’re far too mature to do that... right?

Perhaps you’d rather waft along in supreme comfort, in the kingdom of Comfy like you’re being gently cosseted by the God of all things comfortable? Job’s a good’un. You see, the E63 AMG is not just a car – it’s every car you need.

With that epic 6.3litre V8, not only will you want to drive it like you’re Lewis Hamilton, the acceleration is so fierce you’ll end up with less hair than his dad.

To truly stretch the E63, I took it to Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey. This Merc mecca has all manner of test tracks – from a slick ring to a race circuit – all situated on the site of the historic Brooklands racetrack and airfield. Mercedes’ choice of location couldn’t be more suitable – Brooklands was the world’s first purpose-built racetrack, after all. (Somewhat more ironic is the fact that the bouncing bomb was designed and created in the adjacent factory building. But we won’t mention the war.)

Hammering the E63 down the test straight, I quickly realise that the ‘E’ in the E63 doesn’t stand for Executive, as I had first assumed, but rather E-e-e-e-e-k!

The acceleration is one thing, but it’s the braking that really makes your eyes pop (and your retinas hit the windscreen). This is especially evident when the driving instructor – there for your safety, apparently – makes you take your hands off the steering wheel and do an emergency stop at 80mph. The car’s big Germanic brain takes it all in its stride, and apart from your heart rate, everything is beautifully balanced, as the car is brought to a stop far sooner than you’d have thought physics would allow – and in a perfect arrow-straight line.

Attempting to drift around the circular skidpan is equally eye-opening – not only in showing you how bad a driver you actually are, but also how much the Mercedes electronics prevent you from wrapping yourself around a tree when you’re on the open road.

You don’t have to drive like a teenager on meow meow to enjoy the E63 AMG. In fact, you don’t have to drive it at all. Simply pull over, press one of the buttons on the side of the Merc’s super seats and enjoy a back massage from pulsing hands that knead your back like it’s a lump of dough in a Warbuton’s factory.

"Hammering the E63 down the test straight, I quickly realise that the ‘E’ in the E63 doesn’t stand for Executive, as I had first assumed, but rather E-e-e-e-e-k!"

If this doesn’t quite get rid of the knots after a hard drive, it might be worth a trip to a spa – and I know just the place...

Next door to Mercedes-Benz World, the brand new Brooklands Hotel & Spa has just opened. The hotel has no formal affiliation with the car marque, but the two certainly profit from a natural symbiosis. After an afternoon putting the car – and yourself – through various paces, the Brooklands’ spa is the perfect location for some speed relaxing.

Ignore working out at the state-of-the-art gym. Rather, I’d recommend a strict relax-out regime: 15 minutes in the hot tub (situated on the terrace, overlooking the race track); 15 minutes in the sauna; 15 minutes in the steam room; then finish of with a 50-minute deep tissue massage. A word of warning: after that much tension pummelling, your legs may not fully function any longer. Fortunately, you won’t need them to, as you’ll be floating on a cloud of wobbly muscle and drifting across a sea of essential oils. Or perhaps that was just me.

When you get back to your room, rinse off under one of the walk-in Amazonian rain showers made by Grohe. It should leave the top of your scalp as happily numb as the rest of your body. Without exaggeration, it is the best shower that I’ve ever had. With exaggeration, it’s like a troupe of miniature angels performing a rendition of Riverdance on top of your scalp.

For the full Brooklands experience, splash out on Room 319 – the penthouse suite. It has a stunning panoramic, decked terrace that overlooks all the track action, and is so large that it could accommodate more than 30 of your drunken mates. Or just you, on a cycle.

Inside, there are three TVs, including a waterproof flatscreen tiled in flush above the bath; a circular day bed worthy of the Playboy mansion and even your own cloakroom – attendants not provided.

There are two bathrooms, a living room, conference room and, next door, a bedroom. Perfect for work and play – a weekend with your secretary, perhaps?

The hotel is ideal for a couple’s retreat: men can go and do some serious work on the MBW track, while the women can do girl things in the spa. While you’re dousing yourself with eau de rubber brûlé, the ladies will be lathering up with products from Lubatti – the new range from Tracey Malone, Jo’s down-to-earth, democratically named sister.

In the evening, a trip to the bar is obligatory. The ‘Finishing Straight’ cocktail is a taste sensation – calvados, orange and lemon juice and a dribble of maple syrup. And for dinner, the chef at the neighbouring brasserie is creative and accomplished in equal measure.

The hotel is a real all-rounder – catering for everything you could want. Plus a little bit extra. Simply put, the Brooklands is the Mercedes-Benz of hotels. High praise, indeed.

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