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We’ve known for a while now that when the W213 Mercedes-AMG E 63 arrives, it will come with 4Matic all-wheel drive as standard. For the rear-wheel-drive enthusiasts wondering if that move might dampen the big performance car’s exuberance, AMG chairman Tobias Moers has said that the upcoming model will retain rear-wheel drive characteristics, and will feature a newly-developed drift mode.

“It is four-wheel drive and we’re going to have a drift mode,” he told Autocar at the Paris Motor Show. Not completely unlike the feature on the Ford Focus RS, the E 63’s drift mode will employ the help of the electronic stability control system’s calibration to send up to 100% of output to the rear wheels, which should see the E63 continue to offer power oversteer characteristics despite the adoption of all-wheel drive.

AMG E63 Black Series 4

“It’s going to be below and above 600 hp,” Moers added, speaking of the new performance model that will square up against the likes of the Audi RS6 and the BMW M5. The 600 hp mark is expected to be breached by the uptuned E 63 S variant, following the trend set by the current model and the C 63 range.

Power is to come from a revised version of AMG’s 4.0 litre turbocharged V8, replacing the current 5.5 litre motor. Don’t expect it to be slow though. “It’s faster on the (Nürburgring) Nordschleife than ever,” said Moers, concluding that “it’s the biggest step we’ve ever made with the E-class.”

GALLERY: Mercedes-AMG E 63 spyshots