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1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
10/18/19 6:11 a.m.

Yeah, it does seem expensive for a piece of plastic, even if it is Mercedes AMG plastic.  I'm sure that the reason it is missing is because they removed the Italian license plate holder and couldn't figure out what the correct part number was for Sweden.  On a French forum someone with an R350 CDI that came with the AMG package, including the AMG front bumper, sent me his VIN.  I'll call Mercedes and see if his VIN brings up the same part number as the R63 in Spain.  If it's the same number, then I will go with that.  But if it gives a different number, then I'm not sure what I will do.

The euro plates don't impact the airflow.  They are long and skinny and just cover the solid part of the bumper in between the lower grill and the main grill with the three pointed star.

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
10/19/19 9:51 a.m.

Today is another good day.  A couple of members of a French Mercedes forum have verified the correct part number for the license plate holder and it is the part that the dealer found using the VIN of the R63 in Spain.  So hopefully I'll get this ordered on Monday and the dealer should have it on Tuesday.

But wait, there's more.  No, this is not an infomercial, but the people on the French forum also provided me with the correct part numbers for the rear diffuser, frame, and trailer hitch cover.

And that is not all.  In the mailbox today was the Certificate of Conformity from Mercedes France.  I now have all of the documents that I need to register the R63 in France!  Well, I have everything that the official government website say I need.  After giving the French government everything on their document list, it is not uncommon for them to come back and tell you that you absolutely must provide some other document that isn't on the list.  But hopefully this will do it.  And in a couple of weeks I will be able to start including photos in my posts.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
10/19/19 10:33 a.m.

It's all coming together. Excellent!

NoahWeb
NoahWeb New Reader
10/19/19 2:46 p.m.

A great day indeed!!  Can't wait to see the road trip photos!!  

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
10/31/19 5:07 a.m.

Less than a week now before we pick up the R63.  There are some exciting things planned for the trip, but I'll wait to see if they actually materialize before saying more.

There's not much to say while we wait, but I did get a photo of the non-AMG wheels with the summer tires (the car currently has winter tires with AMG wheels - apparently most people in Sweden keep winter tires on year round - I didn't even see the wheels with the summer tires when I went to see the car because they were in a special "summer tire storage" facility).

Here are the AMG wheels with the winter tires:

And here are the non-AMG wheels with the summer tires:

Does anyone know anything about these Nitro wheels?  I may try to sell the non-AMG wheels and get a set of AMG wheels to use with summer tires, though in the south of France, we really won't have any use for winter tires (we get snow once every two years and it only lasts more than a day once every 4 or 5 years).

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
11/8/19 1:16 p.m.

We just got home from our trip to Sweden to pick up the R63.  The drive home was more than 1500 miles in three days.  I'm absolutely exhausted.  A lot to share.  I have to work tomorrow and Sunday morning, but will try to get a report with some photos posted on Sunday afternoon, including our experiences on the autobahn and in Affalterbach.  But the big news is that the R63 is home.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
11/8/19 2:27 p.m.

Yay! This has been quite the adventure. Looking forward to the report. 

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/8/19 3:33 p.m.

In reply to 1955W196S :

Hooray!  Congratulations on making it home!

Stegel
Stegel New Reader
11/8/19 5:16 p.m.

Hi, congratulations on the purchase. I read that you have the part no. for the rear diffuser, but this link (if it works in France) may be of use for identifying any clips etc.. (there are two variants of R63 listed, I just guessed which one would be applicable). 

https://mercedes.7zap.com/en/eu/fg/car/r-klasse/r+63+amg/63n/251077/fg/0/0/88/0/075/0/0/#270

 

NoahWeb
NoahWeb New Reader
11/9/19 6:39 a.m.

That's awesome news!!  Can't wait to read/see more about it!

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
11/10/19 8:58 a.m.
Dammit said:

With regards to the tow hitch I do not believe that any AMG is homologated for towing - number six on the chassis plate will tell you what your max permitted towing weight is:

If there's nothing there then you can't tow with the vehicle (legally).You could mount a hitch to mount things like a bike carrier.

 

Here's the sticker from our R63.  It appears that it is rated for a max towing weight of 5050 kg.

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
11/10/19 4:17 p.m.

Our trip to pick up the R63 got off to a great start.  Three days before we were to leave, the train we were scheduled to take to Bordeaux was canceled because of a strike by the high speed train workers.  Fortunately, we were able to get tickets on a slower train at the last minute.  So last Tuesday morning, we left the house at 8:30 a.m. to go to the train station.  We had three and a half hours on the train, followed by an hour on a bus, followed by a wait at the airport, followed by a two and a half hour flight to Copenhagen, Denmark, followed by a 15 minute train ride to the central train station, which was less than a one minute walk from our hotel.  We arrived at the hotel about 8:30 p.m., found a great pizza restaurant next door, then hit the sack.  End of day 1 (except for the police and ambulance sirens throughout the night).

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
11/11/19 5:06 p.m.

On day 2 (Wednesday, Nov. 6), we got off to an early start, walking the 30 seconds or so to the Copenhagen Central Train Station.  We found our train on the departure board and made our way to the track.  Two trains came and went, and the screen indicated that the next train was ours.  However, when the train arrived, the train car that was listed on our reservation was not part of the train!  We got on the train, then off, then back on, not sure if it was the right train or not.  We finally found someone who worked for the railway and he assured us that it was indeed the correct train.  We thought that perhaps they would be adding additional cars at one of the stops down the line, but no, when we passed from Denmark into Sweden, all of the numbers on the train cars changed.  We had a pleasant trip, taking in the beautiful Swedish countryside, arriving in Karlskrona just after noon.

The previous owner was waiting for us.  When we got to his house, I replaced his Swedish license plate with my temporary French plate:

 

I had wished that there might be some way to attach the front license plate without drilling holes in the bumper, but that concern disappeared when I saw that there were already several holes drilled in the area that would be covered up by the license plate support (none of the existing holes were usable of course).  The previous owner helped me mark the spots, drill the holes, and attache the support, along with an AMG license plate frame that I had brought with me.

We tied down the four summer tires and wheels and blocked them as best we could with our luggage.  It was 2:00 p.m. when we were ready to hit the road.  We drove across southern Sweden, crossed Denmark, and into Germany, arriving in Hamburg around 9:30 p.m., having only stopped for gas.  We hadn't eaten since breakfast, but we were more exhausted than hungry.  With no sirens during the night, we got a much needed good night's sleep.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
11/11/19 5:32 p.m.

We all want to know what you thought of the on road experience. laugh

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
11/12/19 5:03 p.m.

The car handles great.  The ride, in comfort mode, is very smooth.  I don't even notice the gear changes.  Steering is quite responsive.  Acceleration is, well, let me put it this way.  If you are gentle on the gas pedal, the car is quite tame and could easily be mistaken for an "ordinary" Mercedes.  Push just a little on the gas and you can easily get around slow moving traffic.  But push down more and the beast shakes off its disguise, roaring to life.  If you want, you can push the pedal to the floor and you will be pushed back into your seat like a pilot in a fighter jet being catapulted off of an aircraft carrier.  But if you aren't trying to verify that the car will do 0-60 in 4.6 seconds, you just push down a little and the car goes and goes and goes with ever increasing speed.

I hadn't mentioned it before, because I wasn't sure that it was going to work out until just before we left,  but several weeks ago, I received a message from someone at AMG saying that they had read my post on the AMG Private Lounge forum, and asking if it would be possible for them to send someone to accompany me when I picked up the car and drove it back to France.  This was on, then off, then on again.  For logistical reasons, they decided just to accompany us on Thursday, as we drove from Hamburg to Affalterbach.  They had also arranged for us to have a private tour of the AMG factory.  As you can imagine, I was thrilled by the idea.

We met Hanna, a media consultant, and Lucas, a photographer, at our hotel in Hamburg on Wednesday night.  On Thursday morning, they took some photos, and off we went.  Lucas joined us in the R63, taking photos from inside the car, while Hanna followed in their rental car.  When we stopped for gas, Hanna and Lucas changed places.  The factory tour was scheduled for 3 p.m. and the GPS indicated that we should arrive with half an hour to spare.

We were rolling at a nice pace (I wasn't trying to go fast because I was responding to Hanna's questions), but there was a lot of road work on the autobahn.  Our speed was going up and down from 130 (kilometers/hour) to 110 to 80 to 60 and back up to 130, only to come down again, over and over.  And then . . . we came to a complete stop.  After not moving an inch for 20 minutes, I turned off the engine.  We were parked on the autobahn.  So much for the stories I had heard about cars flashing their lights to get you to move over when they were still 2 miles behind you.  We sat . . . and we sat . . . and we inched forward . . . and we sat some more.  Several times I turned the car off.

It took more than 2 hours to go 15 kilometers (9 miles).  Our entire side of the autobahn was closed.  It went from 4 lanes, to 2 lanes, to 1 lane, and then we had to exit and take secondary roads for about 20 miles before we got back on the autobahn.  By then, The GPS was telling us that we wouldn't get to Affalterbach until 5 p.m.  That's when I started putting my foot down, when I could.  We continued to have road work with reduced speeds of 80 and 60 km/hour, as well as sections at 120 or 130.  And then there were the round white signs with the black diagonal lines indicating that there was no speed limit.  I took it up to 140 km/h, then 150, and eventually up to 190 (118 miles per hour).  I would have liked to get it up to 200 (125 miles per hour), but there was intermittent rain and wind.

At this point, Hanna and Lucas were both in their rental car.  They called AMG, then called us.  It was going to be too late for the factory tour by the time we arrived, and it was not possible to do a factory tour the next morning.  We had made up some time and it looked like we would arrive about 4:30 p.m., so we would still get to visit the showroom, which closed at 5 p.m.  We did arrive in Affalterbach about 4:30 p.m., but our 2007 satnav system insisted that we take a dead end road.  We could see that it was blocked with plastic barriers, so I assume that in 2007 the road went through.  It took us 20 minutes to find a way around, and we finally arrived at AMG HQ at 4:55 p.m., just as everything was closing.  I was disappointed and frustrated.

But when we pulled in front of the showroom, there were three people, in addition to Hanna and Lucas, waiting for us.  Alex, Adrian, and Diana.  Diana is in charge of the real AMG Private Lounge.  The rest of our time there was such a blur, that I'm not yet sure exactly what Alex and Adrian's titles are.  They welcomed us warmly, invited me to park the R63 in a place of honor in front of all the current AMG cars.  Lucas took more photos and Alex started talking to me about the R63 and told me that they were thrilled to have us bring it by the factory.  Then they invited us up to the private lounge, offered us something to drink, and Alex started telling us about the history of AMG and the plans for the future direction of the company.  Then they took us back to the showroom and opened it up just for us.  We walked around looking at the cars on display, and Alex invited me to sit in the new AMG GT 4 door coupe.  The technological differences between our 2007 R63 and the 2020 AMG GT are enormous.  He also showed me an AMG GT4 racer that was amazing.

I looked at my watch and realized that we had been there for an hour and a half.  They had treated us like royalty.  It was getting late.  Hanna had to catch a flight back to Berlin.  Lucas was expected by family in the area.  The others needed to get home, and we still had over two hours of driving to get to our hotel in Mulhouse, France.  Before everyone left, they gave us some gifts, including roses for my wife.  Then as everyone was saying goodby, Alex looked at me and said, "You know, the night shift has started in the engine factory.  Would you like to see where your engine was made?  And would you like me to show you the future?"  There was no way I was going to turn down that offer.  So we spent another 30 minutes with Alex and got to meet a couple of the master techs who build the engines.

It was a fabulous experience, and left me with a strong desire to return someday when we can spend more time there, and also visit the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart.

You may have noticed that there are no photos in this post.  With Lucas taking photos, our talking with Hanna, our frustration as we sat in the autobahn parking lot, and putting my foot down trying to make up a little time, neither my wife nor I took a single picture.  We have one Polaroid with the folks from AMG that I will scan and put up soon.  And I'm hoping (and praying) that Lucas will share some of his photos with us.

It's after midnight here, so I'm calling it a night and will share some more soon.

jfryjfry
jfryjfry Dork
11/12/19 8:44 p.m.

I keep waiting for the bad news but it only gets better!

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
11/13/19 5:59 a.m.

There are a couple of issues, like the trailer hitch and the rear diffuser , as well as a little rust along the bottom of the tail gate and on the inside of the rear passenger door that need to be taken care of.  We also got a couple of small chips in the windshield.  I took it to Carglass, thinking that it could be repaired, but they said it was too close to the edge and so it needs to be replaced (insurance will cover this, with no deductible).  Because I am convinced that the R63 is/will be a collector, I'm trying to make sure that the replacement windshield is original Mercedes, though Mercedes didn't make the windshields.  Mine was made by PPG, but is marked with the Mercedes three pointed star.  Carglass told me that PPG windshields are not available in France, but they are trying to get the appropriate windshield from Mercedes.

Also, I noticed last night, after I turned it off, that it released the air from the airmatic shocks and the car settled down.  This seemed to only happen in the front, but our E Class station wagon does this, so I'm hoping that it is normal.

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/13/19 11:10 a.m.

That is a really cool experience. It's nice to see a group of people care so much about the products they represent and the customers they sell it too, even second-hand. A lot of business people seem to forget that no business survives long without customers. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
11/14/19 7:34 a.m.

So far, I've only driven the R63 five times (3 long days getting it home, and twice since we have been home).  I still need to look it over closely and read through the manual.  The last time I took it out, I was cycling through the display menus and came across the flashing image of an oil can with a thermometer.  To the right was a temperature reading (which I correctly assumed was the oil temp) and above was a number (which I thought was perhaps the number of liters of oil in the engine - it actually tells which gear you are in).  Flashing lights in a car always concern me, so I pulled over as soon as I could.  In the car we have a user manual in Swedish, but I had downloaded a .pdf file of the manual in English and have it on my smart phone.  So I was able to find the explanation and was reassured to discover that the flashing oil can simply means that the oil is not yet up to temperature.  I learned that when this is flashing, you should avoid driving at full speed.  Kind of humorous, unless you take the R63 to a track day.  Here in France the maximum legal speed is 130 km/h (81 mph), which means that I can't even get the speedometer to the half way mark.

One thing that I have noticed is that on two occasions, when I was making a 90 degree turn from a stop, I hit the gas more than I intended, and the car shot out and made the turn.  I didn't lose the rear end, perhaps because of the 4-matic all wheel drive, but I felt (just an impression) that I might have been on the point of losing the rear end.  I would be interested in mazdeuce-Seth, Noahweb, and any other R63 owners out there giving me their experience.  As I said, this was just an impression, it didn't happen, so I do know if this is something that you need to be careful about or not.

NoahWeb
NoahWeb New Reader
11/22/19 8:26 p.m.

Can you clarify how you mean "shot out and made the turn?"  Were you in Sport Mode, or 1st gear?  How are the tires (tyres??)?  

 

I know that the E63 AMG does not like burnouts; power steering pump tends to fail as a result.  Wonder if there is a correlation between a hard right turn and the power steering system of the R63?  

 

Sorry for the delay in replying.  Just got back from a work-trip to Germany & Poland.  First experience driving on zee autobahn...had an A6 TDI Wagon as my rental.  HUGE fun!  Passing the Police at 172 KpH legally was .... different!  Wish we had roads of that caliber here in the states!!  

 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
11/23/19 6:25 a.m.

I always left the display on oil temp when I let someone else drive. No full throttle until it stops blinking. Usually by the time it got up to temp they were so impressed that they never really did a full throttle run. 

As far as the whole 90 degree corner thing, I suspect that you're just dealing with the fairly squishy nature of the car. The suspension isn't super soft, but it is slow. It takes a while for the car to properly take a set during any type of quick transition. Try a quick double lane change maneuver and you'll feel it. When you're on it and turning from a stop you're unloading the front and the same time as tossing the car to one side and dynamically the car isn't "ready" to accelerate and it induces some weird body motions. I never once had a wheel slip, but I think I know what you're talking about. Turning out of my neighborhood is a 90 degree left onto a busy road. I developed a technique of gradually feeding throttle as I unwound the wheel and doing it like that caused body motions at a pace that was more in tune to the natural suspension frequency. The short is that it doesn't really like throttle and steering angle at the same time, not for any mechanical reason (I don't think anyway) but for dynamic reasons. A quirk of 5k pounds of luxury anger. 

I also apologize for missing this the first time. Please feel free to send me an message if you have any questions. 

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
11/24/19 7:38 a.m.

Thanks, NoahWeb and mazdeuce - Seth, for your input.  It's hard to explain.  There was definitely no burnout (is that even possible in an all wheel drive?).  I was just making a normal 90 degree left turn, hit the gas a little harder then I intended, and the car almost/kinda sorta/not exactly felt like the rear just flipped around the 90 degrees, but no further.  It's only happened twice (so far), so it's not much to go on.  And it surprised me to the point that I immediately lifted off the gas.  I "felt" that if I had kept my foot down, it might have fishtailed back and forth going down the road, but I didn't keep my foot down and it didn't fishtale.  I don't know if that is any clearer or not.  I'll see if it happens again in the future.

1955W196S
1955W196S New Reader
11/24/19 8:18 a.m.

And the registration saga continues . . .

As you know, it took me several weeks to get all the papers together to apply for the registration.  Then I waited about a month to find out if the French government would want any other documents.  Last week I got the e-mail telling me that everything was fine.  All that remained was for me to pay the exorbitant registration fee, and in a few days the registration papers would arrive in my mailbox.  It should have been simple, but this is France.

In an effort to make things simpler (I'm not sure for whom, it certainly wasn't for me), the French government centralized all car registrations across the country.  You have to do the registration online, sending them scanned copies of all the documents they require (being sure to keep all the originals for 5 years).  When they are ready to take your money, they send you an e-mail, you go online and login to the government site, bring up your file, check all the relevant boxes, click "Next" and you start the payment process.  You have to pay by card all at one shot.  You cannot pay by check or by bank transfer.

My card, like most cards in France, is a debit card.  So I made sure that I had sufficient funds in my account before I went online to make my payment.  I filled in all the relevant boxes and clicked "Pay".  I short time later, I got a message saying that the payment had been refused.  I tried again with the same result.  The next morning, I called my French bank.  At first the lady explained that when I use my debit card, my ability to pay is not based on what I have in my account at that moment, but rather on what was in my account 72 hours earlier.  So she initially told me to just wait a few days and try again.  Then after a pause, she said, "Oh, I see that you have a ______ card (with the specific kind of card that they had given us over 20 years ago).  That card is limited to a maximum of x per month."  I asked what she meant by "limited to x per month".  I said, "It's a debit card.  It should only be limited by what I have in the bank."  But no, it doesn't work that way.  No matter how much money I have in the bank, I can only use my debit card to pay up to x per month.  They could temporarily raise the limit, but that was still significantly less than the amount that I have to pay for the registration, which can only be paid by card.

So now, I have to apply for a different debit card that has a higher limit (but still has a limit regardless of how much money you have in your account).  And it's not like in the States where most banks provide a Visa or Mastercard with no annual fee.  These cards have an annual fee of between $100 and $300.  And since this is France, it's anybody's guess whether or not the bank will actually let me have the other card.

I go back and forth between being extremely frustrated and finding this humorous (in a twisted sort of way).  I'm just grateful that I'm having these kinds of problems rather than mechanical problems with the R63.

slowbird
slowbird Dork
11/24/19 10:04 a.m.

What the...that debit card stuff sounds extremely ridiculous and arbitrary.

madpenguin
madpenguin New Reader
11/25/19 7:15 a.m.
slowbird said:

What the...that debit card stuff sounds extremely ridiculous and arbitrary.

Yeah, our cards are kind of weird. Mostly debit cards but with credit card limitations. Lots of stuff around here is based on a mentality to "protect people from themselves".

1955W196S, you should take a look on "online" banks. Most of French ones are actually subsidiaries of well-known brick-and-mortar ones, and their services (including payment cards) are mostly free of charge. They still have the same weird limitations on cards, but at least it's a couple of clicks by yourself to change the payment limitation, and you can set it up quite high (10k€ and more) as long as you have the money on the account.

And an interesting side benefit is that they often have some sponsorship programs to gain new customers, and you won't have any trouble to find someone to sponsor you if you're interested in one... Free money is always nice ;)

Of course there are some limitations : no physical agency, no way to put cash on your account, checks have to be send through the mail, ... But overall I'm very pleased with mine. And credit rates are often very interesting.

If it's too long to set up for your registration issue, you can always use some professional services. Most garages have a service to do registration for customers. It costs a little bit (often between 30-60€ on top of the registration taxes), but maybe you can pay them with a check...

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