by Roger Biermann
Forget SUVs – if you want performance and practicality, then Mercedes-AMG has the only vehicle you should be looking at. Based on the all-new Mercedes-AMG E63 sedan, the AMG E63 Wagon is only available in S trim and packs all 603 horsepower, all the turbocharged fury, all the all-wheel drive control, and SUV levels of storage space into one lightning fast family shuttle. The Audi RS6 no longer has the performance wagon realm to themselves, now, and with this they may be relegated to the shadows entirely. The phrase may be overused, but it’s never been truer – honey, the kids will never be late for school again!
With the exception of the enormous station wagon load bay, the rest of the interior is equal parts E Class and AMG. The infotainment/instrument cluster dual screen system spans two thirds of the E63’s dash, with custom themes and two 12.3 inch displays. The flat-bottomed AMG sports steering wheel is tactile and beautifully sculpted, clad in leather and microsuede, and is both height and reach adjustable. The standard power adjustable sport front seats make it easy to get into a great driving position, and the AMG Performance front seats are worth the extra cost as their deeply contoured buckets provide exceptional support during cornering.
But it’s the cargo space available that makes the E63 S Wagon so special. Not only is there a standard 35 cubic feet behind the rear seats, and the 40/20/40 split seas can fold flat to enhance that to 64 cavernous cubes.
An AMG with all-wheel drive isn’t a foreign concept after the CLA45 launched, but one with this much power is. However, it’s a trick all-wheel drive system like the new M5’s that grants rear-drive dynamics with all-wheel control when it matters. The rear-biased system provides a handling balance of neutral that borders on oversteer, and has a trick ‘drift mode’ that disengages the front drive shafts entirely to route all power to the rear tires – or rather what’s left of them.
With AMG tuned adaptive suspension, the ride can be incredibly firm in sportier modes. It’s true that on rough roads the ride will deal out chiropractor’s appointments regularly in Sport and Sport+, so it’s best to use Comfort on a daily basis. But even in its softest mode, on 20-inch standard wheels the ride is a bit jarring and underdamped. The suspension is sprung soft enough, but the dampers fail to filter out secondary jitters.
In wagon format, much like the sedan, the E63 only arrives in S trim. That gives it outputs of a full 603hp and 627 lb-ft of torque, routed to 4MATIC all-wheel drive by a 9-speed automatic transmission. The 4.0-liter V8 under the hood features two turbochargers mounted ‘hot inside the vee’ to provide the most lag free turbo experience around. Performance is simply astonishing – 0-60mph takes just 3.3 seconds, before reaching a limited top speed of 186 mph. The AMG soundtrack doesn’t get muted either – the V8 still roaring as the revs climb and barking as the gears change.
The E63 S Wagon features the Premium 1 Package as standard, incorporating parking pilot, a rear-view camera, blind spot assist, rear cross traffic alert, heated front seats, electronic closing trunk, Burmeister surround sound, and wireless device charging. The optional AMG Premium package adds a heads-up display and surround view camera, as well as further enhancements to safety systems such as active blind spot assist, active steering assist, lane change assist, and emergency stop assist. The E Class wagon scored a best possible 5 out of 5 stars in all NHTSA tests and full marks overall.
Move over Audi, there’s a new fast wagon in town and it’s beaten you at your own game. The AMG E63 S Wagon is supercar fast, packed with safety features, and features massive practicality. You most certainly can’t ask for more than that in one package.