2012 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon

This might just be the perfect car.  What one vehicle can satisfy so many disparate automotive desires as Benz’s baddest wagon?  Practicality and performance have never assimilated as astutely as they have here in the E63.  It’s a car that fulfills all of the wants on my checklist: 1) it’s unique.  To own a car that no one else has is pure bliss and the E63 Wagon is about as exclusive as they come.  2) Performance.  So naughty and unexpected in a wagon bodystyle, the E63 has heroic sports car capabilities backed by handcrafted bi-turbo V8 power and AMG tuning.  When I was growing up, station wagons didn’t do stuff like this.  3) Is it usable?  Absolutely it is.  The E63 is a midsize wagon that’s low to the ground and incredibly user friendly.  (Back stand-up)  Mercedes has gone above beyond just carving out a cargo area.  There are all kinds of thoughtful touches and clever features that make using it hassle free.  Even with my daughter in the back seat, I was still able to load 2 bikes in here, and the low roof makes accessing the rails so much easier than with an SUV. 4) I want stuff, and the E63 Wagon delivers a luxurious experience that’s both eye-pleasing and fully stocked.  What kid wouldn’t love these dual screens, lots of leg room, sunshades and a glass roof?  And lastly, it has to at least be in the realm of reality and though it’s certainly more than I could afford, it starts at less than $100,000 and returns gas mileage of 15mpg city/23mpg highway that’s similar to a V6-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee…ultra impressive when you consider its 550 horsepower and 590 pound feet of torque.  That is when you chose the optional AMG Performance Package that also raises the top speed to 186 mph.

The 5.5-liter V8 transmits its energy through a 7-speed automated manual transmission with various shift modes, including one called race start that provides the perfect launch, smoking 60mph in 4.2 seconds.  AMG has put their hands on everything elevating the E-Class Wagon to race track willing and capable.  The suspension can be electronically adjusted to taste as well, though never forgoing comfort in any mode.  Any body roll has completely disappeared in the E63 while this optional AMG Performance Steering Wheel dictates your commands with surgical precision.  But perhaps best of all are the stares of disbelieve you encounter when this distinctive AMG sound emanates from the most unlikely of sources.  So capable and so confident, the E63 Wagon is an absolute joy to drive in any situation and elevates the definition of a stealth performer.  My car has the touchy and off the charts expensive AMG carbon ceramic brakes at an added cost of $12,625.  They take some getting used to but slam the door shut on speed in an instant.  The only nick against the E63’s everyday usability is the permeation of road noise created by these ContiSportContact 5P max performance tires.  The cabin is often quite loud.

But it’s also very comfortable, especially in the driver’s seat where the active sport seat applies bolster adjustments at just the right time to hug you in.  The driving position and ergonomics are excellent as well though the e-shifter is quirky with its gear selections and the Mercedes infotainment system continues to fall further behind modern times.  The copious use of carbon fiber in and outside the car…even on the license plate bracket is ridiculously cool.  MSRP as tested is $128,355.

Ultra rare, ingeniously designed and gratifying at the highest levels of both driving dynamics and utility, the E63 AMG Wagon leaves an indelible mark that makes it hard to say goodbye.

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