Its resume reads like an overachieving supercar.
A twin-turbocharged V-8 unleashes 577 horsepower to all four wheels, it takes 3.6 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph, the sticker price passes $100,000 even quicker than that, and it’s a station wagon that seats five comfortably.
Wait, what was that last part?
Yes, for the few buyers who crave a vehicle that can haul the entire family to a night at the movies fast enough to earn them a night in jail instead, Mercedes-Benz would like to offer the E63 S AMG station wagon.
The trouble is, that’s a short list of people. Around 130 -- if we’re counting -- drove home in one of these beasts in the U.S. in 2013. Toyota sold the same number of Camrys every three hours last year. So why does Mercedes build the car?
To hear the carmaker tell it, the question is actually: Why wouldn’t Mercedes build this car? All the pieces already exist in its workshop, so the tri-star brand faced almost no development costs to put the E63 wagon together. The media attention a 577-horsepower station wagon brings the brand shouldn’t be discounted either.
This AMG hyper-wagon traces its roots to the Mercedes E350 4Matic wagon, an all-wheel-drive V-6 model that serves as the perfect host and which the brand was building in quantity anyway. Mercedes then shoehorned inside it a (deep breath) 5.5-liter, twin-turbocharged, all-aluminum, hand-build masterpiece of an engine.
This powerplant also happens to be in a vast majority of other AMG products, ranging from the ML mid-size sport utility vehicle to the S63 full-size sedan. The engine uses direct-injection and a start/stop system for enough of a gain in fuel economy to avoid any gas guzzler tax.
This means the E63 AMG wagon starts at a cool $103,295, though our tester added things such as a carbon fiber engine cover, red nappa leather seats, and a grab-bag of tech goodies such as adaptive cruise control, active lane-keeping assist, and collision-avoidance braking for a total of $113,675.
For that money you get an engine capable of churning out 577 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque (a reminder dear plebes, that this is a station wagon with the torque of one-and-a-half Ferrari 458s). This makes the Benz the fastest wagon in the land, with the aforementioned 3.6-second zero-to-60 mph run, and a top speed of 186 mph.
Yet on the road, the car is surprisingly docile, considering the anger lurking underneath. The seven-speed automatic transmission has three automatic modes, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus, and another fully manual mode. Skip Comfort for any meaningful acceleration as it was frustratingly subdued. Same for manual mode, as gear changes were disappointingly slow.
If you’re looking for trigger-ready power, Sport Plus was the only way to go. With the blessing of this setting, the otherwise forgettable luxury station wagon in front of you at the traffic light uncorks itself toward the horizon with a fury and roar normally reserved for drag racing. Both are intoxicating.
By the time you’re done swearing at it, that E63 wagon and its driver are already in the next county. Or jail. This acceleration, and the grip necessary for it, is why Mercedes made all-wheel-drive standard on all E-Class AMG models for 2014.
Thankfully, unlike many muscle cars that would be jealous of this AMG’s power, the car also turns with reasonable ease. This wagon’s driving habits lean toward a rear-wheel-drive car, thanks in large part to the all-wheel-drive system directing two-thirds of the engine’s power to the rear wheels. Meanwhile, the steering is direct and communicates with the road nicely.
Helping the E63 AMG wagon’s appeal is its look. For 2014, the car got the same (much-needed) midlife nip and tuck as the rest of the E-Class lineup. The refresh is exactly that, adding some curves and grace to a car that previously had the severity of an overbearing headmaster.
Because Mercedes added all-wheel-drive to this E63 wagon’s recipe for 2014, the brand expects those meager 130 sales to increase as much as 25% in 2014 to a whopping 162 new buyers, many of whom will be in California, as this is unquestionably AMG’s strongest market.
So be careful the next time a station wagon chides you on at a stoplight. Unless you’re packing some serious metal, maybe let this one slide. But if you do race for slips and win, you’ll have the coolest supercar on the block.
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