Whether we value the utility, appreciate the form-factor or gravitate toward the less common—we love a wagon. Oftentimes, and especially in the US, wagons are not built with driving performance in mind. Fortunately, Mercedes-Benz sees enough of a market to justify selling a high performance AMG wagon stateside. For 2014 we see the E63 Wagon get a timely update, along with the rest of the E-Class models. To see how the collective group of new AMG models handle in both everyday and exceptional driving conditions, we recently ventured to California's Willow Springs Raceway for some time on the track and in the streets.
AMG is known for pure performance and innovation in engine building. Founded in the 1960s by two spirited German engineers as a tinkering and tuning company, AMG officially began manufacturing engines in 1984 when co-founder Erhard Melcher developed a new 5.0-liter V8 engine, with multiple independent cylinders, each with four valves per cylinder head. This engine was dubbed "The Hammer," and has since reached legendary status. In 1990 AMG signed with Mercedes-Benz, allowing the auto-maker to sell and service AMG products worldwide. Nearly a decade later (in 1999) the two companies officially merged, allowing even further development and execution in performance tuning. As with all Mercedes-Benz products, this storied history is ever-present in the new 2014 AMG range.
Not as light as the CLA45 or as vicious as the SLS Blackline (both driven and shown in the slideshow), the E63 S-Model 4MATIC Wagon is still a tried and true AMG. On the track we quickly forgot we were driving a hauler, and focused rather on the adrenaline rush of high speed performance. The sporty suspension let us feel every bit of the road, and aggressive turns were a breeze. The 5.5-liter V8 biturbo puts out 577hp and can haul its bodacious backside from 0 to 60 in 3.6 seconds—the same time as the E63 AMG 4MATIC Sedan. This updated engine now offers 27 more hp than previously available. And, even in the face of such added power, the E63 S-Model still boasts impressive mpg and low exhaust emission—a sign of Mercedes-Benz's ability to see the bigger picture. Just like all other AMG models it's kitted out with a Speedshift MCT seven-speed sport-focused transmission, equipped with "S," "S+" and "M" drive modes for more a more agile driving experience, and electronic suspension that allows the driver to momentarily change from "comfort" to "sport" and "sport plus." Optional for the E63 S-Model AMG, the motorsport-tested ceramic composite brakes are 40 percent lighter than previous generations and cut breaking distance dramatically.
The overall shape of the car is less boxy than its predecessor, but remains more understated than other AMGs and thus, the true potential of the vehicle is a mystery to anyone not in-the-know. The leather interior is luxurious, though the technology and interface are not as futuristic as the all-new S-Class. Our favorite optional upgrades include a surround-sound Bang & Olufsen system and adaptive cruise control, plus intelligent lane tracking for the occasional day you want to let the car do more work.
Now hitting roads, the E63 AMG S-Model 4MATIC Wagon starts at $102,000.
Exterior images by Josh Rubin, interior image courtesy of Mercedes-Benz