Vital Stats

Engine:
Twin-Turbo 5.5L V8
Power:
577 HP / 590 LB-FT
Transmission:
7-Speed Auto
0-60 Time:
3.5 Seconds
Top Speed:
186 MPH (limited)
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
4,703 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
20.5 / 57.4 CU-FT
MPG:
15 City / 21 HWY
Base Price:
$102,370
Never dismiss a wagon, even on a racing circuit. That's a rule I confirmed when Mercedes-Benz invited me out to the track for hot laps in its E63 AMG S 4Matic Wagon.

Mercedes-Benz launched the current wagon platform (W212) four years ago and treated it to a significant facelift less than a year ago. For the AMG wagon, this year's new standard equipment includes full-time 4Matic all-wheel drive, all-LED headlights, Collision Prevention Assist, Attention Assist 2.0 and several interior enhancements. The new S-Model package for AMG models, which replaces the AMG Performance Package, includes a power increase (+27 horsepower and +59 pound feet of torque), limited-slip differential, 10-spoke alloy wheels, red brake calipers, unique Black Nappa leather, contrasting stitching on the interior, an AMG Performance steering wheel, a host of cosmetic enhancements and the obligatory "S" badging on the rear decklid and speedometer.

Shoehorned under the hood is a hand-built, twin-turbocharged, 5.5-liter V8 that cranks out an impressive 577 horsepower and a staggering 590 pound-feet of torque. So owners don't have to purchase expensive rear tires every few months, Mercedes-Benz fits all of the AMG wagons with its 4Matic permanent all-wheel-drive system, configured with a fixed rear-bias torque split of 33-percent front and 67-percent rear. The transmission tasked with rocketing the five-place wagon to 60 miles per hour in less than 3.5 seconds is the automaker's seven-speed MCT automatic. Breaking every speed law in the land is as simple as putting the gearbox into Drive, straightening the steering wheel and then mashing the gas pedal into the carpet for less than five seconds.

As expected, the independent suspension has been upgraded for AMG duty. It features a wider track than the standard E350 Wagon, and a three-mode (Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus) dial in the cockpit controls damping, throttle, steering and transmission logic. Colossal ventilated and drilled iron brakes, 16 inches in diameter up front, feature six- and four-piston calipers tasked with bringing the family hauler to a stop, while grip is the responsibility of Continental ContiSportContact 5P tires (255/35R19 front and 285/30R19 rear).

The updated-for-2014, five-passenger, sport-tuned station wagon is nearly twice as powerful, twice as fast and twice as expensive as the automaker's standard E350 4Matic Wagon. But that's just fine in my book, as it's easily twice as fun to drive.

Track Notes
  • The Streets of Willow race track, located in the Southern California high desert, is tight, challenging and paved with asphalt that in spots is really showing its quarter-century age. It's a workout for both the car and the driver. Soccer moms will likely leave the wagon in its default "C" (Controlled Efficiency) mode for daily driving, as it is the least aggressive drive program. In contrast, I ran the circuit in "S+" (Sport Plus), a mode that increases throttle response, configures the gearbox for track duty (full-throttle shifts and rev-matching) and enables the three-stage ESP's torque vectoring function. Lastly, I set the Adaptive Sport Suspension to Sport Plus for the firmest ride.
  • A curb weight of 4,703 pounds means the E63 weighs as much as two Fiat 500s, or a Porsche 911 stuffed with a quartet of 400-pound, singing sumo wrestlers - the five-passenger family-wagon is far from dainty. Despite the laws of physics working against it, the Mercedes absolutely flies when the accelerator is pressed. Full throttle application causes lightheadedness and cornering grip is remarkable for such a large vehicle (some publications have recorded .95 Gs on the skidpad). After driving the E63 Sedan and E63 Wagon back-to-back on the same circuit, I honestly preferred the wagon as it felt better balanced with the additional weight over its rear wheels.
  • Those who are concerned that the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system destroys the wonderful driving dynamics of the E63 need not worry, as the rear-biased system still delivers 95-percent of the fun while supplementing it with a 50-percent increase in traction. The driver wins as the tail still readily kicks out, but annoying oversteer (wasted wheelspin) is eliminated as the front wheels grab tenaciously to pull the wagon back on course and straighten it out. Surprisingly, sending power to the front wheels also appears to reduce the E63's understeer as it is easier to transfer weight off the steering tires mid-corner with the throttle. Don't complain about the weight penalty (155 pounds), as it improved the AMG under all driving conditions.
  • Aside from the sticker price, which won't dissuade a single well-heeled customer, the only big bummer about the wagon is that its charming twin, rear-facing, third-row Lilliputian seats aren't offered on the AMG derivative - it seems the upgraded suspension tuning prevented the engineering team from including them. No worries, as many of your adult friends will still volunteer to sit on the flat, carpeted load floor and be tossed around like loose watermelons (those antics make entertaining GoPro footage).
  • Savvy readers will note that Mercedes-Benz isn't the only automaker offering a high-performance track-ready station wagon. Cadillac plays the same game with its rear-wheel-drive V8-powered CTS-V Sport Wagon. Now that I have tracked both (I enjoyed the CTS-V Wagon at Laguna Seca a few years ago), I am inclined to state that the smaller and lighter Cadillac is more agile and nimble in the corners, but the Mercedes is more adept at putting its power down on the exits and more stable at speed. If forced to choose one over the other and money is no object, I'd grab the keys to the costlier Benz in a heartbeat – it is roomier, more luxurious and it does a better job of hiding its devilish talent from those around it.
  • Scroll down to watch a video of our test on the track.

Track Test: 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S Wagon


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 42 Comments
      pheasant601
      • 1 Year Ago
      This exact vehicle is the top - and I'm not exaggerating - the TOP of my lottery car list. Dayum.
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good combination of family car and sports car in one package.
        A P
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Avinash Machado
        Its a stupid machine, all around. I like wagons, I have owned several...BUT I have used them like wagons were designed for: a useful family car for hauling light loads, camping, towing a trailer on vacation. This thing and all HP wagons are moronic. What is the tow rating? What fool would risk those $500 tires on a gravel road down to the lake for some fishing? Would you really let a wet Labrador with mud on him to hop in your $100K machine? Will you street race it like degenerates do? There is a reason that the market for such machines is almost nil. They are almost useless for a wagon and too top heavy for track use.
          Gettin Randy
          • 1 Year Ago
          @A P
          Did you have a girlfriend cheat on you in the back of the neighbors station wagon or something? Geeze. Every one of your comments has been hate fast wagon this, hate fast wagon that, SUV's are better, blah blah blah.. Seriously, who pissed in your corn flakes? As far as I'm concerned hot rod wagons are where it's at. Only a select few are any where near this expensive or high class. The rest cost a fraction as much and are acceptable for use with kids, dogs, and even narrow minded tools like yourself. Go spread your need to compensate for something by driving a SUV attitude somewhere else.
          A P
          • 1 Year Ago
          @A P
          You go somewhere else....or at least make some sense. I dont hate fast wagons, I merely point out how silly they are. And any car costing this much money is pretty silly actually. I had a 70 Buick Estate with a Stage One 455....that thing was fast, roomy, could pull a 5K trailer with no probs, seated 8 plus had a huge roof rack for cargo. That car was a blast. This MB is just another souless German hanger queen.
        miketim1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Avinash Machado
        this is much more then a sports car.
      audisp0rta4
      • 1 Year Ago
      Thanks Michael Harley for the great video!
        Michael Harley
        • 1 Year Ago
        @audisp0rta4
        Thanks for the compliment. Credit also goes to Chris, my cameraman and editor! - Mike
      Jason
      • 1 Year Ago
      Thanks for the great track video of this car, the best video I think I have seen in a car review on Autoblog. The wagon looks great in gray.
        Michael Harley
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jason
        Thanks! We are working hard to improve our videos. Nice to hear the effort is paying off. - Mike
          A P
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Michael Harley
          Why not try to improve the writing? Its pretty lame.
      Andrew Pappas
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is the E class the last three row wagon in the states? I think that calls for some hot laps with rear facing passengers
        Michael Harley
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Andrew Pappas
        I'd be all over that. Bummer the AMG isn't fitted with the third row. - Mike
      SteveM
      • 1 Year Ago
      Agree - this is a crazy wagon that I lust for badly.
      hboi18
      • 1 Year Ago
      I never find station wagons appealing...i just don't see the need for this
        JaredN
        • 1 Year Ago
        @hboi18
        Station wagons can carry a lot of stuff. If you're taking your kids skiing, you've got room in the back for their gear. Station wagons are lighter than SUVs and have a lower center of gravity. As a result, they handle better, brake better, get better fuel economy, etc., and you can still go to Best Buy, get a monster TV and stuff it in the back. Station wagons -- more useful than a sedan, and better to drive than an SUV. Why people in the US won't buy them is beyond me.
          Winnie Jenkems
          • 1 Year Ago
          @JaredN
          AMEN
          hboi18
          • 1 Year Ago
          @JaredN
          Ok but this one makes no sense...it weighs almost as much as a Range Rover sport.... why not just get an Suv if you need to carry stuff at that point
          NightFlight
          • 1 Year Ago
          @JaredN
          @ hboi18 Did you not even bother reading what Jared said? Nevermind, it is obvious you didn't. At all.
        pickles
        • 1 Year Ago
        @hboi18
        We're all different. I can't see the point in a sedan. They seem like the LAST kind of car anyone would want. Impractical trunk (when you could have sex-in-the-way-back space), insurance-salesman-styling, grandpa/ma conservative and uptight. But, some like them. Go figure.
        Gettin Randy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @hboi18
        A hot rod station wagon is basically the only way to go. Everything else is just pointless. Especially if you have kids or dogs. I can take my entire family to the track in mine, embarrass a few "muscle cars", then pack everyone back up and stop to get groceries on the way home. Plus since it's all wheel drive, I never worry about the weather. I bet if you actually took a performance wagon out for a while and put it though it's paces, you'd change your tune.
      RetrogradE
      • 1 Year Ago
      I would like to skin this smoke-wagon. Damn it's hot. If I drove it around town, I'd get the entire PTA pregnant.
      Dreez28
      • 1 Year Ago
      As impressive as this wagon is, I still think the CTS-V wagon is cooler. The Merc's styling is definitely good, but not as eye catching as the Caddy. This actually seems more functional though. The CTS is a bit more style and a little less utility, whereas this seems to do everything.
        Ducman69
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dreez28
        CTS-V wagon is cooler, AND a MTX is available for those of us that enjoy rowing the boat.
        Terry Actill
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dreez28
        The Caddy wagon will disappear sooner than later.
      Teddy
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'll bet it handles better than the Audi RS6, but I prefer the audi interior, and in the looks department the audi is 10X better looking.
      npier598
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is such a sweet car but I still prefer the Audi RS6 Avant. Too bad the Audi is coming stateside.
      dss10
      • 1 Year Ago
      This car is way cooler than all of the SEMA cars on autoblog today......
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