Mercedes E63 AMG: Who thought a station wagon could be such fun?

Mary Welch | June 24, 2014

We’ve often witnessed men (and a few women) admire cars -- sleek, sexy, sporty, powerful cars -- but never a station wagon. But it’s a new world when driving a Mercedes E63 AMG.

In fact, the Mercedes E63 AMG station wagon is in a world of its own. Mercedes’ AMG line is derived from its philosophy of “One Man, One Engine,” and each AMG engine is not only built from hand -- start to finish -- by one of about 50 AMG master engine builders, but is signed by its maker. That’s right, the engine maker puts a plaque engraved with his signature on the engine cover. Yes, we were feeling the love and knew this car was special.

As much of a work of art as a bundle of technology, this amazing station wagon could challenge just about any sports car on the road today and leave the losing driving scratching his head and saying, “But it’s a STATION WAGON!”

Yes, but it’s a station wagon with 577 horsepower, 5.5 liter V8 biturbo engine with direct injection; 590-lb of torque and a 7-speed AMG Speedshift transmission. It goes from 0 to 60 in about 3.6 seconds. This car drives like it should be at Le Mans but it also perfectly suitable for kids, dogs and groceries.

Obviously the design of this gem is unrivaled. Taking the E-Class’s athletic new look to the max, the E63 AMG’s front air dam features massive air intakes in an “A-wing” design with color gloss black and chrome shadow trim. Deep side sills with chrome inserts bridge the 19-inch AMG wheels resulting in a dramatic rear apron with a black diffuser and conjoined quad chrome tailpipes. At the risk of sounding like a woman picking out a car’s color, definitely go with the mango alanite grey. The matte finish screams “This car is amazing,” but in such a subtle way. In fact, its understated finish is just another reason this stands out in the crowd.

The E63, which starts at about $102,370, has an eco start/stop system that automatically shuts off the engines when the car is stopped or idling, which we know saves gas. But for us, it was just another chance to put the foot on the gas and get that amazing, deep, guttural sound from the engine when you start the car. The roar is so exciting that, literally our neighbor who is an engineer and grew up in Germany, sat in the passenger seat and just listened as we reeved the engine. “It’s incredible!” he repeatedly said. Yes, the feeling one gets from the engine is like the last few minutes of a symphony when every player, every instrument is working together at an elite speed and sound until the final crescendo of sound comes together and touches your soul.

Inside, the car is, as our companion kept saying, “Is so luxurious.” Indeed it is. Rich Nappa leather is trimmed with a choice of burl walnut wood or brown satin ash wood. A $2,850 option is a carbon fiber interior trim that fits to the doors, dash and consol, bringing the rich racing heritage of AMG directly to the cockpit. It’s one of those design options that brings that extra touch of glamour to the car.

The seats feature a 14-way power front sport seats with memory, active ventilated front seats and dual-zone digital automatic climate control. We also will admit to loving the driver seat massage, which not only went up and down the spine but side panels would also help brace my body during turns. The multi-contour massage also helps a driver’s peace of mind and reduces daily annoyances. As I sat in the car for a very, very long wait at a drive through, I just pushed the massage button and all my cares went away.

The car also has all the latest in audio and entertainment features including enhanced voice control, that lets you say city names and phonebook contacts without having to spell them out, HD radio receiver, Sirius XM radio and traffic, rear seat entertainment system and Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG sound system. We must, however, admit that we had trouble with the information systems. For instance, we decided to drive to Serenbe and used the 80GB hard-drive navigation system, which uses GPS technology. The Comand® system’s 7-inch high-resolution color screen was perfect but the accompanying voice stopped talking half way through the trip, leaving us in the middle of nowhere Douglas County until we figured our way back to the right road.

We also had the low-on-gas warning and, in the heat of driving down GA. 400 about to go onto I-285, we wanted to know how many more miles we had before we ran out of gas. We’re sure the information was available but in the moment we couldn’t find it. It’s not as intuitive as it needs to be or as it is on other cars half the price.

Obviously the safety features in this Mercedes are state-of-the-art with adaptive braking technology, antilock braking system, 3-stage electronic stability program, collusion prevention assist, and the world’s first active full-LED headlamps, which generate light that’s closer to natural daylight than the standard Bi-Xenon headlamps. Plus, with the speed and pickup, this car can easily get a driver out of any situation.

Ah, yes, the power. We took this car both in South Fulton and up to the mountains looking for fun roads to test this car. Not a natural foot-on-the-pedal sort of driver (fine, I love my brake), we slowly came to appreciate and then delight in the car’s power and handling. The straight aways were pure joy. I now get “Fast and Furious” and any racing movie. There is something about a person and a machine and power! But the curves were the best. Still going at a higher than normal speed, the tires held on to the asphalt , the steering was sharp and I was able to relax and let the car take the lead. It truly was a revelation about the Mercedes engineering and a car’s capabilities. This car isn’t just a work of art and an incredible car, it’s fun. FUN!

We now understand why every male on our street, two bank tellers and three men stopped us at the grocery store to talk about and marvel at the performance machine, the Mercedes E63 AMG.

Even if it’s “just” a station wagon.