Wagons are cool. Change my mind. In the past, station wagons were perceived as being slow, boring, and something your dad bought just to haul the family around. These days, SUVs have taken over that duty and wagons are becoming cool again. The coolest one of them all is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon.
Engine – One of the biggest reasons why this is one of the coolest wagons around is because of what’s under the hood. It is a 4.0L twin-turbocharged (Biturbo as Mercedes likes to call it) V8 that produces 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque (450 kW & 850 Nm). It’ll propel the E63 Wagon from 0-100 km/h in 3.5 seconds as Mercedes-Benz claims. From behind the steering wheel, it feels a lot faster than that. While this engine does not have the 48-volt mild hybrid EQ-Boost system of the GLE 63 AMG, the engine is still very responsive & potent throughout the rpm range. There is just a slight hint of turbo lag at higher rpms when transitioning from off throttle to on throttle but once the turbos get underway, it’s like you’re in a rocket ship. It also makes a pretty glorious sound too with pops & crackles when you lift off the throttle. As well, you can hear the turbo blow-off valves opening to relieve pressure when off throttle.
But when you’re not driving like your pants are on fire, the engine calms down in Comfort mode. Throttle response is not as immediate which makes drives around town smooth. It’s also not that loud with the exhaust valves closed. Of course with a powerful V8, fuel economy is not going to be the greatest. It is rated for 10.4 L/100km (22.6 MPG) on a highway and 14.7 L/100km (16 MPG) in a city. During my time with the car, I averaged around the 14.2 L/100km (16.6 MPG) mark.
Transmission – The automatic transmission has 9 gears to utilize under different conditions. In the Comfort drive mode, the shifts are relatively quick but more importantly, smooth. The transmission also likes to upshift before the rpms hit 2,000 in this mode. Switch to Sport & Sport+ drive modes and the shifts are held until 2,500 to 4,000 rpms before the next gear gets selected. As well, the engine blips on downshifts. In race mode, the engine revs to redline before the transmission selects the next gear and the shifts are much more noticeable but also much quicker.
Braking – The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon utilizes 390 mm (that’s 15.35”) front brake discs & 360 mm (14.2”) rear discs to stop. Clamping down on those discs are 6-piston fixed calipers on the front and a floating piston design for the rear. With a weight of 2,143 kg (4,724 lbs), the E63 AMG Wagon stops very quickly. Brake pedal feel is also excellent with a firm brake pedal unde more enthusiastic driving situations. If you do want more stopping force, Mercedes-Benz offers carbon ceramic brakes with 402 mm (15.8”) front discs. Just be prepared to pay… $13,750 CAD ($8,950 USD).
Handling – The car can be a bit of a handful when you’re driving it around a twisty road or on a race track with stability control turned off. While it does have the 4MATIC+ AWD system, it is very much a rear-biased AWD system. But if you do like going sideways through corners, the E63 AMG Wagon has a Drift mode. In this mode, the AWD system is disconnected and the car becomes RWD. To enable Drift mode, switch the drive mode to Race, manual shifting, completely turn off stability control, pull on both paddle shifters, then pull on the up paddle to engage Drift mode.
However, if you just want to go quickly around corners or set fast lap times around a racetrack, the car becomes more controllable with stability control in ESC-Sport. It still allows for a bit of slip when applying power but it’s much more controllable. It’s also very joyous to drive quickly and smoothly. The steering response is lightning quick for a 2 tonne car. As well, the steering feel is just about perfect for me. It may be too heavy for some but it’s something that I could live with as a lighter steering feel takes away from the driving enjoyment in my opinion.
Ride Comfort – The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon is equipped with air suspension and adaptive dampers. Overall, the suspension feels firmer – even in the softest setting – than a non-AMG Mercedes E-class. If you’re looking for the utmost comfort from an E-class, this is not the wagon for you. Having said that, the ride is acceptable for city streets, though you may want to play Minesweeper with some of the bigger potholes.
Interior Space – This car utilizes interior space very well. Passenger space is good with an abundance of leg and head room in the front seats. Behind the front seats there is an ample amount of leg and head room as well. The back of the front seats have indentations for your knees so that they don’t hit and bruise. There is more rear leg room though in the regular GLE but the E63 Wagon is similar in leg room to the GLE Coupe.
As for trunk space, the E63 AMG Wagon is rated for 640 L (22.6 cu-ft) of cargo volume with the rear seats up and 1,820 L (64.3 cu-ft) with the rear seats folded. Interestingly, it has 10 L (0.35 cu-ft) more cargo space with the seats up than the standard GLE but 15 L (0.53 cu-ft) less than the GLE Coupe. With the seats folded, it has 30 L (1.01 cu-ft) more cargo capacity than the GLE Coupe but the regular GLE is more practical with a whopping 235 L (8.3 cu-ft) more cargo space. That being said, the Mercedes-AMG E63 Wagon is pretty much just as practical as a regular SUV. Think about it. How often do you fold the rear seats to carry a large item?
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – Bad news first, the tires exhibit a lot of noise at highway speeds. Although the cabin is well insulated from outside noises, it’s the noise from the tires that is most intrusive. Thankfully that can be fixed by turning up the excellent Burmester surround sound system or by opening the exhaust valves of the exhaust. The engine sings a deep and operatic tune throughout the rpm range.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E63 S AMG Wagons starts at $127,900 CAD ($112,450 USD) and it is pretty much a fully loaded vehicle. However, because it is a Mercedes, there are still a few options to choose from. There are only two major packages to add on; Premium Package for $7,900 CAD & the Intelligent Drive Package for $3,000 CAD. There are a few stand-alone options such as the carbon ceramic brakes, carbon fiber engine cover, built-in dashcam, heated windshield, exterior carbon fiber package, and AMG night package to name a few. Needless to say, a few of these options differ between the Canadian & American markets.
One unique gadget to the AMG models is the Track Pace app. It is built-in to the infotainment system and it allows the driver to keep track of lap times, drag race times, and other telemetry data. It has a few preset race tracks from around the world that you can set & record your lap times but you can also create a custom course. Furthermore, it utilizes the forward facing camera to overlay a ghost image of your best lap time around a track for you to chase & try to beat.
Interior Design – For the most part, the interior looks pretty much identical to last year’s model of the E-class. 2021 sees a mid-cycle update for the E-class but on the inside it’s only the steering wheel that changes. In the press photos, the new steering wheel looks phenomenal. But in reality, not so much. It has two main issues from my perspective. One, it now has gloss black spokes which highlight fingerprints & dust much more so than the aluminum look of last year’s model. Secondly, the Blackberry style touchpads are gone and are instead replaced by different touch sensitive controls that are much more finicky. Other than the steering wheel, the rest of the interior is top notch with premium materials and gorgeous ambient lighting at night.
Exterior Design – Like the interior, the exterior receives a few minor updates; mainly at the front. It has new headlights along with new daytime running lights that are more in-line with the CLS-class. The front grille has also changed and now features the Panamericana grille that is synonymous with top AMG vehicles. Other than that, the 2021 Mercedes E63 AMG Wagon looks pretty similar to last year’s model.
Warranty – The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon has a basic 4 year / 80,000 km warranty in Canada. It also comes with 4 years / unlimited km roadside assistance, 4 year / 80,000 km surface corrosion, and 8 year / 130,000 km warranty for certain emission parts. Click here for more Mercedes-Benz warranty information.
So in the end, why is the Mercedes-AMG E63 such a cool wagon? It’s because it has supercar performance but the practicality of an SUV. Yes, there are super-SUVs out there but they don’t feel quite as nice to drive as a car based platform. Because of that, this E63 AMG Wagon is a jack of all trades. Blindingly fast but also family friendly which is why a wagon should be on your shopping list.
Thank you to Mercedes-Benz Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Mercedes-Benz.ca