Often with wood-grained side panels and foldable seats in the far back that faced to the rear, the station wagon offered much-needed space to accommodate larger families and all the stuff they tended to pack for summer vacations.
But just as tractors and pickup trucks replaced horse-drawn plows and carts, SUVs (and crossovers) and minivans began chipping away at the station wagon’s popularity until the wagon became all but extinct in the 1990s, especially those off the assembly lines of domestic manufacturers.
Stylish? Not really. Fun to drive? Hah! Think Clark Griswold and the Wagon Queen Family Truckster from National Lampoon’s Vacation here.
The introduction of SUVs that matched the eight- and nine-passenger capacity of minivans hurried the demise of the traditional wagon along even further with the benefit of offering more in performance and driving experience than the typical minivan could provide.
With a 4.0-liter biturbo V8 engine pumping out 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. the AMG E 63 S fills the station wagon’s traditional role as a family hauler while offering the driving experience of a highly tuned sports sedan or coupe. You won’t have to surrender your “man card” with this baby.
The AMG E 63 S Wagon zips from zero-to-60 mph time in an estimated 3.4 seconds, according to Mercedes, which is less than a wink of the 3.3 clocking for the sedan. That makes the incessant backseat whining “Are we there yet?” a moot question. And cargo capacity is listed as 35 cubic feet behind the second-row and up to to 64 cubic feet with those seats folded.
Mercedes upgraded the cabin with Nappa leather seats featuring “AMG” badging on the front seatbacks. Nappa leather also is featured on the dashboard trim. Standard comfort and convenience features include dual-zone climate control, heated and ventilated front seats with 3-position memory and 4-way lumbar support for the driver, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, AMG Performance steering wheel, AMG illuminated door sill plates, 12.3-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch wide instrument cluster, keyless entry with push-button start, electronic trunk closer, wireless charging, a touchpad for operation of functions like the MBUX infotainment system, Burlmester surround sound audio, and the “Hey, Mercedes” voice command system.
You’re probably going to appreciate the voice command system because using the touchpad or swiping across the screen to operate infotainment functions is a pain.
Other standard features included in the $112,450 base price include LED headlights and taillights, active parking assist, blind-spot assist, Bluetooth connectivity, and a surround view camera system.
My vehicle for the week also included lots of extras, like an AMG carbon ceramic braking system, 20-inch AMG forged cross-spoke wheels in matte black, a head-up display for the driver, augmented video for navigation, a driver’s assistance package that included active evasive steering assist and active lane-change assist, and a special AMG exterior carbon fiber package to further dress up the E 63 S Wagon’s appearance.
My test vehicle also came in an eye-catching blue shade. Mercedes calls it Brilliant Blue Magno, and it was a $3,950 add-on, running the final bottom line to $141,050 including the $1,050 destination and delivery fee.
What I liked about the 2021 AMG E 63 S Wagon: The performance is exhilarating, and the cabin is so luxurious you’ll forget you are in a vehicle that serves as a family wagon. The back is plenty roomy for nearly all your needs when it comes to stowage space. Its sleek profile is a break from traditional wagon’s shape.
What I didn’t like about the 2021 AMG E 63 S Wagon: Operation of the infotainment system remains overly fussy even if you get used to the “swiping” to process, either on the touchscreen or the touchpad on the console. There is still the possibility of accidentally brushing that touchpad while reaching for another button and changing a radio station or other function. I find that it takes the driver’s eyes too much off the road to perform some functions as you have to pay strict attention to the image that is on the screen to get to the desired setting.
Would I buy the 2021 AMG E 63 S Wagon? It’s way out of most budgets (especially mine), but if you are one who likes to spend big dollars on a car to get all the latest technology (and impress your neighbors) as well as top performance, this will do perfectly. Plus you’ll leave them stunned as you zip away from the intersection.
*Photos furnished by Mercedes-Benz