The Mercedes-AMG E63 Wagon and its V-8 turbo engine will go zero to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds and hit 180 mph at top speed. City fuel efficiency is 16mph; highway fuel efficiency is 22mpg.
This exclusivity is by design. Owning one inducts its driver into a small club of “if you know, you know” fellow power wagon enthusiasts. In all of its marketing materials, Mercedes repeats how exclusive the series is, noting that every generation of AMG E-Class wagons have always been special-order models in the U.S., never exceeding a few hundred annual sales.
Last month, Mercedes sold 27,537 vehicles worldwide, 1,000 of which were AMG models including things like the GT-R and the G63 SUV. Only a fraction of those were wagons, a model that attracts one of the brand’s highest median household incomes—23 percent of its U.S. customers are in either New York City or Boston; another 22 percent are in California. (Mercedes declined to share the sales figures for AMG Wagon vehicles.)
The AMG E63 S Wagon comes with a highly tuned all-wheel-drive system.
If you can get one, expect to be thrilled. By my calculations, and barring the Alpina B5 Biturbo Touring, which isn’t sold in the U.S., this is the quickest production station wagon you can buy.
It has a hand-built 4.0-liter V-8 turbo engine that can do zero to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds and hit 180 mph at top speed. It has a max output of 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque—nearly double the horsepower and torque of the E 450.
And it has an engine roar that’s decidedly not family-friendly.
Five AMG driving modes affect engine response, suspension tightness, steering, stability controls, and the all-wheel-drive system that switches to rear-wheel when needed.
It’s also one of only 22 AMG models out of 40 variants that come with standard all-wheel drive. This is no small thing, since the drive system includes a nine-speed transmission and a Drift(!) mode that switches to pure rear-wheel drive.
When I drove it, I alternated among five AMG driving modes: “Comfort” mode provides a softer response on the steering wheel and on the brakes, while the “Sport” and “Sport+” modes—the ones I used most frequently—are more aggressive on the throttle with tighter suspension and firmer braking. There’s also a “Race” program should you ever take your station wagon on a closed-race circuit.
Driving in heavy rain called for paying the closest attention to each of these, and as time passed I found myself switching between multiple modes and the AMG E63 S bore down on the wet road with no hesitation or faltering. The adaptive brakes bit hard when I pressed them. The sturdy, balanced body and a sport-tuned suspension with adaptive “air body control” made swerving far more easy than you’d expect from a 4,670-pound car.
Once out of I got out of heavy traffic, I also used the “M” button to switch directly to manual mode, which allows you to shift through those nine gears via steering-wheel-mounted paddles. Individual suspension and steering settings can be selected as well, to exhilarating effect.
The car comes with dual 12.3-inch screens and an instrument cluster offering selectable display designs. The AMG “Performance Steering Wheel” in black nappa leather comes standard, while AMG-style performance seats with integrated head restraints are optional.
What’s New for 2021?
Mercedes refreshes the 2021 E63 S wagon with a more distinct appearance, new content, and a retuned suspension. The latter is said to make the ride more comfortable, but we’ll have to see for ourselves once we get to test one. The wild wagon also dons a reshaped grille with vertical slats and a larger three-star emblem in the middle. Its headlights are completely remodeled and its taillights receive a minor tweak to the lighting pattern. A restyled rear diffuser and new 20-inch wheels with a more aerodynamic design round out the major exterior updates. Inside, there’s a new steering wheel with larger paddle shifters and the latest iteration of the company’s MBUX infotainment system.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Mercedes hasn’t said how much the 2021 E63 S wagon will cost when it goes on sale, but we don’t think it’ll be much more than its current starting price. The long roof version should still be several thousand dollars more than its sedan equivalent, but its added practicality and—in our opinion—sharper styling make it worth the upcharge. Our preferred AMG wagon would be equipped with a handful of options that inflate the bottom line even more, but they’d solidify its luxury status and maximize our appreciation. These include the Exterior Lighting package (automatic high-beams and adaptive headlight illumination), the Warmth and Comfort package (heated front armrests, a heated steering wheel, and rapid-heating for the front cushions), and the Acoustic Comfort package that brings sound-deadening materials to keep the cabin extra quiet. Our favorite individual options include the head-up display, massaging front seats, three-zone climate control, and soft-close doors.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The E63 S wagon cages a sinister-sounding 603-hp twin-turbo V-8 mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission and standard 4Matic+ all-wheel drive. This setup helped the superwagon we tested explode to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and obliterate the quarter-mile in 11.1 seconds at 126 mph. Consider this: the much lighter and similarly powerful Mercedes-AMG GT R sports car we tested was actually slightly slower to 60 mph and only similarly quick in the quarter-mile. Other AMG upgrades on the E63 S wagon versus the regular Mercedes-Benz E-class wagon include a sport-tuned suspension, bigger brakes, and a rear-drive-only mode that enables ass-out antics. Every version boasts an adjustable air suspension that adjusts the ride quality, but the softest setting still feels firm. However, we haven’t driven one with the retuned suspension yet, which Mercedes says will improve ride comfort. Still, the E63’s communicative steering and impressive braking ability—70 mph to zero in only 153 feet—confirm its high-performance pedigree.
Both still pack a serious twin-turbo V8 punch.
Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz graceds us with a refreshed E-Class. We were privy to info and photos for the sedan, wagon, and the mild AMG model, the E53. Now, it’s time for the hot rod of the group to garner the spotlight, as Mercedes lifts the veil for the 2021 AMG E63 S and its long-roof companion, the E63 S Wagon
There isn’t a terrific amount of mystery here, as the updates primarily mirror what we’ve already seen. The E63 S gets a slightly different fascia compared to the new E53, boasting larger side vents with a narrow third vent running lengthwise between the grille and lower vent. At the rear, the E63 S gets a more pronounced lip spoiler, with quad trapezoid exhaust outlets instead of the E53’s ovals.
Other exterior changes versus the outgoing E63 are identical to other 2021 E-Class models – notably the redesigned front clip with a new grille and LED headlights, and a shapely backside with fresh taillights. The E63 S also gets a new set of standard-issue 20-inch twin-five-spoke wheels, and three new colors are offered: Graphite Grey metallic, Cirrus Silver metallic, and Brilliant Blue magno.
Gallery: 2021 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Sedan
Moving inside, the E63 S shares the MBUX upgrade from the new E53. The layout will be very familiar to current E63 owners, but the new twin-spoke AMG Performance steering wheel does stand out. The wheel is heated in standard trim, and it can be ordered in leather, Dinamica microfiber, or a combination of both materials.
The wheel is filled with an array of integrated buttons and controls to operate everything from the driver and center digital displays, to cruise control, hands-free operation, and various drive programs.
Gallery: 2021 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon
Under the skin, mechanicals carry over from the previous year. That shouldn’t be the least bit disappointing, however, since the E63 S packs a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8. It develops 603 horsepower (450 kilowatts) and 627 pound-feet (850 Newton-meters) of torque for either the sedan or the wagon. AMG’s Speedshift nine-speed DCT doles out power to all four wheels, with AMG giving the sedan an estimated 0-60 mph time of just 3.3 seconds. The wagon is ever-so-slightly slower at 3.4 seconds for the same sprint.
Mercedes doesn’t yet offer pricing for the wagon or sedan. That will be announced closer to the on-sale date, but if 2020 models are any indication, expect the sedan to start around $108,000 and the wagon at $112,000.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Despite the E63 S wagon’s exhaust-popping and tire-squealing demeanor, its sumptuous interior preserves serene noise levels and the company’s luxury predisposition. Its dashboard is dominated by a continuous panel that boasts two high-res displays—one for the gauge cluster and one for the infotainment system. The cabin is also covered in premium materials that help make it feel like a truly special place to spend time. Likewise, the list of standard features includes customizable ambient interior lighting, heated/ventilated and massaging front seats, massaging front seats, and more. With a spacious back seat and up to 64 cubic feet of cargo space (35 cubes with all seats up), the E63 S wagon is as amazingly quick as it is amazingly useful.
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Mercedes-AMG provides a competitive limited and powertrain warranty that aligns with luxury alternatives such as Audi and Jaguar. However, both brands offer complimentary maintenance, with the latter supplying an impressive four years or 50,000 miles of it.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear/all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
PRICE AS TESTED: $140,730 (base price: $107,945)
ENGINE TYPE: twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 243 cu in, 3982 ccPower: 603 hp @ 6500 rpmTorque: 627 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
DIMENSIONS:Wheelbase: 115.7 inLength: 197.1 inWidth: 75.1 in Height: 58.0 inPassenger volume: 99 cu ftCargo volume: 35 cu ftCurb weight: 4697 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 3.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 7.1 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 12.0 sec
Zero to 150 mph: 16.9 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 3.9 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 2.2 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 2.5 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 11.2 sec @ 126 mph
Top speed (governor limited, mfr’s claim): 180 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 153 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.96 g
EPA FUEL ECONOMY:
Combined/city/highway: 18/16/22 mpg
It’s much easier to list what the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E63 S wagon can’t do than what it can, which is why this machine is so special. The cans make for a very impressive list. Although it’s based on the regular Mercedes-Benz E-class wagon, the AMG version is modified to maniacal levels of performance. The most notable upgrade is its 603-hp twin-turbo V-8, which sounds like it runs on pure testosterone and hurls the E63 forward like one of Zeus’s lightning bolts. This station wagon is just as quick as some supercars we’ve tested, such as the Acura NSX and the Audi R8. It’s also much more than a drag-race king; it has racetrack-ready hardware that gives it unnatural agility and surprising driver satisfaction. The fact that this long roof model can haul a whole family and their luggage in a positively palatial cabin is further evidence that the 2021 E63 S wagon would be our ideal everyday vehicle if only its price tag didn’t contain six figures.
Inside the Beast
The only consideration that brought me back to Earth—reminded me I was in a wagon, not a sports coupe—was parking. At 197 inches, it’s longer than the options from Audi and Jaguar, and an inch shorter than the Panamera. I’d rather park an SUV, parallel or otherwise, than one of these things.
But all that length is what provides the ample space inside. And the moment I stepped inside, I felt the full effect of how special Mercedes-AMG is—the department gives the same creature-comfort treatment to the station wagon that it gives to the AMG GT.
The AMG carbon ceramic composite braking system is optional.
The front cabin has enough headroom and legroom to house a basketball team’s starting five; the 40:20:40 rear-split seatback allows enough room in the back to throw down a sleeping bag and camp. (It already comes standard with a second set of tires, tools, and a jack.) The rear seats come with an adapter that allows passengers to mount coat hangers, iPads, and small folding tables onto the back of the front seats. Heated seats, rear automatic sunshades, and a power-lift gate all come standard.
You may like the air cabin fragrance system, though its manufactured effervescence makes me slightly nauseous. I don’t know what your family was like growing up, but it likely beats whatever other odd smells you may want to mask in a family car, like sweat or blood or tears.
The ambient lighting is a cool feature—you can program it to reflect your mood to varying brightness and hues—and the nappa leather seats, with customizable trim, give the interior a handsome edge. All these are included in the overall price, making the car feel high-end, special, and worth the money.
Twenty-inch wheels come standard; the AMG carbon ceramic composite braking system is optional.
The only real gripe I have with the AMG E63 S Wagon is how it looks. Along with such odd-lookers as the Ferrari GTC4Lusso and Porsche Panamera, its blocky body and hatchback rear have the faint whiff of a hearse. It’s as long as a large SUV or pickup truck, and to me me, it looks like a long brick, especially when painted in darker colors like black or forest green.
But when you drive it, you love it. And love blinds you to such shallow quibbles about external appearance, maybe even changes your mind about what you thought you liked to begin with. Start making friends with your neighborhood Mercedes dealer now.