2007 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon

2007 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon 2007 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon
Short Take Road Test

The big knock against station wagons is that they are uncool, that an SUV is a more interesting way to transport maximum peoples and stuff. Who wants their kids to be laughed at when their friends see them being picked up from school in a lame-o mommy-mobile?

Let us suggest a solution (not that we would actually recommend this sort of sociopathic behavior, but if one were so inclined, it would be possible): pick up the kids in an E63 wagon. Pull up to the curb, brake-torque the Benz, start the rear hides a-boilin', and invite the laughing bullies to climb in. Lift the brake, mash the gas, and lay a two hundred foot patch out of the school parking lot. Let the rears gather traction and you'll rocket to 60 mph in four seconds flat on your way to one very-difficult-to-clean back seat and a 12.5-second quarter-mile at 115 mph. In the time it takes the young ones to sing the ABCs, the E63 will be whipping along at the 155-mph governor. No way the parents in the pristine SUV are cooler...when was the last time the carpool included mud bogging or rock crawling?

The E63 is a mild evolution of the E55 gonzo-wagon. The supercharged-and-intercooled 5.4-liter V-8 from the Mercedes mothership is gone, replaced by AMG's own 6.2-liter naturally-aspirated mill. In the grand AMG tradition of model names that may or may not actually relate to engine displacement, these two are close enough. Although the new engine gives up 62 lb-ft of torque to the old, supercharged V-8, there's an extra 38-hp on tap and 800 additional rpm before redline, tallying a screaming 7200. The 6.2 negligibly outperforms the old car in every acceleration test, reaching 100 mph in 9.5 and 150 in 23.5 seconds; 0.2, and 0.5 seconds quicker. The 12.5-second quarter-mile time is identical between the two cars, but the 63 carries one extra mph through the lights.

The monster-in-the-closet motor is harnessed to the smooth seven-speed automatic transmission, with real paddles for manual shifting replacing the old buttons on the back of the steering wheel. However, the manual shifting function is still clearly no priority at Mercedes, as tugs on the paddle for upshifts are treated as suggestions and there is not even a hint of a manual-wannabe rev matching on downshifts, as there is with some other luxury- and sports-car transmissions. It's nothing special as a manumatic, but as a regular automatic it's smooth, responsive, and happy to drop a couple gears, making passing on a two-lane so fun you'll want to pull over and let everyone by, just to do it again.

Externally, cues that the wagon that just dusted your 911 is the newer model are few. The 2007 model gets different wheels and a revised front fascia, although it takes a close look to notice. And the fibber tags on the fenders now read "6.3 AMG" instead of the old "Kompressor" badges. Of course, none of this will be visible from 300 feet back at 115 mph.

Likewise, interior touches are few, limited to a new steering wheel and shifter, and a couple of climate control buttons that have migrated. Underneath, the E63 gets the same suspension as its predecessor, but replaces the E55's touchy, incommunitative electro-hydraulic brakes with conventional hydraulic brakes that offer feel light-years beyond the old system. A two-ton wagon is never going to carve corners like a Lotus, but good luck fitting seven complete people into an Elise. The E63's 0.84 g is good enough to suck barf out of baby's mouth and directly onto the outside window, thus protecting the leather.

This automotive equivalent of the old spring-snakes-in-a-peanut-can trick doesn't come cheap. At $92,675, the car we drove included the $3,900 Premium II package, which includes keyless go, the COMAND navigation system, ventilated front seats, and rear window blinds. But as a legitimate twofer that could replace both the Corvette (base price $44,995) and the SUV ($55,120 for a Cadillac Escalade) it's practically a bargain. All together now: there's nothing wrong with station wagons. May the E63 lead the revolution!