This is the latest in our new series of short-take reviews on cars and trucks, in which we concentrate on a powertrain or trim level not previously covered. –Ed.
Our staffers like to take the hottest cars that come through our test fleet for a quick drive around the block, but even the friendly, lightly traveled roads near our Ann Arbor office can be treacherous. This was demonstrated when the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model became the unfortunate victim of one of Michigan’s notorious potholes. An encounter with a deep, jagged, tooth-rattling crater resulted in some nasty tire bubbling, though, thankfully, there was no damage to the rim.
Luckily, we were able to orchestrate a quick tire swap, and the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG über-wagon was only briefly out of service. Several staff members found time to get behind the wheel, and the reactions were effusive. We love Mercedes’ 577-hp twin-turbo V-8, especially when it’s in a station wagon. It is reassuring to drive something with a rocket for an engine and have a lot of car around you. In fact, the added length and height enhance the character of the E63 by giving it a stronger, more formidable silhouette.
Our test car was dressed up like a special, hard-core edition with steel gray paint, blacked out 19-inch wheels with red Brembo brake calibers, and tasteful use of chrome to outline the door handles and greenhouse. Inside, the E63 wagon has an equally strong personality. The cabin is luxurious but also a little risqué for a Mercedes. There’s deep red leather on the doors, carbon-fiber trim, and snazzy-looking dials in front of the driver. “This car is incredibly cool,” copy editor Rusty Blackwell says. “It looks great. It sounds amazing, and it has stupendous passing power.” You can hit 60 mph in 3.6 seconds in this rig—not bad for something that has a dog partition in the cargo area.
Wagons are so rare these days that they actually stand out more than other athletic cars. They have become the enthusiast niche products that coupes used to be. Camaros are everywhere, but how often do you see a family hauler with almost as much power as a ZL1?
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