LOS ANGELES—If you’re not one of the handful of a whole few-hundreds folks who buy a Mercedes-AMG E63 wagon every year, I’m sorry. I’m sorry you’re not extremely wealthy and highly educated and passionately engaged with Mercedes-Benz vehicles, like the typical E63 wagon buyer. I’m sorry for myself, too, as I tick only the two least important of those boxes. Why am I so sorry? Because the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon we’ve just taken for a test drive is a masterpiece that, after my all-too-brief two days with it, I’ll likely only ever admire from afar.
The E63 wagon’s excellence is even more notable when you look around the industry and see just how thoroughly the U.S. market has abandoned the wagon, let alone even slower-selling high-performance variants. Sure, Audi is finally selling Americans the RS6 Avant for 2021, but overall, the last decade has been hard on the hot longroof. Still, Mercedes didn’t let this lack of competition or the fact E63 buyers are the most loyal of Mercedes-Benz and AMG customers breed complacency; the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E63 wagon is a refresh of the all-new-for-2017 W213 version, but it’s a significant and palpable refresh.
2021 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon Test: What’s New?
Updates for the 2021 E63 wagon are subtle but calculated. The front end is restyled with a larger central air inlet, a larger three-pointed star emblem, and an AMG-specific grille with vertical slats, complemented by sleeker LED headlights. Inside, the interior is updated with Mercedes’ new widescreen cockpit layout with dual 12.3-inch screens, the new AMG Performance steering wheel, and the latest MBUX infotainment system, featuring AMG-specific functions like a g-force meter and a lap timer. All 2021 U.S.-spec E-Class AMG models (coupe, sedan, and wagon, including E53 models as well as the E63 S) also get the new AMG Drive Unit touch-sensitive steering-wheel control buttons, and a surround-view camera system.
On the hardware side of things, the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E63 Wagon sees fewer changes. The same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine found in last year’s model outputs the same 603 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. The three-chamber air suspension, on the other hand, is recalibrated to deliver “exemplary AMG driving dynamics with excellent road noise and enhanced overall comfort characteristics,” according to Mercedes-AMG.
The E63 S test car that rolled up to my house wore a gorgeous coat of semi-matte Brilliant Blue Magno paint ($3,950) and AMG carbon-fiber accents ($2,850), shod with 20-inch AMG forged wheels with grey accents ($1,500). A no-cost black/titanium grey Nappa leather treatment wrapped the cabin. Optional gear fitted to this test wagon: AMG carbon-ceramic brakes ($8,950), Active Multicontour seats with massage function ($1,500), head-up display ($1,100), a dark-tinted grille ($450), black Dinamica headliner ($1,600), MBUX Interior Assistant ($200), and heated rear seats ($580). The grand total: $142,100.
2021 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Test: How Does it Drive?
If you’ve driven the pre-refresh W213 E63, especially in sedan form, you might have snorted a bit when you read the “enhanced overall comfort characteristics” line above. While it was, and is, an unstoppable performance monster, and a big step up dynamically from previous E63s, the 2017-2020 E-Class AMGs were, in my none-too-humble opinion, far too harsh and choppy in ride quality for their size, price, and real-world use. Chiropractors were the only people who liked the way those E63s handled Los Angeles’ earthquake-jostled concrete highways. Thankfully, the 2021 E63 S Wagon solves that problem in its entirety.
By retuning the AMG Ride Control+ multi-chamber air springs, adjusting the Adaptive Damping System+, and tweaking the “elastokinematics” (i.e. bushings), AMG managed to broaden the suspension’s range, enhancing the outer reaches of dynamic performance but also, much more significantly, increasing the comfort zone.
No longer does the E63 Wagon ride like a covered wagon headed west at all times; it will still stiffen the suspension to full firmness when you put it in its sportier modes, but driving around town is now the properly luxurious experience you expect of a $113,500 (base price!) Mercedes. It’s also still as delectably, impossibly good in the corners despite the suspension retune, proving that with enough money and time anything is possible.
But the real star of the Mercedes-AMG E63 S show is the 603-hp, twin-turbo V-8 under the hood. Mellow and smooth with just the right hint of restrained burble around town, the engine leaps to life at a firm prod of the gas pedal. Whether from a stop or from 60 mph, the combination of the V-8’s 627 lb-ft of torque and its nine-speed multi-clutch transmission enable effortless and rapid acceleration.
2021 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon Test: Should I Buy It?
Yes, absolutely! If you’re after a high-performance yet comfortable mover of people and things, and you’ve managed to avoid joining the Cheerless Cult of the Crossover, the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon should be right at the top of your list. Try to get a test drive in one, and be prepared to say, “Damn.” Audi’s RS6 Avant is your only real alternative if you’re buying new, and while you probably can’t go wrong there, either, you’re betting on the challenger; the E63 S Wagon is the reigning heavyweight champion.
Perhaps that’s why the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E63 wagon’s clientele is among Mercedes-Benz’s most elite group of buyers in nearly any conceivable measure of elite-ness. These are smart, well-heeled people who like to do things and go places, and who appreciate the finer things in life, but who also have a primal need for raw power and balanced handling. If that’s you, this is your car—and I’m jealous.
|2021 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon Specifications|
|ON SALE||Late 2020|
|PRICE||$113,500/$142,100 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||4.0L twin-turbo DOHC 32-valve V-8/603 hp @ 5,750-6,500 rpm, 627 lb-ft @ 2,500-4,500 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD wagon|
|EPA MILEAGE||15/23 mpg (city/hwy) (est)|
|L x W x H||197.1 x 75.1 x 58.0 in|
|0-60 MPH||3.4 sec (est)|
|TOP SPEED||180 mph|
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