The AMG E63 S Wagon went on sale in October 2017 as one of 22 AMG models in the U.S. that have standard all-wheel drive (out of a total 40 AMG variants). Although some of the well-known SUV models such as the G-Class, GLS, or GLE usually come to mind when referring to all-wheel drive, the E-Class Wagon has become synonymous for all-wheel drive capability, with a very exclusive customer base.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon attracts one of the brand's highest median household incomes, with 23% of its U.S. customers being located between the New York and Boston metropolitan areas, and 22% in California alone. For more than five years, Mercedes-Benz has been without German competition in this size and class.
The customer base of the AMG high-performance variant of the E-Class Wagon is even more exclusive. As the modern successors to the single S124 AMG Hammer wagon built at AMG's independent U.S. headquarters in Westmont, IL in 1986 near Chicago, every generation of AMG E-Class wagons have always been special-order models in the U.S., never exceeding triple-digit sales. Mercedes celebrates this exclusive group of owners.
"We're proud of our American tradition of selling both the E-Class Wagon and its AMG high-performance variant," said Bernie Glaser, General Manager of Product Management at Mercedes-Benz USA. "Our ability to offer an AMG E-Class Wagon with standard 4MATIC all-wheel drive since 2014 has greatly enhanced our unique position, both in terms of performance capability and also for winter weather conditions in northern markets."
The following is a summary of the 2018 AMG E63 S Wagon, as well as U.S. sales and product information regarding the AMG E-Class Wagons of the past, which follow in the original AMG Hammer Wagon's tire treads.
2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon
The 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon offers all the connectivity and Intelligent Drive functions of the E-Class sedan and wagon, including the available Intelligent Drive systems. It's a roomy, family-friendly wagon with 35 cu. ft. (SAE) of trunk capacity behind the second row, and a 40:20:40 split rear seatback to maximize versatility.
Priced at USD $106,950 (excluding a $995 destination and delivery charge), the 2018 E63 S Wagon can carry a second set of tires, plus tools and a jack for track. It is simply the quickest, fastest wagon in the world, with an estimated 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds and a maximum track speed of 180 mph. In fact, a German journalist recently ran a lap time of 7:45.19 on the Nordschleife of Germany's world-famous Nuerburgring track.
Handcrafted AMG 4.0L V8 Biturbo Engine
The heart of this special vehicle is a handcrafted AMG 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine, in this application using twin-scroll turbos nested in the hot inside V between the cylinder banks for minimal lag and pressure loss. With an output of 603 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of peak torque, sustained from 2,500-4,500 rpm, the roar of the AMG V8 sound might not be family-friendly, but at least AMG Cylinder Management does its civic duty to help make an efficient engine even more efficient.
The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed transmission uses a wet clutch instead of a torque converter, enabling extremely short shift times and fast multiple downshifts. The E63 S Wagon is exclusively available with the innovative AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system. This newly engineered, intelligent system brings together the advantages of various drive configurations. Fully-variable torque distribution is available between the front and rear axles, and ensures optimum traction right up to the physical traction limit. The driver is also able to rely on high driving stability and handling safety under all road conditions, whether dry, wet or snow- covered. The transition from rear-wheel to all-wheel drive and back again is seamless, because intelligent control is integrated into the vehicle system architecture as a whole.
An electromechanically controlled coupling connects the permanently-driven rear axle variably to the front axle. The best possible torque distribution is calculated continuously, according to the driving conditions and driver's input. As a result, the performance wagon can be seamlessly driven from traction-oriented all-wheel drive to purely rear-wheel drive. In addition to traction and lateral dynamics, the all-wheel drive system also improves longitudinal dynamics for even more powerful acceleration.
It is still possible to drift thanks to fully variable torque distribution. In a suitable, controlled environment, this is where Drift mode comes into its own as part of the standard specification for the E63 S Wagon. Drift mode can be activated in the "Race" drive program using the shift paddles, provided that ESP® is deactivated and the transmission is in manual mode. When drift mode is activated, the E63 S Wagon becomes a purely rear-wheel drive vehicle. Drift mode remains engaged until the driver deactivates it, or if the ignition is recycled.
Riding, Dynamically, on Air
All-new AMG multi-chamber air suspension with continuously variable damping ensures exceptionally high levels of camber stability, driving dynamics and steering precision. The air spring stiffness can be adjusted over a wide range to enhance comfort and handling, and the spring rate stiffens automatically to reduce roll and pitching in response to sudden load changes, fast cornering, hard acceleration or heavy braking. The adaptive damping offers three selectable modes: Comfort, Sport and Sport+. Dynamic engine mounts quickly adjust from softer for comfort to stiffer to enhance agility, depending driving conditions and handling requirements.
The electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential reduces slip on the inside wheel when cornering without using braking system intervention, enabling more powerful acceleration out of curves. Sensitive and proactive control, and integration with the three-stage ESP® and all-wheel drive system allow higher performance thresholds.
The driver can also select from five AMG DYNAMIC SELECT programs: Comfort, Sport, Sport +, RACE and Individual to affect key parameters, including response of the engine, transmission, suspension, steering, ESP and all-wheel-drive. Independent of the drive programs, the driver can select the "M" button to switch directly to manual shifting mode, in which gearshifts are performed exclusively using the shift paddles. Individual suspension and steering settings can be selected as well. The "RACE" drive program sets all parameters for maximum performance on closed race circuits.
The E63 S Wagon stops with internally ventilated and perforated 15.4-in. compound front brake discs with six-piston fixed calipers. Rear brakes use 14.2-in. discs and single-piston floating calipers. The AMG Carbon Ceramic Composite Braking System is optional.
The full AMG cabin treatment includes an exclusive version of the E-Class's dual-12.3-in. screen digital instrument cluster offering selectable "Classic," "Sport" and "Progressive" display designs. Gauges in a carbon-fiber look and distinctive typography lend the displays an especially sporty touch.
An AMG Performance Steering Wheel in black nappa leather is standard, and for maximum occupant grip, AMG Performance Seats with integrated head restraints are available. Additional exclusive touches include nappa leather trim for the dashboard and door beltlines.
2005-2006 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Wagon
While AMG made a version of the 210-series E-Class wagon for select markets around the world, it was not imported to the U.S. This undoubtedly disappointed potential customers until the 211 successor model arrived in 2005.
Still called the E55, the new S211 body style AMG model was much sleeker, a trait not lost in translation to the wagon body style. Externally, the E55 wagon still maintained a "sleeper" posture, thanks to the discreetly tasteful AMG body kit with bolder front and rear fascias, a black mesh front grille and 18-inch wheels with silver-painted brake calipers visible between the spokes. The "E55 AMG" and "V8 Kompressor" badges were of course giveaways to the unknowing, but some owners preferred to have the badges deleted.
"Kompressor" meant a belt-driven supercharger, AMG's preferred power booster in this period. The hand-built 5.5-liter V8 shared the 3-valve-per-cylinder configuration used on Mercedes passenger car engines at the time. The results of AMG's tuning were staggering: 469 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque compared to 302 hp and 339 lb-ft for the standard E500 model. The transmission was a five-speed torque-converter automatic with selectable manual shifting.
Company estimates for the 0-60 mph time was a preliminary 4.6 seconds, compared to 4.5 with the sedan. However, Car & Driver recorded 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds; the quarter-mile in 12.5 seconds at 114 mph; and 0-150 mph in 24 seconds. The 155-mph top track speed was electronically limited.
The E55 wagon, though heavier than the sedan version, outperformed it slightly in acceleration and on the skidpad, results the magazine attributed to the extra mass shifting weight distribution rearward – 49:51, compared to 53:47 for the sedan.
The E55 Wagon rode on staggered 245/40ZR18 front and 265/35ZR18 rear tires. The makes used 8-piston calipers in front and 4-piston in the rear.
Other impressive numbers also linked to the back end: 24.4 cu. ft. of space behind the second row, and 69 cu. ft. with second and optional rear-facing third rows folded. The 2005 E55 Wagon had an MSRP of $82,600 plus $720 destination/delivery charge. Key options included the third-row seat (which was deleted in the 2007 AMG E-Wagon for technical packaging reasons), bi-xenon lighting package and the Premium Package with navigation.
Mercedes-Benz USA imported just 126 E55 Wagons for 2005-2006 model years, which were special-order models and not advertised.
2007-2009 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon
Major change came to the S211 AMG E-Wagon for 2007. The new "E63" badge denoted an all-new 6,208cc naturally aspirated V8, the first engine completely developed by AMG for its own vehicles. Horsepower rose to 507 vs. 469 for the previous E55, although torque was 51 lb-ft lower at 465 lb-ft. The new engine was paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. According to Car and Driver testing, the E63 Wagon did 0-60 in 4.0 seconds and the quarter-mile in 12.5-seconds at 115 mph. The new, naturally aspirated model was marginally quicker than the previous "Kompressor" in all tests. The top track speed remained electronically limited to 155 mph. The base MSRP in 2007 was $85,400.
Not even mentioned in Mercedes-Benz literature or its website, the E63 Wagon remained a special-order rarity, with 153 imported, 24 of those in the third year.
2012-2016 Mercedes-Benz E63 S AMG 4MATIC Wagon
After a two-year hiatus, the E63 Wagon returned to the U.S. lineup in the angular new 212-series body and with major mechanical changes. A new 5.5-liter biturbo V8 replaced the naturally aspirated 6.2-liter engine and it remained a rear-wheel drive vehicle. The engine offered 518 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, and an optional AMG Performance Package that raised that to 550 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Motor Trend measured at 3.9 seconds, despite company estimates of 4.1 seconds. However, its exclusivity remained in place with special-order status and a starting price of $91,500 (excluding destination/delivery charges), with 209 sold for the 2012-2013 model years.
In the comprehensive design update for 2014, the AMG E-Class Wagon became the E63 S 4MATIC, with 577 hp and a massive 590 lb-ft of torque, and a 0-60 estimate of 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 186 mph (electronically limited). The 7-speed dual-clutch MCT transmission was combined with a 33:67 fixed-ratio 4MATIC all-wheel drive system and limited-slip rear differential to maximize power delivery. Steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, along with a "race start" function for computer-aided launches, could make one wonder if this was the tow car or the track car.
Driver-selectable modes included Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Manual. Drivers could also mix their own settings with adaptive air-suspension settings, for example choosing Sport for the transmission and Comfort for the suspension, and the driver could store favorite settings.
Handling for this family hauler was widely praised, with credit going to AMG suspension tuning, quick steering, and 19-inch wheels with 255/35-19 front tires and 285/30-19 rear tires. Brakes once again used six-piston calipers and vented, perforated rotors in front. Carbon-ceramic brakes were optional, for those times when you might find yourself on the track with your tow vehicle.
The starting price was $102,370 for the 2014 E63 AMG 4MATIC Wagon model, excluding destination and delivery charge.
Available options included the Driver Assistance package that bundled active blind spot monitoring and lane-assist functions with DISTRONIC Plus adaptive cruise control with Steering Assist.
The S212 E63 S AMG 4MATIC Wagon remained a special-order model, with initial sales temporarily increasing by around 800% due to standard 4MATIC all-wheel drive, especially for northern markets. A total 783 E63 S AMG Wagons were sold in the U.S. over the 2014-2016 model years.
Click here to learn more about the original 1986 S124 AMG Hammer Wagon and its current owner Jonathan Hodgman, as well as a brief history about AMG's US headquarters in Chicago from 1980-1990.
Click here to view the petrolicious.com episode on the Jonathan Hodgman and his original 1986 S124 AMG Hammer Wagon, a Canadian-spec model built at AMG's US headquarters in Chicago.
Click here for the AMG E-Class Newsroom on media.mbusa.com
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About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Atlanta, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse lineup in the luxury segment with 15 model lines ranging from the sporty CLA-Class four-door coupe to the flagship S-Class and the Mercedes-AMG GT.