BEST of the BEST 2014 | Wheels | SUVs & Wagons: Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S

Keeping up with the fast pace of family life...

How did a wagon earn top honors in a field that includes the best new SUVs? None of the other vehicles offers a better combination of all-weather practicality, schlepping capacity, power, and exclusivity. Regarding exclusivity, Mercedes-Benz built more examples of the SLS AMG supercar in 2013 than the speed wagon. Ubiquitous it is not.

The E63 AMG S wagon was updated for the 2014 model year, becoming one of the first models in the AMG range (along with its sedan counterpart) to be equipped with Mercedes-Benz’s 4Matic all-wheel drive. The system sends power to the front and rear tires at a fixed 33/67 (front/rear) split. AMG engineers also widened the front track, adding 1.9 inches to improve the vehicle’s stability at high cornering speeds, and they sharpened the turning ratio of the speed-sensitive, electromechanical steering.

The E63 AMG S wagon looks similar to the comparatively mild-mannered E350 wagon, but it is equipped with AMG’s 5.5-liter biturbo V-8, which, by generating 577 hp, produces nearly twice as much horsepower as the E350’s V-6. The engine catapults the wagon from a standstill to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and enables it to reach an electronically limited top speed of 186 mph.

The wagon’s interior is handsomely appointed with topstitched napa-leather upholstery and a faux-suede headliner. Carbon-fiber trim is among the options. The starting price is about $102,000.  

Mercedes-Benz, www.mbusa.com

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