Ultimate Grocery Getter

by Michael Satterfield

Sometimes you need to compromise, you want speed and luxury, but need utility and practicality, for people seeking the best of both worlds, the sports estate has long been the weapon of choice. For many years the wagon was dying a slow death as mainstream manufacturers discontinued them in favor of the ubiquitous SUV/CUV that now clog up suburban parking lots.

But car enthusiasts love wagons and thankfully most car companies still employ a few of them, so the wagons on the market today aren't the mundane people movers of he past, Audi has given us the A4 Allroad, BMW offers a 3 Series, Jaguar offers a 380hp XF Sportbrake, even Porsche has given us the 440-hp Panamera 4S Sport Turismo. But if I were to crown the ultimate grocery getter, the Mercedes-Benz AMG E 63 S Wagon would be at the top of my list.

Not only does the AMG E 63 S pack 603hp, 163hp more than the Porsche Panamera 4S Sport Turismo, the Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo gives you a 550 twin turbo V8, when combined with the electric motor it makes a combined 680hp, but the fancy hybrid comes with a base price of $189,450 making the Merc's $108,850 base price, seem like a bargain.

The Benz also has 35 cu ft of cargo space with the back seats up, compared that to just 18.3 cu ft in the Porsche (just 15 cu ft in the hybird). To put that in perspective you get more cargo space in a Kia Forte5 or Chevrolet Cruze hatchback than you do in a Panamera Sport Turismo and that's not very wagon like.

The Mercedes also has an understated presence with timeless design cues like Panamericana style grill, fender vents, and aggressive quad exhaust tips that announce the AMG has arrived. The car I am testing has a MSRP just over $138,000 thanks to the AMG sports seats, cabon fiber packages, and carbon ceramic brakes. The carbon fibe is what really makes this wagon more urban assult and less country estate car, but with the number of options offered by Mercedes-Benz you can tailor the E 63 S to be fit any lifestyle or estetic you wish. Swap the carbon fiber interior for natural Ash wood and the AMG sports seats for the massaging Nappa leather seats, the car takes on a more traditional wagon personality.

Inside my AMG E 63 S tester, I feel more like I am piloting a sports car than a fullsize stationwagon. I am surrounded by carbon fiber and aluminum while being hugged by sporty AMG seats, the digital dash display offers one of the best screens I have ever seen in a production car and the only drawback is the slight learning curve of what all the buttons, stalks, and knobs do. The legendary Mercedes-Benz quality was out in full display.

Switching the car out of comfort mode and into Sport + or Race is where the fun really starts and the sleeper of a sport car is unleashed. The ride firms up, the tramission shifts quicker, and the popping of the optional performance exhaust as you come off the throttle is intoxicating. At the touch of a button what looked like a fancy town car, more suitible for picking up the kids from school, turns into a track ready beast that can find 0-60 in just 3.4 seconds and reach a limited top speed of 180mph. Bringing it all back under control are the optional $8,950 carbon-ceramic brakes and standard Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires.

Once you are done playing with the muscle car side of the AMG wagon, you simply push the comfort button and the air suspension goes back to a much more pedestrian setting perfect for daily driving. While a twin-turbo V8 isn't really what most people need for their commuter car, the E 63 S Wagon isn't one of those cars you need, it is a car you want and if I needed to get to the grocery store really fast, the AMG E 63 S Wagon would be my weapon of choice.

For more on this car visit MBUSA.com.