I’ve recently come to the conclusion that my new daily driver car — a 2012 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon finished in the ugliest colors they could possibly find — is the ultimate family car. I don’t have a family, and I’m not planning to have a family during the period when I own this car, but it is, nonetheless, the ultimate family car. And today, I’m going to tell you why.
First off, it’s important to understand that when I’m talking about "my" 2012 E63 AMG Wagon, I’m using the term "my" loosely here, because I’m not entirely sure I own this vehicle. I paid for it, sure, roughly 59 days ago — but I have yet to receive the title. The dealership near Minneapolis where I bought the car insists the Minnesota DMV is at fault for this delay — but no matter who’s to blame, I’m still without proof of ownership, I’m unable to register the car, and I’m now on my third temporary license plate, which inexplicably displays my full name and address in the rear window.
But let’s pretend for a second that it is, in fact, my AMG Wagon. I’ve driven the car about 2,200 miles now — most of which were added on longer trips, including back from Minneapolis, to Connecticut and back, and to D.C. and back — and I’ve started to get a handle on what I like and what I don’t like about the car. I’ve also reached the conclusion, as I mentioned above, that it’s the ultimate family car.
The main reason for this is simple: Because it’s massively, massively fast, and also massively, massively practical. To make this point quickly, consider these two facts: With the rear seats folded down, the E63 AMG Wagon has 57.2 cu ft. of cargo space, which is four times what you get in a Toyota Camry "family sedan." And yet, regardless of the orientation of the rear seats, the E63 AMG Wagon has 520 horsepower, and it does zero to 60 in 4.2 seconds.
I’ll start with that performance bit. Yes, 520 hp and something like 514 lb-ft of torque, sent through AMG’s 7-speed automatic transmission and delivered courtesy of a 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8. I love it. It’s amazing. The car has endless power and torque at all speeds, and it’s almost hilariously quick when you’re already going 50 or 60 miles per hour, with crazy midrange power that can quickly send it around anything else on the road.
The handling is highly impressive, too. It’s not a sports car, and that much is obvious when you’re going quickly around an especially sharp bend. But it’s not far behind a lot of sports cars in its steering precision and dynamics — a huge feat for something that can carry four times more stuff in back than a Toyota Camry. I’m consistently impressed with this car’s driving experience around curves and with how flat it corners, though I must admit part of this excitement may come from having spent the last 5 years driving a tall, aging Range Rover.
But we know the AMG Wagon is a fast car. In my opinion, the best thing about it is that it’s also a practical car.
Consider, for example, this: You can drop the rear seats with the pull of a lever in the cargo area, and the front seat automatically moves forward to accommodate them. There’s a seemingly endless amount of storage space in the car — and yet they give you even more storage space, with hidden compartments under the front seats and a little storage net in the front passenger footwell with a strap to keep your things in place. The rear seat has a nice armrest that doubles as a storage area and triples as a cupholder. Note: These are not things you usually find in a car with 520 horsepower.
Maybe most importantly, the E63 AMG Wagon is also a special car. I know this because of the sheer number of people who insist to me that they’re going to buy one as a family car, since they love it so much and since it’s so cool. Have you experienced this? "I’m gonna buy an E63 wagon, man. I love fast wagons. I’m gonna do it." And then they end up with an ML350 — balking either at the wagon’s price, or its gas mileage, or its rarity, or its rear-wheel drive. I’m proud to say I actually followed through on this whole "fast wagon" thing — and I’m proud to say I also plan to use this car, as a daily driver, as it’s intended, and not baby it. I took a photo of it over the weekend at a cheap car wash and posted it on my Twitter and Instagram accounts, where I was assailed for subjecting it to such a traumatic experience. If they only knew about how I accidentally backed it into something in my garage.
So, as you can tell, I’m enjoying the E63 AMG Wagon, and I really do believe it’s the ultimate family car — the ultimate combination of performance, luxury and rarity. And I’m planning a lot more exciting things with it over my next few years behind the wheel. Find a 2012 Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG Wagon for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.