I recently had the opportunity to race my used 2012 station wagon at the drag strip against two other vehicles from 2012, namely an Audi R8 and a Porsche 911. I thought this would be an enjoyable experience, largely because you don’t often see a station wagon racing two iconic sports cars. I was correct.
Now, admittedly, my used 2012 station wagon isn’t exactly any used 2012 station wagon; it’s a Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG wagon, and it has 520 horsepower. So I sort of figured my wagon would be faster than the R8 and the 911, which is kind of a funny thing. I say this because the R8 and the 911 are an R8 and a 911 — and even though my station wagon is an AMG car, it’s still large enough to carry around a chest of drawers, if you’re so inclined.
So, anyway, I went to the drag strip with all three vehicles, and what I discovered, almost immediately, was that I was completely alone among people there with unmodified station wagons. This should not surprise you. Instead, what they had at the drag strip was a lot of very fast cars that made very loud noises, and then I was there with my panoramic sunroof and ventilated seats. I did not fit in.
Nonetheless, we lined up the Audi R8 and the AMG Wagon for the very first drag-strip run, and we had an interesting experience. What happened was I took off and shuffled down the quarter-mile drag strip at a relatively quick pace for a station wagon, and the R8 waited a few seconds before it did the same. My friend David, driving the R8, had never before been to a drag strip and netted a 2.7-second reaction time, which is laughably awful. But because they don’t start timing until you actually leave the lights, he ended up beating me, running a 13.120-second quarter-mile at 110 miles per hour compared to my 13.293 at 109.
I was embarrassed, but I was also convinced I could do better: My start technique involved holding the brake and the accelerator at the same time and then letting off the brake; this caused the traction control to kick in, undoubtedly slowing down my run. Worse, I realized after the run was finished that I had done the entire thing in "Eco" mode with "Comfort" chosen on the drive-mode selector, rather than "Sport" or "AMG." I knew the wagon had a better run inside it.
So, we lined up again, and again we took off. Once again, the wagon got a jump — David, driving the R8, was a little worried about hard starts with the 6-speed manual transmission — but then it pulled away fast. When we finished the quarter-mile, the Audi’s time had been fairly consistent — 13.389 at 110 miles per hour — but the wagon shaved nearly a second off its quarter-mile time, largely thanks to a better start and the selection of "AMG" mode: It ran an impressive 12.541-second quarter at 113 miles per hour. Following that run, it was clear the wagon was faster than the R8.
And, so, we moved on to the 911. Now, I had no belief that the 911 would possibly beat the station wagon, given the huge horsepower difference between the two — 350 for the Porsche versus 520 for the Mercedes. But I thought it might hang close on account of the fact that, you know, it’s a Porsche 911, and also the fact that this particular 911 had Porsche’s ultra-quick "PDK" dual-clutch automatic, which is faster than both the R8’s stick shift and the AMG’s "SpeedShift" wet-clutch-thingy.
It did not.
When the light turned green with the AMG and 911 lined up against one another, the wagon pulled hard off the line and kept the 911 firmly in its rearview mirror the entire time. In the end, the 911 ran a 13.818-second quarter mile at 108 miles per hour, while the AMG saved its best run for last, knocking down a 12.492-second quarter at 112 miles per hour. The reaction times were similar, meaning what you see in the video above is really how much faster the AMG is than a Porsche 911.
And, so, after the drag strip run, I can draw a conclusion: The AMG Wagon is really, really fast. Of course, I knew it would be, and I assumed it’d be faster than the two cars I brought — but I didn’t think it would be that much faster. It is, after all, "just" a station wagon. Find a Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG 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.
MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
Video | The Lamborghini Jarama Is Ugly, Weird and Ultra-Rare
Video | The Volkswagen Phaeton Was a $120,000 12-Cylinder Volkswagen
Here’s an Absurd Winter Driving Myth You Shouldn’t Believe