The Mercedes-AMG E63 Estate is one of the most multi-talented cars on sale – it’ll worry supercars at the weekend before wafting you to work on a Monday. Just don’t expect it to come cheap
If you’re looking for a hugely practical estate car that is also very quick, you have very few options. BMW don’t make an M5 Touring, which leaves you the Porsche Panamera Turismo (although that’s not really an estate car), the soon-to-come Audi RS 6 Avant and the Mercedes-AMG E63 Estate.
In its current form, the E63 Estate was introduced in 2016 and the biggest upgrade of this generation over the previous one, apart from its interior, is the four-wheel-drive system that’s standard on all E63 models.
Speaking of the luxurious interior, the first thing that greets you once you slide into the bolstered seats in the E63 Estate is a wide black screen in front of you. Start the car up and the screen is actually two 12.3-inch screens – one for the infotainment system and one replacing the dials. The dials themselves have a special AMG mode which shows information such as oil temperature and turbo boost pressure.
Start prodding around the lavish cabin and you’ll either touch man-made leather (Nappa leather in the top spec E63 S Estate) or polished metal that feels substantial and built to last – the material choice in the E63 Estate is excellent and so is the build quality. A drawback is that the infotainment system isn’t as intuitive to use as BMW or Audi alternatives, but overall the E63 Estate cabin is a lovely place to spend time in be it on a racetrack or stuck in a traffic jam.
Getting comfortable in the front is easy and there’s plenty of headroom and legroom. Moving on to the back seats, the E63 Estate is wide enough so that three adults can sit in the back with legroom to spare. Headroom in the back is also good because the E63 Estate has a slightly higher roof line than the E63 Saloon.
The best way to excuse your E63 Estate purchase is to tell everyone just how practical it really is. The E63 Estate has lost none of the impressive load-lugging abilities of the regular E-Class Estate which means you get a 640-litre boot that expands to a class-leading 1,820 litres once the rear seats are folded. To put that into perspective, with the seats up, the E63 Estate can swallow a couple of large suitcases plus soft bags with ease. With the seats down, the E63 Estate is the only estate car on sale that can fit an EU-standard pallet – in other words, the boot is massive.
With the E63 Estate you can do a few quick laps on Silverstone on your way back from B&Q - with a sink in the boot
As with any AMG-fettled Mercedes, the real star of the show here is the engine. And what an engine it is – a 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 with either 571hp or 612hp depending if you go for standard model or top-spec E63 S Estate model. All that power is transmitted via a slick-shifting nine-speed automatic to all four wheels – and then to the poor unsuspecting Tarmac.
Try a full-power launch in the E63 Estate and the resulting lunge is strong enough to rearrange your organs. The on-paper performance is impressive: 0-62mph comes up in 3.6 seconds (3.5 in the E63 S Estate model), but what blows you away is just how usable that performance is – thanks to the four-wheel drive system, you can be supercar-quick in the greasiest conditions.
The 4Matic four-wheel drive system is a big influence on how the E63 Estate drives. Gone is the playful, tail-out silliness of the old E63 Estate and is replaced by agility and precision – the E63 Estate is impressively stable and composed for something weighing north of 2,000kg.
However, if you’re particularly brave, you can switch driving modes and send all power to the rear wheels. You won’t be much faster on a racetrack, but you’ll at least give out smoke signals as to your location. In short, the E63 Estate can transform from a secure and quick grand tourer to a ferocious drift machine.
Change the driving mode again, to Comfort, and yet another side of the E63 Estate presents itself; the comfy cruiser. True to the Mercedes name, the E63 Estate can waft along motorways and autobahns in comfort mainly thanks to its adaptive air suspension. The only difference, compared with a regular high-spec E-Class, is more tyre roar coming from those huge wheels.
You need those huge wheels in order to fit the AMG-specific big brakes, although the rest of the standard safety kit in the E63 Estate is less impressive. You do get automatic city braking, but things such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and a blind-spot alert are optional.
All in all, the Mercedes AMG E63 Estate is a fantastic package of abilities wrapped in a practical body. Until the Audi RS 6 comes, there’s really nothing else like it.