AMG Family Cars
There will always be a need for the ubiquitous family car, thanks to a never-ending litany of chauffeuring tasks for mom or dad: taking kids to school, family road trips, transporting friends to the mall, or even meeting with other adults for a night on the town. Considering people’s lives BC (Before Children), they may have had something sporty or fun to drive prior to realizing the need for a vehicle to perform various familial tasks. For those who have the means, Mercedes-AMG offers models that tackle those everyday drives with style and speed to rival any sports car, so even a trip to the grocery store doesn’t have to be dull.
AMG is the performance arm of the Mercedes-Benz, producing extreme purpose-built sports cars such as the AMG GT-R, as well as passenger cars that are slightly more docile but still potent — the CLA 45 AMG, for example. But there’s a sweet spot of AMG models that boast both plenty of performance as well as plenty of space and utility. We recently had a chance to sample some of these big, bad offerings — let’s take a look at some vehicles that redefine the traditional family car.
Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Wagon
Before the onslaught of minivans and crossovers, station wagons were typical family cars. They drove like the sedans on which they were based, but offered considerably more cargo-carrying capability. While most automakers have moved away from the wagon, Mercedes has managed to turn it into one amazing all-around vehicle.
Like those original wagons, the E 63 S provides the drivability, comfort and luxury of the sedan it’s based on — in this case the luxurious E-Class. Inside, occupants find Nappa leather trim, AMG sport seats, an AMG Performance steering wheel and dual 12.3-inch display screens that stretch across the dashboard as one customizable digital display.
The E 63 S Wagon also offers plenty of cargo space with a low floor for easy loading and unloading. Rear seats can fold flat to carry larger items.
In addition to its typical family-car abilities, the E 63 S Wagon hints that it’s something a bit more extraordinary. Up front a large grille is flanked by sleek LED headlights and large air intakes. Bulging fender flares give the wagon a wide, aggressive stance. and quad exhaust at the rear are subtle signs of what this sleek wagon’s capabilities. Also telling are 20-inch alloy wheels, massive brakes and red AMG calipers.
The E 63 S Wagon’s brakes are not just ornamental, they are definitely needed — under the sculpted hood lurks a hand-built 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 engine that generates 603 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough power to sprint to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds with a top speed of 180 mph. Of course no one should be exceeding any speed limits, especially if children are in the car; but if kids are causing trouble in the back seat, one exuberant stomp of the throttle from a stoplight will wake the V8’s roar and drown out any squabbling, helping beleaguered drivers regain their happy place.
While the E 63 S Wagon will easily beat most contenders from a stoplight, it does more than simply go fast in a straight line. With AMG 4Matic high-performance all-wheel drive and adaptive air suspension, the E 63 S can hold its own when the road gets twisty. We took the E 63 S out on the track during a media event and found it very capable and great fun. There’s even a “drift mode” for drivers who wish to melt the tires of their family wagon — under the right conditions, of course — at a racetrack and not the local supermarket parking lot.
Mercedes-AMG GLC 63
For shoppers considering a more traditional-looking crossover SUV, AMG has something for them, too. The all-new GLC 63 is a midsize 5-passenger crossover and represents the first time AMG put a biturbo V8 into a crossover this small.
Powering the GLC 63 SUV is a hand-built 4.0-liter biturbo V8 engine that creates a plentiful 469 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. Peak torque comes at a very low 1750 rpm, which means the GLC 63 can blow the doors off most crossovers on the road with a sprint to 60 mph that takes less than 4 seconds.
Those in the know will realize the GLC 63 is not an everyday Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV. Up front is the Panamericana grille previously seen on the flagship AMG GT sportscar. The wide front bumper, bolder wheel arches and quad exhaust also contribute to the sporty styling of this atypical crossover. Sculpted side sills and 20-inch wheels give the GLC a low, aggressive appearance.
The GLC 63 may not have the raw ponies of the E 63 S wagon, but it is not underpowered. We recently spent time behind the wheel and appreciate the quick acceleration accompanied by the sound of that roaring AMG V8. Granted, the driver’s seat is the best in the house for a vehicle such as this, but if parents are going to be hauling the kids and their stuff around or taking a family road trip, the GLC is a proper crossover with all the expected space and utility.
Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S Coupe
Of the high-performance AMG haulers, the GLC 63 S Coupe would not be our first choice. Designed to combine crossover capability with coupe-like styling, the lower, sloped roofline gives the vehicle odd proportions while diminishing the interior space for passengers and cargo. This packaging dilemma is especially noticeable in the rear seats.
While we may not be a fan of coupe / SUV styling, the driving experience of this family-hauling beast remains top-notch. The AMG 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 produces 503 horsepower in this guise, with a peak torque of 516 lb-ft. Slightly more power than the GLC SUV means the GLC 63 S is a bit quicker. The coupelike GLC 63 S reaches 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and top speed is limited to 174 mph, which is more than enough to ensure dad makes his much-anticipated tee time — er, make that track time.
The GLC 63 S Coupe carries many of the same styling cues as its SUV sibling, including the Panamericana grille, bulging fender flares and quad exhaust outlets. And just as easily as it can be exceeding speed limits before reality sets in, so will its massive brakes with 6-piston front calipers quickly bring that speed down to friendly levels that don’t involve exceeding local traffic laws — or a spouse’s patience.
Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
For drivers looking for a bit more room and a bit more oomph than the GLC, there’s the next step up the AMG SUV ladder: the GLE 63 S. Larger than the GLC, the GLE offers a more spacious rear seat as well as increased cargo space.
Of course if drivers have to haul more stuff, they’re going to need more power. Under the GLE 63 S’s hood resides a hand-built AMG 5.5-liter biturbo V8 producing a plentiful 577 horsepower and 561 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to the grip of the 4Matic all-wheel drive system, the GLE 63 S hits 60 mph from a standstill in 4.1 seconds — more than enough oomph to leave common crossovers sitting at a traffic light that has just turned green, their drivers wondering how the SUV beside them simply disappeared over the horizon.
For many, the primary reason to spring for the AMG version of the GLE is the power — as it should be. However, the larger price tag also brings a luxurious interior. AMG sport seats are 14-way power adjustable with heating and cooling. Most surfaces are covered in soft Nappa leather with double top stitching, and the GLE 63 S can even be equipped with heated and cooled cupholders as well as a heated steering wheel and massaging front seats.
The GLE 63 S will stand out from the common-variety GLE with LED headlights, a wide grille, large air intakes integrated into the front bumper, a twin-power-dome hood and sculpted wide fenders. A black-finned lower diffuser at the rear frames the iconic quad tailpipes, while the 21-inch wheels with a titanium finish complete the look.
Mercedes-AMG GLS 63
At almost 17 feet long and weighing close to 3 tons, the GLS 63 is the largest model in the AMG SUV lineup. This big vehicle can carry up to seven occupants in the lap of luxury while still having space for all their gear. It could very well be the ultimate high-performance luxury people mover. If more cargo room becomes a necessity, the power-folding third row creates additional space at the touch of a button.
Inside are all amenities one would expect in an SUV this exclusive, including natural grain wood or aluminum trim, exclusive Nappa leather, heated and cooled front seats with a massage function, heated second-row seats, tri-zone climate control, a panorama roof and a premium harman/kardon Logic7 audio system.
As expected of anything wearing an AMG badge, the GLS 63 brings outstanding performance to the road. Under the hood is a 5.5-liter biturbo V8 engine producing 577 horsepower and 561 lb-ft of torque, which is enough power to jump to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds — a surprising feat for a vehicle this size. If the situation arises (e.g. escaping the apocalypse, late for dinner . . .) the big GLS 63 can carry occupants at speeds up to 168 mph.
Mercedes AMG G 63
MSRP: $150,000 (est.)
For the ultimate in off-road capability and sheer presence, take a look at the flagship of the Mercedes SUV lineup: the G-Class. All new for the 2019 model year, the G-Class is topped by the powerful AMG G 63. The extensively updated Mercedes-AMG G 63 sports an innovative drive system, AMG-developed suspension and AMG-specific transmission modes.
Like the rest of the AMG SUV lineup, the G 63 interior features the finest materials and the latest technology. Inside the G 63 everything is new, including an available widescreen cockpit and AMG Performance steering wheel with galvanized shift paddles.
Plenty o’ Power
At the heart of the G 63 is a hand-built AMG 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine producing 577 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque, teamed with the fast-shifting AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G transmission. Proof that with enough power aerodynamics aren’t important, the block-shaped G 63 accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. Top speed is limited 149 mph with the optional AMG Driver’s Package.
On- and Off-Road
Thanks to a new AMG-developed suspension with adaptive adjustment, the new G 63 not only has impressive off-road capability, on-road it is more dynamic and comfortable than the previous model. The AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive features rear-biased torque distribution with a front / rear split of 40 to 60 percent and includes three differential locks to handle nearly any terrain. AMG speed-sensitive steering offers more direct steering with Comfort and Sport modes, while AMG Dynamic Select offers a choice of five on-road and three off-road driving modes.