I think I may have mentioned that we here at TotallyThatStupid are closet station wagon geeks. In fact, it is mentioned at least here, here, and here. Station Wagons (or “Estate Cars”, if you please) represent the best of both worlds in terms of practical motoring: the stance of a sedan with the utility of a truck. What I want, though, is a Super Wagon!
My wife and I have owned several station wagons over the years, including a Saab 9-5, Volvo 850 Turbo, BMW 528iTm, Mercedes S210 E320 4Matic, and currently her daily driver is a 2005 Mercedes S211 E320 4Matic. The current car is to my eye one of the best looking wagons on the U.s. market, even if it has since been replaced with a newer model. Bear in mind that on this side of the pond our station wagon options are very limited. The only thing lacking in our car, which is admittedly very well equipped with navigation, heated dynamic seats, moonroof, yadda, yadda, is Oomph. While not especially slow by modern standards, it’s no rocketship, either. So I have been trying to convince my wife that we need one of these: a Mercedes-Benz S211 E55 wagon.
Find this example here on Cars.com in Portland, Oregon for $34,995.
The E320 came from the factory with just 221hp, which made for a leisurely jaunt from 0-60mph in about 8 seconds in AWD kit, with a top speed electronically limited to 130mph. Fifteen years ago those would have been pretty strong numbers, today they are lackluster at best. The station wagons represent only about 1/6 of total 211-chassis production, and are therefore relatively rare, at least on these shores. Far more rare are the AMG wagons, though, with production totaling just 193 for the E55 wagon and 129 for the E63 wagon. Unless you live in a well-to-do area, the chances of even spotting one of these rarities are slim to none. These beauties combine the attractive S211 body and mate it with the AMG-modified motor and chassis (either 5.5 liter supercharged or 6.3 liter naturally aspirated) to create one of the most powerful production wagons ever. Our focus is on the supercharged 5.5 (denoted by the word “Kompressor” on its flanks) which develops 469hp, 516 lb-ft torque, and delivers 60mph from a dead stop in a brief 4.7 seconds all the way to the electronically limited top speed of 155mph – although with restrictors removed there are reports in the 200mph range.
The E55 wagon’s styling is overall pretty subtle for a supercar – it has ground effects and low-profile wheels, along with the aforementioned fender badging, but otherwise it looks remarkably like the rest of the S211 range – which is a good thing. It also makes the car something of a sleeper – I was fortunate enough to have one of these as a press car in California a few years back and I recall tearing down the Five at, well, above posted speed limits, when a fellow in a Dodge Charger SRT-8 decided he wanted to play. He probably didn’t really “decide” it, rather he didn’t expect a challenge, which was exactly what he got. Now I am not necessarily proud of taking my life in my hands at triple-digit speeds on I-5, but I made my point quite clearly. He finally gave up. I am not advocating this behaviour, and kids: please don’t try this at home. The fact of the matter is that these cars look like everyday cars and drive like supercars. If that’s your bag (and it is mine – sometimes), then they deserve a look.
I guess this all begs the question of what I need it for. Our car is perfectly competent, and if I wanted to go faster, why not simply upgrade to the far more common E500 wagon – which is also available with all wheel drive which the E55 was not? It’s a little bit ego and a little bit exclusivity – I like ot drive, as does my beloved, and this car offers an unrivaled driving experience now for 1/3 the cost of a new one (which is coming to the US, surprisingly). Beyond that, it retains the practicality, comfort, and even seating for seven that we have come to love in our lesser car, so what’s the catch? People spend upwards of $40,000 for Toyota crossovers these days, which makes a $35,000 supercar with SUV carrying capacity a bargain – and I want one. All that said, the AMG wagons don’t often come to market, and those that do must be very thoroughly evaluated, so get one while the getting is good!