The new Mercedes-AMG E 63 Estate is the world's quickest wagon, hitting 0-62mph in 3.5sec in range-topping S 4Matic+ guise, and costs from £81,130.
It is 0.1sec slower than its saloon equivalent, while the fastest Audi RS6 Avant can cover the 0-62mph sprint in 3.7sec.
Making its global debut at the Geneva motor show, the E 63 Estate will be sold in two versions: the E 63 4Matic+ Estate and the E 63 S 4Matic+ Estate, are expected to cost £81,130 and £90,490 respectively. An Edition 1, based on the E 63 S, costs £108,780, and adds 20in wheels, the AMG Night package, AMG sports seats and carbonfibre trim. Options across the range include a £1000 AMG performance exhaust, a carbonfibre package for £3,370 and, for S and Edition 1 cars, £6,995 AMG high-performance ceramic brakes.
Using the same twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine as the saloon, the standard E 63 4Matic+ has 563bhp and 552lb ft of torque. The most popular model, however, is expected to be the range-topping E 63 S 4Matic+, which has added turbocharger boost pressure and other power-enhancing tweaks, allowing it to produce 603bhp and 626lb ft.
The engine also has a cylinder deactivation system fitted as standard that helps to improve efficiency, claims Mercedes-AMG. In city driving, four cylinders are deactivated between 1000 and 3250rpm when the engine is switched to Comfort mode.
Similarly to other recent AMG models including the E 63 saloon, the driver can pick from four driving modes: Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual. The S 4Matic+ version also comes with a fifth driving mode, Race, which is designed especially for driving on circuits.
The E 63 Estate gets a nine-speed Speedshift MCT automatic gearbox, featuring a so-called wet start-off clutch and steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. Further driveline developments include a mechanical differential lock for the E63 4Matic+ and faster-acting electronic differential lock on the E 63 S 4Matic+. Both models will be available only with AMG's Performance 4Matic+ four-wheel drive system, which offers fully variable distribution of drive between the front and rear wheels for the first time. The E 63 4Matic+ Estate hits 0-62mph in 3.6sec, while the S 4Matic+ achieves the sprint in 3.5sec.
Despite having four-wheel drive, AMG offers a so-called Drift mode on the S 4Matic+. Activated by shift paddles, it prompts the four-wheel drive system to deliver drive exclusively to the rear wheels, remaining engaged until the driver deactivates it.
Echoing the E 63 saloon, the model’s styling is intended to set it further apart from regular E-Class Estate models than previous generations. It is also 27mm wider, with the wheel arches accommodating the greater track width and larger wheels on the front axle.
As the most practical E 63, the estate version offers boot capacity of 640 to 1820 litres, which Mercedes claims is the largest in the performance estate segment. Indeed, the Audi RS6 Avant offers less space with 565 to 1680 litres. The E 63's rear seat has a new feature: it can be positioned at a 10-degree steeper angle to create an extra 30 litres of boot volume. The seats can also be folded down electronically in a 40:20:40 split.
From launch, the S 4Matic+ will be available only as an 'Edition 1' special model. This has grey or black paintwork, AMG’s Night Package and light grey strips above the side sill panels. It also gets 20in wheels painted in matt black with gloss rims.
AMG boss Tobias Moers said: “The new AMG E 63 Estate combines our brand’s hallmark driving dynamics with high everyday practicality. It is not for nothing that the model has been a permanent fixture in the AMG portfolio for 40 years. The powerful engine and the intelligent all-wheel drive underpin our claim to always be at the forefront of development when it comes to performance.”