I’ll never forget overhearing what my parents paid for our house when I was a kid. “Dad, you idiot” I groaned. “We could have bought a Ferrari!” Yeah. Sure, I didn’t understand the concept of mortgages, and it’s a good thing he didn’t listen to me, because you can’t sleep in many expensive exotics. Except for one: the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63S Wagon. It is as comfortable as it is quick.
Hang on, sorry, I’ve just been reminded that Ace Hood established you can in fact also sleep in new Bugatti. Be that as it may, the Mercedes is the only car that two people can comfortably snooze in side-by-side like they might on any other night adding “best car for overnighting” to its long list of accolades. Or “fastest hotel room” below a first-class cabin on an Emirates flight, if you prefer.
And on your night in the E63S, you can fall asleep looking up at the stars through a panoramic sunroof framed in beautiful soft suede-like headliner.
Since we published a whole review on what the car’s like to drive fast and slow, here we’ll stick to focusing on how it drives off-road and what it’s like to live in.
After dropping my New York colleagues off at LAX airport, I wanted to make the most of my weekend with this mighty wagon so I picked up my fiancée and I blasted out to the desert.
As Los Angeles county gave way to the wide open spaces east of town, we walked up to warp speed. My eyes were glued open, hands crushing indents in the 9-and-3 positions of the perforated steering wheel. My passenger didn’t bother looking up from her book.
That is, until we hit Joshua Tree and I slowed down to raise the Mercedes’ suspension.
Though the push-button activated lift is barely perceptible, it was enough to get the car’s carbon fiber splitter safely over the rocks and rubble of the dry lake bed out there.
I took it slow, because we had a $130,000 car in the middle of a viable location to shoot a Mad Max sequel, but even with the AMG’s stiff shocks and rubber band-thin tire sidewalls we just bumped and crawled over ruts with no drama.
When we found a suitable camping spot, which was just a patch of nothing in a field of nowhere, we proceeded to convert the rear passenger and cargo area into living quarters.
Removing the rear cargo cover first is key. I had left ours at home so we wouldn’t have to deal with it at all in the bush–it easily snaps out of its holding position but it is very heavy.
With that out of the way, the rear bench snaps flat-down very easily.
Now if you were a hearty traveler, you could just sprawl and crash out in the car at that point. But to make the sleeping experience genuinely pleasant, I’d recommend bringing a queen sized foam mattress topper. We threw a couple sleeping bags on top of that, a Mexican road blanket over them for aesthetic and homeliness, then climbed in feet-to-tailgate and had almost as much space as we do in our bed at home.
Tapping the “tailgate close” button seals you and your companion into the most expensive tent around and hopefully the parking spot you picked is dark enough for you to enjoy the night sky through the glass in the roof.
That roof is tall enough to keep you from feeling claustrophobic, and it’s pretty easy to sit up and exit when you’re ready to get up. Anyone who’s ever slept in an Australian swag will feel like they’ve got acres of space in the back of the Benz.
After a full night’s sleep, I’m impressed to report that the experience was largely unremarkable–which is damn decent for sleeping in a car. Having slept in a Toyota 4Runner, Toyota Land Cruiser, Land Rover Discovery, Jeep Grand Wagoneer, Jeep Renegade, Volvo 850, Honda Odyssey, and probably at least a couple cars I’m forgetting, I can tell you that car-sleep is usually a little brutal.
It’s hard to get your body right and something often smells odd, but that’s not the case here. The cargo area’s length is perfect for two (I’m six feet tall) and what do you know, a brand new Mercedes only smells like crisp high-quality leather.
But when I woke up in the E63S I was actually pretty refreshed. And when there’s a 603 horsepower engine crackle to break the morning with, who needs coffee?
OK alright, our first stop was still coffee. But the E63S Wagon makes a damn fine camper. Can’t say I’d recommend forgoing a house to pay for one of these cars, but it’s a decidedly viable domicile for long-haul road trips or quick backcountry excursions.