Marital bliss interrupted:
She insists on plenty of room for the kids and their baseball and color-guard equipment. And what about groceries? Yeah, those 10 bottles of cherry seltzer, the 12-pack of paper towels 24-pack of bottled water.
He wants raw power, maybe with a note of wicked burble; zero-to-60 in under 4 seconds and the performance of a sports car, the agility of a cheetah.
Marital bliss renewed: The Mercedes-Benz E63 wagon, which thankfully makes a comeback for 2012.
Who knows - maybe I got the sexes mixed up there and Mom wants all that unbridled power. Either way, this wagon aims to please.
The E63 wagon accents the fun in function. A major contributor is the hand-crafted 5.5-liter that can get you to an electronically limited speed of 155 mph. Not many highways permit that level of fun anyway.
This AMG powerplant brings 550 horses to the party and an outstanding 590 foot-pounds of torque at 2,000 rpm. That kind of pull, according to Mercedes, translates to a 0-60 achievement in 4.2 seconds.
Mercedes magnifies the experience with numerous performance upgrades, too, including improved suspension, steering, brakes, wheels and its smooth-shifting seven-speed transmission.
With all-wheel-drive as standard, the E63 grips the road with confidence. Its lean on corners is minimal and, thus, you could easily mistake this wagon's handling for that of a Corvette. Very weird and very cool.
Give some credit to the AMG-calibrated adaptive sports suspension that puts a 3-link independent strut type up front, and 5-link independent air suspension in the rear.
The AMG performance package also includes 19-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels, red brake calipers and sport exhaust with chrome tailpipes. More goodies later.
The sport tranny is smooth and accurate in its shifts, enough so that you might not want even to bother with the aluminum paddle shifters. But if you do, you'll find the paddles offer quick and responsive shifts.
The clutches offer a race-start feature that adds extra jolt from the get-go. One magazine's testers claim 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds and a quarter-mile in 12. That's just plain nuts for a wagon.
If there is one area for improvement it's in the steering, which has been enhanced this year with an electrohydraulic pump. It may be speed-sensitive but it lags in overall feedback.
EPA mileage figures say 15 mpg in the city, 23 on the highway. I say good luck. I managed 17.5 combined over 400 miles, though test-driving is typically harder on mileage.
Contributing to improved mileage is the E63's new stop/start feature. Set the transmission to C for controlled efficiency and activate the eco mode, and the engine shuts down at every stop. Personally, these systems annoy me. Oh, I know they'll save a few bucks. But you always feel like you lose a second when you take off again.
Fortunately, this one is not as unresponsive as some. And you can disable it easily by choosing another tranny setting or deactivating the eco mode.
There's little to dislike inside the E63 wagon, from the sweet burled walnut trim to the 14-way power seats. The AMG has leather-trimmed sport seats up front with lumbar adjustment. Headroom and legroom are plentiful.
The headliner is trimmed in Alcantara, so this cabin engulfs you in leather and suede.
New this year across the E-Class is the steering wheel and instrument cluster, with gauges and controls that are easy to see and reach. The AMG package includes race timer.
As always - and I mention this in every Mercedes review - the cruise-control stalk is too close to the turn signal. I flipped the wrong stalk several times, always do.
For groceries or golf clubs, you'll find an ample 29 cubic feet of space.
So I'm driving home from the newspaper, minding my own business, and a little steaming-coffee icon comes on. What - did I spill some coffee? No, it's part of Mercedes' Attention Assist and is alerting that the driver may be getting drowsy. You think? I just finished eight hours of deadline work at the newspaper. In my defense, the icon can also mean there's a malfunction in the system.
The E63 is packed with other safety features, from the usual ABS stability and traction control to air bags everywhere including front pelvis and driver knee bags. Also standard is Mercedes' PreSafe system, which anticipates an imminent crash and takes proper measures.
Safety options include adaptive cruise control and, new for 2012, a lane-tracking package that offers blind spot and lane-veering warnings.
If jumping over 100-grand for the AMG E63 is too much to digest, know that there are worthy and cheaper opponents from Cadillac, Lexus and Audi, to name a few.
But if you can handle the price tag and must have the Mercedes, there is little to dissuade you about this high-performance wagon. And if it's any consolation, the resale value is at least as good as most of the competition.