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Station wagons offer high performance, space

April 27, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's been overshadowed by SUV's in recent years but the station wagon is making a comeback. As car specialist Dave Kunz shows us, a new breed of wagons offers sports car performance and family-hauling ability.

The station wagon has been part of American family life for decades, handy, roomy but never too exciting. Then there's the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG ($92,400 base price).

Top speed is 186 and it can get to 60 in under four seconds, serious performance with cargo space.

The heart and soul of Mercedes' ultra wagon is a hand-built, twin-turbocharged V8 making 518 horsepower for openers.

Of course if you go fast, you need to stop fast, so upgraded brakes are part of the package. Add in a firmed-up suspension and high performance tires, and you've got all the trappings of a car that can get around a track with the best of them or just get the kids to school in comfort and safety.

For maximum power and speed, there's the optional AMG performance package. Horsepower jumps to 55 and that 180 plus top speed becomes a reality, at least someplace.

The AMG wagon is a special order vehicle in limited production. It's limited partially by its price of over $92,000 to start.

For less than two-thirds of the price, Cadillac also offers a super station wagon, the CTS-V Wagon ($63,215 base price). It actually tops the horsepower of the Mercedes by a few, but motor trend found that the Benz was still quicker in testing.

And for true gear heads, the caddy offers something the Mercedes doesn't: a manual transmission.

And while not exactly a wagon, Jeep's updated Grand Cherokee SRT ($62,995 base price) is likely to be used as one, big hemi power under the hood, big wheels, tires and brakes underneath.

The jeep name may go back to World War II, but this is definitely not your grandfather's army jeep.

Hot wagons are definitely a niche within a niche. But for hauling the kids and just well hauling, having a high performance car that's also a station wagon is something your parents or the Brady's never dreamed of.


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