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Wagon Wednesday: Is this Mercedes-Benz E63 wagon worth your time or a headache in the making?

Jeff Glucker November 22, 2017 Wagon Wednesday 36 Comments

Wednesday always seems like a good day to plunk those magic letters “w-a-g-o-n” into Craigslist to see what’s out there. Today that search term has returned an interesting and rare beast of a longroof. The car above is a 2007 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG wagon. Between 2007 and 2009, just 166 were sold in the States, according to the seller. This specific color combination of the exterior and interior is apparently one of… one.

When new, the base MSRP was just under $90,000. This isn’t a vehicle that suffers too greatly from depreciation either, as the amount of units in the market is low. So why is the seller asking just $24,000 for this one?

Because it has 162,500 miles on its odometer.

It’s reportedly in excellent shape and wears nearly new Michelin tires. There have been no aftermarket modifications, the engine runs strong, and the transmission shifts well. Those are promising things to read. But the lingering thought of any mechanical work conjures up colossal bills totaling more than the amount being asked of the car in the first place.

I don’t have $24,000 to gamble with on a car like this, and I don’t have the technical know-how to DIY an otherwise costly dealer fix. Are any of you souls out there brave enough for an endeavor like this one, or is the idea of something going wrong too daunting?

[Source: Craigslist]

  • Zentropy

    I’d sooner drop $15k into a modified W124. The W211 might be the ugliest E Class ever, even with AMG performance underhood.

  • Harry Callahan

    Pass. “German Car” roughly translates to “Overpriced” Perfect example here.

    A similarly sized Asian car with 192K would be trusted as good to go, and would likely go another 100k miles with some annoying niggles, but little else. We all know this MB will spend the next few years putting in more vertical (up and down on a lift) miles than going down the road.

    • Sjalabais

      What’s the Asian equivalent to an E63 AMG wagon?

      • Harry Callahan

        I was writing in generalizations.

      • outback_ute

        2007 Toyota Crown Athlete V wagon, 2.5L 1JZ turbo rwd. Last year of production for the big Toyota wagons.

      • Rover 1

        The only alternatives to this are Audi RS4 and RS6 Avants. They are even more problematic.

        As for the Japanese, a same age Nissan Skyline M35 had stepped away from the performance levels of the previous WC34 model which could have the full R34 Skyline GTR running gear. That could be of comparable performance but then done properly with everything uprated as it should be, not cheap either.
        Skyline M35
        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7d/2004_Nissan_Stagea_01.jpg/1280px-2004_Nissan_Stagea_01.jpg

        Skyline WC34 with GTR conversion
        http://allcarmodels.net/img/nissan/stagea/1997-nissan-stagea-wc34-wagon-5d-6.jpg

        The more ‘ordinary’ WC34s are still a step below the E63 performance but they are quite affordable, (RHD only though). Here’s one for sale in Japan through Tradecarview, a ’98 Stagea manual,
        1998/OCT NISSAN STAGEA 25T RS FOUR S 4WD TURBO ( RB25DET , 280PS !!! ) , 5 SPEEDS MANUAL !!

        http://allcarmodels.net/img/nissan/stagea/1997-nissan-stagea-wc34-wagon-5d-6.jpg

        https://img03.carview.co.jp/trade/img06/cars/521478/21853093/japan%20car/1998+nissan+stagea/01w.jpg?height=525&width=700&type=resize

        • Sjalabais

          The Stagea is one of my favourite wagons by concept – I have never seen one IRL though. How well is the build quality and material choice of Stageas? I have had a Primera, and it was okay, but not really good.

          My question above was more to underline that an R63 has next to no competition, unfortunately. You can’t always say “get the Japanese equivalent” as a standard answer. Even a V70R has “only” 300hp, if we are willing to count Volvo as a reliable option. Which would be a stretch in this particular case.

          • Rover 1

            Like all Japanese cars of that era the finishes aren’t current soft touch Audi/VW.
            Your Primera is about the same. But nothing wears out and the actual build quality as opposed to the perceived build quality that (eg) Autocar bangs on about are old school Mercedes. I know someone who gave up on his ‘quality’ S6 to run a WC34 Stagea for mechanical peace of mind-and with a little work, the same performance. If you do need parts though, they’re not cheap.

        • kombi man

          You want to follow down a Stagea rabbithole with me?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjDGM7noTJw

          • Rover 1

            And there’s your E63 competitor, (except not really as it’s not production)

  • outback_ute

    It hasn’t been that long since Erik’s tale of woe regarding M-B wagons…

    http://hooniverse.com/2016/12/06/notthewombat-when-auto-journos-dont-heed-their-own-damn-advice/

  • The M156 engine and 722.6 ‘box are probably the least worrisome components in this car, remarkably, although I’ve seen precious few with quite that high a mileage. Post ’07 means no pesky SBC brake system with its limited operational life.

    My worries would centre around the Airmatic system and the condition of expensive consumables like the AMG-specific brake discs and pads. As long as that engine and ‘box have been kept properly maintained, that machine could be a bargain.

  • robbydegraff

    Gosh. This is a perfect example of, “Ohhh I want it, but I know it will haunt me horrifically the second things start breaking”

    • Ol’ Shel’

      I don’t see the problem.

      If something stops working, just replace it with an LS1. Windows stop working: LS1. Gauges stop responding: LS1…

      • HuntRhymesWith

        They’re cheap too if you buy in bulk at Harbor Freight. Predator LS clone 12-pack is only $149.99 after coupon. Billet pot metal block with a balanced chinesium crank and high-tensile linguini pushrods.

  • boxdin

    As long as you don’t mind small things breaking and a trouble code light or two showing, just drive it to pieces.

    • For peace of mind, simply stick with vehicles too old for trouble codes.

      • Rover 1

        But more than old enough for plain, uncoded, trouble?

        Troubles that aren’t coded but obvious.

    • outback_ute

      Not just that but brakes in particular will be horrifically expensive and need replacement often

  • cap’n fast

    honestly, benz is full of(opinion here) garbage electronics. overpriced spares. unavailable spares. spares which come already failed so as to remove the anxiety the owner has for when it will crap out again. instrument panel that goes dark with the second bump. seat heaters that fry the cushions. TPMS that fries the vehicle manage with corrupt data down the data link. $1K to just reprogram the vehicle manager to only have the TPMS fry it again. mechanically built up like a layer cake with the most prone to fail components somewhere in the middle to bottom pile of crap called the something or other assembly. and then there is the controller modules. they are not federated into one area nominally protected by structure, no. modules are out there in the corners awaiting parking lot carnage and exposed to all right under the sheet metal/plastic. for the price of a transmission repair one could have a decent spare car. notionally not on the list i keep of almost reliable vehicles.
    that said, i looks like a nice enough used vehicle someone got rid of for some reason. wonder what that is.

    • Rover 1

      My ’94 W124 300E-24 has just rolled onto 290,000 km, (180,000 miles) and everything still works, heated seats, rear blind, A/C climate control, electric seat adjustment, sunroof, everything. The paint is shot from our high UV levels here though, like all cars that age with metallic paint. Stripping it for a respray is going to be a pain. Whenever I’ve needed parts for my other 124s they’ve always been surprisingly cheap. i.e. new grille $35, new headlight $120, 2 new front discs and all four sets of pads, $120. Parts are waaay cheaper than any Toyota or Honda I’ve owned, CE Corolla front discs $140 each, new headlight $270, used headlight $150.

      • outback_ute

        I would be surprised if you could do the brakes on this for 10x that cost!

        • Rover 1

          I’m fairly sure that other cars with that level of performance won’t have cheap parts either. These are 300+ km/hr (190 mph) capable cars and they’re not light. Ferrari and Lamborghini brake parts aren’t cheap either, and they don’t have a dealership in nearly as many towns as MB.

          • outback_ute

            Yes but Ferraris and Lamborghinis aren’t disguised as everyday station wagons. I expect there would be buyers who don’t factor this in and get a nasty surprise, that’s all.

            • Rover 1

              “but Ferraris and Lamborghinis aren’t disguised as everyday station wagons.”

              My point put most succinctly.

      • peugeotdude505

        How many window regulators have you had to replace though? Wiring harness, etc are the weak points

        • Rover 1

          Out of the six 124s,(W,S & C) that we own, over the last twelve years. Zero.

        • Luxury Lexus Land-yacht

          Wiring harnesses were problematic across the MB line, but for only 2 or 3 years.

          A common weak point is a plastic actuator in the transmission which makes reverse function. It’s really only a problem when warm, but I bought it in Februrary.

          Mine was toast, they crack over time, but I drove that car for three more years before giving it to my stepson. I’m moderately crippled, so pushing isn’t part of the plan. Regardless, you get very good, very quickly, at reading how pavement slopes.

          Pro-tip, almost all pavement has a slope to it. Drainage and all.

          My stepson racked up another 35K on that car before selling it with around 225K on the odometer. Never a window regulator problem, never a wiring issue (though the engine harness had been replaced before I bought it), the only thing which failed was the power antenna, and even that was fixable, I just didn’t want to mess with it once it was up, so I unplugged it, problem solved.

  • Luxury Lexus Land-yacht

    I’ll pass, primarily because I can buy a relatively low-mile W124 wagon and drop a 6L V12 into it for less, and have a more solid car.

    It’s been done, and while tight, there’s room with minimal modifications.