2019 Mercedes E450 Wagon

GREENVILLE, S.C. — The only thing that would prevent me from buying the 2019 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic Wagon is its $65,195 price tag. Or, in the case of the press loaner E450 Mercedes recently left in my driveway, $88,535. It's simply out of my budget. I do find wagons irresistibly appealing. Furthermore, I find wagons with some serious gusto beneath their hoods even more appealing. Dear Dodge: Please bring back the Magnum SRT Wagon.

If you are a committed Mercedes watcher, you may already be aware that the E450 designation replaces last year's E400. Cause for the rename is a mightier version of the 3-liter biturbo V6 powering its E-Class models. Horsepower is up 33 ponies to 362 horsepower with peak torque up 15 lb-ft to a total 369 lb-ft. As for the rest of its official designation, including “4Matic” in the Wagon's designation is a waste of ink because all E450 Wagons have all-wheel drive.

A serious Mercedes watcher also knows that this is not the newer turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine finding its way into other models, such as the CLS450. The E450 is such a joy to drive as it is, it's doubtful anyone will give the inline six turbo much thought. A five-second sprint from a standstill to 60 miles per hour can make you forget a lot of things. Did I mention, I like performance wagons?

Delivering engine output to all four corners is a 9-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is a relatively thrifty government-estimated 19 miles per gallon city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg in combined driving.

Performance isn't just of the go-fast variety. This wagon displays excellent steering response, hugging the corners like partiers on V-E Day. There is just a degree of calm the E450 Wagon provides a driver as it goes about its business. It feels solid, well balanced and stable.

Beyond the engine upgrade, 2019 changes include some new stand-alone options like head-up display, new 3-spoke Nappa leather multi-function steering wheel and, of course, enhanced driver-assist/safety systems like intelligent cruise control.

This is a roomy wagon in terms of passengers and cargo. second-row legroom is a generous 35.8 in, which is more than the S-Class sedan. There's a smidgen more front legroom, as well. With the second-row seat in place, the Wagon has 35 cu-ft of cargo space, which is about twice that of the S-Class sedan. That nearly doubles to 64 cu-ft with the second-row and rear-facing third-row seats folded. A couple of kids can ride comfortably in the rear-facing third-row seat; so, this wagon can haul seven in a pinch. Utility and good looks, right?

With all of this performance and utility, you also get one of the classiest cabins in the industry covered with leather and wood accents. Plunk down an extra $4,900 for the Nappa leather package if you want some real pampering. Well-bolstered seats are designed to keep front occupants upright in the twisties. Although dedicated buttons still control most common functions, a central controller and touchpad in the center console provide command over most systems through a 12.3-inch color display.

Standard features include LED headlights/taillights, dual-zone automatic climate control, multicolor ambient lighting, push-button start, power front seats, full power accessories, power-folding heated outboard mirrors, power liftgate, power sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, audio system with streaming, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, dual USB ports and voice control.

Among the safety and driver-assist technologies are active brake assist, Attention Assist, crosswind stabilization, rearview camera, PRE-SAFE that moves front-seat occupants as much as 2.75 in away from the doors in a side impact, and PRE-SAFE Sound that emits a sound during an accident designed to protect occupants' hearing. A $2,250 Driver Assistance Package adds active distance assist, active steering assist, active lane change assist, emergency stop assist, active speed limit assist, active brake assist with cross-traffic function, evasive steering assist, lane keeping assist, blind spot assist, PRE-SAFE Plus rear-end collision protection and PRE-SAFE Impulse that moves front-seat occupants in the event of a side-impact crash, and route-based speed adaptation. 

You can add all manner of luxury touches through the grocery list of options, such as a cabin air fragrance system, heated/ventilated front seats, massaging front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, low-noise performance tires and head-up display. My test E450 Wagon had all of these and more to the tune of $23,340.

If your goal is a bit of practicality, a dollop of performance and a heaping helping of luxury, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic Wagon checks the boxes. It's the perfect blend of comfort, quality and driving dynamics.

— Russ Heaps