The station wagon may be dead, but not at Mercedes-Benz. The German company still produces a few of these old school utility vehicles, including the CLS Shooting Brake and E-Class wagon. Tuning companies love to soup up wagons, creating performance vehicles no one would expect. Speaking of unexpected: what normal person would want to turn a wagon into a stretch limo, like this Binz Xtend?
The name may sound like a Viagara knockoff, but Binz is really an aftermarket company that turns Mercedes E-Class wagons and Vito vans into hearses. The company’s designers announced the Xtend at the 2010 Essen Motor Show, and, two years later, here it is.
Binz extended a stock E-Class wagon by 31.7 inches to create the Xtend. The stretching was done between rear doors and rear axle. At 224.4 inches long overall, the Xtend is one of the longest cars around. It’s two inches longer than a Chevy Suburban and two feet longer than Mercedes’ biggest SUV, the GL 550. However, it is shorter than a Rolls-Royce Phantom or a Ram 3500 Crew Cab with an eight-foot bed.
What does all that extra length buy? Since the stretch occurred behind the passenger compartment, the biggest difference will be the amount of rear luggage space. Binz does specialize in hearses, after all. With this car, Mitt Romney might actually have enough room to let his dog ride inside on the next family road trip.
The Xtend definitely looks like a hearse, and is probably difficult to park. What it does make easy is loading cargo: it has the capacity of an SUV, but the Xtend’s low ride height should make putting things in the back easier.
Whether customers will see things that way remains to be seen, but Binz does plan to put the Xtend on sale. It will be offered in the same trim levels as the regular E-Class:E250 CDI diesel, E350 gasoline V6, or E500 V8. Binz will also entertain ideas about putting other engines in its stretch wagon.
In the United States, the E-Class wagon is only offered as an E350 V6 or a sport-tuned E63 AMG V8.
With the longest wheelbase of any car this side of a Rolls-Royce and no AMG option, the Binz Xtend doesn’t seem like the most performance-oriented car. Or does it? Binz will build a special version of Xtend, called the X-Orange, that features racing seats and four-point harnesses.
Binz did not announce when or where the Xtend will go on sale, but it is expected to cost 80,000 euros, or roughly $98,080.