Monster Wagons Compared: E 63 AMG vs RS 6 Avant vs Taycan Cross Turismo
Two enthusiast-darling V8s go head-to-head with a visit from the future of the segment
Brian Harper: I don’t know if your kids were into dinosaurs when they were younger, Peter, but that’s what we’re driving in this comparison — dinosaurs, and the biggest, most rapacious versions of them; the automotive equivalent of the T. rex.
The Audi RS 6 Avant and Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4Matic+ are station wagons, albeit nothing like the wagons that dominated suburbia in the 1960s and ’70s when you and I were growing up — my family’s lineup included a series of Jeep Wagoneers as well as my mom’s light blue Plymouth Volare, sans woodgrain.
The wagon was all but killed off by the minivan boom, which in turn was decimated by the sport-ute, at least here in North America. The Europeans, however, haven’t completely abandoned wagons for the crossover craze. And these two rare beasts are what the Germans like to call sportswagens , essentially sports cars — with big engines, big power and big price tags — doubling as family transport. I know I should be more enlightened, but I can’t help myself; the RS 6 Avant and the Merc-AMG 63 have me backsliding into hooligan mode. You?
Peter Bleakney: Absolutely, Brian. I freakin’ love these things, just because they’re so fabulously ridiculous. And I am a wagon guy — my dad always bought station wagons, and presently I’m the proud owner of a 2005 Volvo V70. But while my wheezing Swedish packing crate is only packing 165 horsepower, these Teutonic terrors more than triple that apiece. Both are motivated by 4.0L “hot-vee” bi-turbo V8 engines — the AMG making 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque while RS 6 manages to liberate only 591 stallions and 590 lb-ft. Nonetheless, that’s enough firepower to pin my Golden Retriever to either rear window or send a Billy bookcase right through the glass. Both these practical domestic haulers will blast to 100 km/h in a tick over three seconds.
But what is this? I see an interloper swooping in from the future. It’s silent and deadly and it’s called the Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo . It is wagon-like — more of a shooting brake, actually — and, incredibly, possesses a turn of speed and handling that makes these gas-sucking dinosaurs appear like, well, dinosaurs. I think I’m still suffering vertigo from its 2.8-second blitz to 100 km/h. Is this thing even allowed to play here? And wow, I thought we needed deep pockets for the Audi and the Mercedes.
BH: You’re spot on about needing deep pockets. The RS 6 Avant puts a dent in your Amex Black Card to the tune of $123,200, the E 63 S a slightly higher $127,900. And that’s the base price, never mind our well-optioned testers. Yet the Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo’s starting price of $218,000 is a whole new level of conspicuous consumption.
Still, putting aside the whole internal combustion versus EV debate for the moment, the commonality to all three of these machines is the whack of technology that not only makes them ridiculously fast, but also gets them around corners at highly imprudent speeds, and stiffens up or softens the suspension as is your wont. And, unlike the higher-end Range Rovers, G-Wagens and other Euro sport-utes that are somewhat common in and around my neighbourhood, this Teutonic trio is the very definition of the word “rare.” You’re unlikely to run into another one in the Tim Hortons drive-thru.
But what does our millennial friend Elliot, who interrupted our baby boomer wagon lovefest with the Porsche, think?