For too long, the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S wagon has reigned supreme among super-powered wagons in North America, that is if you discount the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo (Porsche never refers to it as a wagon, sadly). Not that we’re really complaining about it, it’s just that the Audi RS 6 Avant has whetted car enthusiasts’ appetites in Europe for nearly 20 years while we were forced to watch from a distance. Absolutely cruel if you ask me.
Finally, however, the 2021 C8 (not to be confused with the Corvette) Audi RS 6 Avant will come to our side of the Pond and the car-loving community could not be happier. If you’ve finally reached the point in your life where convenience and utility have become priorities but you refuse to relinquish performance and speed, these two super-wagons can do it all.
There was a time when the Dodge Magnum SRT, Cadillac CTS-V wagon (with a manual gearbox!) roamed freely among SUVs and other rare station wagons but they are unfortunately all but completely extinct in 2020. Here’s your chance to save a wagon, a worthy cause, but the question is: Which one?
No engine or motor will ever replace the V8, Sure, elector motors can easily produce more power and be more responsive but they are uneventful, boring even compared to the visceral noises, vibrations and sensations delivered by a V8.
Both absolute wagon units are powered by twin-turbocharged 4.0 -litre V8 engines. The RS 6 is “down” on power with only 592-horsepower and 590 lb.-ft. of torque from 2,050 and 4,500 rpm. The AMG 63 S produces no fewer than 603-horsepower and 627 lb.-ft. of torque from 2,500 and 4,500 rpm. Think about it… Two estates, 1,195-horsepower and 1,217 pounds of torque!
In the Audi RS 6, the power is directed to the quattro AWD system via an 8-speed automatic transmission. The AMG E 63 S’ tidal wave of force goes through a 9-speed autobox on the way to a 4MATIC+ AWD setup. In the right drive mode and with the proper amount of intent behind the right-hand pedal, the Mercedes will reach 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds, or 0.1 seconds ahead of the Audi.
These two brutes are quite heavy, with the AMG once again wining at a paltry 2,143kg, compared to the RS 6’S 2,075kg. The secret to both of these cars incredible on-road abilities are their standard air suspension with adaptive dampers. Numerous drive modes are also part of the equation with the Benz having a possible advantage with the Drift Mode. While there was in no way opportunity to find out if the RS 6 will drift at the first drive event, with the right determination, it will. The AMG E 63 S’ rear limited-slip differential can see to having more fun. The RS 6 can be equipped with the quattro sport differential for true torque vectoring.
Shenanigans aside, the Audi RS 6 can be equipped with an option that makes it far more convivial to drive than the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S wagon in all: Dynamic all-wheel steering. This technology shrinks the 5-meter long car into something far more agile than expected.
Both cars are surprisingly civilized despite their nature. Possibly at odds with expectations, the AMG is sharper and angrier than the RS 6. This is especially true if the car is equipped with the AMG Performance exhaust system. Even without, the E 63 S growls and voices its presence to a greater degree than the Audi.
These two playful mega-wagons are, first and foremost, luxury cars. Audi and Mercedes-Benz both have their visions of how luxury should be presented. In either case however, multiple screens are a must, as are leathers, woods, carbon fibre, alcantara and other such materials.
Fit, finish and displays are complex, pleasing to the eye and expertly crafted. An extra point goes to the Mercedes for its incredible twin 12.3-inch screens. Although occasionally distracting, the look is ultra-premium.
Both cars provide incredibly comfortable and supportive seats, plenty of room for five occupants and generous trunks. Behind the second row, the Mercedes will hold up to 620 litres while the Audi settles for 565 litres of volume.
The 2019 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S wagon starts at $119,900. Draped in designo Hyacinth Red metallic, AMG driver’s package with 20-inch forged wheels, nut brown interior, heated steering wheel, my beast would roll in at just over $131,000.
Pricing for the 2021 Audi RS 6 Avant has not yet been set but we think it’ll begin between $125,000 and $130,000. With the right paint color and Dynamic package (all-wheel steering, quattro sport differential), we’ll be looking at a $135,000 car.
Our Thoughts On The 2021 Audi RS 6 Avant vs 2019 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Wagon
We love’em both so much! Picking between the two is like trying to pick our favorite burger chain – Shake Shack or In-n-Out? We’ve had both and, if calories, heart attacks, and morbid obesity where nothing more than fiction, we’d order one (or two) burgers for every meal.
Like AMG and RS, both Shake Shack and In-n-Out have their special sauce, are undeniably desirable and totally satisfying. Where the station wagons are concerned, the Audi’s special sauce has an ingredient or two that draws more lip-smacking and cravings.
The 2021 Audi RS 6 Avant is styled for revenge, even if you’ve done nothing. The massive gapping grille, wildly flared wheel arches and the way the car sits on its 22-inch (21-inch standard) wheels makes us completely weak in the knees. There’s perhaps also another factor at play and that is that the RS 6 is, or was, a forbidden fruit.
The 2019 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S wagon may be slightly madder and more engaging to drive (if by a tiny margin) but the RS 6 is impossible to resist.