11 best performance station wagons

Wagons were made as more spacious alternatives to saloon cars for the purpose of luggage. Performance was never really the goal until the 90s. Today, just like fast cars, fast wagons are a norm and they appeal to those who want a family car that’s fast, fun, and practical. There seems to be some sort of appeal when a mom/dad mobile can be able to keep up with some of the best sports cars on the road while being able to haul the whole family and luggage. Some of the most exotic brands even have limited edition wagons for the ultra-rich. These are some of the best wagons ever made     

1. Audi RS2 Avant

The Audi RS2 is considered the first performance station wagon. It was a joint collaboration between Audi and Porsche I was made from 1994-1995. It has a 2.2 liter 5 cylinder turbo making 315 horsepower with a 6-speed manual transmission. This engine was the most the full version of Audi’s 5-cylinder engine. It could hit 60 mph in 4.8 seconds thanks to its Quattro all-wheel drive. This car can still keep up with most modern performance sports cars and hot hatches. Audi only made 2891 cars which makes this one of the rarest performance wagons.

2. Audi RS6 Avant

The Audi RS6 is the high-performance version of the Audi A6 and is in its fourth generation. For the first time in its history, the RS6 will be available for the US market. This 4th generation codenamed C8 has a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 making 600hp and 590 lb-ft of torque (800 Nm).  0-60 comes in at 3.6 seconds with a top speed limited to 155 mph (250 km/h) but can go up to 189 mph (305 km/h) when unlocked.

With all-wheel drive and paired with a ZF 8-speed transmission makes this one of the most capable wagons on any road surface.

3. Mercedes E63s AMG Wagon

Mercedes is no stranger to being fast and they’ve proven it with the E63s wagon. The E63 AMG is already a fast spacious family car but turning it into a wagon increases practicality while retaining maximum fun and speed. The E63s has a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 making 602 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque (850 Nm). It has a 9-speed automatic transmission with all-wheel drive, 60 mph comes in at 3.4 seconds with a top speed of 180 mph (290 km/h).

This wagon also retains everything that makes the E63s a great car. AMG’s drift mode is also available on this car which puts the car in rear-wheel drive only. This allows the car to perform big smoky drifts while being able to seat 5 and carry more luggage. 

Related: The best AMG’s ever made.

4. Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake

Jaguar has a fast wagon in its current line up but the most desirable is the XFR-S that made its debut in 2014.  This one has a supercharged V8 making 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque (680Nm). It’s the same version of the supercharged V8 found in the Range Rover SVR and Jaguar F type SVR and sounds just as good as those vehicles. 0-60 claims to be 4.6 seconds but has been timed faster at 3.9 seconds by Caranddriver.  This may be an alternative for someone who’s looking beyond the Audi RS6 and E63 AMG.

5. Porsche Panamera

Porsche joined the Wagon race in 2010 with a V8-powered Panamera S, 4S, and turbo models. It was an instant success just like the Cayenne was with varying models from a V6 engine up to a hybrid V8. Every Panamera in the range offers great performance with the base V6 having 330 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque (150Nm). The most power is the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid making almost 700 horsepower and 642 lb-ft of torque (850Nm). The base version does 60 in 5.6 seconds while the range-topper does 60 in 3.2 seconds with a top speed of over 190mph.

Because of its slightly sloped backend, it does rob rear passengers of a little headroom. Luggage space might also be a bit compromised compared to the competition. The Porsche Panamera has the novelty of being a Porsche and handles just like one.

6. BMW M5 Touring

BMW is yet to make up its mind if it wants to be part of the wagon game or not. But the few attempts at this space have yielded some incredible results. The E61 M5 touring is the rarest and fastest wagon ever mass-produced by BMW. It has the same 5.0 liter V10 found in the M5 sedan making 500 horsepower. It can be had with an SMG auto transmission or a 6-speed manual and rear-wheel drive. 60mph comes in 4.8 seconds with a top speed of almost 200mph. Boot space is also larger being a wagon.

This car is the most unique on this list as no other wagon has a V10 or is as rare as this car. Only about 1000 of these cars were said to be produced making them very rare in any circumstance. Mechanical issues have kept prices relatively low with most going for well under $30,000. But with such rare cars, they will definitely not stay low for long.    

Related: The best BMW’s ever made

7. Cadillac CTS V Wagon

Following the list of unique cars comes the CTS V wagon. It is unique simply because America doesn’t do fast wagons. This is the fastest station wagon ever made by the US when it debuted in 2009. It has the same 6.2 liter supercharged V8 based on the LS9 found in the C6 Corvette ZR1. This car makes 556 horsepower and 551 lb-ft of torque (747Nm). Transmission choices were between a 6-speed automatic or manual sending power to the rear wheels only. 60 comes in at 3.9 seconds as tested by motortend and is considered one of the best all-around American cars. Only 1767 of these were made with prices doubling that of the M5 wagon as they weren’t plagued with mechanical issues. 

8. Ferrari FF

Ferrari makes the list with the best-sounding engine of them all the V12. The FF had to be part of this list even though it’s been replaced. It still offers one of the best performance bargains available today with an exotic engine and prestigious brand name. The FF was presented in 2011 and has a 6.3 liter V12 making 650hp and 504 lb-ft of torque (683Nm). 0-60 comes in at 3.7 seconds via an all-wheel-drive system and dual-clutch transmission with a top speed of 208mph.

The FF is a unique offering, it has a shooting brake design which is like a cross between a wagon and a hatchback. It was also very expensive when new at $300k but some examples can be found under $150k with most ranging under $200k. The combination of all-wheel drive, shooting brake design, and powerful engine makes this car a great all-rounder. It’s still a Ferrari so maintenance will be expensive but you’ll be one of the few rocking this exotic wagon unless you live in Beverly Hills.

9. Ferrari GTC4 Lusso

The latest Wagon offering comes in form of the GTC4 Lusso. It has every recipe that made the FF a hit but this time with an updated interior, drivetrain, and new technology. The 6.3 liter V12 now makes 690hp and 514 lb-ft of torque (697Nm) with a 60 time of 3.4 seconds, top speed is still 208mph. Rear-wheel steering is now available on the Lusso making it more maneuverable. This car is slightly faster than the FF which is where the current value of the FF makes a lot more sense. Most FFs will be out of warranty though but cost way less than a comparable GTC4 Lusso.

Unlike the FF the Lusso could also be had with a 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 option called the GTC4 Lusso T. This engine makes 610hp and 561 lb-ft of torque (760Nm) which is more torque than the other engines. Only comes as rear-wheel drive which makes it less capable on slippery surfaces but 60 still comes in at 3.5 seconds with a top speed of 199mph (320km/h).

10. Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo

Even though this car is electric, it is definitely one of the most exciting cars on this list. The Taycan Cross Turismo is simply a jacked-up Taycan with extra body cladding and plastic trim. It now has a wagon design instead of the coupe look and offers an off-road design pack and even “gravel” mode. The Taycan is currently one of the bestselling new models out there with over 20,000 units sold in 2020. Rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive options are available with single and dual motor configurations.

Power levels range from just over 400hp in the base trim to over 750hp in the turbo s. These numbers are achieved with launch control and overboost, normal driving numbers are slightly lower. 0-60 ranges from 5.4 seconds to a blistering 2.6 seconds for the top trim. The electric range is also between 199 miles and 227 miles depending on your choice of powertrain.

Cargo space is also huge and with the extra ground clearance and off-road goodies, the Cross Turismo is the fast wagon/ soft road vehicle of the EV world.    

Leave a Comment