If you want a seriously go-fast wagon, there really are only two options: the Audi RS4 Avant and Mercedes-AMG C63 S Estate. Both back enough firepower to make fighter jets jealous and both are as usable and as practical as a normal family wagon. Sure, their older siblings, the RS6 Avant and E63 S, have even more power, but these two are the quintessential super-estates and they’re taking each other on in this new test from Top Gear. So which is better, the RS4 or C63 S?
On paper, they compare sort of oddly. Both are wagons, yes, but that’s about where the similarities end. The Audi RS4 Avant uses a 2.9 liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that makes 450 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. That engine is paired with an eight-speed ZF-sourced automatic gearbox, which sends power to all four wheels, via Quattro. There’s also an electronically-controlled rear differential that sorts power out between the rear axle.
While the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Estate uses a 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged V8 that makes 503 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque (in ‘S’ guise, the standard car makes less). That mighty V8 is mated to a Mercedes-made nine-speed automatic, which sends power to only the rear wheels through its own limited-slip rear diff.
So which car is faster? Hard to tell, really. Both manufacturers claim 4.1 seconds to 60 mph but we’ve seen less than four seconds for both. It would take putting both together on a track with proper test gear to see which is actually quicker. For now, let’s call it a draw. Which is odd, considering the power difference between the two and their different drivetrains.
Aside from performance figures, though, these cars are also vastly different in the way they drive. The Audi RS4 Avant is clinical and precise, using its twin-turbo V6 to dole out power in a smooth and efficient manner. It’s ballistic, no doubt, but it does so in a very serious manner. Though, thanks to all-wheel drive grip and quick revving engine, it goes down any stretch of road more rapidly than the AMG. It’s also smoother and more comfortable.
However, the AMG is the more fun car of the two. Its V8 is monstrous, raucous and violent. It’s superbly exciting and seriously powerful. Its ride is a bit brittle and it might turn more of its tires into smoke, rather than speed, but it’s the more enjoyable and exciting car to drive quickly. If you only had a twisty stretch of road to play with, the AMG would almost certainly be your choice of car.
Is the Audi RS4 Avant the better everyday car? Probably. It’s easier to use, easier to live with and easier to drive fast. Though, the AMG is the one that steals your heart. So, according to Top Gear, the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Estate wins.