Super sedans, and their wagon alternatives, are getting insanely powerful and fast as of late. In fact, there isn’t one currently for sale that doesn’t make over 600 hp. But it’s not just raw power figures that make these uber-wagons fast. Fancy gearboxes and launch control systems have come a long way in making these luxury-lined family cars faster than some supercars. To prove how far things have come, Autocar put the two fastest wagons on sale up, the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo Sport S E Hybrid and the Mercedes-AMG E63 S Estate, against an old, but still very powerful one — the C6 Audi RS6 Avant.
Both the Porsche and the AMG are brand new and currently for sale. While the Audi RS6 in this test is over ten years old now. A peak under their hoods shows off just how far we’ve come in the world of performance machines. Powering the RS6 is a massive 5.2 liter twin-turbocharged V10 engine, which made around 570 hp when stock. Yet, both the Porsche and the AMG use 4.0 liter twin-turbo V8s (although the Porsche has the help of an electric motor) and both make far more power. The AMG makes 600 hp and the Porsche makes 671 hp. All three cars have all-wheel drive.
However, the Porsche Panamera weighs about a moon’s worth over the other two and the Audi isn’t completely stock in this test. As the RS6 is an owner’s car and has been tuned a bit with just a software remap, it actually makes around 650 hp.
The real question is, though, which is fastest? Well, off the line, the Panamera obliterates both the AMG and the Audi RS6, thanks to its instant electric torque. It takes a pretty decent lead that it never relinquishes. The AMG catches up a bit toward the end, as its lighter weight starts to come into play, but the Audi RS6 never catches up. In fact, it quickly becomes a spec in the rearview mirrors of the other two.
So raw power doesn’t tell the whole story. Hell, even power-to-weight seems to go out the window in this test. High-tech hybrid powertrains and launch control systems rule the day and show the progress of high-performance machines. Still, given the choice of which keys we’d take home, give us the RS6 every time. I’ll take a Lamborghini-derived V10 in my family wagon over almost anything else.