5 Station Wagons That Are Delivering The Smackdown

Crossovers may be all the rage, but the OG that spawned the genre is the cult automotive quirk alternately known as fast wagons, estates, weekenders and shooting brake. Characteristically understated, these performance models will stealthily outmanoeuvre hotheads, even with a full load.

01 | Volvo 

The legendary “turbobrick” 850R estate made its motorsports mark on the BTCC race-circuit in the mid-1990s, but the very last of the fast and furious Volvo wagons was the V70R from the early 2000s. Today’s Volvo V60 and V90 wagons are elegantly sculpted machines that only look the part of fire-breathing load-luggers, because they are mostly exercises in sporty aesthetics under the R-Design trim package. With adequate performance for daily commutes, they offer more in terms of refinement than rowdiness.

02 | Porsche 

The Panamera Sport Turismo is a compelling package that blends the performance associated with the legendary brand with plush executive comfort for 4+1 occupants (the regular Panamera features a 2+2 configuration) and some measure of utility, with up to 1,384-litres of load-lugging capacity. In GTS guise, the Sport Turismo steps up to the driver’s demands for a spirited drive when the going gets winding, but also gamely serves cross-country duties at an effortlessly ballistic pace — all done with a full load of cargo and/or passengers.

03 | Mercedes-AMG 

With storming AMG engine variants that span 35, 43, 45, 53 and 63 across CLA-class, C-Class and E-Class, there are Shooting Brakes and estates aplenty that cater to every level of performance and, of course, budget. 

A new model E-Class may have just launched in Singapore, but as far as we’re concerned, the estate version is a matter of when, not if, which means a full-fat E 63 S AMG version can’t be far behind. Like the Audi RS6 Avant, the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S is powered by a twin-turbocharged V8 that punches out over 600hp, so it’ll gladly gobble up your groceries and the pesky hot hatch that keeps tailgating you. 

And a Shooting Brake? Well, it’s a slinkier, more stylish interpretation of the traditional estate, and the CLA 45 S Shooting Brake is a great example of sportiness and space. Its natural agility makes it a doddle to manoeuvre in the cut and thrust of city traffic, while the explosive thrust not only lets the driver exploit gaps in traffic, but also tackle those open, winding roads.

04 | BMW 

For the first time, BMW has announced the latest M3 will spawn a Touring (BMW-speak for station wagon) model. When it is launched in 2022, the highest performance model of the 3 Series Touring range will join the existing M340i Touring, which sits within the less hardcore M Performance Automobiles umbrella of models. 

Although the M3 Touring will rule the roost in terms of outright firepower, the M340i Touring has won many hearts with its blistering real-world pace, which combines huge load-lugging ability, all-wheel-drive sure-footedness and a tub-thumping turbocharged six-cylinder engine to transport the entire family and its belongings at a storming pace.

05 | Audi

Audi has kept the faith with the spirit of an uber-wagon — no big surprise given that its lineage can be traced back to the seminal Audi RS2 Avant from the mid-1990s. In addition to its range of raging, heavily-armed RS crossovers, the brand still features two fast estates (or Avants, in Audi speak) in its line-up: the RS 4 and RS 6. In fact, you can only enjoy these two top-tier RS models in the Avant body style, unlike some of its rivals who offer their fast estates as part of a broader range of sedans, coupes and convertibles. 

The pair of Audi RS Avants is characterised by spectacularly flared wheel arches and huge firepower under the bonnet with a twin-turbo V6 and V8 at the heart of the RS 4 and RS 6 respectively. Naturally, it’s not just about going fast in a straight line, because the quattro all-wheel drivetrains in both the RS 4 and RS 6 have been tuned to deliver stupendous cornering prowess, so you can give your whole family (dogs included) a full crosscountry experience. The RS 4’s 450hp and RS 6’s 600hp are nothing to sniff at — they effectively put the “beast” in beast of burden!

This story first appeared in the March 2021 issue of A Magazine.

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