Fast wagon fans were delighted when Audi announced the RS6 Avant was coming to the US. And it’s proven a worthy successor to the original fast Audi wagon, the RS2 Avant. However, it’s not the only luxurious high-performance wagon on the market; it’s not even the only German one. There’s also the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S wagon, part of the E-Class lineup that recently won Motor Trend’s 2021 Car of the Year. But which is the faster premium family- and cargo-hauler? YouTube team Throttle House decided to find out.
The 2021 Audi RS6 Avant and 2020 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S are high-speed luxury haulers
The Mercedes-AMG E 63 S, like the rest of the E-Class lineup, has been mildly-refreshed for the 2021 model year. Mechanically, though, it’s identical to the 2020 model in Throttle House’s test. And when it comes to speed, it follows a similar formula to the 2021 Audi RS6 Avant.
Both the Audi RS6 Avant and Mercedes-AMG E 63 S feature 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8s and standard all-wheel drive, Autoblog reports. The RS6 Avant, though, has an 8-speed automatic, while the E 63 S has a 9-speed automatic, Autoblog reports. The Mercedes also has more power: 603 hp and 627 lb-ft to the Audi’s 591 hp and 590 lb-ft. However, the Audi pairs its V8 with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, Motor Trend reports.
The RS6 Avant out-weighs the Mercedes wagon. On Car and Driver’s scales, a pre-facelift Mercedes-AMG E 63 S weighed 4697 pounds, while Audi’s wagon weighed 5031 pounds. But despite the weight and horsepower penalty, the RS6 Avant roughly matches the E 63 S’s performance. Car and Driver reports the former can go 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds, and the latter in 3 seconds.
The other performance and luxury touches
The 2021 Audi RS6 Avant also has a few more performance features that the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S doesn’t offer, Automobile reports. Both wagons come standard with air suspension, which has been slightly retuned for the 2021 E 63 S, Automobile reports.
However, the RS6 Avant offers optional linked adaptive hydraulic dampers similar to those McLaren offers, The Drive reports. Plus, unlike the Mercedes, Audi’s high-speed wagon has standard all-wheel steering. But it doesn’t offer the E 63 S’ RWD-only Drift Mode.
On the luxury side, the two wagons are fairly evenly matched. Both offer leather upholstery, a full ADAS suite, navigation, heated and ventilated front seats, and wireless charging, Car and Driver reports. The E 63 S’ front seats have standard massage functions, though, while that’s an option on the RS6 Avant. The Mercedes wagon also has slightly more rear cargo space.
How did Throttle House test these two rapid wagons?
Truth be told, few Audi RS6 Avant and Mercedes-AMG E 63 S owners will likely take their wagons to a racetrack. Yet their specs and performance features mean these cars can handle themselves adroitly there, Road & Track reports.
Theoretically, you could drive either one to the racetrack, run a few laps, and drive home. Plus, both the RS6 Avant and E 63 S wagon offer optional carbon-ceramic brakes. So, to truly test both high-performance wagons’ limits, Throttle House took them to a track.
The team also ran them through two ¼-mile drag races: one from a standing start, and the other from a rolling start. The first tests, not just the engine and the transmission, but also the AWD systems, traction management, and launch control. The latter test is all about the powertrain.
Which is faster—the 2021 Audi RS6 Avant or Mercedes-AMG E 63 S?
Unfortunately, the track and tire conditions Throttle House encountered meant the wagons couldn’t set lap times. However, the team was able to pull off the drag races and run a few untimed laps.
And in a straight line, the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S beats the Audi RS6 Avant. In both the standing-start and rolling drag race, the Mercedes was faster than the Audi. It wasn’t until the RS6’s owner, who owns a tuning company, stepped in that the Audi wagon prevailed.
As for their track behavior, both wagons are hugely impressive. They’re comfortable and quick, with accurate and fast steering. The Mercedes wagon’s Drift Mode adds a bit more fun, but Throttle House found the Audi to be slightly more comfortable on the road. It’s also slightly cheaper.
But if it’s a matter of raw speed, the E 63 S has the edge.
Follow more updates from MotorBiscuit on our Facebook page.