Audi RS6 Performance vs. Mercedes-AMG E63 S – epic estates go head to head

Performance and practicality are aspects of motoring that fast estates encapsulate perfectly – no more so than the Audi RS6 Performance and Mercedes-AMG E63 S. These are cars that take the combination of immense speed and space to a whole new level. Think supercar pace wrapped up in a more family friendly package.

But which is the most complete car – the RS6 Performance or E63 S? Read on to find out…

These two are actually rather similar, if you think about it. With both you get a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine producing around 600bhp, all-wheel drive and a quick-shifting automatic gearbox. They also weigh about the same at approximately two tons.

Let’s start with the Merc. Powered by a monstrous 603bhp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, the E63 S (in estate form) will sprint from 0-60mph in just 3.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 186mph.

The Audi, on the other hand, is a little slower but by no means a slouch. The RS6 Performance features a 597bhp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 capable of 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds and a top speed limited to 155mph (189mph if you get the optional carbon-ceramic brakes).

Though there’s one thing having performance on paper, but how a car performs on the road is a whole different ballgame. Luckily, the RS6 drives very well indeed. It’s very polished, meaning the can car cruise around comfortably just as well as it can lay down fast lap times.

The all-wheel drive system combined with the slick eight-speed gearbox makes for no nonsense swift acceleration whatever the conditions may be. The only downside to this is that the RS6’s handling is rather one-dimensional. You see, the car isn’t quite as dynamic and involving on the limit as it could be, which may be fairly disappointing to enthusiastic drivers.

As for the AMG, it’s got a bit more grunt in terms of how it acts out on the road. The E63 S feels a tad more agile and lairy, even when in all-wheel drive mode. That’s right – the E63 can switch between two and four-wheel drive on a whim, giving it an extra layer of involvement and driver choice that the RS6 lacks.

With regards to practicality, as you can imagine, both fare well in this department – but it’s the Merc that edges ahead again. For example, the E63 has 670 litres of boot space, which is a considerable amount more than the 565 litres you get in the RS6.

What’s more, the Audi is starting to show its age, whereas the AMG is a much newer model. Sure, either would most likely satisfy your day-to-day estate needs, however, the car with the three pointed star is the better of the two.

And that right there pretty much sums it up – the Mercedes-AMG E63 S outperforms the Audi RS6 Performance in both performance and practical departments.

However, there is one last thing. You see, the latest RS6 Avant came out in 2013 and has now been put out of production while we wait for a replacement. This means the used market is the place to look for one – they can be had for a bargain, starting at just over £35,000 (for the standard car, not the Performance).

In contrast, the Mercedes came out in 2017 and still carries a hefty price tag – upwards of £59,000 even used (again, for the standard car, not the S version). So, with that in mind, here’s the final bit of advice – if you can afford it, go for the E63 as it’s arguably the better car. If you can’t stretch that far, go for the RS6 because it’s still a very good rapid and capable machine.

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