By no means earlier than has a brilliant wagon comparability check between Mercedes-Benz and Audi been attainable in the US. Mercedes has offered a hell-raising property automotive right here for almost twenty years, however Audi has incessantly declined to carry its spiciest wagons right here, citing foolish issues like “gross sales” and “monetary sense.” That’s now not the case, due to the 2021 Audi RS 6 Avant.
It’s the newest in an extended line of lovely, asphalt-demolishing Audi Sport wagons, and Individuals are lastly getting a style of a car meant to be the final word one-car answer for automotive fans. It guarantees to not solely demolish race tracks and be as fast as supercars from a decade in the past, but in addition eat up freeway miles in consolation and ferry a whole household and its baggage. You already know, the very factor Mercedes’ AMG wagon has been for years. And for the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Wagon, these mad lads in Stuttgart have greeted the Audi’s arrival with an replace of its benchmark uber wagon. What a impolite welcome.
Each longroofs are propelled by 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engines aided by 48-volt mild-hybrid electrical methods. However don’t be fooled. There may be nothing inexperienced about both of them. The AMG E 63 S manages to eke out extra energy with ultimate output touchdown at 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. Audi trails shortly behind at 591 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Based on producer estimates, the dash to 60 mph requires 3.4 seconds within the Mercedes, and three.5 within the Audi. On paper, the 2 engines could appear a bit copy-paste, however they’re something however that from behind the wheel.
A low, bassy grumble steadily will increase in quantity contained in the Audi as much as redline, whereas the Mercedes’ revs zing upward with a fairly, mechanical-sounding trumpet of V8 nastiness. The noise is simply the primary trace that the AMG wagon is rawer than the Audi. Mercedes transmits each pound-foot of torque by your bones with the correct pedal pinned. Lively engine mounts stiffen up on the twist of the mode dial, giving the AMG an excellent higher sense of immediacy. Every throttle enter is met with an on the spot response, beckoning to your will so rapidly that it masks the turbocharged nature of this engine. It rapidly begins to really feel like an extension of the driving force.
The Audi is numb and distant compared. It’s masking the identical quantity of floor on the identical speeds, nevertheless it’s doing so with a filter. The place the Mercedes’ engine is alive and dancing, the Audi’s V8 simply feels prefer it’s going by the motions. Sure, our heads are pinned to the headrest, however we really feel additional away from the wagon’s beating coronary heart. Responses aren’t are sharp, both. There’s a split-second extra turbo lag and shifts aren’t fairly as crispy or scintillating.
Utilizing the ZF eight-speed transmission, because the Audi does, is often a foolproof option to carry each efficiency and refinement to a powertrain (even BMW M cars use it lately), however Mercedes’ nine-speed multi-clutch transmission is a superior companion in spirited driving. Every upshift is met with a firecracker bang, and each downshift is invigorating, encouraging you to maintain pulling the down paddle whereas braking into corners to listen to the guttural (and barely infantile) pops and bangs. The Audi shifts are stupid-quick in a vacuum, however its responses appear dulled when pushed back-to-back with the Mercedes. To not point out that the Audi has tiny, hard-to-reach paddles with middling motion versus Mercedes’ massive, clicky shift paddles. In the end, the Mercedes is much extra entertaining to shift your self, however each are completely good and able to placing you in the correct gear in computerized mode on a rustic street.
However can they go left and proper, too?
In fact. Much like the engine story, although, the E 63 S has the sting. Each these wagons are fitted with air suspensions which are absolutely adjustable from pillow-soft to racetrack-stiff. Fidgeting with the settings returns completely different outcomes and opinions every time we swing round to the identical stretch of pavement. However it doesn’t matter what mixture the Audi is about to, it nonetheless can’t contact the sensible chassis tuning on show within the Mercedes.
It’s hardly plausible that the AMG wagon is using on an air suspension, as a result of it reveals not one of the typical springiness or bounce. It’s pinned to the pavement, forgiving and secure on poor street surfaces, however scissors by clean roads like a bayonet by cloth. The steering is excellent in Sport+ mode, offering a pure degree of suggestions and correct weighting to instill confidence within the chassis. It’s a pure athlete, springing from corner-to-corner with spunkiness and functionality we are likely to affiliate with Porsche. After two straight hours of dancing round our favourite roads within the Mercedes, we’re left questioning, what extra are you able to need?
Audi certainly knew it could be troublesome to finest the AMG’s dealing with, however engineers positive did strive. With zero trace of understeer, the RS 6 Avant eats up corners. It turns in faster than the Mercedes (thank the all-wheel steering system) and has a faster, lighter steering rack on the whole. All that’s completely advantageous for scything by the native roundabouts, nevertheless it’s a step behind the E 63 S all over the place else. There’s no hiding the air suspension beneath right here, because the RS 6 Avant struggles to retain its composure over tough stretches of street that had been merely shrugged off by the Mercedes. You progress round within the seat extra as the large 22-inch wheels skip and bounce by street undulations. Much like the engine scenario, the Audi is essentially succesful past anybody’s street wants, nevertheless it speaks again by a thick layer of insulated glass. Take away it, punch up the environment, and also you get the Mercedes. AMG made its wagon extra enjoyable to drive than Audi Sport. Interval.
If this had been a two-seat sports car comparability check, Mercedes would possible have clinched this already. However not so quick. These are wagons, and to be one of the best, additionally they must do wagon issues.
Which means they must be comfy to drive day by day, maintain all of your baggage and accommodate backseat passengers. The query of consolation is the place all of the Mercedes’ high-performance traits come again to chew it. The place the Audi is whisper quiet inside, a not-insignificant quantity of street noise intrudes into the Mercedes’ cabin. Each suspensions soften of their respective consolation modes, however the E 63 S Wagon’s stiff chassis that’s so pretty on a backroad imparts a smidgen extra influence harshness on the freeway. Even with the worryingly skinny spackling of rubber wrapping the Audi’s 22-inch wheels versus the Mercedes’ 19-inch rollers, the RS 6 Avant is the extra comfy cruiser.
Hanging out within the Audi’s again seat is marginally extra nice than the Mercedes, due to a small benefit in legroom (about an inch). Nevertheless, each are spacious sufficient for adults and supply devoted local weather zones separate from the entrance seats. The Mercedes takes a marginal win in cargo house (35 cubic-feet), because the Audi’s closely angled rear window cuts into most cargo capability to the tune of 5 fewer cubes. Extra baggage will finally match within the Mercedes, however you’ll be able to nonetheless stack 4 full-size suitcases into the Audi, and that’s the bogey for this measurement of automotive.
Each these wagons impress and annoy from the driving force’s seat. Audi’s fashionable architectural inside design is trendy and oozes wealth, however Mercedes appeals to our needs for elegant and delightful design. The touchscreen-heavy Audi setup seems to be and feels fancy now, however we had been craving for bodily controls to regulate the drive modes and local weather management system nearly instantly.
Mercedes manages to frustrate in a brand new and completely different approach this yr, because the E-Class’ new contact delicate steering wheel controls are downright nightmarish to make use of. The splendidly tactile scroll wheels and solid-feeling switches of earlier than had been changed with shiny black surfaces that solely responded to our swiping inputs a part of the time. Dropping even a fraction of finger placement precision through the use of gloves on the touchpads would rapidly drive us to madness. Even with that annoyance, Mercedes retains us on its good aspect with perfectly-molded seats (better-hugging than Audi’s sport seats), a decrease sprint peak for higher visibility, and in some way, much more efficiency devices and gizmos hidden within the infotainment system.
The only space the place Audi pulls a convincing victory is in exterior design. There’s merely no better-looking household automotive on sale in the present day. Its hips flare out way more aggressively than the AMG’s. The Audi even has laser lights with a warning to not look immediately at them … as a result of they’re freaking lasers. That’s a dub within the Audi column. Mercedes might have upped the drama within the E 63 S this yr with the massive, radiator grille, nevertheless it’s nonetheless meek and timid-looking when parked subsequent to the RS 6 Avant.
Selecting one over the opposite based mostly on value elicits zero benefits. The RS 6 Avant begins at $110,045, whereas the E 63 S Wagon begins at $113,500. Each our check vehicles had been optioned to almost an identical specs — the Audi ended at $131,645, and the Mercedes at $137,850. Deleting the beautiful $3,950 designo Sensible Blue Magno paint possibility from the AMG can be unhappy, however a free paint possibility just like the Audi’s Nardo Grey would carry the totals a lot nearer. Principally, you’ll be able to both afford it, or you’ll be able to’t. There is no such thing as a funds possibility.
With value out of the equation, our hearts do the deciding, and the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Wagon has stolen ours. This wagon has the utility of a household truckster and the beating coronary heart of a sports activities automotive. A litany of smile-inducing components imbued within the Mercedes finally put it over the sting. From the best way it squirms so fortunately as you squeeze onto the throttle exiting a nook, to the unpredictable barks and bangs emanating from the quad exhaust, the Mercedes is only a couple rungs greater up the efficiency ladder. Its negatives aren’t almost persuasive sufficient to sway us within the course of the shiny, new RS 6 Avant.
However props to Audi for lastly getting into this brutally troublesome and tiny subject in the US. The Mercedes’ victory shouldn’t be learn as a suggestion to not purchase the Audi. It’s the higher wagon for slogging backwards and forwards to the workplace in serenity, nevertheless it simply gained’t make your hairs stand at finish on a twisty part of street. For that degree of driving satisfaction, Mercedes will get the nod.