Useful Car Tips

Five Quickest Wagons in the US

January 08, 2020
Station wagons can at times seem like a polarizing segment of the car industry: some people love their looks (and utility), and some people outright hate them. Regardless of opinion, the statistics don’t lie, station wagons are some of the lowest-selling vehicles in the US. With a very similar if not nearly identical size (but not shape) to sedans, wagons can do everything sedans do with the added practicality of a large trunk, perfect for everyone from families to college students. This is all accomplished without compromising driving dynamics. However, the very word “wagon” generally conjures images of a big, slow, ugly vehicle puttering down the road, at least in popular perception. In reality, wagons have been anything but that in the past several decades. In fact, if you—a brave contrarian—are interested in the wagon segment, take a closer look at performance wagons, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. 425 horsepower… in a wagon. 550 horsepower… in a wagon. 600 horsepower… in a wagon. 686 horsepower… in a wagon?! These aren’t like your grandpa’s wood-panelled station wagon from 1974, they’re something much different.


In 2006, the Magnum SRT8 was introduced as the high performance version of the regular Magnum wagon. Featuring a new (at the time) 6.1 liter Hemi engine, the SRT8 produced a total of 425 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. This engine upgrade resulted in a 0-60 mile per hour time of 5.1 seconds and a 1/4-mile time of 13.1 seconds with a trap speed of 108 miles per hour. New 20” wheels, firmer suspension, large Brembo brakes and redesigned front and rear fascias complemented the stellar power plant. Since its discontinuation in 2008, the Magnum SRT8 has become an underappreciated gem in the eyes of wagon enthusiasts. With less than 5,000 ever manufactured, these relatively rare cars will continue to fly under the radar and occasionally come up for sale online.


Commonly known simply as the CTS-V Wagon, this is another heavy hitter from one of Detroit’s biggest names; in this case, GM. What do you get when you take a regular CTS mid-size wagon and add a 6.2 liter supercharged LSA V8? 556 horsepower and a massive 551 lb-ft of torque. Because of its unhinged nature (a 556 horsepower family station wagon?!), the CTS-V Wagon has developed a deserved cult following. Available with both manual and automatic transmissions, manual-equipped examples are true unicorns and hold their value very well. Paired with that fire breathing American V8 is magnetic ride control, large Brembo brakes, unique 19 inch aluminum wheels wrapped in performance tires, and the iconic wire grill which has graced the front ends of all Cadillac performance “V”-branded vehicles.


Across the Atlantic resides one of the CTS’ fiercest competitors: the legendary Mercedes E63. Available in sedan or wagon form, the top trim E63 S boasts a monsterous 603 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque, making this AMG creation one of the most powerful wagons in the world. Under the hood is a 4.0 liter twin-turbo V8, its thunderous sound being the only giveaway—to a casual observer—that this car is something special. Suspension tweaks and more aggressive styling combine with AMG’s excellent exhaust tuning to complete the package. This Benz wagon is at the leading edge of performance wagon design: it seamlessly blurs the line between sensible family wagon and unhinged tire-shredding machine, showcasing the unique duality of the performance wagon segment.


Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, try saying that five times fast without hurting yourself. Look past its frankly ridiculously-long name and you’ll find a very compelling package from Porsche. As the name suggests, this super wagon has a hybrid turbo engine: a 4.0 liter twin-turbo V8 paired with an electric motor which produces (are you ready for this?)... 686 horsepower and 626 lb-ft of torque. In a wagon. A wagon that can comfortably transport you, three adults, and a sofa from IKEA. This is the most powerful wagon in the world, an incredible exercise in engineering from the masterminds in Stuttgart. Plus, weighing in at over 5,000 pounds and stretching more than 16 feet long, the true handling prowess of this big wagon appears to contradict physics.


After close to two decades of production, the Audi RS6 Avant is finally coming to the United States. The brand new C8 generation RS6 continues Audi Sport’s’ now 25 year legacy of producing “RS” performance wagons, beginning with its progenitor, the RS2 of the mid-90s. With 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque combined with Audi’s quattro AWD, this is one fast wagon. Considering its credentials, the C8 RS6 Avant certainly deserves a spot in the Audi lineup as the newest member of a long line of Audi performance station wagons. If you’d like one, just make sure you have deep pockets! How deep? Six-figures deep, like the Mercedes and Porsche.


Truly, there is no wrong decision here. If you’re in the market for a performance wagon—the kind of car that can seemingly do it all—and you’re lucky enough to have the money to pay for something like the Mercedes, Audi, or Porsche, you won’t go wrong with any one of them. Even if those are out of your budget, you still won’t go wrong with either of the two big American V8s. Wagons are such versatile vehicles; incredibly practical yet dynamically (nearly) as capable as sedans, that not one performance wagon will fail to put a smile on your face!
Previous Article Next Article