Which mental performance wagon is for you?
When we finally got the Audi RS6 Avant here in the US, we were so excited that the manufacturer finally gave us the monster we wanted. We've seen tuners take the RS6 to insane power levels, and that's all good and well, but now that sister company Porsche has revealed the Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo, the RS6 almost feels a little outdated. Sure, you can't put bigger turbos on a car that doesn't even have an engine, but with instant torque and Porsche's trademark handling ability, who cares? These are certainly two very different ways of approaching the high-performance German wagon niche, but which will satisfy enthusiasts most?
Let's start with the Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo. The electric wagon's roof is longer and flatter than that of the Taycan sedan, but you still get those four-point adaptive LED headlights, a full-width LED taillight strip, large vents in the front fenders, a roof-mounted spoiler, and your choice of 20- or 21-inch wheels. As a wagon, roof rails are also added to increase the impression of size. Overall, the design is a nice blend of performance and restraint, but on the RS6, it's blatantly obvious that you're looking at a seriously fast car.
You also get HD Matrix LED lighting on the RS6, but you can go all the way to 22-inch wheels here, with 21s standard. The RS6's massive Singleframe grille and vents below the hood really ram home the angry, urgent feel of the car. With contrasting mirrors and a massive rear diffuser, as well as trademark RS creased fenders, there's no doubt that the RS6 looks more like an Autobahn stormer than the Taycan Cross Turismo.
Both Audi and Porsche provide you with a trio of high-resolution screens. In the Audi, a 12.3-inch configurable driver display is the main focus for the driver, while 10.1-inch and 8.6-inch touchscreens are used to control infotainment and the quad-zone climate control system. You get a panoramic sunroof, a power liftgate, heated and ventilated 14-way power front seats, and multicolor configurable ambient lighting.
Things aren't too dissimilar in the Porker: you also get adaptive air suspension, a panoramic glass roof, and plenty of leather, but the standard climate system is dual-zone. Fortunately, you do get bragging rights with the screens: the instrumentation is a massive 16.8-inch curved screen with touch-sensitive buttons flanking it, while infotainment is handled by a 10.9-inch touch display with a secondary 8.4-inch screen for climate and other functions.
Both cars offer massaging front seats, night vision cameras, and adaptive cruise control, but only the Audi offers Android Auto. On the other hand, the Porker offers a 5.8-inch rear-seat display as an option. Ultimately, there's little to split between the two, but we think the Taycan's interior flows better and is cleaner.
It's time we address the elephant in the room that is these two cars' completely different ways of propelling occupants towards the horizon. In the Audi, you get a traditional combustion engine, albeit with 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance. The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 in the RS6 Avant produces 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, transmitted to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. This makes the RS6 capable of 0-60 mph in just 3.5 seconds with a top speed rated at 190 mph. You also get that sweet, sweet V8 noise, which is something all the speaker systems and composed soundtracks in the world can't emulate.
In the Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo, AWD is the best philosophy too. Dual electric motors deliver power to the wheels with an unconventional two-speed gearbox acting on the rear motor. If you go for the regular Taycan Turbo model, you get a maximum of 670 hp (616 hp when not using launch control) and a massive 626 lb-ft of torque, but upgrade to the Turbo S and those figures change to 750 hp (616 hp w/o launch control) and 774 lb-ft. 0-60 takes just 3.1 seconds in the regular Turbo and a mind-warping 2.7 in the Turbo S. However, top speed on both models is just 155 mph. If you want to say you have the faster, more powerful car, get the Audi. But if you want to embarrass said Audi at the strip, the quicker Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo is the way to go.
When you're playing in these leagues, pricing isn't always that important a part of the decision-making process, but money doesn't grow on trees either. With Ingolstadt's Avant, you'll be spending at least $109,000 before a $995 destination charge. Fully loaded, you can easily make a $140,000-sized dent in your trust fund.
Porsche, on the other hand, is known for offering endless customization options, but even without them, the base Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo starts at a college-fund-decimating $153,500 before $1,350 for delivery. Of course, rebates will help drop this, but it's still not going to look like a bargain next to the RS6. Opt for the tarmac-tearing Turbo S and you'll pay at least $187,600. We've been playing around with the configurator and got ours to over $260,000 - and that's without even exploring the custom paint options.
Having read this far, you will likely have formed an opinion on which car you prefer already. Whether it's down to pricing, features, design, or the never-ending argument about which car has more soul, the verdict we provide here will be viewed as wrong by someone. Nevertheless, here goes.
The Audi RS6 Avant is still an astonishingly brilliant machine in our eyes. It's got space, power, attention-grabbing looks, and immense tuning potential. The Porsche Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo is also quite spacious, has loads of power, and will break necks everywhere. Thanks to its artificial and futuristic motor sounds, it alerts you to the speeds you're doing just like a traditional engine would, and although it'll never make the kinds of sounds that plaster a massive grin on your face, the way it moves will certainly have that effect. Yes, it's super expensive and it'll be ugly to some, but we just can't stop thinking about owning one.
Sorry Audi, but Porsche has made the high-performance wagon into an art form that we want to stare at in our driveway.