Here are five power wagons worth watching out for in your rearview mirror, because they won’t be there for long.
The age of station wagons may have long since passed in America, but overseas they still have a strong following. Especially when it comes to high-performance wagons. Offering the speed and power of a performance sedan with the versatility of an SUV, these power wagons offer their owners the best of both worlds. But the best part may be their sleeper factor. After all, who expects to be passed on the highway by a station wagon when you’re driving a Porsche or Corvette?
Our list starts with one of the newest additions to the pack. Alongside the new E63 AMG sedan, Mercedes-Benz also released a fresh wagon version of the same. Power comes from the same 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 as the four-door version, which can be had with either 518-horsepower or 557 in the top-of-the-line S-Model. That’s good for a 3.8-second 0-62 time, and with 4Matic all-wheel drive (offered for the first time in the E63), it offers a compelling alternative to high-performance SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S or even Mercedes’ own AMG crossovers.
Over at Audi’s Quattro GmbH, wagons have always held sway. Take the RS6 Avant, for example, which incorporates a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 560 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Driving through an eight-speed automatic and Quattro all-wheel drive, the RS6 Avant runs from 0-62 mph in 3.9 seconds and reaches a top speed as high as 190 mph. It also packs an adaptive air suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes, dynamic steering and much more. All of that adds up to a family-hauling estate wagon that will show less powerful sportscars a thing or two on the open road.
When taking on the imports from Germany with the previous CTS, Cadillac didn’t pass up the opportunity to offer the wagon version that Mercedes and Audi reserve for Old World customers. Even the CTS-V got the wagon treatment, bringing along with it’s the sedan’s 6.2-liter supercharged V8 and its 556 horsepower. The CTS-V Sport Wagon was even available with a six-speed manual transmission, along with a magnetic suspension and Brembo brakes. Unfortunately, while the CTS-V Sport Wagon was one of Cadillac’s more popular offerings overseas, it didn’t garner enough sales in its home market for Cadillac to keep it going with the new model.
Alongside the CTS-V, one of our favorite American power wagons was the Dodge Magnum – particularly the SRT-8 version. With a 6.1-liter Hemi V8, the Magnum SRT-8 packed 425 horsepower for a 5.1-second 0-60 time. That may not be that much by today’s standards, but eight years ago when the Magnum SRT-8 first debuted, it was a powerful machine indeed. Unfortunately Magnum sales plummeted from over 52,000 units in 2005 to less than 7,000 in 2008. So Chrysler discontinued the Magnum, along with many other models. The Journey crossover that replaced it just isn’t the same, even if sales have been better.
The last item on our list isn’t a European model, and it’s not American, either (although it is owned by an American automaker): it’s Australian. The love comes courtesy of GM’s Holden division, which has a strong tradition of offering numerous versions of its Commodore, even in HSV trim. The latest Gen-F HSV Commodore can be had in a number of trim levels, but the top-spec GTS packs the supercharged 5.7-liter V8 engine from the Chevy Camaro ZL1 with 580 horsepower and 556 lb-ft of torque. That makes it the most powerful vehicle Holden has produced to date, and you can have it in sedan, wagon or even pickup form.