With a few small exceptions, the best wagons in the world right now are made by German manufacturers. And as all the companies will transition to all-electric lineups, it’s pretty obvious that the last great performance wagons are being built right now. But which is better, the Audi RS6 Avant or the newly introduced BMW M3 Touring? To answer that, we have an interesting drag race and a comparison.
This is a very interesting subject to me as a fan of performance wagons. Audi only recently started selling the RS6 in America, but it doesn’t seem to have the same sparkle it did 10 years ago. Meanwhile, the M3 Touring is a car that people have wanted to buy for decades, probably since the E30 era. But BMW never built something of this caliber until now.
To be clear, they are not in the same segment. the RS4 Avant would be the direct rival to the M3 Touring. But even with the “Competition” package, this quattro wagon doesn’t stand a chance against the Bavarian monster now that it’s got xDrive. Likewise, BMW doesn’t make an M5 Touring, not since the V10-powered E61, another excellent classic.
On paper, the RS6 has a performance advantage. Its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine produces 600 PS or 591 horsepower. Meanwhile, the M3 Touring only has six cylinders and is rated at 510 PS or 503 horsepower. Besides the 90 hp gap, it’s also down on torque. However, both wagons are equipped with 8-speed ZF gearboxes and AWD, while the M3 is significantly lighter.
Carwow magazine recently organized the first-ever drag race between an M3 Touring and an RS6 Avant. Despite having more power and torque, the Audi RS6 clearly lost. BMW fanboys rejoice, says Mat Watson!
We’re actually not surprised. These new M3 models have been shown to produce more power than advertised and are now fantastic at launch thanks to the introduction of xDrive recently. Also, the RS6 isn’t as amazing as it used to be 10 years ago. It hasn’t been performing well in drag races, and it always feels like it’s been held back by the new emissions regulations.
M3 Touring vs RS6 Avant: which is cooler?
That brings me to the second part of this story, which is a comparison of their styling and cool factor. Carwow only briefly touches on this subject, pointing out that the M3 Touring has a red leather interior and no engine soft limiter.
However, there’s much more to it than that. The M3 Touring looks like any production M3 sedan, with a big trunk. That means it has the same controversial grille design with “beaver teeth” and different headlights from a 340i/3 Series. Mods also include fender flares, a diffuser, a large exhaust, and wider tracks.
To be fair, the RS6 has those as well. But it doesn’t have exclusivity. Officially, the M3 Touring is not production-limited. But it’s not offered in many countries, won’t be manufactured forever, and is the first of its kind. This suggests the total number of these wonder wagons might be lower, in the thousands even, an instant collectible in the near future.
That being said, the RS6 is beautiful, well-made, and powerful. There’s nothing wrong with buying one of those, especially if you’re an Audi fan.