Station wagons have had a hard time getting back into the American market. No matter how well designed a wagon can be, it seems that the sedan counterpart will always be more successful. The wagon’s downfall all started in the ‘80s when the minivan was introduced. The situation is even worse now that the world is obsessed with crossovers, making wagons, despite their advantages, even less viable than ever. Wagons have nearly all the practicality of crossovers and SUVs but still retain their fuel economy and driving characteristics. Not to mention, wagons can even be safer than SUVs and crossovers in certain circumstances due to their lower center of gravity.
Despite all those factors, it seems that America just can’t get over the Clark Griswold wagons of the past. Regardless of how sleek, powerful, efficient or well designed they are, station wagons just can’t capture a wide audience anymore. Luckily, it seems that the crossover revolution has caused several sports-car brands to create new wagons that drive like sports cars for drivers who would otherwise be stuck in boring crossovers. Maybe this tactic will work, and we’ll get more wagons on the market. These sporty wagons certainly cater to car enthusiasts, as there are many more performance wagons on the market than performance crossovers. And even if this gambit doesn’t work, we can still celebrate these 20 wagons that subverted your expectations.
20 Mercedes E-Class AMG Wagon
If there’s a single traditional wagon remaining on the market, it would be the Mercedes E-class wagon. This car is so old-fashioned that it even offers rear-facing third-row seating for children. But don’t let this fool you into thinking that it drives like your dad’s Taurus wagon.
The AMG version sports a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 and all-wheel drive, combined with a nine-speed automatic.
Put all that together, and you’ve got a zero-to-60 time of under four seconds. Yes, this wagon can pass supercars with ease while hauling seven people. Simply put, the AMG E-Class wagon will get your family to Walley World in no time. As you’d expect from a $100,000 Mercedes, all three rows of passengers will be riding in a soft leather interior with plenty of gadgets and technology for all.
19 Dodge Magnum SRT8
The Dodge Magnum was one of Chrysler’s first cars to ride on their rear-wheel-drive LX platform alongside the Chrysler 300. The Magnum was essentially a wagon version of the 300, to the extent that it was actually sold as a 300 wagon in Europe.
While it was a solid-performing car when it was released in 2005 with a 5.7-liter Hemi and optional all-wheel-drive, the one to get is the 2006 to 2008 425-horsepower SRT8 model.
This car could sprint through the quarter mile in the low 13s, faster than many muscle cars. It also featured lower, stiffer suspension and stickier tires over the standard model. As a result, this two-ton beast can tear around corners easily. Unfortunately, this hot rod wagon was discontinued in 2008 after it had received an aggressive facelift. It’s a shame that we never got an opportunity to see a Magnum Hellcat.
18 BMW M5 Estate
The BMW M5 is an intense automobile that's seen many incarnations. Possibly the craziest example was the E60 M5, which featured a 5.0-liter V10 that produced 500 horsepower. This car has long been claimed to have a top speed of over 200 miles per hour if the limiter is disabled. What may not be as widely known is that BMW produced a wagon version of this car. Yes, a 200 mph, V10 BMW wagon exists. If that doesn’t get your blood pumping, you might not be a car guy. This is clearly one of the last of a generation. Just about every car these days requires a turbocharger to get any power out of the motor, while the M5 just used raw power. However, unlike the M5 sedan, the wagon never made its way to the US.
17 Jaguar XF Sportbrake
It seems as if Jaguar wants to provide more practical options in their lineup, as it now offers both the F-Pace crossover and the XF Sportbrake. The Sportbrake, a wagon version of the XF sedan, is a great choice for those looking for a fun alternative to the onslaught of crossovers.
Powered by a 380-horsepower supercharged V6, this cat will accelerate to 60 in five seconds flat.
The XF Sportbrake even features an aggressive front fascia to show off this practical car’s performance at a glance. And, of course, this is a Jag, so you’ll see a high-quality interior underneath that incredible body. It’s rare when a wagon looks better than many sedans and coupes on the market, but Jaguar has created such a wagon.
16 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
There are many people who would never believe that a Porsche wagon exists. However, Porsche has indeed built a wagon, and it’s one of the best ever made.
Featuring various engine options from a tame hybrid to a 550-horsepower twin-turbo V8, the Panamera Sport Turismo doesn’t sully Porsche’s good name.
It even features smoother styling than the standard lumpy Panamera sedan. And of course, with all that power, this Porsche will accelerate to 60 in under four seconds, fast enough for any Porsche. Even though the $96,200 starting price for the most basic Panamera Sport Turismo is a lot for any car, let alone a wagon, you do get a lot of car for the money. If Porsche can’t change the way people think about wagons, then nobody will.
15 Audi RS 6 Avant
Surprisingly, BMW didn’t have a monopoly on the V10 wagon market in the late-2000s. Available at the same time as the BMW M5 Estate, Audi released the RS 6 Avant, which was powered by the same V10 that can be found in the Audi R8 and Lamborghini Gallardo. With Audi’s signature all-wheel-drive system, you could feel confident using all ten of your wagon’s cylinders.
With over 570 horsepower, this Audi could accelerate to 60 in under five seconds, making it an amazing autobahn cruiser.
It even featured dynamic suspension that could adjust itself while driving. Even though the newer RS 6 Avant lacks the V10, it's quicker with its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8. It even has an option to derestrict the top speed from 155 miles per hour to nearly 190 miles per hour. Regardless of whichever RS 6 Avant you go for, you’ll get one blisteringly fast wagon.
14 BMW 3-Series Wagon
BMW has largely abandoned the idea of selling wagons in the US, as it replaced almost all of them with the awful Gran Turismo cars. However, BMW does still offer one holdout for those who need their Beamer wagon fix.
The 3-Series wagon is offered in a couple of variations, but unfortunately, there’s no M3 wagon available.
While you won’t be able to get V8 power in this wagon, you can still get it with either a turbocharged four-cylinder that propels this little wagon to 60 in under six seconds or with an economical diesel motor. Regardless, this wagon is still based on one of the best platforms in the world, so you can be confident about its abilities as a sports car. While you don’t get as much room as you do with other wagons, this is still a sporty option for those who want a practical car in a crossover-filled world.
13 Buick Roadmaster Estate
In 1996, America saw the loss of its last traditional wagon. The Buick Roadmaster Estate was a huge boat of a car, measuring over 18 feet in length with a hefty curb weight to match. However, this Buick had an ace up its sleeve. Under the hood was the 5.7-liter LT1 V8 out of the Corvette. While the motor was detuned, it could still move this portly beast to 60 in around seven seconds. Not bad for such a car that can transport nine people. Plus, you could easily modify the motor to get much more power. As a result, there are many examples of these aircraft carrier-sized wagons that can pull incredible quarter-mile times. Best of all, these cars can be had for less than $5,000. If you’re looking for a cheap, powerful people mover, there’s not much competition with this old beast.
12 Ferrari GTC4Lusso
Yes, even Ferrari sells a wagon. Although, the GTC4Lusso is technically a shooting brake, which is a fancy term for a two-door wagon. Ferrari usually sells two flavors of cars at the same time. One is a fast, mid-engine supercar and the other is a large, front-engine grand-touring car. The Lusso falls into the latter category, which means that it's super expensive, starting at just under $300,000. However, for that money, you get a V12 Ferrari that can comfortably move four people and their luggage. And don’t think that the bigger and heavier Ferrari is slow, as this wagon has a top speed of over 200 miles per hour. On top of all this, the Lusso is going to be one of the most exclusive Ferraris ever made. After all, how many do you see driving around?
11 Holden Commodore Sportwagon
The Holden Commodore is one of Australia’s greatest automobiles, with the other contender for that title being the Ford Falcon. However, the Falcon didn’t offer a performance version of its wagon like Holden did. The Holden Commodore wagon could be equipped with a V8 from a Corvette that powered the rear wheels. Altogether, this wagon made for an amazing grocery-getter that everyone in the family could enjoy, even the dog. While other parts of the world got the Commodore sedan under the Chevy SS and Vauxhall VXR8 guises, the wagon version would never find its way outside of Australia and New Zealand. And to top off the bad news, Holden no longer makes the Commodore. General Motors has moved over to globalized production, so there won’t be any future Australian V8 cars. If you can get your hands on one before they all disappear, you should pick it up.
10 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon
While a Cadillac wagon may seem somewhat unorthodox to traditional buyers, Cadillac did, in fact, make one for a few years in the form of the CTS Sport Wagon. To make this Caddy even more unusual, it was even offered with a manual transmission. Unfortunately, Cadillac doesn’t seem to have any interest in making a wagon version of the current CTS. However, the CTS-V wagon of the previous generation is still a car worth talking about, as it was powered by the 556-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8 from the Camaro ZL1. While this little wagon doesn’t have as much practicality as many other wagons, it’s still a powerful machine that can haul more than the standard CTS. If the CTS-V is too expensive and thirsty for your tastes, Cadillac also sold the Sport Wagon with a V6.
9 Chevrolet Caprice Corvette Chaser
What do you do when you need to test a new Corvette powertrain but the new car doesn’t have a body yet? Simple! Cram it into a wagon! Nobody would ever suspect that a Chevy Caprice wagon would be hiding a Corvette motor under the hood. After powertrain testing was finished, these wagons were repurposed as support vehicles for the Corvette prototypes. Most support vehicles wouldn’t be able to keep up with the new Corvettes, so these prior engine testers were used. These old Chevy Caprice wagons had their Corvette motors and suspension parts modified so the two-ton boat keeps up with the new Corvettes. Unfortunately, these cars weren’t sold to the public new, and there’s only one known to exist. If you get the opportunity to own this piece of Corvette history, don’t hesitate.
8 Dodge Hemi Coronet Wagon
The Dodge Coronet was a fairly ordinary sedan for the 1960s. It was huge and featured somewhat bland styling. You could deck out a Coronet with plenty of different options, including the Super Bee package that transformed this sedan into a real muscle car.
While the Super Bee was never available in wagon form, you could option a Coronet wagon with a number of big block V8 motors.
One of those engine options was the legendary 426 Hemi, good for a (possibly underrated) 425 horsepower. Even though it made no sense to offer this monster of an engine in a wagon, Dodge did just that. However, there aren’t any recorded examples of an existing Hemi-powered Coronet wagon from the factory. If someone did order one, they kept it to themselves. The rarity has caused people to make their own clones of this potential hauler.
7 Chevrolet Chevelle SS Wagon
The Chevrolet Chevelle is one of the classic muscle cars that define the genre. It was based on an ordinary car but became a badass automobile through various performance options in the legendary SS packages.
For many years, Chevrolet refused to offer the Chevelle wagon in SS form, but they eventually relented and offered the Chevelle SS wagon in 1973.
While this was the beginning of the malaise era, there was still some performance to be found if this wagon was optioned with the 454 big-block V8. While 245 horsepower doesn’t sound like a lot today, it was much more than you could get from some performance cars of the era. However, it appears that it wasn’t a very popular option, as 1973 proved to be the only year for this muscle wagon.
6 Volvo V60 Polestar
Volvo is no stranger when it comes to fast station wagons, and the V60 Polestar is its most recent example of an amazing wagon. While the Polestar is smaller than the older wagons from Volvo, it still has plenty of storage room behind the rear seats. For power, this Volvo has a turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder motor that produces 362 horsepower. It seems that Volvo’s solution to the old problem of turbo lag was to add a supercharger. The V60 Polestar is likely one of the only wagons ever made, factory or modified, that’s twin-charged. And if the motor didn’t speak enough for this Volvo, it was painted in the loudest blue color that's ever been applied to a wagon from the factory. All this performance is available to you from your local Volvo dealership that also sells boring XC60 crossovers.
5 Mercedes CLS AMG Shooting Brake
Mercedes pioneered the oxymoronic idea of the four-door coupe with the CLS. While the CLS is an undeniably good-looking sedan, the CLS Shooting Brake may look even better, even if its name isn’t accurate. With smooth, flowing lines from front to rear, this wagon looks unlike anything else. It definitely doesn’t look like the traditional E-class. The styling is really where this car comes into its own. Instead of just extending the roof over the trunk area, the CLS Shooting Brake’s longer roofline flows with the bodywork, making it one of the best-looking wagons ever made. It also doesn’t hurt that it has a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 under the hood powering all four wheels. To make this wagon even sexier, it has that classic baritone sound that can only come from an AMG V8.
4 Custom Bentley Arnage Wagon
What do you do when you want the most luxurious wagon on the market? You get someone to build a Bentley wagon for you. Ironically, a wagon actually makes sense for the brand. With its many traditional buyers, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Bentley had a line of millionaires willing to pay for a new Mulsanne wagon.
Powered by the venerable turbocharged 6.75-liter V8 that's a signature of old-school Bentleys, this Arnage wagon may not produce tons of horsepower, but it makes a tremendous amount of torque.
This old girl will spin its wheels for ages while its many passengers and their luggage sit in serene comfort. Perhaps, one day, Bentley will make an in-house wagon for those who demand the last word in wagon luxury. Until then, you’ll have to settle for a custom-built one.
3 VW Passat Wagon W8
With all the V8-powered wagons on this list, it’s time to shake things up with a W8 wagon from Volkswagen. While such an exotic motor might have made more sense in the Bentley-derived Phaeton, it instead made its way into the mundane Passat. On top of that, a German W8-powered station wagon probably sounds like a European-only option. However, this strange car was indeed offered in the US. Americans were even given the option of a manual transmission. The unique 4.0-liter motor produced 270 horsepower, which was a lot for the time, and it sent its power through all four wheels. Unsurprisingly, eight-cylinder power was good enough to get this German wagon to 60 in under seven seconds. It’s just a shame that not many people bought the thing. Had it sold well, Volkswagen might still be making it.
2 Subaru Forester STI
Want a Subaru WRX STI but need more space? Subaru gave its Japanese customers such an option in the form of the Forester STI. Yes, Subaru offered a performance car based on a wagon that was usually as boring as it was boxy. The STI was a gigantic improvement over the standard model in the looks department due to its black mesh grilles and low-profile rims. This is how the Forester should’ve looked from the factory. And since it has the go-fast parts from a WRX STI, this car can move whatever you need as quickly as possible. Of course, being a Subaru, this Forester is incredibly easy to modify. If you want your wagon to go even faster, there are plenty of ways to do it.
1 Brabus Mercedes C63 Wagon
Have you ever looked at a V8-powered AMG Mercedes and thought, ‘It’s nice, but it just isn’t powerful enough’? If so, Brabus is the company you need to contact. It has a long history of overpowering AMG Mercedes, which is no small feat, given how powerful AMGs are from the factory. If you want this philosophy applied to a wagon, Brabus modified the C-class wagon in their usual way.
With 850 horsepower coursing through this red-blooded wagon, it’ll out-accelerate almost anything on the planet.
Like many of these cars, it's only available in Europe, but this is the car Americans need to import in 25 years. If you need the fastest wagon, there simply isn’t another option. As a bonus, this wagon has more power than a Dodge Demon while still being capable of hauling a couch in the back.
Sources: Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Porsche, Ferrari
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