For decades, Audi has been the go-to brand for fast wagons. BMW had a handful of fast wagons over the years and so too did Mercedes. However, if you wanted something with pace and space, you looked to the four rings. Why? Because Audi had cars like the S4 Avant, RS4 Avant, S6 Avant, RS6 Avant, and even things like the RS3 and RS7, which weren’t exactly wagons but extra spacious performance cars for their segments. However, now that the M3 Touring is finally here, there’s finally genuine competitor from BMW, the first since the E61 M5 Touring from two decades ago.
In this new video from Joe Achilles, he puts his own BMW M3 Touring up against the best performance wagon from Audi. However, it’s an interesting test because the best performance Audi wagon is the RS6 Avant and it’s not a true M3 Touring competitor. Instead, that would be the RS4 Avant.
But there are two reasons why this test is actually a bit better. One is the fact that the RS4 Avant is a bit too old and isn’t fast enough to keep up with the M3 Touring. The other is the price. The M3 Touring is very expensive, more so than M3s should be. So it actually starts to creep closer to the RS6 Avant, in terms of price and is actually about the same cost as a used one.
They are quite different cars, though. The Audi RS6 Avant is bigger, more luxurious, more spacious, a bit more comfortable, and uses a big, stonking V8. Its 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 makes 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, which is quite a bit more than the M3 Touring’s 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft, from its 3.0-liter twin-turbo I6. However, the M3 Touring is lighter and an impressive overachiever. Even though 503 horsepower is a potent number, it seems underrated when you actually drive the M3 Touring/Competition. So despite their differences in power, the M3 Touring is actually slightly quicker to 60 mph but only by about a tenth of a second. Though, Achilles notes that the RS6 Avant always feels just a touch hesitant off the line, potentially due to its launch control software, which slows it down for a fraction of a second.
Which car is better to own, a brand-new BMW M3 Touring or a used Audi RS6 Avant? Well, let’s pretend you can find an M3 Touring to buy, it’s actually a tough question. Both cars are so good and have their strengths and weaknesses. If you want to find out the answer, though, watch this video.