BMW fans waited decades for the M3 Touring to finally arrive. Prior to its existence, enthusiasts would often claim how an M3 Touring would be the perfect daily driver, as it would provide all of the same great qualities of the standard M3 but with more practicality. However, there have been many, many great fast wagons from other brands over the years that have done the same thing. So how does this new M3 Touring compare with perhaps the very best—the B7 Audi RS4 Avant. In a recent comparison, Top Gear decided to find out.

As BMW fans, you might not know about the B7 RS4 Avant, so let me hit you with some knowledge. Based on the B7 Audi A4 Avant (2006-2009), the B7 RS4 Avant was probably Audi’s best ever wagon. It all started under the hood, where a 4.2-liter naturally aspirated, screaming V8 made 420 horsepower, 317 lb-ft of torque, and revved to 8,250 rpm. For reference, the E92 M3’s 4.0-liter V8 is revered by BMW fans for revving to the same rpm and the Audi’s did it with slightly larger displacement, several years earlier. The RS4’s V8 was also the same one used in the original Audi R8.

The B7 RS4 Avant only had a six-speed manual, was all-wheel drive, a completely revised suspension system, upgraded steering, increased chassis rigidity, bigger brakes, and killer looks. Even today, the B7 Audi RS4 Avant is a stunning looking wagon. One of its coolest quirks was the carbon fiber intake manifold, which would turn slightly yellow over time, due to the heat of the engine bay.

As for the BMW M3 Touring, we already know quite a bit about that. Its 3.0-liter twin-turbo I6 makes 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, which is mated to an eight-speed ZF auto and all-wheel drive. In terms of power and performance, the M3 Touring squashes the old Audi. It rockets to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, versus the Audi’s high fours.

However, the B7 has driver engagement boxes checked that the M3 Touring doesn’t. Manual transmission, instead of a torque-converter auto? Check. Eight cylinders, rather than six? Check. Natural aspiration instead of turbochargers? Double check. The RS4 Avant also makes an astonishing noise, similar to the E92 M3’s, something the M3 Touring can’t even pray to compete with.

So which car is actually better? The old one that looks better, sounds better, has a more charismatic engine, and a manual transmission? Or the new one that looks odd, has a regular automatic, and is full of synthetic computer controls? Check out Top Gear’s story and find out.

[Source: Top Gear]