Audi S6 Avant, BMW M5 Touring, Mercedes E63 AMG Estate

Audi S6 Avant, BMW M5 Touring, Mercedes E63 AMG Estate

True sports cars don’t necessarily have to come with two seats, two doors and a low profile. These amazing wagons prove that even family variants can be a pleasure to drive – provided they’ve been softly touched by the Hands of AMG, M-GmbH or the quattro-GmbH.

Looking mean and moody, the Audi S6 has been spotted in northern Sweden, where it's undergoing cold-climate testing. And it'll be fitted with a version of the 5.5 V10 used in the upcoming Q7 4x4. The S6 won't have the same 550 bhp output as the Q7, though its 440 bhp from a reduced-capacity 5.2 should be more than adequate. A 550 bhp unit will be reserved for a lighter-weight, even quicker full-on RS6, due in another year's time. In the meantime, the low-riding S6, with its pair of double exhausts, deeper front grille and airdam and huge 19-inch alloy wheels, is expected to make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in spring 2006. It should look pretty much like the car pictured here, though a different wheel design and unpainted aluminium door mirrors may well feature on the production model.

Somewhat more powerful will be the new E63 AMG T-Wagon by Mercedes, snapped here for the first time and yet wearing the facelifted grille and bumper. We expect the new power-estate to develop an output of something like 470bhp. Like the Audi S6, the new E63 could make its first public appearance at next year’s Geneva Show.

With 507bhp, the BMW M5 Touring will be the choice if power is the only criteria you go for. The sporty load-lugger’s high-revving sophisticated V10 engine is one of the best to get in passenger cars at the moment – and it’s an engine that can power high-class sports cars like the M6 coupe and cabrio as well. Huge 19-inch alloys and slight body-modifications over the standard Touring round the picture – and make the M5 estate the most macho-looking machine amongst the three cars pictured here. We bet for a presentation of the car in Geneva, too.

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