Who makes the quickest practical vehicle?

The modern performance SUV is the archnemesis of the fast wagon sharing a similar mission to offer sports car performance in a practical package. To see if the performance SUV is ready to dethrone fast wagons as the perfect blend of speed and practicality, a drag race is in order. 

Our first contender hails from BMW, a brand very familiar with building fast SUVs and sedans. The X3 M Competition uses a twin-turbocharged Straight-6 engine known as the S58, which produces 503 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. The S58 is the most powerful straight-6 engine ever built by BMW and uses forged connecting rods, cylinders, and crankshaft. This stout engine uses 90% unique components when compared with the more pedestrian B58 engine found in the X3 M40i. 

Gallery: Audi RS4 Avant, BMW X3 M Competition Drag Race

To keep this powerful straight-6 reliable BMW installed five separate heat exchangers including two radiators, two intercoolers, and one engine oil cooler. Power is sent through an 8-speed automatic transmission which is linked to BMW’s XDrive all-wheel-drive system. All of this engineering results in an astonishing 3.3 second 0 to 60 time, which is hugely impressive for a 4549lb SUV. 

To fight off BMW’s X3 M Competition the Audi RS 4 Avant is here to represent fast wagon fans across the globe. Although SUVs have made great strides in their performance, it’s hard to beat a wagon’s lower center of gravity. The RS 4 Avant is powered by a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 engine that pumps out 444 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent through an 8-speed automatic transmission and then routed through Audi’s legendary Quattro all-wheel-drive system go for a 0 to 60 time of 4.0 seconds.

In the end, the RS4 Avant reigns victorious over the more powerful BMW X3 M Competition SUV. On paper, it appeared the X3 M Competition would walk all over the RS 4 Avant but the RS 4 won a tight victory in the name of fast wagons everywhere.