A practical family estate doesn’t necessarily have to be boxy, slow and boring. There are plenty of fast, exciting estates on the market that merge practicality and performance in one tempting package.
- Audi RS6 Avant
- Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate
- Audi S4 Avant
- Mercedes-AMG E43 Estate
- VW Golf R Estate
- BMW 340i Touring
- SEAT Leon ST Cupra
- VW Passat Estate BiTDI
- Ford Focus ST Estate
- Skoda Octavia vRS Estate
1. Audi RS6 Avant
It’s impossible to mention “fast estates” without thinking of the Audi RS6 Avant – the apex predator of Audi’s extensive lineup. There’s plenty of space available for a growing family, with its 565-litre boot expanding to 1,680 litres with the rear seats folded.
It’s the car’s performance that really turns heads, however. Exclusively available in estate form, the RS6 comes with Audi’s famous quattro all-wheel drive and 597hp from its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. It’s a rapid car, with sharp looks and space for five that can hit 62mph from rest in a staggering 3.7 seconds.
2. Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate
The Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate is the bonkers performance version of the plush C-Class Estate. It offers the same space and interior quality, with the sporty touches and punchy performance you’d expect from an AMG model.
Its 490-litre boot – 1,510 litres with the rear seats folded – makes it one of the most practical performance estates around. It’s one of the fastest too, with its 503hp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine taking it from 0-62mph in just 4.2 seconds.
3. Audi S4 Avant
The new Audi S4 Avant can’t quite match the performance figures of the mad RS6 Avant, but it’s still a fast-yet-practical alternative in the hot estate market. The car features similar smart and sporty looks, as well as Audi’s typically sophisticated interior but a much lower price tag than the RS6. It features a 505-litre boot, rising to 1,510 with rear seats down.
Powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 engine, the car produces an encouraging 349hp and covers the 0-62mph dash in 4.9 seconds. If you want all-out performance, the RS6 won’t be beaten but, with the S4’s better handling and more manageable power, it’s more useable on a day-to-day basis.
4. Mercedes-AMG E43 Estate
The Mercedes-AMG E43 Estate brings some serious performance to the E-Class range. It’s powered by a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 that cranks out an impressive 396hp – powering the car from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds. Later on in the model’s life a full-fat Mercedes-AMG E63 will join with around 600hp.
Other than the sportier touches inside and out, the E43 Estate keeps the E-Class’ plush interior, plentiful tech and vast 670-litre boot – increasing to a staggering 1,820 litres with the rear seats folded.
5. VW Golf R Estate
The VW Golf R Estate is one of the top models in its class and it’s not hard to see why. It features the Golf’s stable handling, smart interior, strong standard equipment and large 605-litre boot – 1,620 litres with the rear seats folded.
If that’s not impressive enough, VW has bestowed the Golf R Estate with some very serious performance. Powered by a meaty 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, the car produces 296hp and, with VW’s DSG twin-clutch automatic and four-wheel drive, hits 62mph from rest in a Porsche-like 5.1 seconds.
6. BMW 340i Touring
If you’re looking for a great all-round performance estate, it’s tough to look past the BMW 340i Touring. The sportiest version of the 3 Series estate packs a punch, but also delivers generous amounts of interior space and the brand’s famously well-honed driving experience.
Its cabin feels dated next to rivals but is suitably well built enough to deal with family life. Boot space is an encouraging 495 litres, rising to 1,500 litres with the second row of seats folded. Under the bonnet, it’s powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 326hp, taking the car from 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds.
7. SEAT Leon ST Cupra
The SEAT Leon ST Cupra is based on the VW Golf, so shares its great range of engines and engaging handling. The Leon spices things up with striking looks while, inside, the cabin feels well built and the boot can handle 587 litres of luggage – 1,470 litres in two-seat configuration.
The Cupra is the quickest variant of the Leon ST and comes with a 286hp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, taking the estate from 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds. It’s a great family car and a stylish alternative to other fast estates such as the Golf R.
8. VW Passat BiTDI
The VW Passat is a capable, spacious and smart estate. Its stylish interior and vast amount of interior space make it a comfortable family car, while its huge 650-litre boot extends to a van-rivalling 1,780 litres with the seats down.
The BiTDI model offers some serious performance from its 2.0-litre twin-turbodiesel engine – producing a decent 237hp, it covers the 0-62mph sprint in 6.3 seconds. While that’s comparatively slow on this list, it’s still hot hatch worrying performance from something that could pass as a company car.
9. Ford Focus ST Estate
The Ford Focus ST Estate features the regular Focus ST’s impressive speed and handling, while adding a whole lot of boot space and practicality. The car’s powerful 2.0-litre turbo makes 247hp, while there’s a less powerful 181hp 2.0-litre turbodiesel on offer for those with one eye on fuel costs.
The Focus ST Estate in its current guise is one of the most striking and sporty looking estates around and comes with a variety of tweaks inside too. Its 476-litre boot is practical and folding the second row down increases luggage capacity to an impressive 1,515 litres.
10. Skoda Octavia vRS Estate
The Skoda Octavia vRS Estate shares the Golf’s chassis, although it’s been stretched a little to become one of the most spacious and practical estates around. The Octavia comes with a massive 610-litre boot, swelling to 1,740 litres with the back seats folded.
The vRS brings sporty touches to the Octavia Estate, including the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine from the Golf GTI giving it a good amount of punch. It’s some way off the quickest estates on this list, but the Octavia vRS is arguably the best value for money and one of the most practical.