Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate vs Audi RS4 Avant

We hit the red line in two fast estates, as the new Mercedes-AMG C 63 battles Audi’s RS4

Things are hotting up in the fast estate class, with the arrival of the all-new Mercedes-AMG C 63. Featuring the same muscular twin-turbo engine as the brand’s GT sports car, the newcomer aims to raise the performance bar set by its predecessor.

Best estate cars

There’s more to the C 63 than a thumping great engine and blistering acceleration, though. For starters, AMG’s engineers have worked hard to make sure the car is as impressive in corners as it is in a straight line. 

With heavily revised suspension geometry, stiffer springs and dampers and faster steering, the Mercedes promises class-leading agility and unflappable poise.

Plus, because the C 63 is based on the latest C-Class, it looks great and boasts one of the slickest interiors around. And in Estate guise (you can also get a traditional saloon), it’s spacious and versatile.

Setting the standard for the Mercedes is the Audi RS4, which blends ferocious performance with all-weather four-wheel-drive composure. It’s also beautifully built, well equipped and, crucially, costs nearly £5,000 less to buy. So, which of our warp factor wagons wins this space race?

Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate review

Audi RS4 review

Click the links above to read individual reviews of the performance estates, and scroll down to see which wins...

Head-to-head

Engines

The C 63’s powerplant is based on the same 4.0-litre V8 as the AMG GT uses, with twin-turbos mounted in the ‘V’ of the engine. However, the GT’s race-bred dry sump oil system is replaced by a more conventional wet sump. With its natural aspiration, the RS4 can’t match the AMG for power and efficiency, but the 4.2-litre does rev to 8,500rpm.

Load capacity

Both our contenders feature powered tailgates and the same 490-litre boot capacity with the rear seats in place. The C 63 has more space with the back bench folded and boasts handy hooks for shopping. However, the Audi hits back with its £155 optional sliding rail load divider system.

Exhaust

Optional sports exhausts are available on both cars. The AMG’s £1,000 system is activated by a button on the dash that opens valves for increased volume at low revs. The Audi’s set-up costs £890 and is a passive system with no driver override.

Verdict

1st place: Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate

If you’re after power, performance, prestige and practicality, look no further than the mighty Mercedes-AMG C 63. Thanks to its bombastic new V8 engine and sharp handling, it’s thrilling to drive whatever the journey, while the classy looks, upmarket cabin and spacious boot make it easy to live with. And although it’s expensive to buy, strong residuals mean you’ll lose less in the long run.

2nd place: Audi RS4 Avant

It takes the runners-up spot here, but the RS4 is still a hugely capable and desirable car. At the heart of its appeal is the screaming V8 engine and the all-weather security of its quattro four-wheel drive. It also looks great and features a surprisingly versatile cabin. Yet it’s even more costly to run than the C 63, plus it can’t match its rival’s performance and engaging handling.

Other options for similar money…

New: Alpina B3 Touring

Price: £58,950 Engine: 3.0-litre 6cyl, 404bhp

There’s no BMW M3 estate, so the next best thing is the Alpina B3 Touring. Its twin-turbo straight-six boasts 600Nm of torque and delivers 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds. It strikes a perfect balance between agility and cruising comfort.

Used: Audi RS6 Plus

Price: £49,995 Engine: 5.0-litre V10, 573bhp

Buy used, and you can get a previous-generation Audi RS6 for this money. It has a twin-turbo version of the Lamborghini Gallardo’s V10, quattro 4WD and a 565-litre boot. We found a 10,000-mile 2010 Plus model for under £50k.

Key specs:

 Mercedes-AMG C 63 EstateAudi RS4 Avant
On-the-road price/total as tested£61,260/£61,810£56,545/£64,900
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)£31,181/50.9%£23,862/42.2%
Depreciation£30,079£32,683
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£4,129/£8,257£4,116/£8,232
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£3,096/£5,159£2,984/£4,974
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost47/£670/J/£26546/£508/L/£490
Servicing costs£40pcm (3yrs/36k)£43pcm (3yrs)
   
Length/wheelbase4,702/2,840mm4,719/2,813mm
Height/width1,457/1,810mm1,416/1,850mm
EngineV8/3,982ccV8/4,163cc
Peak power470/5,500 bhp/rpm444/8,250 bhp/rpm
Peak torque650/1,750 Nm/rpm430/4,000 Nm/rpm
Transmission7-spd auto/rwd7-spd auto/4wd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel66 litres/sealant61 litres/sealant
Boot capacity (seats up/down)490/1,510 litres490/1,430 litres
Kerbweight/payload1,785/475kg1,795/550kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient11.3 metres/N/A11.6 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (unltd)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealersVariable/136Variable/121
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.11th/21st*13th/26th*
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars92/84/77/593/84/39/5
   
0-60/30-70mph4.0/3.1 seconds4.4/3.8 seconds
30-50mph in 3rd/4th2.9/3.9 seconds2.9/3.9 seconds
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th4.1/5.3/7.1 seconds5.4/7.0/10.2 seconds
Top speed/rpm at 70mph155mph/1,900rpm155mph/2,200rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph38.3/31.1/7.8m49.3/35.3/10.3m
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range21.5/4.7/312 miles22.3/4.9/299 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined25.9/40.9/33.6mpg19.3/33.2/26.4mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined5.7/9.0/7.4mpl4.2/7.3/5.8mpl
Actual/claimed CO2304/196g/km293/249g/km
Tax bracket34%37%
   
Airbags/Isofix/parking sensors/camNine/yes/yes/yesSix/yes/yes/£340
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/yes/yesYes/£400/£300
Electric tailgate/cruise controlYes/yesYes/yes
Metallic paint/LED lights/keyless go£645/yes/yes£615/no/£470
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes

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