We adore Alpina’s new B3 BiTurbo Touring. Fancy some more discreet fast-wagons?
Magnificent, isn’t it? The new Alpina B3 BiTurbo Touring could very well be the secret star of the 2019 Frankfurt motor show. Sure, limited-edition Lamborghinis and that new Land Rover 4×4 you might have heard of are cool, but what you really want for life, until death doth you part, is a fast wagon.
And much as we reckon the Audi RS6 Avant is the horniest-looking machine of 2019, there’s a lot to be said for Alpina’s softly-softly don’t-get-catchy-by-policey approach. The B3 offers 455bhp and 516lb ft from its retuned X3M engine, but in emerald green with cream leather it’s as restrained and classy as Her Majesty The Queen’s Bentley.
It’s got us thinking – dangerous, we know. Are quick wagons even cooler when they don’t have seventeen exhaust pipes and wheelarches you could serve Sunday dinner on? Join TG as we delve into the more discreet ends of the mega-wagon spectrum…
Mercedes-AMG E53 Estate
Not all AMG wagons are Drift Mode-born V8 yobbos. Case in point: the E53. The Fifty-Three’s bodykit is indistinguishable from a diesel E-class. Behind the spangly grille, a 3.0-litre straight six with a small hybrid booster motor. You get a brawny 429bhp and 384lb ft from the engine, and e-boost of 21bhp and 184lb ft for dispatching those irritating diesel E-Classes when one appears in the rear-view.
And, of course, the biggest boot of any estate car on sale. It’ll do 0-62mph in 4.5sec – how much quicker do you need to go?
Skoda Superb 2.0 TSI
The Skoda Superb offers just about the most space for the least money of any car around today. The legroom would rival a Rolls-Royce, but the price is pure Ryanair.
Sadly, there’s no vRS model, but Skoda’s engineers couldn’t resist building one with a bit of get-up-and-go. So, for a while you were able to get hold of a Superb packing a 276bhp version of the 2.0-litre engine usually homed in the likes of the Audi S3 and VW Golf GTI. The latest version has had a slight detune to 268bhp, but thanks to four-wheel drive and a DSG transmission, it’ll go from 0-62mph in 5.5sec and match a BMW M5’s limited top speed of 155mph.
Plus, everyone will think you’re an unmarked police car, and chicken out of overtaking you. So in fact, this Skoda is the fastest car in the world.
Seat Leon Cupra ST
The soon-to-die Leon Cupra ST is the final Cupra to be a Seat, not a Cupra. Eh? Look at the badge on the nose. This stretched hot hatch is still badged as a Seat, y’see. As long as you avoid the dubious copper-and-grey scheme of the run-out Leon Cupra R special, the Cupra ST is a cracking Q-car, good for up to 300bhp and packing the same AWD, DSG all-weather go hardware as the excellent VW Golf R.
Get the quad tailpipes grimy and those sporty wheels mucky and no-one will tell it apart from a diesel Leon FR. Until you blitz them.
BMW M550d Touring
Four turbochargers, like you get in a Bugatti Chiron. And a diesel engine. Ah. But what an engine it is, in the M550d. A six-cylinder with sequential-staged turbos, this normal-looking 5er churns out 394bhp and 330lb ft – at 1,000rpm. By the time the crank’s at 2,000rpm, the torque output has leapt up to a titanic 561lb ft. All four wheels and an eight-speed automatic take care of sharing out such monumental force.
This 40mpg diesel wagon will go from 0-62mph in 4.4sec and saunter past 150mph. Sadly, Beemer-nerds of the UK will never be able to spot one rinsing a 520d – because BMW doesn’t sell the M550d in the UK. Sob.
Jaguar XF Sportbrake 300
Rule Britannia… not quite. Jaguar is hanging on in there in the fast saloon game, offering a 300bhp petrol engine in the XF Sportbrake that’ll shift it from 0-62mph in a reasonably brisk 5.5 seconds. You don’t even have to select sporty ‘S’ trim to have it, mind – you can go for a proper grandpa-spec Jag and still have the potent engine for maximum element of surprise.
Volvo V60 T8 Polestar
Last but not least, another hybrid take on the ‘I’ve got a quick family wagon but don’t like to shout about it’ recipe. Volvo is of course well-versed in the art of improbably quick estates, but it likes to move with the times so there’s no turbocharged five-cylinder thirst-monster under the bonnet.
The T8 ‘Twin-Engine’ teams a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for 30 miles of plug-in e-power town work and a 394bhp total, offering 0-62mph in under five seconds, and 150mph. All the car you’ll ever need?