Our editors carefully select every product we recommend. We may earn a commission from these links. Learn more

Racing Stations: The Best Sport Wagons of 2023

Best Sport Wagons 0 Hero
Photo: BMW M3 Touring

Station wagons – or, as many prefer, shooting brakes – get a pretty bad rap in the car world. And that’s probably the fault of automotive companies over the years, who primarily used them as a disappointing family-friendly platform. As it turns out, however, not all wagons need be relegated to Griswold-esque, 2.5-children-and-a-dog, white picket fence kinds of driving. Look hard enough and you’ll find some that have a bit more bite to them.

Sport wagons, as we will refer to them throughout this article, are not milquetoast family road trip vehicles at their core. Rather, they’re the kind of thing you might drive to and from work daily, but with a darker mean streak just waiting to be unleashed at the push of the gas pedal. They’re unassuming adventure-ready vehicles – road-going speedsters in some cases, off-road stallions in others. And, as such, they deserve more respect than your average wagon. With that in mind, we’ve put together the following list of the best sport wagons you can drive off the lot today.

The Best Sport Wagons

  • MINI John Cooper Works ALL4 Clubman

    Best Affordable Pick

    MINI John Cooper Works ALL4 Clubman

  • Volvo V60 Recharge

    Best Hybrid Pick

    Volvo V60 Recharge

  • BMW M3 Touring

    Best Daily Driver

    BMW M3 Touring

  • Mercedes AMG E 63 S Wagon

    Best Family Hauler

    Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Wagon

  • Audi RS 6 Avant performance

    Best Overall Pick

    Audi RS 6 Avant performance

  • Show more

A Faster Family Hauler

The Main Areas To Consider When Buying A Sport Wagon

As vehicles offering a unique combination of practicality and performance, sport wagons are pretty different than anything else out on the road. Knowing this first-hand, we’ve broken down the most important aspects to consider when shopping around for a new high-performance station wagon, shooting brake, or sport wagon. 

Practicality: Sport wagons offer something of the best of both worlds, providing ample cargo and seating space while also possessing the ability to deliver one seriously spirited experience behind the wheel. 

Powertrain: The heart and soul of any vehicle, the powertrain is always of extreme importance as it directly determines a significant number of a sport wagon’s performance capabilities. When reviewing this area, you’ll want to explore the engine layout, displacement, and whether it’s naturally aspirated, turbocharged, or supercharged. Additionlly, as performance-focused vehicles, you’ll also want to review the type of transmission that’s being used, as sport wagons feature everything from auto units to paddle shifters to traditional manual gearboxes. 

Power: In a bid to provide a more objective sense of an engine’s performance capabilities, manufactures cite horsepower and torque figures. When coupled with a vehicle’s curb weight, these figures determine factors such as a car’s acceleration and top speed

Seating & Cargo Space: One of the biggest and most obvious advantages offered by sport wagons is the massive amount of cargo space that they offer. For this reason, you’ll want to look at the total storage space a given vehicle offers. Likewise, you’ll also want to review the number of seats present, as some models on the market even feature optional third rows. 

Running Gear: While a sport wagon’s speed and acceleration is primarily owed to its powertrain, the vehicle’s cornering and stopping abilities boil down to its running gear — i.e. suspension and braking hardware. On most modern sport wagons, the option to adjust ride height is often present, as is active suspension in many cases. 

Creature Comforts: Most sport wagons are exclusive high-end vehicles. As such, they don’t only feature remarkably potent powertrains and incredibly performance capabilities, but they also boast incredibly plush, well-appointed interiors. As a result, this is another crucial area to look into when shopping around for a sport wagon. 

Tech & Connectivity: New vehicles come loaded with an enormous amount of technological bells and whistles. Because these high-tech systems often have a major impact on pricing and the overall day-to-day user experience, this is definitely another area you’ll want to review when shopping. Some examples of modern tech to keep an eye out for include autonomous driving systems, 360° camera setups, blind spot assistance, auto emergency braking, and so on. 

Bodywork: Just like with high-performance versions of sedans or roadsters, top-of-the-line, performance-spec sport wagons often feature special badging and special aero-kitted bodywork elements including front splitters, side skirts, and rear diffusers and wings. In addition to often featuring carbon fiber elements — or even entire suites of carbon bodywork — quite a few top-of-the-line sport wagons also come on special wheel-sets, too. 

MINI John Cooper Works ALL4 Clubman

MINI John Cooper Works ALL4 Clubman
Photo: MINI | BMW
  • Features an AWD setup
  • Uses custom-tuned JCW suspension
  • 1st MINI to have a mechanical Torsen locking differential
  • Much more affordable than luxury sport wagons
  • Uses BMW TwinPower turbo system
  • Features less cargo & seating space than most sport wagons

Best Affordable Pick: While, to some purists, expanding the MINI vehicle line into more standard size options was blasphemous, it’s become abundantly clear that the brand doesn’t intend to reel it in. And, with offerings like the Clubman John Cooper Works All4, we don’t particularly want them to. This 6-door hot hatch model features all of the brand’s signature style cues, but also has some built-in surprises, like 228 horsepower and 258 foot-pounds of torque via a TwinPower turbo engine. And while the car’s namesake is no longer around to see it, we can’t imagine that this car wouldn’t put a smile on his face.

Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L Inline-Four
Power: 301HP & 332FT-LBs
0-60MPH Time: 4.6 Seconds
Max Cargo Space: 47.9 Cu-Ft
MSRP: $42,400

Volvo V60 Recharge

Volvo V60 Recharge
Photo: Volvo
  • Uses a Polestar-developed hybrid powertrain
  • Has pure electric range of 41 miles
  • Comes loaded w/ HUD & Bowers & Wilkins High Fidelity audio system
  • Features an onboard air purifier
  • Boasts one-pedal driving
  • Busy & confusing infotainment system/interface

Best Hybrid Pick: Over the last couple decades, Volvo heavily branded their entire catalogue as the family-friendly alternative to other brands’ performance-driven options. And that way of thinking about the brand has remained largely in-tact around the world. Interestingly enough, they do have a few high-performance vehicles including the new Volvo V60 Recharge. Offering many of the benefits of a cutting-edge EV — including one-pedal driving and a battery pack that boast over 40 miles of purely electric range — the V60 Recharge is kicked along by a turbocharged inline-four engine with a Polestar-developed hybrid drive unit that allows it to put down a collective 455hp and 523ft-lbs of torque. Brimming with high-end amenities, this model also gets an onboard air purifier, built-in Google, a Head-Up display, and a super premium Bowers & Wilkins High Fidelity audio system. 

Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L Hybrid Inline-Four
Power: 455HP & 523FT-LBs
0-60MPH Time: 4.3 Seconds
Max Cargo Space: 60.5 Cu-Ft
MSRP: $71,250

BMW M3 Touring

BMW M3 Touring
Photo: BMW
  • The first-ever production M3 sport wagon
  • Offers performance of an M3 in a more practical package
  • Comes with huge slew of performance parts as standard
  • Can be upgraded w/ myriad of M Performance packages
  • Not currently available in U.S. shores

Best Daily Driver: Despite first debuting in 1986, it wasn’t until this year that BMW finally released the highly anticipated — and highly-requested — BMW M3 Touring. Kicked along by the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six that’s also found in the M4 GT3 endurance racer, this bi-turbo’d sport wagon features an enormous slew of performance parts such as an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic, M light-alloy wheels, an M Compound braking system, an M-specific exhaust system with electronically-controlled baffles, BMW’s M xDrive all-wheel-drive system, and an Active M rear differential. Capable of 3.6 second 0-60mph runs, the entire vehicle is constructed around a specially-tuned chassis that’s been paired with a high-performance Adaptive M suspension package with a double-joint spring strut front axle, a five-link rear axle, electronically controlled shock absorbers, and M Servotronic steering. With its ability to serve as a faithful daily driver, family hauler, and grocery getter, while still being ready to hit the canyons or track at a moment’s notice, the BMW M3 Touring is unquestionably one of the best sport wagons that money can currently buy. 

Engine: Twin-Turbocharged 3.0L Inline-Six
Power: 510HP & 480FT-LBs
0-60MPH Time: 3.6 Seconds
Max Cargo Space: 53.3 Cu-Ft
MSRP: $99,665

Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Wagon

Mercedes AMG E 63 S Wagon
Photo: Mercedes-Benz | Mercedes-AMG
  • Boasts more discreet appearance than most performance models
  • Powered by individually hand-crafted twin-turbocharged V8 engine
  • Features over 60 cubic feet of storage space
  • Uses AMG Speedshift transmission
  • Driver tech assists not standard (part of Driver Assistance Package)

Best Family Hauler: Mercedes-Benz thinks that their AMG E 63 S Wagon “might be the most extreme, irrational and irresistible wagon ever conceived. Or the most practical, versatile supercar on earth.” And, honestly, we are inclined to agree. While it’s styling is sleek and refined, there’s a monster under the hood of this car just waiting to be unleashed. Thanks to a 4.0-liter V8 racked with a pair of twin-scroll turbos, this deceptive driver can do 0-60mph in 3.4 break-neck seconds. But it’s not just raw power here, there’s a delicate balance with loads of the tech found in the cockpit, including a host of driving modes. It’s a pricey buy, to be sure, but we think it’s worth it.

Engine: Twin-Turbocharged 4.0L V8
Power: 603HP & 627FT-LBs
0-60MPH Time: 3.4 Seconds
Max Cargo Space: 64 Cu-Ft
MSRP: $121,100

Audi RS 6 Avant performance

Audi RS 6 Avant performance
Photo: Audi
  • Offers unparalleled mix of practicality & performance
  • Boasts more discreet appearance than most performance models
  • Huge number of available aftermarket upgrades
  • Has same 0-60 time as $400K Ferrari Purosangue
  • Top speed electronically limited to 155mph

Best Overall Pick: Audi’s Avant nameplate has always represented cutting-edge performance capabilities, and the Four Ring’s RS 6 Avant performance model is no different. Despite its understated appearance, this sport wagon features a set of aero-equipped bodywork with a drag-coefficient of only 0.36, plus RS sport suspension fore and aft, a sport rear differential, 10-piston front calipers, and the latest iteration of Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system. Riding on special 22” 5-Y-spoke wheels, the Audi RS 6 Avant performance is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that allows it to do 0-60mph ion 3.3 seconds and reach an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph. With its blend of world-class performance and utter practicality, the Audi RS 6 Avant performance is without a shadow of a doubt one of the very best sport wagons currently available. 

Engine: Twin-Turbocharged 4.0L V8
Power: 621HP & 627FT-LBs
0-60MPH Time: 3.3 Secoonds
Max Cargo Space: 30 Cu-Ft
MSRP: $125,800

Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo

Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo
Photo: Porsche
  • Super sleek all-electric shooting brake
  • Ranging-topping variant
  • Makes for an exceptional daily driver
  • Features modern take on classic Porsche styling
  • Offers Fast Charging capabilities
  • Can be optioned w// variety of available upgrade packages
  • Limited range
  • Expensive price
  • Cramped back seats
  • Lacks power & speed of pricier Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo

Best EV Pick: Moving on to the only fully electric model on our list, Wie have the Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo. Boasting a modern take ion Porsche’s classic design language, this EV shooting brake features a 380-kW electric powertrain that generates a healthy 509hp & 626ft-lbs of torque — ultimately allowing for a 4.8 second 0-60mph time (when using launch control). Just like with any other Porsche, some of the biggest selling points of the GTS Sport Turismo-spec Taycan is the car’s ultra-nimble handling and world-class interior layout — the latter of which affords over 45 cubic feet of collective storage space. It may not pack a classic petrol-fed Porsche engine, though make no mistake about it, the Taycan GTS Sport Turismo is a Porsche through and through.

Engine: 380kW Electric Motor
Power: 509HP &626FT-LBs
0-60MPH Time: 4.8 Seconds
Max Cargo Space: 45.7 Cu-Ft
MSRP: $141,200

Ferrari Purosangue

Ferrari Purosangue
Photo: Ferrari
  • Powered by one of Ferrari’s legendary V-12 engines
  • Offers unparalleled performance capabilities
  • Benefits from Ferrari’s world-class build quality
  • Features an F1-derived transmission
  • Sports super sleek, aero-kitted bodywork
  • Not technically a sport wagon
  • Very expensive price

Best Super Premium Pick: Though technically speaking, the Ferrari Purosangue is an SUV and not a sport wagon, however, with a ground clearance and overall height that’s comparable by a high-performance shooting brake, this opulent Italian offering is definitely worth considering if you’re shopping for a sport wagon — assuming you can swing the more than $400,000 MSRP, that is. In classic Ferrari fashion, the Purosangue packs a V-12 engine that allows it to put down over 700hp and 520ft-lbs of torque — figures that allow it to reach 60mph from a complete standstill in just 3.3 seconds, as well as a top speed of 193mph. This model also features the Prancing Horse’s usual world-class build quality, plus what’s easily one of the most plush interiors of any vehicle currently on the road. 

Engine: 6.5L V-12
Power: 715HP & 528 FT-LBs
0-60MPH Time: 3.3 Seconds
Max Cargo Space: 16.7 Cu-Ft (Trunk Only)
MSRP: $402,050

The Best Daily Driver Sports Cars For Everyday Thrills

Best Daily Driver Sports Cars 0 Hero
Photo: Porsche 911 Carrera

Want to check out another list of production vehicles that offer a solid blend of practicality and performance? Then be sure to check out our guide to the best daily driver sports cars for a curated list of models offering everyday thrills.