In pictures - our favourite fast estate cars of the last 25 years

Practical doesn't have to mean dull

Monday, 17th August 2020, 9:52 pm
Nissan Stagea

In the year 2000 BMW revealed a concept M3 Touring. Its fast estate never made it to production but in honour of the news that, 20 years later, BMW is finally going to build an M3 Touring, here are a few of our favourite fast estates of the last couple of decades. Some are truly great, others stand out for other reasons, and we’ve left off the really modern stuff as it’s just too obvious.

The godfather of fast estates and once the fastest estate car on earth. Audi took a standard 80, added a 311bhp 2.2-litre five-pot turbo, uprated running gear and Porsche brakes. Its 5.4-second sprint to 62mph is still quick today
The first cool Volvo for decades, the 850 T5 started life with subtle styling and 222bhp but by the time it had become the 850R it had a bigger body kit, 247bhp, Porsche-tuned suspension and a 0-62mph time of under 7 seconds

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Exclusive to Japan, the Stagea was a standard family wagon until tuning house Autech dropped the running gear from an R33 Skyline GT-R into it. With 276bhp and all-wheel-drive in an estate shell it was a grocery-getting Godzilla
Handsome? No. Subtle? No? Big and fast? Yes. The Magnum SRT8 was essentially a rebadged Chrysler 300C but with some performance upgrades to help keep the 425bhp from its 5.7-litre V8 Hemi under control. It could hit 60 in 5.1secs
Skoda has always been big on practicality but with the vRS it added a dash of fun. Over the years it's come with petrol and diesel engines but has always offered hot hatch fun in a wallet-friendly estate package
The Lancer Evo saloon was a legend in its own lifetime but the shape didn't suit everyone. In 2005 Mitsubishi launched an estate. Using the Evo IX's platform, the wagon had 276bhp, all-wheel-drive and space for all your shopping
With twice as many cylinders as the RS2, the second-gen RS6 is 5 litres of understated aggression. A V10 engine borrowed from the Lamborghini Gallardo makes this big beast good for 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds and a 170mph top speed
In the mid-2000s it was all about size and power, which is why BMW had to have a 5.0l V10 estate to rival the RS6. The E61 sent all its 500bhp to the back wheels, could hit 62 in 4.8 seconds and still carry an Ikea wardrobe
A proper sleeper car, the Passat R36 had subtle styling but a 300bhp V6. Ideal if you want to make quick progress without a fuss, this understated four-wheel-drive wagon could hit 62mph in under six seconds
Speaking of understated, the E55 AMG of the early 2000s was another subtly styled monster. looking similar to the standard diesel car, the AMG packed a 5.5l V8 with 469bhp and a supercar worrying 0-62 time of 4.7 seconds