In addition to enjoying the nearly 1,200 horsepower of German muscle on the road, we decided to see which is the better family truckster when it comes to loading up for a road trip. Welcome to the Superwagon Luggage Test!
To keep things consistent with every other luggage test we’ve done in Michigan (as opposed to Riswick's out in Portland), we used the same array of suitcases and bags. This includes two carry-on suitcases sized (24 inches long, 15.5 wide, 10 deep); one carry-on suitcase (21.7L x 13.7W x 9 D); one medium-size suitcase you have to check (24.5L x 16.8W x 11.5D) and two larger, full-size suitcases (33.8L x 21.5W x 13D) and (28.1L x 18W x 10.5D).
The specs predict yet another Mercedes victory, as it’s rated for 35 cubic-feet of space behind the rear seats to the Audi’s 30 cubic-feet. However, better numbers don’t always tell the whole story in the world of luggage stuffing.
Let’s start with the Audi. Upon opening the hatch, it’s immediately apparent that Audi has compromised total utility for maximum style — and boy does it look good. The roof angles downward into the pillars before finally standing up straight partway down the rear of the car. It’s similar to how a crossover coupe’s roof angle cuts into what would otherwise be a square, utilitarian shape. In addition to this, the hatch’s opening is on the narrow side. It’s already not looking good versus the much more traditionally-shaped E 63 S Wagon.
We toss all but the one medium-sized bag in right away, and it all sort of fits. The bags are below the rear seat line, meaning that you can still see uninhibited out the rear window. There is one problem with the wild card fancy bag (22L x 8.8W x 12D). It’s smushed in the corner. If it were full of un-squishable items, there’s no way that bad would fit in the bottom corner where it is. The RS 6 Avant’s width is enough to accommodate both full-size suitcases side-by-side, but there’s a limit to how wide it can go.
Seeing nowhere else to go but up, we put the medium bag on top. This ended up being a futile effort, though. It’s far too tall, and even switching up the orientation with one of the smaller bags on top wouldn’t work. As an anecdotal Deutschland aside, I rented a regular A6 Avant in Germany a year ago, and it just barely fit four full-size suitcases (side-by-side and stacked one on another). The roof angle almost ruined that genius rental car idea, too, but it worked.
You don't need to do much investigative work or spec comparisons to deduce that the Mercedes cargo area is larger than the Audi’s. One look at its more upright pillars and traditional wagon shape makes it obvious that the geometry is in Stuttgart’s favor.
This hunch is proved when we stuff all the bags minus the medium bag in easily. The load floor in the Mercedes is lipless, unlike the Audi that forces you to lift items up and out. It’s a small thing, but it makes loading and unloading this number of bags all that much easier.
You’ll notice that the bags in the back of the Mercedes have more room to breathe. The fancy bag can be fully packed and left in the corner, and there’s still a perfectly good view out the back. All that empty space up top got us wondering …
Voila! The medium bag that was laughably too large for the Audi fits above the other suitcases in the Mercedes. You will lose rearward vision on one side and there's a chance it would fly forward during sudden braking, but this is where those extra cubes in the E 63 S Wagon come in handy. Notice how the interior roofline angles upward from either side of the car to make more room for things toward the ceiling. It’s this thoughtful design that allows you to stack the Mercedes higher. If we had another suitcase and, crucially, a cargo cage to keep suitcases from flying forward, the Mercedes could safely fit even more items.
So there you have your winner, again. The 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Wagon is a marvel of engineering. It’s invigorating and mind-tingling to drive on the right stretch of pavement. Plus, it’ll take you and your little ones on a long road trip with space to spare. The only thing missing is the optional third row offered in the non-AMG wagon. If only the kids could enjoy going 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds while sitting backwards … now we’re dreaming.
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