By Mike Atwal
7th November 2019

The timeless appeal of estate cars

Whether it’s the family holiday where the kitchen sink tags along, collecting flat packed furniture, to transporting big dogs in comfort, there is no denying one thing… Estate cars are cool.

The history of the estate, or station wagon, dates all the way back to early 1900’s. Back then they weren’t necessarily considered cool, but were created for the practicality. In the 90’s though, with the British Touring Car Championships, the estate began to build a following not only related to their practicality but their performance too.

A worthy contender for timeless appeal is the mighty Audi RS6 C5 Avant from circa 2003. I fell in love with this car after seeing one in the film Layer Cake. It looks purposeful with its aggressive body and the responsive to tuning 4.2 V8 twin turbo in a four wheel drive chassis produce a very capable rocket as standard. The aforementioned tickling such as a remap and trick exhaust spawn a giant killer. A rather epic engine in hindsight now in the current electric low emission era, it is perhaps already from a time gone by.

Being a hot Audi, the spec is huge, the interior a wonderful place to be especially with Recaro seats and the low stance with menacing alloys will always look good.

Moving on from the burbling V8 twin turbo dream, how about a 4 cylinder turbo diesel. Another famous engine configuration from yesteryear. Enter the Alfa Romeo 156 GTA Sportwagon and Crosswagon Q4’s that hit the streets in 2004. Rare beasts complete with torquey, highly tun-able and economical 1.9 turbo diesel hearts, four wheel drive systems, and on the Crosswagon, higher suspension, complete with rugged bumper guard plates front and rear. Both were only ever available in left hand drive and solely with this power plant. With diesel becoming a taboo all over the world one could argue these wagon Q4’s are in the crosshairs for extinction.

There’s a host of hot tuneable estates out there, like the Volvo 850R to say the least.

What would be your choice?