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Top 10 best fast estate cars

Got stuff to move and no time to waste? You’ll want to take a look at these fast estate cars

Best fast estate cars

Finding the perfect car is tricky at the best of times, and it’s made no easier when you’re looking for something that’s both practical and fun to drive. While many enthusiasts dream of owning a unique car for every occasion, the majority of us have to tick all of our driving boxes with a single car, finding something that can haul luggage but also entertain on our favourite backroads. Fast estate cars offer the solution. 

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They’re the Swiss Army knife of the car world, offering healthy doses of speed with enough room in the back for the kids, the dog and your in-laws’ furniture. The best examples on sale today even consider fuel economy and running costs, making fast estates the do-it-all choice of car for the enthusiast.

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As manufacturers have gradually shifted their focus away from estate cars, instead favouring ever-popular SUVs, the number of fast estates on the market has dwindled in recent years. That being said, there are still several to choose from at a range of price points, meaning drivers looking for pace and space should be able to find a suitable set of wheels, no matter the budget.

The following models are our pick of the very best fast estate cars, taking into account not just outright speed, but space, comfort and value for money. Hot-hatch-based models feature heavily, providing driving thrills at the affordable end of the spectrum, along with some pricier alternatives capable of giving supercars a run for their money.

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Once you’re done, why not read our guides to the fastest hot hatchbacks on sale or the fastest SUVs?

1. Skoda Octavia vRS Estate

Skoda Octavia vRS Estate front tracking

The fourth-generation Skoda Octavia vRS estate has succeeded in retaining the key elements that made its predecessors so brilliant, including a near-perfect blend of performance, practicality and usability. The latest model is available with a turbocharged petrol engine, a plug-in hybrid powertrain, and a punchy-yet-frugal diesel. 

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The vRS shares its underpinnings and engines with the Mk8 Volkswagen Golf GTI, GTD and GTE models, with every version offering brisk performance and an agile chassis that’s easy to have fun with on your favourite road. It’s also competitively priced, with a sporty high-tech interior and vast boot helping to make it the pick of the bunch. 

2. BMW M3 Touring

BMW M3 Touring tracking

The BMW M3 has long been heralded as one of the greatest performance cars in the world, and the latest version, released in 2020, further solidified its reputation. But it’s only ever been available in saloon, coupe and convertible body styles, much to the dismay of people who need a family hauler.

That all changed last year when BMW introduced the first M3 Touring, adding an extra dose of practicality to the famous badge. The result is a car that is as just as usable every day as an ordinary BMW 3 Series Touring, whilst serving up enough riotous performance to worry far more expensive machinery. Its four-wheel drive system makes it a worthy contender for year-round driving, while also providing ample traction to handle the engine’s 503bhp.

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This performance doesn’t come cheap; a starting price of nearly £88,000 puts the M3 Touring at the steeper end of this list, with six-figure price tags not uncommon once a few options boxes have been ticked.

3. Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo

Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo rear tracking

The future is electric and it looks brighter with the arrival of the outstanding Porsche Taycan, Porsche’s first electric car. Buyers with lots of luggage to carry might find the regular Taycan’s boot isn’t up to the task, but fear not, there’s now a Sport Turismo version with a roomier estate bodystyle.

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All are four-wheel drive, with enough speed to ensure it deserves a place on this list. The top-spec Turbo S version produces up to 750bhp and matches the Porsche 911 GT3 in a sprint from 0-62mph, although at near £150k, it costs the same too.

Most customers will be more than satisfied with the least powerful Taycan Sport Turismo, which can still outsprint the vast majority of hot hatches.

4. Volkswagen Golf R Estate

2022 Volkswagen Golf R estate front quarter

Perhaps offering the most balanced blend of speed, practicality, affordability and driving enjoyment on this list, the Volkswagen Golf R Estate is an incredible all-rounder.

The ‘R’ range of Volkswagen cars has expanded in recent years, with the T-Roc R and Tiguan R providing SUV alternatives to the Golf R Estate, but the latter is the most fun to drive out of the three, handling bumpy B-roads with ease.

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Its four-cylinder engine may not have a particularly inspiring soundtrack, but with 316bhp it can motivate the Golf R Estate from 0-62mph in under five seconds. An official economy figure of 36mpg is surprisingly impressive, meaning drivers can spend more time on their favourite roads rather than at the fuel pump. 

5. Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S Shooting Brake

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S Shooting Brake tracking

The 415bhp you get in the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S Shooting Brake isn’t enough to trouble the most powerful cars on this list, but as one of the smallest offerings here, the CLA punches above its weight. Shared with the most potent A-Class, its 2.0-litre engine allows the swoopy CLA estate to get from 0-62mph in just four seconds. We reckon it takes longer to read its name out loud. 

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Equally impressive is the chassis, which delivers impressive agility and four-wheel drive security. It’s barely more practical than a big hatchback and the ride is firm, but CLA buyers would choose something else if outright luggage capacity and luxurious comfort were top priorities. It’s more versatile than the A-Class, at least, plus when you’re driving it all thoughts of space and practicality will evaporate.

6. Mercedes-AMG C-Class Estate

Mercedes-AMG C 63 rear tracking

If 415bhp in your Mercedes estate doesn’t sound like enough, then the new Mercedes-AMG C-Class Estate models should satisfy your thirst for speed. The top-spec C 63 S e Performance model produces an astonishing 670bhp, a number once reserved for the highest tier of exotic supercars.

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More down-to-earth is the 402bhp C 43 model. Interestingly, both models use the same 2.0-litre engine found in the CLA 45 S above, but the C 63 S takes advantage of a hybrid system to provide the extra chunk of power. 

Both models are ferociously quick, with four-wheel drive and a capable chassis, but we think the C 43 is the one to have. It’s cheaper – £73k versus £100k – and weighs less, resulting in a more engaging driving experience.

7. Peugeot 508 SW PSE 

Peugeot 508 PSE front tracking

If the Peugeot Sport Engineered version of the 508 passed you by, then that’s hardly a surprise. Besides sporty-looking green accents and larger wheels, the 508 PSE looks much the same as standard 508 SW models. Yet underneath its stylish yet subtle skin the Peugeot packs a 355bhp plug-in hybrid powertrain.

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It’s very quick in a straight line, and provides plenty of fun through the corners as well. It’s impressively composed on broken tarmac, managing to hide the relatively portly weight of the hybrid system (which does at least give you an EV range of 26 miles). The fast 508 is a welcome riposte to the usual German brands in this list.

8. Audi RS4 Avant

2022 Audi RS5 Competition - front

If you want your small executive estate to hold its own against much more exotic machinery, it’s hard to ignore the Audi RS4.

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Thanks to its twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine and quattro four-wheel-drive system, the RS4 can cover 0-62mph in just 4.1 seconds – beating the Porsche 911 Carrera T with ease. As well as being highly potent, the RS4 can satisfy your cosseting cruiser needs, riding as calmly on the motorway as its A4 Avant stablemate. The BMW M3 Touring may have more power, but the RS4 Avant is the original rapid estate and still deserves a spot on this list.

9. Ford Focus ST Estate

Ford Focus ST front tracking

We were delighted when the Ford Focus ST Estate returned for a second generation, providing us with a genuine rival to the VW Group cars above. Like the last model, it drives sweetly, and both petrol and diesel engines are much more powerful than before.

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The ST also remains a comfortable family car when you’re not driving it quickly, thanks in part to supportive Recaro seats. The interior is more spacious and more modern, and a huge boot also counts in its favour. It’s also the only car on this list offered with a manual gearbox, so buyers looking for the most involving driving experience would be wise to take one for a test drive.

10. Audi RS6 Avant

Audi RS6 Avant front tracking

For many, the Audi RS6 Avant is the definitive fast estate car, combining Audi’s largest Avant body style with an equally massive engine. Available only in estate form, the RS6 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine with a staggering 592bhp.

Audi’s quattro four-wheel-drive system is used to great effect to put all of that power to the road with surprisingly little fuss – the result being 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds in the car's most powerful form. In-gear acceleration is similarly prodigious, making overtaking an almost instantaneous process. Price, emissions and running costs count against the RS6, however – as does its rather detached driving experience.

Unless Mercedes decides to build a new E 63 estate, the Audi RS6 Avant looks to have the large, fast estate market to itself. That is until BMW releases the upcoming M5 Touring…

If you want something taller than a fast estate but equally rapid, check out our list of the top 10 best fast SUVs...

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