New Audi RS6 Avant vs Mercedes-AMG E63 S Estate: interiors

With close to 1200bhp between them, the new RS6 Avant and the E63 S Estate are as rapid as they are practical. But which is best?...

Audi RS6 Avant dashboard

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

Neither car has an ideal driving position; blame their offset pedals and bulges that eat into some of the space for your left leg. Both aspects are slightly worse in the E63, which also has its steering wheel offset mildly to the left. The seats of both cars have multi-way electric adjustment, but the RS6’s is better shaped, offering greater comfort on a long journey and more side support in corners.

Both cars have clear digital instrument panels that can be configured in a variety of ways, but we prefer the E63’s dashboard buttons – mainly because it has some. Most of the RS6’s functions are performed via a touchscreen, which looks great but forces you to take your eyes off the road for longer than is ideal to change even the temperature. As you feel your way around the E63’s physical buttons, you can mostly keep your eyes on the road.

Mercedes-AMG E63 S Estate dashboard

That said, you can also feel that it isn’t as solidly built. Many of the materials look the part, but a few wobble when prodded. The RS6 offers the kind of solidity you’d expect in a car costing around £100k. It also has slightly better front and rear visibility, while both cars have all-round parking sensors and a rear-view camera.

Infotainment systems

Audi RS6 Avant

Audi RS6 Avant infotainment screen

The 10.1in touchscreen is sharp and has smart graphics. It offers haptic feedback but, with no physical controller, you still have to look away from the road to find and hit the icon you want. That said, it responds swiftly to inputs and, after some practice, the menu layouts make sense. As in the E63, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but you have to pay extra to upgrade the stereo; the standard system sounds decent, though.

Mercedes-AMG E63 S Estate

Mercedes-AMG E63 S Estate infotainment screen

The 12.3in screen dwarfs the RS6’s, but the picture isn’t as sharp and it can be painfully slow to respond to inputs. The menus are generally easy to work through, though. The system is accessed via a control dial between the seats, or a touchpad on the steering wheel, both of which let you keep your eyes on the road for longer than the RS6 does. A punchy 13-speaker, 590-watt Burmester sound system is standard, as is wireless phone charging.

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