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Circling the wagons: Meet the European sport wagons breaking the mould

Americans have fallen out of love with the station wagon. Once the suburban standard, the category’s decline can be traced directly to the mass popularisation of the SUV in the 1980s and 1990s. Today, truck-like vehicles outsell cars by two to one. For many consumers wagons are low on style, adventure, sportiness and fun. This is a shame, because the latest European sporting versions possess all these quantities in abundance as these three new models demonstrate...

Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 S Wagon

Mercedes-Benz has been bringing wagons to the US for decades, but while those early models featured slow, smoky and clattery diesels, this one sports an outrageously potent supercar-worthy twin-turbocharged V8 that allows it to accelerate as quickly as a Ferrari California, and keeps going up to 180mph. Definitely opt for wood over carbon fibre trim for a dash of traditional elegance.

Power: 4.0 litre twin-turbocharged V8 603 hp/627 lb-ft
Performance: 0-60 in 3.4 seconds
Price: $108,000 (estimate), mercedes-benz.com

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo Turbo

Porsche is an upstart in this category. The brand has never made a factory production wagon before. But for an upstart, this is a great place to start, with an extremely fast version of its fastback sedan. The regular Panamera is already a hatchback, but this iteration elongates the roofline. Cargo space increases, as does passenger room. A third seat in the back allows one of your kids to invite a friend.

Power: 4.0 litre twin-turbocharged V8 550 hp/567 lb-ft
Performance: 0-60 in 3.4 seconds
Price: $155,050, porsche.com

Volvo V90 T6 AWD

The Volvo brand is almost synonymous with wagons, but this one requires a special order. You can either spec it out online and have it sent to your local dealer, or you can go to Sweden and pick it up at the factory. If you choose the latter, Volvo will send you two plane tickets to Torslanda, along with a hotel reservation. Either way you win, because the vehicle has pure lines, a handsome interior and is stunningly stylish and Modern (with a capital “m”).

Power: 2.0 litre turbocharged and supercharged four cylinder 316 hp/295 lb-ft
Performance: 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds (estimate)
Price: $58,945 (estimate), volvocars.com

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