Buy/Drive/Burn: A Luxury All-Wheel Drive Wagon Awaits
Our previous entry into Buy/Drive/Burn asked which brougham personal luxury coupe you’d choose from the Big Three for the 1980 model year. Today we’ve got a different Big Three — two Germans and a Swede. (Read ground rules here.)
All of them offered luxury wagons with all-wheel drive around the turn of the century, and we hone in on 2004 today. Which one will you drive up to the Alps and then set on fire?
Before the CUV craze started, Audi applied some cladding to its A6 Avant, jacked up the suspension, and increased the price to create the A6 Allroad for 1999. Available with either a 2.7-liter biturbo engine or the full-fat 4.2-liter V8 (an excellent engine), the Allroad sold in relatively low numbers in North America until it was cancelled after the 2005 model year.
Much like the Audi, Volvo added cladding and ride height to the all-wheel drive potion to create the rough and ready XC70. First available for 1998, the V70 XC (or Cross Country), name swapped to XC70 in 2003, midway through the second generation. No inline-six in 2004; we had a 2.5-liter I5. The XC70 received a third generation, surviving through 2015 before its replacement by the larger (and elegant) V90 Cross Country.
Mercedes-Benz E320 4MATIC
For the more traditional, cladding-free luxury customer, Mercedes-Benz held onto a traditional wagon format (and still does), while offering its 4Matic system to power all four wheels. Brand new in 2004 (the DaimlerChrysler era), the W211 E320 wagon sported revised but conservative styling that was similar to its predecessor. It’s powered by the standard 3.2-liter V6, because this was a time when the numbers on the back matched the engine’s displacement.
Three different wagons providing the same sort of luxury experience and maintenance opportunities. Which one goes home with you as you speed away from an arson event?
[Images: The Truth About Cars, Audi, Volvo Cars, Daimler AG]
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