Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R

24 Awesome Sports Sedans Every Gearhead Should Drive

The sedan is no longer the king of the automotive hill. SUVs and crossovers in all forms and sizes have surpassed the sedan’s sales figures. However, the sedan isn’t dead yet; there’s still some life left, and some manufacturers want to capitalize on that.

Carmakers probably built the original sedans to be practical and affordable vehicles that met the entire family’s needs. Then, at some point, someone decided they wanted to see how fast they could make these things. If history has taught us anything, gearheads always want to go faster.

That eventually led to modern-day sports sedans, and these four-door cars can easily hold their own against proper sports cars. Here, we’ll look at some awesome sports sedans that every gearhead should drive.

Ford Taurus SHO

Ford Taurus SHO
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The original Ford Taurus SHO (Super High Output) sedan from the 1980s had plenty of performance upgrades over the regular model. The most significant upgrade was the Yamaha-built DOHC V6 engine. The SHO was so performance-oriented that it wasn’t even initially available with an automatic transmission.

By the mid-90s, the SHO was packing a V8, but in 2010, Ford brought it back with a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 EcoBoost engine. 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque ensure the driver will have a good time as it scrambles to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds.

Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Jailbreak

2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye is beyond ridiculous. This sedan has a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that pumps out 807 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque. It’ll haul the entire family to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and has a top speed of 203 mph.

If you really want a supercar but need a four-door for practical reasons, the Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Jailbreak may be the car for you.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Tommi Makinen Edition
Image Credit: Adrian Kot/Flickr.

Mitsubishi built the Evo for ten generations, and they’re all great, so it doesn’t matter which one you go for. Americans never got to enjoy the first seven generations, so they missed out on the excellent Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI Tommi Mäkinen Edition. It was built to celebrate the Finn’s fourth consecutive WRC victory and wore a paint job that resembled the rally car. It also had various performance upgrades to separate it from the regular Evo.

All ten generations of the Mitsubishi Evo were fitted with 2.0-liter turbocharged engines, and power is sent to all four wheels.

Subaru Impreza WRX

2019 Subaru WRX STI S209
Image Credit: rwcar4/Flickr.

The Subaru Impreza WRX has had a cult following ever since Colin McRae and Petter Solberg were taking home wins on rally stages around the world. Older models had a turbocharged 2.0-liter boxer engine, but in 2015, the WRX received the larger 2.5-liter.

With 305 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque, the WRX is no average sedan. Every ounce of that power is sent to all four wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission. With its big wing and aggressive styling, the Subaru WRX isn’t a car for those who want to blend in.

BMW M5 E39

BMW E39 M5
Image Credit: donincognito/Flickr.

The E39 BMW M5 isn’t the fastest or most powerful M5, but many enthusiasts agree that it is the best M5 BMW has ever made. It offers excellent driving dynamics, and it has a V8 that produces 394 horsepower under the hood.

Its predecessor, the E34, has an inline-six engine, and while bigger than that of the M3, it still doesn’t feel special enough. The E39’s successor, the E60, has a massive V10 that likes to self-destruct. It’s safe to say that BMW found the sweet spot when they created the V8-powered E39.

Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance

Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The IS 500 is arguably the best Lexus sports sedan money can buy, especially performance-wise. In true Lexus fashion, the IS 500 blends comfort and luxury with the power and performance one would expect from a proper sports car.

A naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine powers Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance. That is truly refreshing, as everyone is moving towards smaller engines with turbochargers. With 472 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque, the IS 500 F Sport Performance launches to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, and it has a top speed of 170 mph.

Lexus IS300

Lexus IS300
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

Long before the Lexus IS 500 was a reality, gearheads got to enjoy the original IS300. This little beast soon became a favorite among tuners and drifters worldwide. Weirdly, it’s a Japanese car that’s still affordable.

It had a non-turbo Toyota 2JZ engine as standard, but the turbocharged 1JZ and 2JZ units were easy to swap in for those who wanted more performance. Even the standard, naturally aspirated engine provided decent performance thanks to its 217 horsepower. It also had a manual transmission and a limited-slip diff, making it a proper driver’s car.

Volvo 850 T5R

Volvo 850 T5R
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

Volvo is best known for making safe cars, but the Swedish carmaker also knows how to have fun. Throughout the 1980s, they raced the 240 Turbo in various touring car championships, and the car soon earned its nickname, The Flying Brick.

Volvo retired the 240 in the 1990s, only to return with the slightly less rectangular 850. Volvo’s sense of humor was revealed when they launched the bright yellow 850 T5R with a 240-horsepower turbocharged engine and front-wheel drive. It offered wheel spin and torque-steer for days, and could leave sports cars from that era in its dust.

Pontiac G8

2008 Pontiac G8 GT
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Pontiac G8 was never a huge hit, and then the entire Pontiac brand disappeared, so the G8 didn’t get the chance to really prove itself. These days, enthusiasts love this sports sedan – especially in its GXP trim.

If you want a fun and affordable V8-powered sedan, you should look into the G8. The GXP isn’t cheap, but if you have the money to spend, it may still be worth it.

Mazdaspeed6

2006 MazdaSpeed6
Image Credit: Mazda.

The standard Mazda6 is a great car, but it could be faster. Luckily, the Mazdaspeed6 deals with that problem. It takes everything that makes the Mazda6 so good and adds a dollop of speed and power.

When looking at it, only the initiated can tell that there’s something special about the Mazdaspeed6. However, it hid a turbocharged 2.3-liter engine that sent its 274 horsepower to all four wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission.

2023 BMW M3 CS

2023 BMW M3 CS
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

Ever since it first emerged in the 1980s, the BMW M3 has been one of the best driver-focused cars on the market. Initially only available as a coupe, the M3 is now a sedan, and the coupe is called M4.

BMW introduced a CS variant for the G80 M3, and it’s essentially a track-focused version that’s more powerful and lighter than the already-potent M3 Competition. Its 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six produces 550 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, which is sent to all four wheels. It’ll reach 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 188 mph. Not too long ago, those were considered supercar performance figures.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Image Credit: Autoweek USA/WikiCommons.

Alfa Romeo knows a thing or two about building beautiful cars, and the Giulia Quadrifoglio is no different. It’s not just a pretty face, though, as this sports sedan punches just as hard as the competition from Bavaria.

The Giulia Quadrifoglio has one of the best chassis in the entire segment, and its 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 engine sends 503 Italian purebred stallions to all four wheels via an 8-speed auto gearbox. It’ll reach 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, and the top speed is a whopping 191 mph.

Alfa Romeo 156 GTA

Alfa Romeo 156 GTA
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The Alfa Romeo 156 is just as stylish as its younger Giulia sibling, but it sends all its power to the front wheels only. In GTA guise, the 156 received the 3.2-liter Busso V6 engine, which produces 247 horsepower and, more importantly, one of the most glorious sounds known to man.

The GTA was also slightly wider than the standard 156 and featured much more aggressive styling and various other upgrades.

Cadillac CTS-V

Cadillac CTS-V
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Gearheads often refer to the Cadillac CTS-V as a four-door Corvette because it’s powered by the C7′ Vette Z06’s supercharged LT4 V8. This engine produces 640 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque in the Cadillac.

Unlike Cadillac land yachts of the past, the CTS-V is agile and nimble, leading to praise from automotive journalists and professional racers. The Cadillac CTS-V may be a sedan, but it’s also one of the best American sports cars.

Lotus Carlton/Omega

Vauxhall Lotus Carlton
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Lotus-tuned Vauxhall Carlton or Opel Omega was so fast and powerful that the British government wanted to ban it. It became the go-to getaway car among criminals, and the Police didn’t stand a chance.

Its twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter inline-six produced 372 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque, which allowed it to reach 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 176 mph. In 1990, you needed a Ferrari to go that fast, yet this four-door sedan did it without breaking a sweat once Lotus had worked its magic. It even had a luxurious interior covered in leather and wood.

Jaguar XE SV Project 8

Jaguar XE SV Project 8
Image Credit: Alexander Migl/WikiCommons.

The Jaguar XE SV Project 8 is more of a track-focused weapon than a four-door family sedan. The styling is super aggressive and designed to create as much downforce as possible,

With a 592-horsepower supercharged V8 under the hood, that downforce is needed to keep it from taking off like a fighter jet. It went around the Nürburgring in just seven minutes and 21 seconds, making it the fastest sedan around the track at the time.

Aston Martin Rapide AMR

Aston Martin Rapide AMR
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The Aston Martin Rapide AMR was the ultimate version of the Rapide – which was rather quick and lived up to its name.

The Rapide AMR is 10 mm lower than the Rapide S, and the suspension uses a three-stage adaptive damper setup. This ensures the best possible handling at high speeds and that the car is nice and soft when you want to cruise. The Rapide AMR packs a serious punch thanks to its 594-horsepower V12 engine.

Mercedes-Benz 190E Evolution II

Mercedes-Benz 190E Evolution II
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The Mercedes-Benz 190E Evo II is a homologation special, and Mercedes only built 502 cars in order to go racing in the German touring car championship, DTM. The 190E Evo II was built to compete with the E30 BMW M3, so it’s far from your regular “baby Benz.”

On the outside, the Evo II has a wild bodykit, with wide fenders and a massive rear wing. Under the sleek, blue-black body lives a 2.5-liter 16-valve engine that sends 235 horsepower to the rear wheels. These days, collectors own most of them, so the chances of seeing one in the wild are slim, as most live in heated garages.

Maserati Ghibli Trofeo

Maserati Ghibli Trofeo
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The Maserati Ghibli definitely isn’t the most reliable sedan you can buy, and maintenance will also set you back a small fortune. However, you’ll be smiling for days if you ever get a chance to take one for a spin.

Most gearheads will agree that the Ghibli looks stunning, and it sounds remarkable when you fire up its Ferrari-derived 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 engine. The Ghibli Trofeo has a top speed of 203 mph, thanks to its 580 horsepower and 538 lb-ft of torque, and 0 to 60 mph only takes 4.1 seconds.

Bentley Flying Spur Speed

Bentley Flying Spur Speed
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The Bentley Flying Spur Speed is a full-size luxury sedan that weighs 5,373 lbs, so common sense tells us it has the performance and handling of a slug. Au contraire – the Flying Spur Speed is a highway-devouring monster!

Thanks to its 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W12 engine, it’s one of the fastest sedans in the world. 626 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque means it’ll reach 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.7 seconds, and the needle keeps moving until it reaches 207 mph.

Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworth

Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworth
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworth is one of the most outstanding sports sedans ever emerging from the Blue Oval brand’s showrooms. The Sapphire Cossie is a proper sleeper car thanks to its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine. It delivered just over 200 horsepower as standard, but even the most inept tuner could extract over 300 horses in no time.

The AWD version had grip for days, and a properly set up Sapphire Cosworth could easily keep up with supercars of the day. The best part? It was attainable for regular blue-collar workers.

Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R

Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R
Image Credit: Vauxhall / Stellantis

This car may have a Vauxhall badge on the grille, but in reality, it’s an Australian Holden, meaning it has an American GM engine. While it may originate from the land down under, it was perfected in the UK. The Brits know some things about setting up a car’s suspension, and the VXR8 GTS-R has been refined to tackle the harshness of British tarmac.

The well-set-up suspension, in combination with the supercharged 6.2-liter LS2 V8 engine producing 587 horsepower and 546 lb-ft of torque, makes the VXR8 GTS-R a blast to drive.

Porsche Panamera Turbo S

Porsche Panamera Turbo S
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

Porsche isn’t known for its sedans, but the Panamera Turbo S is too good to be left off this list. Porsche purists didn’t like the Panamera when it first arrived in 2009, but it soon proved that it deserved respect.

Porsche has continued to refine the Panamera over the years, and the Turbo S model turns everything up to 11. A 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 powers it, sending 620 horses and 604 lb-ft of torque to the wheels, allowing for a three-second 0 to 60 mph sprint and 196 mph top speed.

BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe

BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe
Image Credit: Wiki Commons

BMW’s original 8-series was never a huge success, and ownership can often be troublesome. However, the new 8-series is the polar opposite of the old classic: it does well sales-wise and is as easy to maintain as any other new Bimmer.

BMW has introduced a high-performance version of the Gran Coupe sedan, dubbed the M8 Gran Coupe. When fitted with the Competition Package, it turns into a high-performance version of the high-performance version. That means the driver gets to play with a 617-horsepower 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that sends its power to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Andre Nalin

Author: Andre Nalin

Title: Writer

Bio:

Andre has worked as a writer and editor for multiple car and motorcycle publications over the last decade, but he has reverted to freelancing these days. He has accumulated a ton of seat time during his ridiculous road trips in highly unsuitable vehicles, and he’s built magazine-featured cars. He prefers it when his bikes and cars are fast and loud, but if he had to pick one, he’d go with loud.

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