5 Best Performance Sedans of 2015
Updated September 12, 2015
Performance sedans were a lost art for some time, but in recent years they’ve made a comeback. What’s great about these four-port monsters is that they are often pretty subtle in their design, making them ideal sleeper cars. What’s more, they are family friendly, making them an easier sell to your significant other than a Corvette or a GT-R.
With so many performance sedans popping up every year, we decided to wade through this growing segment and pull out our five favorite models.
Subaru WRX STI
The Subaru WRS STI has long been a champ in the rally world, but it also has some pretty strong credentials on solid pavement too. From the outside, the WRX STI is not shy in showing off its looks, as it features a large rear wing, aggressive side sills, hood scoop, and red “STI” badges.
Fortunately, the WRX STI has the grunt it needs under the hood to cash the checks that its looks write. Here lies a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 305 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can choose from a six-speed manual (the right choice) or a continuously variable transmission (the wrong choice). Regardless of the transmission, the power travels to all four wheels for maximum grip, resulting in a 5.4-second sprint to 60 mph with the manual and 5.9 seconds with the CVT.
On top of being fast and agile, the WRX STI is affordable at $34,495.
Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
You cannot have an article about performance sedans without at least mentioning the Charger, and now that the Hellcat has arrived, it is impossible to ignore it. The Charger Hellcat is the ultimate sleeper, as aside from its snarling V-8, it is a fairly unimposing sedan from the outside. Sure, it has a few bits that give it away as a performance rig, but not many people would guess it to be the beast that it is.
What really makes the Charger SRT Hellcat so awesome is its 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V-8 engine. This blown HEMI V-8 lays down 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission. This all translates to a 4.1-second 0-to-60 time and a 204 mph top speed.
What’s more, all of this comes with an affordable sticker price of $63,995. Yeah, it deserves to be on this list.
When talking about sleeper sedans, the SS is sure to come up in a conversation. This thing is about as toned-down as it gets for a performance sedan, thanks to its lack of a crazy body kit, big wheels, and telltale hood scoop. While the exterior is timid, the beast under the hood sings a completely different tune.
The powerplant is a 6.2-liter V-8 that delivers 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of twist. This power heads exclusively to the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual or a six-speed auto. All told, the Chevy SS can hit 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds, putting it at about the middle of the pack in terms of American muscle with four doors.
Despite the fact that GM has to ship the SS from the land down under, its price is pretty reasonable at $45,745.
The M3 has always been a pretty wicked performance car, and it is now available exclusively as a sedan. Unlike some of the other cars on this list, the M3 doesn’t hide its intentions as a performance car. Its wide-open lower air intake swallows air to keep the engine and intercooler temperatures acceptable, while its front splitter helps keep downforce on the front axle. Around back, things are a little more subtle, but those quad exhaust exits are a dead giveaway to what lurks under the hood.
Powering the M3 is a 3.0-liter M TwinPower Turbo inline-six engine that delivers 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. These ponies gallop through either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and out to the rear wheels. This is good enough to get the M3 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds with the manual or 3.9 seconds with the dual-clutch transmission.
On top of being fast in a straight line, the M3 can also handle the twisty stuff with the best of them. In order to push the handling to the extreme, BMW does compensate comfort a bit by eliminating some of the rubber bushings, installing play-free ball joints, and slapping in stiff springs and dampers, so there are tradeoffs here.
All of this sedan awesomeness checks in at a cool $62,000.
Mercedes-AMG E63 S
Ah, Mercedes-Benz, a brand of class, elegance, opulence, and rip-you-face-of performance. Well, the latter is reserved for the Mercedes-AMG sub-brand, and its E63 S is about as insane as Mercedes-AMG sedans get. With exception of its rims and slightly aggressive front apron, the E63 looks like any other Benz E-Class, making folks do a double take when they hear that engine rumbling.
The rumble I’m talking about comes from a 5.5-liter biturbo V-8 that’s quick to rearrange your face with its 577 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. This engine pairs to a seven-speed AMG Shiftmatic transmission that sends the ponies to all four corners via Mercedes’ 4MATIC system. This mighty engine, quick-shifting auto transmission, and traction-enhancing all-wheel-drive system combine to rocket this 4,400-pound sedan to 60 mph in an unreal 3.5 seconds.
Unfortunately, the fastest rig on our list also happens to be the most expensive one at $101,700. I still think it is well worth it though.
Categories: Gear Grinding