Generally speaking, high-performance cars have long been defined by big powerful engines, rumbling exhaust notes, graceful and sleek profiles, flowing lines, low riding stances, and a maximum of two doors — anything more was considered a family car, and therefore not worth it to endow with great amounts of torque or horsepower, because, why bother?
Things sure have changed though, and sedans are now packing more heat than ever before, as the demand for exceptionally quick family friendly cars continues to grow. We took a look at some of the most powerful and envelop pushing vehicles boasting four doors, from the $44,000 Chevy SS to the well over $260,000 Rolls-Royce Ghost V-Specification.
So if you’re well-endowed with cash, have a family to transport (or just like the extra room), and have little concern for local speed limits, then these following 17 cars might be for you.
17. Chevrolet SS
Those living in the land down under are already familiar with the SS as the Holden Commodore, but America is just getting its first lick of the performance sedan in its current form. It boasts 415 horsepower courtesy of GM’s excellent 6.2 liter V8, which helps bring the SS to 60 miles per hour in about 4.7 seconds.
16. Tesla Model S P85+
Barely edging out the SS by one horsepower is the Tesla Model S P85+, which packs a 416 horse-wallop thanks to its 85 kWh battery pack and the Performance Plus pack, a $6,500 option that includes upgraded dampers, bushings, stabilizer bars, and tires for better traction. Since all of its torque is available at once, the P85 can sprint to 60 from nothing in 4.2 seconds, and onto a top speed of 130 miles per hour. It still manages 265 miles per charge, and as an added bonus, you’ll never have to pay for gasoline again.
15. Dodge Charger SRT
The Dodge (FIATY.PK) Charger R/T isn’t exactly a slouch, but the car takes on a whole new personality once the folks at SRT get their hands on it. It’s given a new and aggressive front fascia, Brembo brakes, and a sporty interior, but the most important addition is naturally under the hood. Top speed is now 175 (though we feel that’s limited), while zero-to-60 occurs in the “high-four-second range.” Perhaps the best part, though, is that the Charger starts at $44,385 — considerably less than virtually anything else on this list, save for the SS and the Chrysler 300 SRT.
14. Chrysler 300 SRT
On that note, the Chrysler — the Charger’s corporate cousin — packs the same 470 horsepower, 470 pound-foot powertrain as the Dodge, but offers a far more luxury oriented interior. Black accents around the outside and a lowered stance give the 300 SRT a far more menacing appearance than the conventional version. Zero to 60 is again quoted at the high-fours; a quarter-mile is dealt with in the “high 12 seconds,” and the soundtrack from that 6.4 liter V8 will never get old.
13. Audi S8
Audi (VLKAY.PK) ups the ante a bit with its 520 horsepower S8, a luxury limo of a sedan that — despite it’s length and heft — can manage a spritely sprint to 60 in 3.9 seconds, powered by a twin-turbo 4.0 liter V8. Although it has a backseat and features that would make royalty blush, the S8 is really meant to be a driver’s car. It costs a rather princely $112,00 dollars, but also comes with so many standard features that there’s little need to hit up the options menu afterwards.
12. Maserati Quattroporte GTS
If you like the idea of the S8 but the Audi just isn’t Italian enough for your extravagant tastes, consider the Maserati Quattroporte GTS to be your antidote. Stowing 523 horsepower beneath the hood thanks to its 3.8 liter, twin-turbocharged V8, the Quattroporte — which literally translates as “Four-Door” — can nail 60 miles per hour in a speedy 4.6 seconds, on its way up to 191 miles per hour. At $140,000 the Maserati doesn’t come cheap, but then no one shopping for the Trident brand is looking for a bargain in the first place.
11. Aston Martin Rapide S
A casual glance at the Aston Martin Rapide S doesn’t indicate that there is a whole lot of difference between the luxury sedan and the company’s famed Grand Touring coupes, and that’s exactly what Aston was going for. Under the hood is an exhilarating 6.0 liter V12, which uses its 550 horsepower to propel the Rapide to 60 miles per hour in 4.9 seconds — quite a feat, given the Aston weighs in at almost 4,400 pounds. For reference, the Tesla and all its batteries weighs 4,600 pounds. It’ll cost a pretty penny (about $200,000 worth, actually) but for some, only an Aston will do.
10. Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG
Before the Audi A7 and the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, there was the Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF.PK) CLS, a graceful, sloping “coupe” that afforded the gorgeous and stunning curves of the CL Class an additional two doors. The result sparked a competitive race between the three major German automakers, but Mercedes still had an ace up it’s sleeve: it turned the CLS over to AMG, where it was endowed with 550 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque that allow the CLS to jaunt to 60 from zero n just 3.7 seconds, courtesy of a 5.5 liter turbocharged V8.
9. Jaguar XFR-S
Tied with the Mercedes at 550 horsepower, the Jaguar XFR-S is a unique alternative to the stalwart German cars that continue to dominate today’s luxury segment. Despite its large sedan-like frame, the XFR-S has had a thorough going-over to make it as track ready as can be. Power comes from a supercharged 5.0 liter V8, which is sent through an eight-speed automatic to the rear-wheels. Sixty is dealt with in a short 4.4 seconds, and the XFR-S will top out at a healthy 186 miles per hour, if you ever have the need. It also boasts one of the most incredible engine soundtracks on the road today.
8. Cadillac CTS-V
The iconic Camaro, Mustang, and Challenger are most often the cars thought of when describing American muscle, but the Cadillac CTS-V holds its own with a Corvette-beating 556 horsepower. At $64,900, it’s also a far more affordable play on such power when compared to the $100,000 Jag or the nearly $200,000 Aston Martin. Zero through 60 takes just 3.9 seconds, and to ensure the car can safely reach zero again, Cadillac has outfitted the CTS-V with larger Brembo brakes. The redesigned V-model hasn’t yet been released, but the older generation is still in production.
7. BMW M5
Now in its twenty-ninth year of production, the BMW (BAMXY.PK) M5 has been perfected into the ultimate speed and luxury machine across multiple generations. Hitting 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds behind a 4.4-liter V8 engine, the M5 is supplied a hearty amount of horsepower, up to 560 to be exact. Also renowned for the incredibly comfortable interior, the M5 is a true example of what it means to be a luxury sports car.
6. Audi RS 7
If you’re looking for a high-end, high-performance road-going race car that also boasts a fair degree of capability and utility, the Audi RS 7 is worth taking a look at. Like the BMW, it has 560 horsepower, but is applied liberally to all four wheels, courtesy of a 4.0 liter turbocharged V8. However, its top speed peaks at 190, and 60 comes up in a blistering 3.7 seconds. But perhaps the best part is that this can be done with the kids in the ample and comfy backseat, though we don’t exactly condone that.
5. BMW M6 Gran Coupe
If you like the idea of the M6, but you need the four doors and don’t want to “settle” for the M5, then BMW has you covered with its M6 Gran Coupe. It boasts a profile similar to the M6, as well as the same 560 horsepower V8, but offers a more accommodating cabin with room for passengers in a way that doesn’t sacrifice its smooth, flowing lines. This is the Bimmer designed specifically for taking on Mercedes’ CLS63, though out of the two, there isn’t really a wrong choice — but be prepared to shell out about $115,300 for the M6, about $15,000 more than the Benz.
4. Porsche Panamera Turbo S
If there’s any car that will give the RS 7 a run for its money, it’s this — the Porsche Panamera Turbo S, for all intents and purposes a Porsche 911 that happens to also be a four-door hatchback. The Panamera has been roundly criticized for its looks, but critics can’t touch what lies beneath — 570 horsepower, a top speed within a breath of 200, zero-60 in 3.6 seconds, and enough room in the pack for a long road trip with the family. It’s truly “a Porsche — for every day.“
3. Rolls-Royce Ghost V-Specification
Despite its land-yacht like size, there isn’t exactly a “slow” Rolls-Royce in its portfolio, but among the group, the Ghost V-Specification stands out (the Wraith is faster, but only has two doors.) Available in limited numbers, the V-Specification is tuned for 593 horsepower from the 6.6 liter V12 (which is paired with a tremendous 575 pound-feet), over the base Ghost’s 563 horsepower. This yields a 4.8 jaunt to 60 (remember this car weighs an elephantine 6,482 pounds), and a top speed limited to 155 — though we’d imagine its capable of a whole lot more.
2. Bentley Flying Spur W12
Up against the Ghost is its chief rival in both price and performance, the Bentley Flying Spur. When equipped with Bentley’s phenomenal W12 engine (though a V8 is also available), the Flying Spur spouts off 616 horsepower, a top speed of 200 (un-governed, we imagine), and a zero-to-60 sprint of just 4.3 seconds. Again, remember that this car weighs 6,550 when laden with fuel and fluids. It carries with it a $200,000 or so price tag (which is to be expected), though that’s a bargain next to the atmospheric price that the Ghost commands.
1. Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG — 621 horsepower
The Rolls is strong, the Bentley stronger, but the Mercedes S65 AMG is the strongest, with 621 horsepower and a colossal 738 pound-feet of torque provided by AMG’s hand-built 6.0 liter twin-turbo V12. That results in a sprint to 60 in just 4.2 seconds (remember, this is the largest sedan that Mercedes makes), and a top speed limited to 155 — but the important part is the rocket ship acceleration up to that point. At $222,000, it’s right up there with the Rolls and the Bentley — but performance-wise, it’s above all.