Manufacturers clearly haven’t dozed off from creating performance sedans that limbo beneath the radar – and hopefully fly under a highway patrol’s speed radar in the process.
These five brand new ‘sleeper’ sedans have within the last few months packaged startling performance with a chrome-trimmed exterior and luxury-laden interior, leaving no other driver on the road apparent to the traffic light drag-race potential that lies within.
1. Mercedes-AMG E43
Local pricing for the E43 has just been announced at $159,900 ahead of its February arrival, and it boasts 20-inch alloy wheels, Nappa leather and a 4.6sec 0-100km/h thanks to a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine. Yet on the outside there is just one AMG badge and many more chrome dots within the front grille.
2. Holden Calais V with Walkinshaw W407 Package
Any Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) model isn’t subtle, not even the restrained Senator. But take a standard $55,990 Calais V and add $9990 for a Walkinshaw W407 package, and suddenly the 304kW/570Nm 6.2-litre V8 produces 407kW and 695Nm without adding a brash blower. Atmo grunt with standard styling and soft FE1.5 suspension sounds like a delicious recipe to us.
3. Audi S8 plus
This is a stately limousine that hides carbon ceramic disc brakes behind its enormous 21-inch alloy wheel and tyre package. Thanks to all-wheel drive traction the ballistic 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine can place every single one of its 445kW and 750Nm to the ground, resulting in a 3.8sec 0-100km/h. Of course Sir or Madam can recline, massage, heat and cool the leather seats inside, or raise or lower the side and rear blinds, while demolishing distance like few $330,500 rivals.
4. Maserati Quattroporte GTS GranLusso
The Italians have just finished a facelift of the Quattroporte large sedan, which is typically known for its mafia-friendly boot volume and, in GTS spec, an exhaust louder than a Milanese argument. However, a new $349,990 GTS GranLusso model grade debuts with multi-spoke wheels, black brake callipers, silk trim, real wood over the steering wheel and gearshifter, and even a power rear sunshade. But the 390kW/650Nm 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 and 4.7sec 0-100km/h thankfully remain.
5. Volvo S90 T8 AWD
Think ‘hybrid’, ‘Volvo’ and ‘sedan’ and chances are a 304kW/640Nm turbocharged, supercharged and electrified model won’t come to mind. Yet the twincharged petrol engine of the new S90 T8 AWD mixes with an electric motor to deliver Commodore SS-rivalling outputs and 5.2sec 0-100km/h performance. Best of all, a V90 wagon version will soon be available, as will a Polestar optimisation package that is expected to take outputs to 314kW/680Nm.
How are you finding our new site design? Tell us in the comments below or send us your thoughts at email@example.com.
The world's most thrilling performance car magazine. Delivered to your door each month.
The coolest car-themed products we want
In need of a gift for someone, or just some retail therapy? Here are the coolest automotive products we've been lusting after
BMW to return to Le Mans with LMDh program in 2023
1999 Le Mans champions to take on Mulsanne again amidst an ever-growing list of LMDh entrants
Our first glimpse at the 2022 Audi RS 3
We have our first glimpse of the soon-to-be revealed RS 3 update, US expects deliveries in 2022