Here Are The Least Flashy, Least Expensive Performance Sedans You Can Buy

Plenty of go without attracting too much attention.

3y ago

Performance sedan. Super saloon. Sleeper. Dad car.

Call them whatever you want, but I dig them. To the right people, they command a certain sort of respect. They don't have the stigma that comes with sports car ownership. And they're ridiculously comfortable--not to mention practical for everyday use. It's a segment that is sparse and inconsistent, but contains some real gems in the second-hand vehicle sales channels. Here are my top picks with affordability in mind.

2010-2019 Ford Taurus SHO

The Fusion's big brother. AWD, 3.5L V6 making 365 HP at the crank, and enough space to haul the whole family around. The car received a facelift in 2013, giving it an even sportier look. Intakes, exhaust systems, turbo upgrades, tuners, and upgraded injectors can all be purchased for the Taurus SHO to help it deliver more power to the wheels. This bad bay was even named Esquire magazine's 2010 Car of the Year.

2002-2006 Volkswagen Phaeton

Take the guys who make the Jetta and tell them you need a car that can do sustained speeds of 186 MPH. The Phaeton is what you get. For its first generation, the car was available with three engines: a 3.2L VR6, a 4.2L V8, and a 6.0L W12. 12 cylinders in a sedan. How is that not cool? Maybe when you have to get it serviced. If you're handy with a wrench, the Phaeton could be a rewarding ownership experience.

2006-2017 Chevrolet Caprice

I was a bit surprised by this one. Based on the Pontiac G8, the sixth generation of the Chevy Caprice is a great way to go fast in a plain-looking wrapper. I think it's brilliant--get behind a 6.0L V8 sending power to the rear wheels in what looks as inconspicuous as a rental fleet Impala. They're tough to find, though. Since they were only intended for sale to police departments, the only way to get one not equipped in police-duty dress was to special order from a Chevrolet dealer. They're out there if you dig a bit.

Ford Crown Victoria P71

This one's a no-brainer. Own the road. Never get cut off again. Experience ultimate reliability and drivability. Find any kind of performance part you need from places like And as someone who has driven a civilian model with a blower pushing 6 psi, I can tell you it's a venerable machine.

1992-2000 Lexus LS 400

These years encompass two different chassis codes, so make sure you understand the differences if you go shopping. Either way, you're getting a famously smooth 4.0L V8 to truck you around. If you're able to find a clean example, it won't look all that dated, either--a good thing given the lifespan on these cars. Just ask Matt Farrah.

What do you think?

Are these cars just heavy turds, or are they worth a look? What would you include on this list?

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Comments (26)

  • Er... E500?

      3 years ago
  • The older V8 powered Holden Commodore is also a lot of car for a low price.

      3 years ago
  • How about the Volvo S80 V8, with 315 hp, 0-60 in 6.4 seconds, and a (governed) top speed of 155 mph? All wrapped in Volvo's plainest package.

      3 years ago
  • I really like the Crown Vic; if I ever leave for America I would want one of those

      3 years ago
  • Jaguar XF S. 3l twin turbo. Somewhere around 270 bhp and you can pick one up for around £6k these days. Fast luxury doesn’t get better.

      3 years ago