Most gearheads would love to take a Lamborghini Aventador or a Ford GT for a spin. They are great supercars that would knock your socks off and make you wonder if your Mustang GT is worth anything. However, 95% of gearheads do not have the financial capacities to daily drive a Lamborghini or a Pagani. The vast majority of will have to drive more common vehicles.
While supercars and other sports cars are undoubtedly great, there are cars out there that are literally wolves in sheep’s clothing. These cars look slow, but they pack a surprisingly powerful punch. Sleepers are well-known by the more educated car fans out there. They know for a fact that some vehicles should not be underestimated. Those cars can often be the most boring-looking vehicles, but their power outputs are quite interesting.
10 2003 Mercury Marauder
The Mercury Marauder first rolled off Mercury’s assembly lines back in 1963. The Marauder is essentially a Ford Grand Marquis on steroids. Even during its early years, the Marauder was a beautifully-made full-size car that often came with some terrific engines. The nameplate was eventually discontinued in 1970. Mercury brought the nameplate back to life in 2003.
The last Marauder is one of the sickest Mercury cars ever made. Though it may seem like another Crown Victoria at first, the Marauder can easily be differentiated from the Police force’s favorite patrol car. The Marauder comes stock with 18-inch wheels and sleeker headlights. The Crown Victoria of the same year comes with a 4.6-liter modular V8 that pumps out 239hp. The Marauder comes with the same V8 but churns out a respectable 302 hp.
9 2006 Mazda MazdaSpeed 6
As surprising as it may seem, Mazda’s sports division is far from new. First established in 1967, MazdaSpeed has been the driving force behind Mazda’s more virulent vehicles on and off the track. In 2003, Mazda released its very first MazdaSpeed-badged vehicle that was essentially made for the public. Following its first success, Mazda released additional energetic vehicles.
Most Mazda cars are not very exciting. Outside of the RX-7, MX-5 Miata, and to some extent the RX-8, most Mazda cars are simply slow and boring. However, Mazda cars that underwent the MazdaSpeed treatment can be quite interesting. The 2006 MazdaSpeed 6 comes with a turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four engine that makes 274 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque.
8 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt SS
There are times when automakers released cars that end up being a joke among petrol heads. Cars such as the Fiat Multipla and Pontiac Aztek are obvious tragedies. There is no need for a debate here. On the other hand, there are cars that are essentially like that guy at the gym who has skipped leg day for the past 10 years. The Dodge Neon SRT-4 is the prime example.
While it is fair to admit that the Dodge Neon SRT-4 was an abject failure, its rival was far from being a letdown. The Chevy Cobalt SS may not be a muscle car by definition. However, it is a great vehicle with tons of potential. Though the supercharged version may not have been the greatest Cobalt SS, the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine was impressive. With an output of 260 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, the turbocharged trim can be improved thanks to performance packages offered by GM.
7 2013 Genesis Coupe
Asian cars have improved tremendously since the late ’80s and early ’90s. Mazda shook up the scene with its emblematic Miata. Prior to the Miata scaring BMW, Mitsubishi released its beastly Lancer EX 1800 GSR Turbo which is worth quite a decent amount of money today. The number of outstanding Japanese cars released during that era is quite high, and that was just the beginning.
The previous sport-oriented vehicles made by Hyundai were simply laughable. They barely looked sporty and were fitted with engines that could not power a lawnmower. Things drastically changed when the Genesis Coupe was provided with a solid powerplant. The 3.8-liter DOHC V6 produces 348 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The Genesis Coupe is definitely the sort of Korean cars gearheads would love to own.
6 2013 Volvo C30 R Design Polestar
Volvo’s cars, especially the ones released over the last 20 years, may not be the first choice when looking for an affordable sports car. Though it is true that older Volvos are great project cars, the newer ones are simply overlooked by most car fans wanting to create a sick build. However, Scandinavian car aficionados will know for a fact that any Volvo can be turned into a monster.
It is well-known that Volvo rhymes with reliability and longevity. The Swedish carmaker is mostly known for its sedans and station wagons, but it has also manufactured some terrific hatchbacks in recent years. The 2013 Volvo C30 T5 R-Design Polestar is a great hot hatch. Underneath the hood sits a turbocharged 2.5-liter DOHC inline-five that pumps out 250 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque.
5 2015 Honda Accord EX-L
Honda sort of earned a bad reputation with its Civic. The Civic is not a terrible car per se, but it sure is not the type of car that would turn heads and get people to gather around it. In general, Honda cars are known for being highly affordable and reliable.
The 2015 Accord EX-L looks tame. However, it is well-known among JDM fans that the Accord can be turned into a beast quite easily. As a matter of fact, a set of aftermarket wheels can drastically change the allure of the coupe. On top of being physically attractive, the Accord EX-L is quite powerful. The car comes stock with a 3.5-liter SOHC V6 that develops 278 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque.
4 2016 Audi S3
Audi is a terrific brand. Always associated with luxury and sportiness, the German car manufacturer’s vehicles are always reserved to a very specific group of people. As time went on, Audi realized that it was unintentionally keeping people from accessing its cars. When looking at beasts such as the RS4 or the A8, it is clear that only wealthy folks have access to what Audi does best.
Domestic petrol heads that developed a liking to German cars must have scratched their heads when the S3 was first released in the States. It is a tiny four-door sedan or hatchback, depending on the year. The S3 looks as if Audi was really trying to rival smaller cars made by Japanese automakers. With that being said, the 2016 S3 comes with a solid turbocharged 2.0-liter DOHC inline-four unit that churns out 292 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque.
3 2016 Ford Taurus SHO
The Ford Taurus has been around since the mid-80s. Released the same year as the BMW E28 M5, the Taurus was nowhere as agitated and nervous as the M5. As a matter of fact, they play in two completely different leagues. The M5 is an icon. The Taurus is just another Ford sedan. With that being said, Ford revisited the Taurus and turned the soporific sedan into something quite attractive.
When looking at the evolution of the Ford Taurus SHO, it is fair to say that Ford was trying hard to shake things up. The Taurus is known for being a government vehicle, which may not be the best image to have. The SHO is known as the more aggressive trim level. The mid-size sedan may look subtle at first sight, but it comes with a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that makes 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. The Taurus SHO is far from being the average Taurus.
2 2017 Chevrolet SS
Back in the Mid-90s, Chevrolet released the very first muscle sedan of the modern era. The 1994 Chevrolet Impala SS was an absolute beast for its era. It was regarded as one of the most insane domestic cars released during the ’90s. Wanting to reiterate its success, Chevrolet decided to move forward with a muscle sedan that was a clear shot out to the classic Impala SS.
Sadly, the 2017 Chevy SS was an abject failure. It completely fell under the radar and ended up being overshadowed by the beast released by Dodge around the same time. The SS comes bone stock with a 6.2-liter LS3 V8 that pumps out 415 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. The SS is a true muscle sedan. A mean 650 hp supercharged LSA Chevy SS sleeper sedan was featured on AutotopiaLA, and it is exactly the reason why one should consider purchasing a Chevy SS while they are still affordable.
1 2017 Volkswagen Golf R
The Volkswagen Golf has been around since 1974. The Golf is among one of the oldest German nameplates. Originally presented as a family car, Volkswagen quickly realized that the Golf had the potential to become slightly more energetic. Following several generations of Golf GTIs and R32s, Volkswagen decided to create the ultimate Golf.
The Volkswagen Golf R is definitely a step above the GTI. Despite its sober physical features, the Golf R is a true monster. Fitted with a turbocharged 2.0-liter that makes 292 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, the Golf R is far more powerful than the new GTI. To put it in perspective, the Golf is almost as powerful as the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X. With a couple aftermarket parts, the Golf R can be turned into a true beast meant to evolve on a racetrack.
We list 10 aggressive-looking sports cars that fail to deliver on the performance front and rank them by their deeply unflattering 0-60 mph times.
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