Top-Ten Best Performance Sedans

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What is the appeal of a really hardcore performance sedan ? There are a dozen valid reasons, and most car guys will not need much persuading to get on-board. Killer pace starts from the new Panamera Turbo ’s projected 3.2-second blastoff to 60 mph.

The ingredients for the recipe are deceptively simple: big power all over the rev dial, rear-drive bias strongly preferred, and a manual box unless the automatic is absolutely state of the art.

The last and least important part? Those rear doors. Buyers of the hottest full-size performance sedans typically do not mind a tiny back seat. After all, the best possible passengers back there will probably be adoring ladies in thousand-dollar outfits.

So, megalux atmosphere back there is more important than true comfort and versatility. After all, you cannot take three beautiful and giggling best friends for a windows-down, radio-up spin in the hills without a swanky coupe-like sedan.

Even better is a stomping acceleration soundtrack and real panache outside the hottest bars and restaurants. No longer just Euro exclusives: all the cars on this list can be bought or ordered right here in the U.S. for 2013 or 2014.

Representatives from BMW , Mercedes, Lexus , Jaguar, Audi and Cadillac are also proudly represented in this market for $50,000-plus super sedans.

Click past the jump for the current Top Ten Best Performance Sedans, with a few in there you might not have expected.

1. 2014 Porsche Panamera

Porsche Panamera

After some debate as to what to include here from the broad line of new Panamera models, we landed on the classic 2013 GTS as the real favorite. Its atmospheric 4.5-liter, V-8 is the same gem that has been delivering checkered flags to Porsche race cars (and the 928) for three decades.

A true marvel of engineering, the new Panamera also broadens its reach with an Executive LWB model that will be coming to America, plus a brand-new plug-in called the Panamera S E-Hybrid that runs a supercharged V-6 but can cruise for miles on just electricity.

Of course, for many of us, the Panamera Turbo will be the ultimate, ultimate in aspirational super-sedans. Its price is a bit higher than some recall, with not much change from $200,000 with some of the Sport Chrono gear and other options.

Styling Detail

Porsche Panamera

2. 2014 Audi RS7

Audi RS 7

This is the newest metal on the list, and certainly the one American enthusiasts will gobble up the moment they arrive to dealers. Bringing the same twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter, V-8 that kicks Bavarian ass in the S8, the RS7 also benefits from a race-ready styling package, air suspension as standard and rims larger than a delivery pizza.

The RS7 is also quite light and nimble versus the unusably lardy A8, which also bodes well for times in the mid 3’s for the 60 mph sprint.

3. 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG 4MATIC

Mercedes CLS 63 AMG 4MATIC

Little explanation is needed for this one. The new lights and grille signature of the CLS63 AMG are quite intimidating. Talk quietly, so he doesn’t hear!

The way the grille’s central star and wing flows into the headlight LED is a little scary, and a whole lot of cool.

Styling Detail

Mercedes CLS 63 AMG 4MATIC

4. 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG 4MATIC

Mercedes E63 AMG

The E-Class is looking really hot and "Sharp," as the ads encourage one to think. The new LED twin eyebrow in the lights are quite effective and unique, and look outstanding with the latest AMG bumper and lower splitter.

The E63 is on its way to America as we speak, and will come in AWD for the first time (along with the CLS63 above). 4MATIC is a miracle for sprint pace, with Mercedes-Benz projecting the 60 mph sprint pace to drop from 4.4 seconds to 3.9 seconds.

5. 2014 BMW M6 GranCoupe

BMW M6 GranCoupe

The new M6 GC is really a hard one to nail down. On the one sense, it has the dreamy low roof and Motorsport details to die for. On the other hard, it just seems a little bit dated next to all this hot new machinery.

This is not terrific news for BMW, as the M6 GC is only a year old.

6. 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport

Cadillac CTS Sedan

The new CTS not only looks outstanding outside and in, but it will also pack much more firepower for the automatic transmission and non V editions. Previous engines topped out just above 300 horsepower — CTS-V aside — while the 2014 CTS Vsport runs a twin-turbocharged engine with a full 420 ponies on the table for about $55,000.

7. 2014 Jaguar XF-RS

Jaguar XFR-S

The XF-R and the hottest XF-RS are a bit like an alphabet soup these days, but the performance and exhaust bellow from Jag has never been hotter. Rip-snorting is the best way to describe the XF’s playfulness and willingness to do huge power-slide burnouts on demand. A side bonus? Ladies adore it.

8. 2014 Lexus IS 350

Lexus IS

Another sleeper even as the IS F carries over into 2014 on the old platform, the IS 350 has been quite an effective sprint and handler for a few years now. The latest designs and interior tech are great additions, and a lower driving position is a great tweak that makes a huge difference.

Styling Detail

Lexus IS

9. 2014 BMW M3


Fear not, M3 devotees! All the hubbub around the M4 launch will flow cleanly into the M3, which is still by far the most revered name or badge among all youthful gents.

After all, how else did we all become slaves to the Gillette Corporation? The M3 name.

The legend is back and will be hotter than ever. The latest Alpina B3 shows the potential in the latest 335i’s nose, which actually has a wildly sculpted hood and some other interesting details. The M3 will take all these cues up to max volume, with likely even a few custom Motorsport color wraps on the options list.

10. 2014 Lexus GS 350

Lexus GS 350

What is the humble GS 350 doing here? And not even in F Sport trim?

The base V-6 GS is a real gem at this point, with sumptuous details outside and in. Handling is finally poised, and all-wheel-drive is offered on both the base GS and the GS F Sport.

The up-level trim is the GS 450h, but here’s the really juicy detail: all four of the base cars hit 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds. The pricey Hybrid is only a tenth of a second ahead.

Styling Detail

Lexus GS 350


Mercedes E63 AMG

So whether your priority is hauling kids around without taking the SUV, absolutely supercar-quick executive shuttles, or simply one for impressing potential baby momma’s... there is nothing better than these ten high-performance sport sedans.

  • Love almost all the Panamera models
  • Thrilled to see RS7 here as well
  • Impressive standing from Lexus
  • Jaguar is by far the rarest and with coolest color choices, so think about the Big Cat instead of just the big German brands
  • CTS Vsport definitely most improved
  • No room for Infiniti Q50 S and likely Q50 IPL without more information on its performance credentials

What is your take?

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