The Best Sleepers Money Can Buy in 2018
An SUV with 700+ horsepower is a sleeper, as is a family sedan with 350+ horsepowerby Safet Satara, on
What is a sleeper?
If you asked me, I’d say that a sleeper is an ordinary looking car with some extraordinary capabilities. Something like the BMW M5 E39, or the Ford Taurus SHO. You know, a car you simply can’t imagine having spirited performance because of its regular looks that do not hint at anything adventuristic. Well, I think that these kinds of cars are special and somehow far more appealing than proper sports machines. That is actually where I found my undying love for sedans and cars in general. Now, apart from sporty sedans, today we have awesome wagons and incredible SUVs.
Over the years, manufacturers showcased numerous iterations of cars that got that sleeper title, but now I am giving you thirteen awesome sleepers which were available only some years back, or are available right now. We have here a Lincoln, a Ford, a Jeep and even a Honda. Let’s start with a Cadillac though. Not the CTS-V, mind you.
The ATS-V does look sophisticated and kinda luxurious, but even with the V additions, the car simply does not scream performance.
Sure, I could write here about that incredible CTS-V, but I find the ATS-V far more unique and surprising than a Corvette-powered CTS. See, the ATS-V came as a BMW M3 competitor. It had to be really, really good for that task and GM crafted a special engine just for it. Its 3.6-liter, twin turbo, V-6 churns out 464 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque - more than what you’d get in the most powerful M3 competition. But it is not all about the power. The ATS-V does look sophisticated and kinda luxurious, but even with the V additions, the car simply does not scream performance. Yet, you’d be foolish to tackle it at the lights or on the track. Thanks to adaptive damping, stiff suspension, and Brembo performance Brakes, the ATS-V can do the same as the M3 or the AMG C 63. And, it will probably be quicker than both. At least initially as all 464 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque motivate it to hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. That was supercar territory only 15 years ago.
You will, however, pay a lot for this kind of performance. The ATS-V starts at $61,595.
Read our full review on the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V.
The Fusion Sport is quite an appealing package capable of throwing you to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds.
All things considered, the Fusion Sport may be one of three sleepiest sleepers on this list. This one comes with a 2.7-liter EcoBoost that delivers a healthy 325 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque for brisk acceleration and dynamic performance - enough to smoke basically all other cars in the segment. The Fusion Sport all-wheel drive system is another addition that takes it a long way from dull beige sedans. You also get steering wheel paddles to manage the six-speed transmission.
Spend a bit more than the entry-level $33,000 price and get a Continuously Controlled Damping suspension with Pothole Mitigation Technology. The system is designed to monitor the road ahead and adapt the suspension automatically. After all, the Fusion Sport is quite an appealing package capable of throwing you to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. Not shabby at all for a sensible, comfortable family sedan. I told you, it is a sleeper.
Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Fusion.
This Wagon is the type of car you could easily compare with sports cars and one or two generation old supercars.
Now, I am getting into the really expensive stuff. This is AMG work and before you start bickering that AMG cannot be a sleeper, let me tell you this is an E-Class Wagon. The Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon is easily one of the most astounding cars on the list. It is probably the most advanced as well as it rides on the latest architecture, features the most advanced safety and driver assist systems, and uses a 4.0-liter, Twin-turbocharged, V-8 by AMG.
In its most potent version, the V-8 develops an astounding 603 horsepower and can accelerate to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds. Remember, I am talking here about a Wagon. Quite a large one at that. Regardless, this Wagon is the type of car you could easily compare with sports cars and one or two generation old supercars. No wonder that its price starts at $107,000. For that, you are getting a massive family hauler that would shame almost anything on the track and on the highway as well. The Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon is German engineering at its best.
Read our full review on the Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon
The M550i xDrive falls better in line of unexpected performance.
Only days ago we found out that the latest BMW M550i xDrive will be offered with the same engine found in the M850i. This means that the new M550i xDrive will be quicker and probably faster than the last generation M5. Now, you may ask why the hell didn’t I include the M5 Competition here with all of its 625 horsepower. I admit, it is a sleeper in its own right, but the M550i xDrive falls better in line of unexpected performance.
While we are still waiting for the official numbers for the M550i xDrive, I am fairly certain it will offer the same 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque as the M850i. In that case, I expect the M550i xDrive to accelerate to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds. Ladies and gentlemen, it is true. I am writing here about the BMW 5 Series (non-M) that is capable of slashing through the 60 mph barrier in less than 4 seconds. What’s the world coming to!?
Read our full review on the BMW M550i xDrive
Coupling it all with an AWD system, six-speed automatic and dignified looks, the MKZ 3.0TT Black Label transforms into something really potent
Aside from that insane AMG Wagon, I think the latest Lincoln MKZ 3.0TT Black Label is almost a defining icon of the whole sleeper game. This is a car that features a fantastic, 400-horsepower V-6 with 400 pound-feet of torque. Coupling it all with an AWD system, six-speed automatic (fast one, might I add,) and dignified looks, the MKZ 3.0TT Black Label transforms into something really potent. I do not see many cars that can actually tackle it. Save for the Ms, AMGs, and the like. Anything not performance oriented and the MKZ 3.0TT Black Label will eat it.
Read our full review on the Lincoln MKZ 3.0TT Black Label.
Aside from its dynamic qualities, the Accord 2.0T is spacious, comfortable, and in its top trim, I can say luxurious.
An Accord may sound like an unlikely choice for this list. It is anything but. The Honda Accord 2.0T is a sleeper. One you could buy, load up with equipment and enjoy. Thanks to its 10-speed automatic transmission, great 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque turbocharged engine and stiff chassis, the Accord 2.0T can provide a lot of fun in the twisties and even put a smile on your face when overtaking similarly sized sedans. Aside from its dynamic qualities, the Accord 2.0T is spacious, comfortable, and in its top trim, I can say luxurious. Many reported it does offer a sort of a premium quality if equipped right.
Read our full review on the 2018 Honda Accord 2.0T.
It is a nicely sorted out machine sporting AWD, adjustable dampers and numerous driving assistance systems which improve its cornering abilities
A Golf with 300 horsepower, 0-60 mph in less than 5 seconds, and a top speed of more than 155 mph (without the limiter) is a sleeper. I mean, cmon. It would smoke many generation old muscle cars, sports cars, even older Porsches. Apart from the incredible performance and raspy 2.0-liter TSI, the Golf R doesn’t look shouty or undignified. It is a nicely sorted out machine sporting AWD, adjustable dampers and numerous driving assistance systems which improve its cornering abilities, or straight line acceleration.
Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R.
It is not by chance that Ford offers a proper Performance Package for it as well.
With a 3.5-liter EcoBoost that develops 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, the Taurus SHO represents a fantastic large sedan that can do some performance stints. Ford knows that as it garnished it with decent performance brake pads, sport calibrated steering, stiffer springs, bigger disc brakes, and performance tires (among other things). It is not by chance that Ford offers a proper Performance Package for it as well.
Read our full review on the 2014 Ford Taurus SHO.
Yup, an SUV.
707 horsepower. From a Hellcat. In this case with an AWD system.
I don’t have to say a word more.
Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.
The Volvo S60 and its sub 5 sec sprint to 60 mph is the epitome of what a sleeper is
Volvo’s 2.0-liter, supercharged and turbocharged, four-cylinder has a specific output close to that of the AMG 2.0-liter that goes in the A45 and the GLA45. It develops 367 horsepower, has a free-flow exhaust and is linked with an AWD system. The Volvo S60 and its sub 5 sec sprint to 60 mph is the epitome of what a sleeper is. While the one in Blue may be really appealing, I find that the black one resonates better with its sleeper enigma. If you are feeling really adventurous, go for the V60 Polestar.
Read our full review on the 2014 Volvo S60 Polestar.
I could list many other cars on this list as well. Just off the top of my head I thought of the Chevrolet SS, the Audi S8 Performance (I mean 605 horsepower,) or the BMW X5 M. However, I feel that a true sleeper should be something you simply don’t expect to be fast - like a massive family wagon, an SUV, a family sedan like a Fusion or an Accord. All in all, I feel like we are living in the time of ultimate sleepers. Every buyer has a choice from a number of cars. Yet, let me tell you - if you are in the market for a sleeper, go crazy - like with the Fusion Sport, the Taurus SHO, or the Accord.