The term “sleeper car” refers to a car that looks average but will cook unknowing competition, especially at a stop light. So here’s the list of my personal favorite sleepers.
Long story short, if you want an SVT Cobra, but need room for a few more people, the Maurader, was your answer. It was really just a Grand Marquis with tuxedo and the 4.6L Modular 32V engine. It shared suspension components with Crown Vic Police Interceptors and although it hung around for two model years before being discontinued, it left it’s mark.
Probably one of the best known sleepers of all time. Powered by a turbo 3.8L V6, this bruiser was atypical in its time, considering that most other American performance vehicles were V8 powered. Most GNX’s were murdered out (all black everything) and the 1987 limited edition models (developed with McLaren) had quarter mile and 0-60 times equivalent to the Ferrari F40.
SHOtime. The Taurus is another snooze car. That is until you talk about the SHO or Super High Output. The first and second generation SHOs, feature V6’s built by Yamaha, the third generation featured a 3.4L V8 built by Yamaha and Cosworth and the most recent sixth generation models have the 3.5L Twin Turbo Ecoboost V6 and AWD. Not saying it will burn everyone, but most of its direct competition aren’t performance oriented like the SHO.
The fourth generation (1997-04) Regal was as plain as you could imagine. If you lined the GS model next to the standard, you wouldn’t know that it was the performance model. Powered by a 3.8 Series II V6 with a supercharger, the Regal GS could move. If you wanted to go a bit faster, the 3.8 Supercharger could be modded to produce more boost, thus producing more power.
The S10/Blazer platform (which is also known as the Sonoma, Jimmy, and Bravada) was never known to be a high performer. That is until the Syclone and Typhoon hit showroom floors. The pair really just looked like they were lowered and modded, until you pulled up to the stop light. The pair can run with, if not beat, the SVT Lightning via a 260HP, turbo 4.3L and AWD.
While it wasn’t the savior for Pontiac as a brand, the GXP was a surprise. Powered by a 303HP 5.3L LS4, the Grand Prix GXP was pretty awesome if I do say so myself. If you didn’t know what to look for, you would mistake it for a rental. The weird thing about the Grand Prix GXP is that, the front tires are wider than the rear, which is uncommon but sensible for a FWD vehicle.
Granted the Camry, is typically one of the most boring cars known to man. While the the SE/XSE isn’t much better, even the four banger SE is deceptively quick. Needless to say, this Camry might throw you back in your seat, while your shifting with the paddles.
The A/S6 from Audi gets pushed to the side in favor of the A/S3,4,5,7 and 8, atleast in my opinion. However, the RS6 is worlds different from the rest. So for those of you who want a Gallardo, but need more doors, find an RS6, which is powered by the same 5.0L V10.
If you didn’t know your cars, you would assume the SS was just another fullsized sedan from Chevy. That is until you open the hood. This beast is powered by a 6.2L LS3 pushing out 415HP. The SS is subtle in design but its performance is often compared to the E39 M5. RWD, six speed manual tranmission (that is hard to find), and other features make the SS something to be reckoned with.
While the SRT Durango is dubbed the world’s most powerful three-row SUV, the Tesla Model X P90D is the world’s quickest (0-60 in 3.2 seconds) and most powerful (259HP front, 503HP rear, electric motors) on a technicality. The Model X is an electric vehicle which we expect to be about being green, not fast. Who would have thought a near $100k vehicle could be considered a sleeper.