These forgotten performance sedans were all overshadowed, even when they were new.
In a world where SUVs are taking over the market, the performance sedan is become a rare relic of the past. Some automakers continue to crank out high performance sedans, but many fast four-doors have been discontinued over the years. We have compiled a list of 10 awesome performance sedans that few people remember. Most of these sedans were overshadowed in their time by faster machines, but some are still pretty interesting and worth a look on the used market.
The first generation Ford Taurus SHO from 1988 has a bit of a cult following, thanks to its incredible Yamaha-built V6 engine. The fourth generation car, which has been on the market since 2010, isn't as fondly remembered. Few people even realize that Ford still sells the Taurus SHO in 2018. The SHO is powered by a now-dated 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 producing 365 horsepower going out to AWD through a six-speed automatic. It may not make sense to buy a new one for over $40,000, but used ones can be found for as little as around $10,000. The SHO also had a rebadged Lincoln counterpart called the MKS.
For the 2003 model year, Mercury revived the Marauder nameplate on a performance version of the Grand Marquis. The Panther platform was upgraded with a new suspension and rack-and-pinion steering. Power came from a 4.6-liter Modular V8 producing 302 hp, the same engine that was found in the Mustang Mach 1. A four-speed automatic was the only transmission choice, but the aftermarket has plenty of manual swaps and Cobra supercharger modifications to turn the Marauder into a true sleeper. Just over 11,000 were produced in 2003 and 2004, so finding one under $10,000 is difficult.
Cadillac V Series models have become very well-respected, and quick enough to rival German competitors like M and AMG. This hasn't always been the case, as the first generation V Series models struggled to gain prominence. The CTS-V is still sold today, but the STS-V was only sold from 2006 to 2009. The STS-V was powered by a supercharged version of Cadillac's 4.4-liter Northstar V8, tuned to produce 469 hp. Performance was very impressive, with a 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 13.6 seconds. Only 2,503 were built, and prices range from around $10,000 to $20,000.
The Regal GS is the second model on this list that is still sold today, but Buick has refreshed the 2018 GS with a 310 hp V6. The previous generation model was powered by a 2.0-liter turbo four producing 260 hp, going out to FWD or AWD. Used models can be found for as little as around $10,000, and FWD models can even be equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. The Regal GS was always overshadowed by RWD German sport sedans, but it is now a very nice used bargain.
Though Chevrolet seems to have forgotten all about them, the company once built awesome SS performance versions of almost every model. The Cobalt SS was one of the best of the bunch, and was one of the quickest FWD vehicles of its time. Chevy also sold a naturally aspirated and supercharged Cobalt SS, but the 260 hp turbocharged model is the one you want. Manual models can now be found for as little as around $5,000, which is not bad for such a quick car.
American automakers aren't the only ones with forgotten performance sedans. Mazda has forgotten its entire performance division, which leaves cars like the MazdaSpeed 6 as distant memories. The MazdaSpeed 6 was powered by a 2.3-liter turbo four cylinder producing 274 hp. Power went out to AWD through a six-speed manual transmission, and prices now range from around $5,000 to $20,000. Mazda has finally given the latest 6 a turbocharged engine, but it is not performance-oriented like the old Speed 6.
Acura's Type S cars have also been long forgotten, though the Japanese automaker does have plans to revive the name. The third generation TL Type S was powered by a 3.5-liter V6 producing 270 hp. Power went out through the front-wheels through a five-speed auto or six-speed manual transmission. Acura has tried to capture some of the magic of the Type S with the TLX A Spec, but none of these attempts have been as cool as the TL Type S.
The Lexus F Division has become incredibly popular, but the car that helped launch the company's performance arm was never given a second generation. The IS F debuted as a 2008 model, but was discontinued after the 2014 model year. It was powered by a 5.0-liter V8 developing 416 hp, and a newer version of this same engine is still found in Lexus F models today. Used IS F models can now be found for less than $20,000.
When it comes to small, Japanese performance sedans, the Honda Civic Si rules the roost. Nissan does build a Nismo version of the new Sentra, but we bet most people forgot until we just brought it up. From 2007 to 2012, Nissan sold a performance version of the Sentra called the SE-R, which was powered by a 2.5-liter four cylinder producing 177 hp. There was also a Spec V version, which brought the power figure up to 200 hp, and added a six-speed manual and limited-slip differential. Thanks to the SE-R's obscurity, prices now range from $5,000 to $10,000.
Volvo recently released an all-new S60 sedan, which has a rare Polestar performance variant. Volvo's fastest new models are now fitted with the Polestar name, but they used to be fitted with an R badge. The S60 R was built from 2004 to 2007, and was powered by a unique 2.5-liter turbo five cylinder producing 300 hp. Power went out to AWD through a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual, and the car was equipped with an advanced adaptive damper suspension. Though they are difficult to find, S60 R examples can still be found for under $10,000.
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