Many years ago I used to own a Bonneville SSEi, and I was as much in love with the idea of this car as I was with the car itself; a four-door which actually had some respectable power, but didn't cost anywhere near as much as its German counterparts. A lot has changed in the automotive world since those days though, and my old SSEi wouldn't come close to being able to compete by today's standards. Of course, that isn't really a bad thing.
Power numbers are much higher than they used to be, but prices on performance sedans from the big three are still noticeably lower than those coming from Germany. So we took a look at one each of the big three's offerings.The obvious choice from Ford was the same car that the SSEi was competing with when it first came out: the Taurus SHO. Then next car in the lineup is the Charger SRT8, which offers up the most excitement for your sedan-buying dollar. Choosing a car from GM was somewhat more difficult.
We wanted to use the Cadillac CTS-V, but the price was way up in there in German territory, so we dropped the V and went with the CTS sedan, still a very good car. In terms of raw power, the Charger is the clear leader. The only one of the three to have a V8, the Charger has a more than 100 horsepower advantage over the CTS. However, the CTS makes up for this by offering up handling that the Charger can in no way match. In terms of both power and handling, the SHO is pretty much right in between the other two cars. What the SHO can offer that the others can't is all-wheel -drive.
This is something you'd be wishing you had the very first time you got caught in the snow with the CTS's performance tires, or the Charger's suicidal-in-poor-weather handling. The SHO also offers Ford's popular Sync system, and while it is a very nice interior, once you'd had a bit of time with the Cadillac's option list, the SHO is fairly average on the inside. The Charger has a terrible interior, and while some would be willing to make this sacrifice in the name of speed, Dodge is still giving us a new interior for 2011 which will hopefully fix this problem.
All of them are large cars though, and neither you nor your passengers will be wanting for space in any of these cars, more than we could say of some similarly priced German cars. As I said before, the auto industry has changed a lot in recent years, and with so many more sedans to choose from these days, you'll really be making your choice based on what you want from the car. That might be the precise refinement of the CTS, or the tire shredding power of the Charger. For my money though, there's no beating the excellent all-around value of the SHO.