10 Cars That Are Much Faster Than They Look
As a whole, today’s cars are safer, more reliable, and faster than they’ve ever been before. So while we may roll our eyes at Toyota’s latest attempt to make the Camry sporty, or Dodge’s latest performance trim for the Journey, the truth is some of the most boring cars on the road today could roast the Ferraris, Corvettes, and Porsche 911s of 25 years ago.
Of course, that doesn’t make today’s boring cars any less boring. There are still plenty of models that you could lose in a parking lot. In a world where the 1,500-horsepower barrier has been broken, self-driving cars are almost a reality, and EVs are earning a place alongside gas-powered models, it turns out that most people just want more of what they’re used to.
That’s what makes these cars so surprising. From everyday commuters to opulent dream machines, these models are likely to surprise and thrill you once you stomp the gas. Here are ten cars that are way faster than you’d expect them to be.
10. Buick Regal GS
Buick hasn’t had a true performance car since the Grand National left showrooms 30 years ago. But it’s quietly keeping the flame alive with the Regal GS, a bold little sport sedan that can almost compete with some of the best Germany has to offer. The GS puts its 259 horses and 295 pound-feet of torque to good use, taking the car from zero to 60 in 6.2 seconds, which complements its world-class handling. It may not set any speed records, and the six-speed manual transmission option unfortunately disappeared after 2016, but the quick and agile GS still makes for one lively commute.
9. Honda Accord EX-L V6 Coupe
At a time when companies tend play it safe with their midsize sedans, Honda still likes to inject a little sportiness into its strong-selling Accord line — especially in its coupe. With the optional 3.5-liter V6 under the hood, the Accord EX-L is a genuine sleeper car: 278 horsepower, 251 pound-feet of torque, an optional six-speed manual, and zero to 60 in six seconds flat.
8. Chevrolet SS
To gearheads, the soon-to-be-departed Chevy SS is performance car royalty. But to everybody else, it looks a lot like an old rental-spec Impala. Underneath its dowdy exterior (which largely dates back to the Pontiac G8 of 2007), there’s a 6.2 liter V8 from the last-generation that Corvette mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission. This powertrain sends 415 horsepower and an equal amount of torque to the rear wheels, taking the big sedan from zero to 60 in just 4.5 seconds. With world-class handling thanks to the Magnetic Ride Control suspension system found in the Cadillac CTS-V, Corvette, and Camaro ZL-1, there’s good reason why Chevy markets the SS as a pure enthusiast’s car. Just don’t expect your neighbors to get it.
7. Rolls-Royce Phantom
For decades, Rolls-Royce would officially say that performance in its cars was “adequate, and then 50% more.” Lucky for us, it’s been willing to dish the dirt in recent years. Its 19-foot long, 5,800-pound flagship (base price: $420,000) may look more like a Georgian mansion than a speed demon, but under the hood it packs a 6.75-liter turbocharged V12 that take the Phantom from zero to 60 in an impressive 5.7 seconds.
6. Kia K900
When it launched the K900 in the U.S. for 2013, Kia committed to the idea of a formal flagship sedan: full-size, rear-wheel drive, and of course, a big V8 engine. The $60,000-plus entry point for the V8-powered car (the new V6 model starts just under $50,000) has largely kept the Korean upstart from making a big splash, but with 420 ponies on tap, zero to 60 comes in at a healthy 5.5 seconds.
5. Acura RLX SH-AWD
With fewer than 1,500 sold in 2016, you have a better shot at seeing a Porsche 911 on your next commute than a big, quiet, understated RLX. But Acura still has faith in its flagship CTS/E-Class/5 Series fighter. And in Sport Hybrid trim, it’s actually the quickest Acura you can buy — aside from the NSX, that is. Its V6 is paired with two electric motors, bumping power up to a healthy 377 horses; enough to take the big car from zero to 60 in a shockingly quick 5.3 seconds. Unfortunately, since Acura would rather compete with the Lexus GS than the BMW M5, the fastest RLX doesn’t offer many thrills to go along with that power.
4. Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG
On the surface, Mercedes’ big three-row SUV looks like the European alternative to the Cadillac Escalade. But since Mercedes is focused on building performance versions of every model it sells, it offers the GL63 AMG, which replaces the standard 3.0-liter V6 with a hand-built 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 that’s good for 585 horsepower. That’s enough to take the two-and-a-half ton hauler from zero to 60 in 4.6 seconds. Starting at $124,000, we can think of a lot of cars we’d rather have for that kind of money, but then again, the GL63 could probably roast most of them in a drag race.
3. Ford Fusion Sport
Most automakers offer “Sport” models on a wide range of cars, but more often than not, they’re just empty trim options. Luckily, Ford didn’t follow that path with the Fusion. Order a Sport, and Ford’s popular midsize sedan becomes a true sleeper, with 325 horsepower and a whopping 380 pound-feet of torque going to all four wheels. Aside from a few exterior hints, there isn’t much to give away that this family car can scramble from zero to 60 in just 5.3 seconds — as fast as a Mustang EcoBoost.
2. BMW X6M
The BMW X6 is one of many BMW models that leaves fans of the brand scratching their heads. Its sloping roofline doesn’t make it the most practical SUV, and its tall, awkward ride height doesn’t do it any favors in the looks or handling departments. Frankly, there are about half a dozen BMWs currently on sale that we’d rather have. But once it gets to the mad geniuses at the company’s M-Division, it becomes a 575-horsepower beast that can scramble from zero to 60 in a clean four seconds. It may not be pretty, but the X6M sure is fast.
1. Tesla Model X P100D
The Tesla Model X has had some serious and well-publicized teething issues since its rollout in September 2015. But those problems have largely been solved, and Tesla’s gull-winged crossover is finally living up to its potential. Thanks to a pair of electric motors, the range-topping P100D has a whopping 762 horsepower on tap, taking the 5,500 pound EV from zero to 60 in a mind-boggling 2.9 seconds. It may not look particularly imposing, but unless you’re in something like a Bugatti Chiron, we wouldn’t recommend trying to take on the next Tesla you see at a stoplight.