8 Performance Cars to Enjoy With the Kids
Congratulations, you’re expecting! While you’re probably thrilled, you could also have that sinking feeling that you’ll never drive anything nice again. Bye-bye Miata, so long Mustang, goodbye Cayman. Off to the land of crossovers, minivans, and SUVs, right? Wrong.
We’re living through a golden age of performance, and there are an astonishing number of cars out there that can handle family duty, look good, and still kick ass when you want them to. From hot hatches to absurdly powerful SUVs and to seven-seater EVs, you have more options than you ever have before if you need practicality and speed.
Speedy, big-engine coupes and impossibly gorgeous supercars will forever hold a special place in our hearts, but when you’re looking for something a bit more practical, these eight high-performance cars won’t let you down.
1. Audi S6
With few exterior features and cues setting the S6 apart from its little sibling, the A6, the 4.0-liter twin turbo V8-powered Audi S6 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A healthy 450 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque will take care of zero to sixty in 3.9 seconds. Believe it or not, the car is actually quicker than its 2006-2011 predecessor, which packed a Lamborghini-sourced 5.2-liter V10. It isn’t cheap, as you’d expect, but for $71K and up, it’s a lot of car for the money.
2. BMW X5 M
Usually, the BMW isn’t thought of as much of a performance car. Soccer mom shuttle? Sure. But rare track toy? Not so much. But since 2010, the company has been producing a limited run of the X5 M, a $98K-and-up version of the SUV with a 4.4 liter that cranks out 567 horsepower, 553 pound-feet of torque, and can make the zero to 60 run in four seconds flat. It may not be the sexiest performance car BMW makes, but it sure is the most impressive people mover.
3. Chevrolet SS
It may not be as sexy as the Corvette, or as affordable as the Camaro, but since 2014, the Chevrolet SS has single-handedly been holding down the full-size American sport sedan segment. Some may say that its $46,575 price is too steep for a Chevy sedan, but they’re overlooking its 415-horsepower 6.2-liter V8, crisp six-speed manual transmission, magnetic ride suspension, Brembo brakes, and handling that’s earned comparisons to the BMW M5. If you ask us, that’s one hell of a deal.
4. Cadillac CTS-V
If the SS is too restrained for your taste, then the CTS-V is probably the car for you. On top of world-class Cadillac luxury, the latest -V packs a big 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that cranks out a whopping 640 horsepower and a blistering 630 pound-feet of torque. The Cadillac isn’t cheap – $84K and up – but there’s room for the entire family to watch you dust Porsches and Corvettes in it.
5. Tesla Model S
It’s an electric sedan that weighs nearly 5,000 pounds, and has room for up to seven people, yet the Tesla Model S’s latest range-topper, the just-released P 100D, can go from zero to 60 in a mind-boggling 2.5 seconds, making it one of the quickest cars in the world. Of course, it comes at a price — a P100D will set you back at least $134,500 (albeit prior to the $7,500 EV credit that the buyer is entitled to). There’s no word on numbers yet (aside from an impressive 310-mile range), but considering that the P90D cranked out 762 horsepower and 713 pound-feet of torque, the P100D has nowhere to go but up.
6. Jaguar XF S
Looking for a world-class midsize luxury sedan that will stand out from the usual Mercedes/BMW/Audi/Lexus crop? The $62K-and-up Jaguar XF S has all the luxury and tech that the usual suspects offer, but with extra helpings of style, performance, and comfort. A 380-horsepower supercharged 3.0-liter V6 takes the sedan from zero to 60 in 5.1 seconds, and while we wouldn’t want to subject its beautiful leather interior to child seats, the cabin is quiet and comfortable enough for the entire family to relax in.
7. Ford Focus RS
Sure, we’d all love to have a P100D or CTS-V in our garage, but unless we win the lotto, it isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Luckily, Ford has given us the RS, a $36K-and-up five-door hatch that just so happens to be one of the finest driver’s cars in the world. Its turbocharged EcoBoost inline four delivers an incredible 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels via Ford’s unique torque-vectoring system. Its big cargo space and roomy interior will make it easier sell your better half on, and it’s probably the only car on the list that will get thumbs up even with child seats in it and a trunk full of groceries.
8. Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Nothing brings out our inner-child like a wild, high horsepower, 200-plus mile per hour performance car. And if you want to get your kids addicted to speed early, there’s probably nothing better for it than a Dodge SRT Hellcat. With a 707-horsepower supercharged V8, a 204 mile per hour top speed, room for five, and a price that rings up at about as much ($65K) as a fully-loaded Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Hellcat is probably the easiest near-supercar in the world to make the after-school run in.
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