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Five Sedans That Can Be Considered “Sports Cars,” and Five That Fall Short

When one thinks about what makes a sports car a “sports car,” they think about three things:

  1. Speed – Speed is life, right?
  2. Power – Speed is one thing, but the ability to get to your top speed as quickly as possible is another.
  3. Aggressive Handling – How fast can you take that on-ramp?

Therefore, a sports car is one that is specifically designed to provide superior performance at the expense of things like luxury and basic practicality.

The traditional perception is that a sports car must have two doors and an engine that guzzles fuel. However, based on our three criteria, some four door sedans can be considered sports cars. Here are five sedans that we call sports cars, and five that don’t cut it.

Sedans That Are Definitely Sports Cars

Porsche Panamera sedan

The Porsche Panamera sports sedan is, without a doubt, the finest 4-door sports car you can buy

Porsche Panamera

With a 400-horsepower 4.8-liter engine, the Panamera S from Porsche combines aggression with luxury and most definitely makes it to this list. Compared to Porsche’s 989 Concept from the late 1980s, the Panamera is labeled as a high-performing sedan, thanks to its powerful engine. It’s also quite expensive, with a price tag of $75,200.

Mazda3 Sedan

The Mazda3 isn't fast, but it's a fun, inexpensive car that corners on rails.


Tagged as an economy sports sedan, the Mazda3 is available in three engines, including a SkyActive 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. An efficiently agile vehicle, the Mazda3 is a perfect example of a sports sedan and although it comes with a more humble 155 horsepower, it is one that will give you the feel of being in a sports car when you’re speeding along that highway. Price of the Mazda3 is $15,200.

BMW 3-series sedan

The BMW 3-Series Sedan, a mostly carbon copy of the 3-Series Coupe

BMW 3-Series

The BMW 3-Series is one of the first vehicles to be defined a sports sedan, so excluding it from this list would not make any sense. Priced at $35,795, the new 3-Series is one of the latest additions in the market by BMW and it packs in quite a punch. Equipped with a turbo 4-cylinder engine and 15 horsepower more than the previous version, the all-new 3-Series is bound to give you your much-needed thrill and rejuvenate you.

The Audi A4

The Audi A4

Audi A4

Audi has always been known to produce beautiful cars. With such a stylish exterior and interior appearance, the A4 is no less than other Audi models. Besides, the A4 makes for an ideal sports sedan even though it comes with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The A4 can also produce 211 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Steering and suspension is also extremely smooth, giving you a pleasant ride, and an exhaust system can give it some real ooomph. Price of the Audi A4 is $32,500.

Cadillac CTS-V sedan

Cadillac's heart-pounding CTS-V Sedan is the real deal, but the standard CTS is pretty blah

Cadillac CTS-V

One of the most powerful cars on this list, the Cadillac CTS-V is fully equipped with a 550- horsepower V8 engine, giving you all the power and torque you could need. It also has an adjustable magnetic suspension system and although handling can be a little tricky at times, its speed and torque will make you forget all that once you’re behind the wheel. The Cadillac CTS-V is priced at $63,215.

5 Sports Sedans That Aren’t

Sadly, not all powerful vehicles make it to “sports car” status. Despite having powerful engines, they tend to miss out on the feel attached to driving a sports car.

Chevy Impala police interceptor sedan

Even though Chevy offers a policy interceptor version of the Impala, it's still not a sports sedan

Chevrolet Impala

The Chevrolet Impala packs in a lot of power with a 3.6 liter 300-horsepower V6 engine and might just deceive you by posing as a sports sedan. However, with its sloppy steering and uncomfortable suspension, it just fails to reach that list.

VW Passat sedan

VW's Passat - boring on wheels

Volkswagen Passat

The Volkswagen Passat is nothing more than just a stylish family sedan. Even with the higher-end 280-horsepower V6 or 40-mpg diesel engine, it just does not feel as light unlike many other VW sports cars. It’s perfect for those fun family trips but give it a miss if you’re looking to rule the road.

Buick Regal sedan

The Buick Regal, wildly popular in China, isn't much of a sports car

Buick Regal

The Buick Regal looks good and carries somewhat of a sporty appearance. The real problem with this car is not in its appearance, but with the fact that it can only produce 182 horsepower to make it nothing more than a regular sedan. Besides, at $26,670, you can expect to find sports sedans that will give you more.

Nissan Maxima sedan

Once upon a time, the Maxima was a cool sports sedan. Today? It's overweight. Lose the pounds and the sports car is back.

Nissan Maxima

The Nissan Maxima is another car that has some qualities of a sports sedan. A 290 horsepower engine with just enough power and smooth handling are its key features, and there’s no denying that an after-market exhaust can “sport up” the Maxima. It’s also luxurious and lives up to its price too. The only drawback, however, is the fact that it just doesn’t feel sporty enough when compared to other cars in its class.

Cadillac CTS

Last on the list is the Cadillac CTS. The CTS is more of what you would call a luxury car than a sports car. It’s a great car to own but with a base engine of 270 horsepower, you don’t feel that much torque and pull. Apart from that, it’s a classy vehicle.

About the author: Rebecca Jones is a blogger who also happens to be a car lover. Her dream machine happens to be Rolls Royce Phantom. She recently went to attend an autoshow in India and was really impressed with the Indian autos showcased there.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Joseph Buhagiar
    May 10 2012

    I am 59 and used to race mini cooper in the old days. More recently I had both a Mazda 3 and changed it for an Audi A4 TDi 110. However I then have a Mercedes 190E 2.0 with standard early days fuel injection year 1992 and although the accelleration is not so good, I can assure you that I will outrun anyone in any of these cars if a decent amount of winding raods are included and especially if rough roads are part of the test run too. The 190 is incredibly good and if the suspension is set right, it is an all terrain rugged car which is as steady as steady can be in corners.

    • Jason
      May 14 2012

      Joseph – Your point is well taken. A fool wielding a jackhammer can’t carve up the roads better than a craftsmen with a chisel. Thanks for commenting.


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