So, you’ve got the management job, the kids have arrived or you just want to accommodate some middle-aged spread—it’s time for a big four-door sedan.
But while there was a time that this would mean your performance car aspirations were restricted to the magazines you read in the dentist waiting room, that’s no longer the case. Hot saloons have been getting hotter since the ’60s and now with genuine 200+mph performance and high-tech dynamics, the latest crop of saloons have true supercar-baiting performance.
In other words, if you’re driving a Ferrari F430 flat out down the autobahn and see a Dodge Charger Hellcat in the rear view mirror, you better get out the way. Here are our picks for the top 10 Super Saloons.
BMW M5 E34
Let’s face it, every M5 is an icon. When the makers of the “ultimate driving machine” make an ultimate version, everyone has to take notice. But the E34, especially being ragged by Natascha McElhone in Ronin, could be the ultimate Motorsport fünf. This is the successful second album: taking the gorgeous E28’s naïve and tentative steps into the first real sleeper high-performance saloon, and making it harder, faster and even less conspicuous.
It was clocked at 5.4 seconds to 60mph and derestricted would hit 170mph thanks to a 3.5-liter six mill. The car was handmade, impeccably balanced and allowed the well-heeled yuppie access to Porsche 911 performance while still pretending to the family that he or she had bought a sensible family saloon. Sports car manufacturers must have wondered what was going on.
The police tried to ban it, health and safety campaigners hated it and Middle England ran for cover. The Lotus Carlton/Opel Omega certainly made an impact. Based on the same Vauxhall Carlton your grandad smoked about town in, this was possibly the most outrageous car ever devised.
Carrying Lotus badges, in 1990 the Norfolk company coaxed a staggering 380hp out of GSi straight six using two mammoth turbochargers. The result was a car that could hit almost 180mph—a top speed to match a Ferrari Testarossa.