SCM's Five Most Underrated Sports Sedans

2001 Infiniti M56

2001 Infiniti M56

In response to the utterance of the phrase “sports sedan”, a German four-door of some sort involuntarily racks into focus in the mind’s eye of most driving enthusiasts. And while automakers from around the world have created many worthy competitors, parked in the shadow of that 3000-pound gorilla, they’re easily overlooked. Move King Kong aside for a moment though and you’ll find these five sports sedans will also provide you with the capability of leaving more than a few two-seaters wheezing in your wake on many a sinuous lane.

2011 Infiniti M56: Forget the way the car looks. Get in, start it up, and take it out. Spend any amount of quality time behind the wheel of an Infiniti M56 and you will want one—guaranteed. Yeah, we know, its looks will give you cause for subsequent pondering. But take the M56 out into the countryside again, let that 420-horsepower V-8 inhale another set of twisties. Observe the precision with which apexes are clipped. Then, turn off the traction control and witness the way the M56 lets you steer its rear with the throttle. You will be sold again. And don’t worry, its looks will grow on you over time.


2011 Chrysler 300C SRT-8:
Think of it as a Mercedes-Benz E-Class AMG in disguise, and you won’t be too far off the mark. This brick-shaped saloon is spawn of the ill-fated DaimlerChrysler corporate conjugation. Chrysler engineers were given the Benz W210 platform to develop the 300 series cars off of when Mercedes discarded it after the 2002 model year. Thing is, a lot of mileage was left in it. The chassis exhibits terrific balance and is eagerly receptive to the 6.1-liter Hemi’s 425 horsepower and 420 foot-pounds of torque. Powerful brakes, responsive handling, a supple ride, and executive-level comforts are the key attributes here—uh, along with a 4.7-second 60 and a 13-second quarter.


2011 Lexus GS:
The first performance-oriented model from Lexus, the GS—sharing marketing money with the likes of IS-F and LF-A—means Lexus hasn’t put a lot of energy into reminding enthusiasts the GS still exists. However, the GS460’s 342-horsepower and 339 foot-pounds are generated by a V8 that spins so smoothly it could gig as a DJ in West Hollywood. Mash it up with rear-drive, a nicely balanced chassis, plus the requisite opulence Lexus is apparently contractually bound to provide, and you got yourself one nice driving experience.

2011 Nissan Maxima

2011 Nissan Maxima

2011 Nissan Maxima: Appropriately labeled 4DSC (four-door-sports-car) Maxima is a highly agile sedan with exceptional steering and braking—backing up Nissan’s smooth flowing 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6. Woefully overshadowed in the showroom by Nissan’s Z and GT-R, Maxima will keep you delightfully entertained on challenging roads, as well as devour mile after mile of highway lavishing you with supreme comfort. Yes, the Maxima’s continuously variable transmission is out of place in a car of this nature. But its programmed shift points, accessible by paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, go a long ways toward alleviating Nissan’s error in that regard.


2010 Pontiac G8: Yes yes y’all, you can still find new copies of the wonder from down under languishing on dealer’s lots here and there. And, it is absolutely worth seeking one out and rescuing it. Even if you can’t find a new G8, do not hesitate to go the Certified Pre-Owned route. The last rear-drive Pontiac sedan will recompense you very generously for doing so, particularly in GXP trim. You'll go home with a 6.2-liter Corvette V-8 churning up 415 horsepower and 415 foot-pounds, mounted in a chassis that just loves to party. Also for your driving pleasure, you’ll be anointed with a six-speed manual transmission, 19-inch tires and wheels, a 13-second quarter, and a 4.5-second time to 60 mph.  Oh yeah, and, the G8 GXP is bound to be a collector’s piece someday too.


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