In a not-too-distant past, a "sports sedan" was considered an oxymoron – they would have to offer sensibility as well as ludicrous power and smooth handling. Then something happened. Car manufacturers started making some very pricey models specifically for those who could afford to have it all. Thanks to modern engineering today, anyone can buy one of these vehicles.
The 3-Series is one of the most iconic cars BMW has ever produced. It's also pretty much the definition of a luxury sports sedan. The 320i base model has a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that sends 180 hp to the rear wheels. For more performance, the 330i, 340i, and M3 offer between 248 and 425 hp, as well as sportier suspensions and better brakes.
Defining what is the best car is kind of impossible. Best at what? The following cars all excel at something, whether it's exclusivity, power, acceleration, luxury – we'll let the readers decide.
20 Jaguar XE
The Jaguar XE is a promising British luxury sedan with great design and impressive engine options. Speaking of engines, they range from a 4-cylinder turbo-diesel with 180 horsepower, a turbo 4-cylinder with 240 horses, and a 340 hp supercharged V6 – all available with all-wheel drive. Using plenty of aluminum helps keep the weight down, which combined with a sport-tuned suspension, gives it very responsive steering.
19 Dodge Charger
What if you don't just want a sporty luxury sedan, but you also want some American muscle? The Dodge Charger is one of the coolest vehicles of that persuasion.
The R/T version is perhaps the best value muscle-sedan out there, with its 370 hp, 5.7-liter V8. Not good enough? How about the SRT Hellcat? A 700 horsepower, supercharged 6.2-liter V8 should get you to smile from ear to ear.
18 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The C-class used to be the entry-level Mercedes, but the latest Mercedes-Benz sedans can compete with BMW in both performance and luxury.
Engine options consist of a 248 hp turbocharged 4-cylinder or a 362 horsepower V6. For more insane performance, check out the top-of-the-line Mercedes-AMG C63 S with its 503 hp twin-turbo V8 that make all kinds of incredible sounds to match its impressive power figures.
17 Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3 made its debut in 2018 and brought Tesla ownership closer to the masses. While there have been some quality issues, the Model 3 did beat an M3 in every single event other than drifting when Top Gear Magazine did a shootout – although that was the top-tier Performance model vs the standard M3.
The Performance pack features a battery with 300+ miles of range, upgraded suspension system, sport brakes, and track mode.
16 Lexus ES
Want some style and grace in your sports sedan? The Lexus ES is roomy, comfortable, and powerful, with precise steering and handling. The ES 350 F Sport boasts a naturally aspirated, 3.5-liter V-6 producing more than 300 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque that rockets it from 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds.
The eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters on the wheel will make you feel like you're driving a proper sports car.
15 Porsche Panamera
Porsche is best known for building some of the best high-performance sports cars mankind has ever seen, but it turns out they're pretty good at making fast family cars as well. Enter the Panamera – a car that offers bucketloads of comfort, performance, and quality, along with great looks and an even better driving experience.
14 Tesla Model S
Just like the Model 3, there have been some quality issues with the Model S. But if outright electrical power is your thing, the Model S is definitely worth considering. It's one of the quickest accelerating cars on the planet – at least up to a certain point.
In Edmunds' testing, a Model S P85D did 0 to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, so the more powerful P100D will be even quicker.
13 Audi A3
While the stock A3 is the cheapest Audi available in the States, it has a real premium feel to it. It comes with a 2.0-liter turbo-four that produces either 184 or 228 horsepower. The more powerful version also comes with Quattro all-wheel drive.
Most Audi models have a sportier version – in this case the RS3. It's capable of hitting 60 mph from standstill in just 4 seconds, due to its 400 hp turbocharged five-cylinder engine.
12 BMW 5-Series
If you're gonna buy a BMW sedan, why not go for the bigger, roomier 5-series? After all, if you want a track toy, you're better off with the 2 door 4-Series.
As for road performance, it's hard to beat the BMW M5. It's one of the best luxury sport sedans on the road, with its amazing interior, outrageously powerful V8 engine and handling that lets it keep up with actual sports cars.
11 Lexus GS F
Most Lexus sedans focus on comfort, but the GS F is different. This sedan is all about sportiness.
The naturally aspirated V8 sounds incredible, and it possesses enough power to launch the GS F from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds – pretty fast for a sedan without forced-induction. Even better, the impressive steering and excellent brakes make it very rewarding to drive.
10 Alfa Romeo Giulia
Looking for something exotic? The Alfa Romeo Giulia is one of the most affordable Italian sports cars on the market, unless you want the rather insane Quadrifoglio version. The standard 2.0-liter packs a 280 horsepower, turbocharged punch, giving the sedan a 5.7-second 0-60 mph time.
It's an absolute blast to drive. Even better is the Giulia Quadrifoglio with its Ferrari-sourced twin-turbo, 2.9-liter V6 engine that's good for 505 horsepower.
9 Audi A4
The new Audi A4 comes with a beautiful new design, lighter weight, and Quattro all-wheel-drive goodness derived from Audi's rallying past. Even though it's bigger than its predecessor, they made it lighter through extensive use of aluminum.
Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 252 wild stallions. Not wild enough you say? Well, how about the S4 version with its 354 horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter V6?
8 Cadillac CTS-V Sport
Those who want some American luxury should check out the Cadillac CTS-V – one of the most powerful vehicles of the past decade.
The original CTS-V was almost undrivable due to its massive amount of power, so Cadillac released the CTS-V-Sport, which borrows its LT4 V8 engine from the Corvette Z06 with an obnoxious 640 horsepower. To complement the powerplant, a finely-tuned chassis and transmission keep everything in line.
7 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Mercedes-Benz calls its new midsize sedan the most intelligent car in the world – and they could be right. It has advanced interior features and semi-autonomous technology, not to mention a refined chassis that assures impeccable handling.
You could buy the turbocharged 4-cylinder version with 241 horsepower, but how about an all-wheel-drive AMG with a monstrous twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 that produces a whopping 603 horsepower? It even has a "Drift" mode.
6 Kia Stinger
What? A Kia? Well, there's a good reason for that. In the last few years, Kia has hired several of BMW's designers, making the Stinger a genuinely exciting sport sedan – just like a BMW should be.
It comes with a four-cylinder engine or a GT version with a turbocharged V6 that unleashes up to 365 hp. It also has a tasteful interior that's a pleasure to spend time in.
5 Audi A7
The Audi A7 was fully redesigned for 2019 and it's one of the most well-rounded luxury vehicles on the market today, combining style and luxury with best-in-class infotainment technology.
The more powerful S7 model returns for 2020 in the form of a Sportback that's powered by a 444 horsepower twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 engine.
4 Jaguar XJR 575
Ok, we admit that the Jaguar XJ lineup can't really compete with most of the cars on this list – unless we're talking about the high-performance XJR575 model. Only a British-made car can pull off being this distinctive and elegant – yet aggressive – and that supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine is just a symphony of aural pleasure.
The fact that it produces 575 horsepower also helps – and it explains the name of the car.
3 Porsche Taycan
The Taycan is an all-electric Autobahn slayer. That's not the only thing it's slain though. Top Gear drag raced a Taycan and a Tesla Model S in Ludicrous+ mode 5 times, and the Porsche won every time.
This car has already managed to upset Tesla fans and Porsche purists, and while we love old boxer-engined Porsches, we love the fact that it beat Tesla even more.
2 Genesis G70
We gotta say it looks like Genesis is onto a winner with the G70, especially if we base it on price alone. The price, however, isn't its only selling point.
It's exquisite inside and out, offers a smooth ride, and lots of driving pleasure. Plus, it's available with powerful engine options. The 3.3T Sport model has a turbocharged 365 horsepower 3.3-liter V6 engine with a limited-slip differential, sport exhaust, and Brembo brakes.
1 Infiniti Q50
While most of the Infiniti Q50 lineup doesn’t hit the “luxury four-door sports car” benchmark, but the top-tier Q50 Red Sport 400 is up to the challenge. You might've guessed that the "400" in its name hints at its horsepower rating, which comes from a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine.
It also has a seven-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel-drive is available for an additional $2,000.
Sources: Top Gear, Road & Track, Car & Driver, Edmunds, Motor1