2011 Top 10 Performance Sedans: Part One

September 19, 2010

In my view, family sedans should be anything but boring. Of course, you don’t equate them with high-performance sports cars, but today’s sedan offerings from a number of automakers offer a whole lot in the way of horsepower. They’re also a blast to drive – with or without the family in tow.

In this two-part series, we’ll take a look at the 2011 models that win out in terms of pure horsepower. There is one caveat: They can’t cost more than $100,000 base manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). So, no Aston Martin Rapide, Bentley Arnage or Continental Flying Spur.

There are three other points you’ll quickly discern. These are all luxury sedans, only four automakers are represented in the top 10, and these are the base engines for the particular models (some of which are the top-of-the-line models or trims). The choices are listed in descending order, with the highest-horsepower make and model listed first. As the old saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” Enjoy.

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1.    Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG With its handcrafted AMG 518-hp 6.3-liter V8 and 7G-Tronic sport transmission, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG tops this list of performance sedans. Mercedes-Benz markets the AMG as the high-performance flagship of the E-Class series. Consider this: zero to 60 time of 4.3 seconds. Starting MSRP for the five-passenger full-size luxury Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG sedan is $87,600, making this the second most-expensive high-performance luxury sedan on the list.

2.    Jaguar XFR --  What, there’s a Jaguar in this fine company of pavement-chewing sedans? That’s right. It’s the 2011 Jaguar XFR, the top-of-the-line model whose 510-hp 5.0-liter supercharged AJ-V8 GEN III engine – along with snarling good looks and super-luxe interior – give

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ample credence to its inclusion. This cat does zero to 60 in 4.7 seconds. Cost for such performance? Look for a starting MSRP of $79,600 for the 2011 Jaguar XFR.

3.    Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG – Cutting it really close to our $100,000 limit, with a starting MSRP of $99,050, the top-line 2011 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG four-passenger luxury performance sedan delivers 507 horsepower from the 6.2-liter V8 and AMG Speedshift –Plus 7-speed automatic. Actually, they call it a four-door coupe, combining the elegance and dynamism of a coupe, the practicality of a sedan, and the performance of a sports car. Note the engine is the same as that in the ‘Benz E63 AMG and rockets to 60 mph in the same 4.3 seconds. An optional $9,900 performance package (putting this well over the $100 grand limit), includes all kinds of AMG goodies – and a top speed of 186 miles per hour (compared to 155 mph).

4.    Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG – Yes, it’s another ‘Benz on the list, this one the C-Class C63 AMG with handcrafted 6.2-liter V8 that delivers 451 horsepower. Like other AMG-crafted Mercedes-Benz models, C63 AMG comes with the AMG Speedshift-Plus 7-speed automatic. With its athetic sport-sedan body, the five-passenger C63 AMG just oozes muscle-car performance, along with luxury and refinement. Zero to 60 is just 4.4 seconds. Starting MSRP for the 2011 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG is $58,200.

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5.    Audi S6 – Priced from $76,100, the 2011 Audi S6 mid-size luxury sports sedan features a 435-hp 5.2-liter FSI V10 engine, 6-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, specially-tuned sport suspension, and Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive. Acceleration from 0-60 is 5.1 seconds.

Want to see more? Don’t miss part two of 2011 Top 10 Performance Sedans.

[AMG, Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz]

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