By most definitions, a sleeper car is a vehicle that has performance figures that’ll put supercars to shame, while looking as unassuming as any ordinary vehicle. Often, these cars may appear bland and unassuming. That is until they lay black lines on the asphalt and storm off the line so quickly that you can barely process what just happened. Subtle yet potent, discrete and powerful, that the winning sleeper car formula.
Of course, you could soup up any old beater to squeeze more power out of its engine. But that’d be incredibly dangerous, not to mention highly illegal. So for the sake of this list, I’ll err on the side of caution and list some street-legal sleeper options.
2020 Audi RS 6 Avant TFSI
Wide hips, flared arches, a great big V8 under the hood. These are a few of my favourite things about the Audi RS6 Avant. Might not look a subtle as a sleeper car, but if you squint and ignore the massive front lip, rear diffuser, massive brake rotors and 22-inch alloys, it could almost pass off as a bog-standard wagon. Almost. Until you hear the guttural growl of the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 firing up.
(Click HERE to read more about the 2020 Audi RS 6 Avant TFSI)
Audi RS 4 Avant
Ahh, the Audi RS 4, another fantastic sleeper wagon. Just like its bigger brother the RS6, only with a smaller engine (now a 2.9-litre turbod' V6 instead of a V8). But it still has plenty of performance. 0-100km/h takes just 4.1 seconds, and it’ll keep going until you reach its electronically limited top speed of 250km/h.
(Click HERE to read more about the Audi RS 4 Avant)
Alpina B3 Touring
Now here’s a car that looks unassuming, has four doors, a great big tailgate, and a large boot for groceries. Don't forget its 0-100km/h time of 4.3 seconds, courtesy of a 3.0-litre turbocharged inline-six that produces 410hp.
Yes, I know this is based on the older F30 generation 3-Series. But this Alpina B3 Touring might be the most subtle sleeper car of the lot. Then again, the same can be said for most of Alpina’s offerings. They’re great at what they do, tuning cars and adding performance upgrades, all without being too garish or crude.
(Click HERE to read more about the Alpina B3 Touring)
BMW M760Li xDrive
Fancy a ride in a 7-Series Bimmer? Sure you do. How about one with a storming 6.6-litre Biturbo V12? Of course, you do. At a distance, the M760i may seem like any ordinary 7-Series. But upon closer inspection, you’ll start to notice the subtle cues that hint at the 610hp it packs, like the “M” motifs and “V12” badges on the rear pillars. Rather subtle for a luxury barge that sprints from 0-100km/h in just 3.7 seconds.
(Click HERE to read more about the BMW M760Li xDrive)
Mercedes-AMG S 63 Coupe
At a glance, it's hard to believe that this Mercedes S-Class Coupé churns out almost a thousand Newton-meters of torque. But the S63 AMG is no ordinary Mercedes coupé. Under the massive bonnet lurks a 5.5-litre Biturbo V8 that produces 585hp and 900Nm of torque. Mercedes ought to put a sticker on the throttle pedal that says “Caution”, less you turn your tyres to smoke.
(Click HERE to read more about the Mercedes-AMG S 63 Coupe)