Some people buy supercars to draw as much attention to themselves as possible. But that’s not what everyone wants. Some of us just want a regular-looking vehicle that offers high performance. We want the thrills, but not the attention.
In this post, therefore, we take a look at some relatively normal-looking cars that offer high performance. These vehicles have regular chassis, but absolute monster engines under the hood.
Toyota Camry TRD
The Toyota Camry is the replacement to the Avensis which dominated the Japanese carmaker’s lineup over the last decade. On the outside, it is just as unassuming as any other Toyota. But it is on the inside where the magic happens. The car has a surprisingly large 3.5-liter engine – one of the biggest that Toyota makes. And it is capable of putting out more than 301 bhp which is seriously impressive for a company that regularly makes vehicles in the 100 to 200 bhp range.
The Subaru WRX is a sporty-looking car. But unlike Ferraris and Lambos, it isn’t outrageous. People aren’t going to spill their Cheerios in their laps as it drives past.
However, as with so many performance Subarus, the equipment under the hood is excellent. The WRX, for instance, comes with a 268 bhp engine capable of developing 258 pound-feet of torque. It also features all-wheel drive, giving it unbeatable traction around corners and off the line. There’s even a bunch of different drive modes that can adjust things like transmission mapping and throttle response.
Hyundai is breaking out of the small car market and looking to build performance executive cars. And the Sonata is a wonderful entry for the company into the market. The vehicle comes with a large 2.5-liter engine capable of putting out more than 191 bhp. And the vehicle itself is surprisingly light meaning that it is quick off the line. There’s even a turbocharger that helps to improve acceleration over longer distances.
On the inside, the cockpit is cutting edge, something you can read more about if you click here. There’s also plenty of boot space for weekend getaways, and LED lights for heavy rain and fog.
If you’ve never heard of the Infiniti Q50, don’t worry – most people haven’t. But that doesn’t mean it should be off your radar. This interesting and unique sedan offers drivers a painfully dry exterior combined with insane levels of performance.
The car itself is remarkably inexpensive for the performance – coming in at a little under $35,000 brand new. For that price, you get a twin-turbocharged V6 engine capable of generating 300 bhp. You also get a seven-speed automatic transmission that effortlessly switches through the gears as you bring the vehicle up to speed. There’s also WiFi hotspot equipment and driver-assistance features included as standard. Critically, when you drive this car, nobody knows that you have a high-performance vehicle.
Hyundai Veloster N
Hyundai also makes a high-performance hatchback that looks uncannily similar to the new Ford Fiesta called the Veloster N. This vehicle has a traditional 2+1 door layout which will be familiar to older drivers who used to pilot these types of vehicles in the past.
What makes it so special? Well, on the outside, it just looks like a slightly sporty super mini. But under the hood is a 275 bhp monster, ready to start growling the moment you press the gas pedal.
The car also comes with a bunch of additional features including either an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission or six-speed manual, a limited slip diff, and an electronically-controlled suspension system. There’s a variable exhaust, sports seats, and oversized front rotors for exceptional stopping power.
VW Jetta GLI
The VW Jetta looks quite similar to the old Passat. If you passed it on the street, you probably wouldn’t notice it at all.
But this vehicle is surprisingly exotic. For starters, relatively few people buy it. And secondly, it offers unexpectedly high levels of performance, thanks to its turbocharged, four-cylinder engine.
The Jetta’s max power output is 228 bhp, and it is capable of pushing 258 pound-feet of torque, making it a great tow vehicle. VW routes power to the front wheels via either a manual or automatic gearbox. And it’s available with a bunch of high-tech safety features, including forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.
Mazda is a relatively quiet company that prefers to let its products do the talking. The brand’s Mazda 3 is a good example of this. On the outside, it looks like any other sedan from the Japanese automaker. But the moment you sit in the vehicle and put your foot down on the gas, you notice the difference.
Mazda equips the 3 with a 2.5-liter engine, capable of generating more than 310 pound-feet of torque. Horsepower in the vehicle increases to more than 250 if you fill it with high-octane fuel. Mazda equips the 3 with plenty of tech and driver assistance features, making it easy to keep control of all that extra horsepower.
The GTI is perhaps VW’s most famous vehicle with a pedigree that goes all the way back to the 1970s. Fifty years later, the modern version looks practically nothing like its predecessors. And it packs much more performance.
Again, the vehicle looks like any standard hatchback on the outside. But under the hood, there is a 2.0-liter engine capable of generating more than 228 bhp (which is a lot on such a small vehicle). VW also equipped the car with automatic transmission options and a relatively large 52 cubic feet trunk area.
The downside? The car comes with a small fuel tank. So you may find yourself filling up more often than you anticipated.
So, in summary, if you’re a big fan of speed, you no longer have to spend vast sums of money on flashy performance vehicles. Many manufacturers now make normal-looking cars that will absolutely blow you away in terms of performance.