Everybody loves a sleeper - not the kind that doesn't leave the bed in the morning, but rather, a car which someone will look at and say, "Dude this car couldn't hang with my supercar" but will. In fact, the cars on this list will obliterate some of the most famous supercars on the market today. These cars are half the price of the typical $250,000 supercar or less and will either demolish them on a track or a drag strip.
As a baseline for this article, when referring to a supercar, think of a mid-engined, flamboyant, and bombastic-sounding machine well over the $250,000 price. A great standard is the Lamborghini Gallardo - a car which everyone will look at and think, "That must be a really fast car." It's Lamborghini's most profitable car yet and is seen as a sort of a pop icon in the world of supercars, being the choice of movie stars and rappers everywhere due to its bombastic V10 and stunning looks.
The Gallardo LP 560-4's naturally aspirated 5.2L V10 makes 553 horsepower and 398 lb-ft, which help rocket this four-wheel-drive bull to 60 in 3.6 seconds. It blazes by the quarter mile in 11.2 seconds at 129 miles per hour. It laid down a 7:51.8 at the Nurburgring and beat a BMW M4, a Mercedes-Benz SLR Mclaren, and a 2008 Nissan GTR--just to name a few. If you think that's fast, then you'll be surprised to see that most of the cars on this list have actually beaten the Gallardo. Some are just simply faster in the real world, have a speedier 0-60, or a shorter quarter-mile time.
25 Dodge Hellcat Widebody
Obviously, this 707-horsepower beast made the list for being one of the cheapest ways to spank a supercar. With a base price just over $67,000, this Dodge is one of the best "bang for your buck" cars on the market today. Its party piece is, of course, turning the rear tires into an endless cloud of smoke. The Hellcat is powered by a 6.2L Hemi V8 engine, which helps the Widebody version get to the quarter mile in 10.9 seconds. Not only is it faster to the quarter mile, but it's faster to 60 mph as well, getting there in a dramatic and smokey 3.4 seconds. The Hellcat may seem like it has the advantage since it has over 150 horsepower more than the Lambo, but the Hellcat is much much heavier at 4,400 lbs (over two tons, yikes), and it still manages to win. I also didn't even mention the Hellcat's evil twin brother, the demon which has an extra 100 horsepower and cuts its 0-60 time by almost a full second. Did I mention that the Demon also does wheelies?
24 Tesla Model S/X P100D
Arguably the biggest "sleeper" on the list is the Tesla P100 D. It's also the most expensive, starting at around $135,000. That may sound hefty, but considering that it's quite literally the fastest-accelerating production car on the market today, that sounds like a steal. The P100 D rockets - and when I say "rockets," I mean it - to 60 in 2.3 seconds. The thrust is so immediate and violent that it leaves one extremely nauseous after. It's an experience unlike any other I've ever felt. It gets its power from a 100 kWh lithium-ion battery, which has a range of about 330 miles if you don't use its Ludicrous+ mode. That mode allows all available power to be sent to all four wheels for the fastest 0-60 time possible. If someone were to delete the badges from this car, it would be the most ultimate stealth car ever.
23 Mercedes CLA 45 AMG
The CLA is the definition of a pocket rocket. It's a shrunken version of the CLS and is no less refined. The CLA 45 AMG is powered by the most powerful four-cylinder engine in the world, making 350 hp and 375 lb-ft through all four wheels. Now, this car may not have the Gallardo beat on the drag strip or on its 0-60 sprint, which takes 3.8 seconds (just .2 seconds off), but the CLA most certainly will give the Gallardo a run for its money on a tight track. At 1/5th the price, the AMG is the better car for the real world. The Gallardo would have a lot of trouble keeping up with the CLA on a backroad or between a set of lights thanks to its rapid dual-clutch transmission. Obviously, there's no way to test those claims, but let me put it to you this way: which would you end up driving more and which would give you less of a headache?
22 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS
The Cayman GTS is among the best driver's cars on the market today. At a reasonable $83,000, the newly named 718 brings a forgiving and playful chassis as well as mouthwatering performance to the masses. The mid-engined Cayman GTS makes 365 hp, which lets it get to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds. No lap times have been recorded for the 2018 models, but the previous 718 Cayman S did a lap at the Nurburgring of just 7:47.00 which is, in fact, 4+ seconds faster than a Gallardo - a remarkable feat considering it has a little less than 200 horsepower compared to the Gallardo and a turbocharged four-cylinder. That lap time speaks volumes to what lightweight, chassis balance, and a quick-shifting gearbox can do. This car is also offered in a manual, which isn't the fastest around a track but is the fastest way to a smile (wow, that was cheesy).
21 Audi RS7 Performance
The Audi RS7 Performance is possibly the most underrated model Audi markets. It has 605 hp, along with four-wheel drive, a dual-clutch transmission, a twin-turbocharged V8, and a top speed of 190 mph. It may be expensive at around $150,000 new but is still $50,000 less than the Lambo and fits an extra three passengers in beautiful Bavarian luxury. The RS7 is underrated because it scorches the 0-60 time in 3.3 seconds, which is faster than just about any Audi (besides the R8) and has a curb weight of around 4,500 lbs. This is the German version of the Hellcat in that it defies physics. It's a true autobahn cruiser. The RS7 will get to the quarter mile in an identical 11.2 seconds to the Gallardo but with no fuss whatsoever. Just mash the throttle and watch the Ferraris, Porsches, and Corvettes disappear in your rear-view mirror.
20 Subaru WRX STI
This is the weapon of choice for people who live in all-weather locations and have a serious hankering for speed. The STI is a car that needs no introduction and was born on the rally course. Obviously, it'll beat the Gallardo on a rally track any day, but that doesn't make much sense at all. At just over $36,000 MSRP, the STI is a much, much cheaper way to get your thrill on any road in any weather than the Gallardo can offer. The WRX can't match the Gallardo's numbers; it has just 305 hp, a top speed of 159 mph, and gets to 60 in 5.3 seconds. But the Uber Suber has a trick up its sleeve. There's a special-edition track variant of the STI called the "RA" (Record Attempt), which laid down a blistering time of just 6:57.5 seconds, making it the fastest four-door car to ever lap the Green Hell. Of course, this isn't the same as the STI you and everyone else can buy for the road but, nonetheless, is a WRX and has bested the Gallardo. Not just that, but it actually beat its big brother, the Aventador, SV by 1.5 seconds. Holy moly is right.
19 VW GTI Clubsport S
Another award winner and subtle ripper of a product out of the confines of VW is the GTI - not just any GTI but the special edition Clubsport S. This is understatement at its finest. Remove any badging, and you're left with a car that resembles your grandma's Golf. Only, this Golf would make your granny choke on her dentures because it's powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder engine making 306 horsepower, helping it get to the 60 mph sprint in only 5.8 seconds in a manual. All of those numbers are more underwhelming than those of the Gallardo, but the Golf shames the Lambo when it comes to Nurburgring lap times. The Clubsport S is faster than any other front-wheel-drive car around the track. Laying down a 7:49.00 lap is no easy feat, especially against a foe with four-wheel drive, an engine mounted in the middle, and over 200 hp more. Well played, VW.
18 BMW M5
The M5 has numbers that simply Trump the Gallardo. 591 hp from a twin-turbocharged V8, 553 lb-ft, a 3.2-second 0-60 run, and a starting price of under $120,000 - doesn't look too good for the Lambo. Not only does the M5 embarrass the Gallardo on paper, but it can do that all day long in a cabin that's just as luxurious as BMW's ultra-posh 7 Series. The M5 achieves such thrust via its new four-wheel-drive system, which is a big controversy seeing as it's the first 4WD M car to be sold. Luckily, you can turn off the driver aids and deactivate the front axle, leaving the car in "Drift Mode." The Gallardo can't do that! The new F80 M5 hasn't set a lap time at the Nurburgring, but surely, it'll be among the fastest super sedans on the market.
17 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
Take a Hellcat, give it some steroids, and there you have a Trackhawk - the SUV iteration of a Hellcat, sort of. At least it has the same nuke of an engine making 707 hp and 645 lb-ft, which allows this ogre to get to 60 in 3.5 seconds, making it one of the fastest SUVs on sale today and faster, still, against the Gallardo. The Trackhawk will also run with the Lambo all the way through the 1/4 mile but just lose by .4 seconds. Not bad for a big ole bruiser. It seems that the sport SUV trend is taking the market by force. Every manufacturer is trying to make the fastest and most hardcore versions of family SUVs by inserting absolute hammers under the hood. With no attention being spent taking weight out, the manufacturers like Jeep are just adding and adding, which makes these numbers even more impressive if you consider how much the Trackhawk weighs. It weighs 5,300 lbs. That's more than two Mazda Miatas and manages to put down those numbers. I know I've already said "holy moly," but I'm going to say it again: holy moly.
16 Audi SQ7
A new name in Audi's repertoire has been in production for about a year now. The SQ7 delivers performance and usability unlike many of its competitors'. With a monumental 664 lb-ft available at just 1,000 RPM, the SQ7 launches easily. That power is always available. Have a car to pass? No problem. Need to get yourself out of a 6-foot ditch? No problem. Need to race a Gallardo in the snow and win or else your girlfriend will leave you? Well, you might as well double down on that bet because you'll soon have two girlfriends. This Audi, along with the next car on the list, admittedly can't beat the Gallardo on a track or to 60, but they will on any spot of land available. The SQ7 can do launches over and over again until the Gallardo's transmission falls from under itself, and then, it can haul your six friends to a mountain to go skiing after that. Which is the real winner here?
15 BMW X5/6 M
The X5 M is my personal favorite SUV. It smokes any Cayenne, AMG SUV, or Audi SUV to 60 and will dominate on track. If you want a sleeker model, go for the X6 M. The X5 M has 567 hp, which is more than the Gallardo and gets to 60 in 3.8 seconds. Its quarter-mile time is a little slower at just 12.2 seconds, but as stated before, the X5/6 M will do this repeatedly. One thing that's very interesting is that the BMW and the Gallardo have almost identical lateral G figures - the BMW being at .98 Gs and the Lambo at .99 Gs, which is very impressive, considering that one is a 5,000 lb whale, and the other is an Italian mid-engined supercar. At just over $100,000, the Beemer is sounding like quite the deal. It's amazing what these auto manufacturers can make these days with some turbos.
14 Audi TT RS
The TT RS, also known as the mini R8, is a true missile of a car. The little Audi costs around $65,000 and has numbers to justify that price tag. The famous five-cylinder engine makes 400 hp and 350 lb-ft, allowing it to jump to 60 in 3.2 seconds. If there's any car that can zip you around town faster, I'd like to hear what you can come up with. With its short wheelbase and punchy turbocharged engine, the TT RS is a budget supercar. It's even faster than the 2015 R8 V10, which means it's faster than the Gallardo. That's crazy to believe since it costs over $100,000 less than both! Sure, this car has been criticized for being a bit sterile, but there's no denying that it's properly quick. The newest 2018 model ran a Nurburgring lap of 7:48.00, which is 3 seconds faster than the Gallardo. Very impressive, Audi. I'd take mine in Nardo gray. What about you?
13 Ford Focus RS
The Focus RS is arguably the hottest hot hatch to come out in 2016 and lives up to that hype. It makes 350 hp and an identical 350 lb-ft from its 2.3L four-cylinder engine. That's driven by all four wheels and with a manual transmission only. It slingshots to 60 in just 4.6 seconds. None of these numbers trump the Gallardo, but one can: 1.02. That's the amount of lateral Gs that are forced upon the driver at the limit. That means the RS can turn harder and faster than the Gallardo. The Gallardo can only manage .99 Gs even with its mid-mounted engine. The Focus can do that with a front-mounted engine and a front-biased drivetrain. Not to mention, the Focus RS can do something that has no significance whatsoever but is one of the coolest additions to a car in the last five years - drift mode. Engage it, and you'll be marveling at your Ken Block-rivaling drift skills.
12 Camaro ZL1 LE
The Camaro ZL1 LE is a race car for the road, so there's no surprise that it's significantly faster than the Gallardo. The Camaro easily makes the list with a 7:16.04 Nurburgring lap time. The ZL1 is treated to 650 hp and 650 lb-ft from its Corvette ZO6-derived LT4 6.2L V8. Boy, that's a lot of numbers in one sentence. The LE Package adds extra aero and stickier tires, which resemble a drag compound. The ZL1 is a manual-only monster, which is very awesome. All of this for around $60,000. That's less than the before-mentioned TT RS and significantly less than the Gallardo. Its good ole-fashioned three-pedaled fun with a soundtrack that will make your ears bleed. It's too bad no other auto manufacturers make models similar to this. It's hard to even think of one car besides the Camaro with this amount of performance and value, let alone another pony car such as this. I'm stumped...
11 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R
This Shelby has an engine note that would make the burliest, evilest, and angriest man cry. Once you get a chance, look up videos on YouTube of the GT350R. It must be one of the best-sounding exhaust notes of the century. Back to the numbers: 526 hp, 429 lb-ft, 6-speed manual, all linked to a 5.2L V8 engine. The Shelby may be slower than the Camaro, but it still makes it to 60 in a wicked 4.3 seconds and put down a Nurburgring lap time of just 7:32.19. Need I say it? Gallardo loses again even with more hp and two more cylinders. The GT350R manages these speedy times all thanks to its lightweight structure, sticky tires, and aero - similar to the Camaro. Soon enough, Ford will be coming out with an even faster version of the Shelby, and its name will also be numeric and jargon-y, but who cares. I want one, and I want one now.
10 Honda Civic Type R
The Civic Type R is the Ford Focus of 2017, except even more eagerly awaited. The Type R versions of very boring Hondas have been hailed for decades upon decades. Now, America gets to live in the glory because the Type R is here to stay and has been a huge success amongst all automotive journalists. I've had the pleasure of driving one, and I'm happy to report that the 6-speed manual is a peach, along with its punchy 2.0L engine. They perfectly suit the Honda. 306 hp is just enough for the Type R, seeing as it's just front-wheel drive. Even with just the front two wheels driving the thing, the Type R put down a faster Nurburgring lap time than its 4WD competitor, the Focus RS. With a time like 7:43.8, the Civic has taken its place as the fastest front-wheel-drive car to lap the 'Ring. That's fast enough to also be faster than the Gallardo, and for $34,000 MSRP, it's a better deal, too.
9 Audi RS3
The RS3 is basically a TT RS with four doors. It's powered by the same five-cylinder turbocharged engine, making 400 hp, only that it's cheaper than the TT at just $55,000 starting price. Makes you wonder why you'd ever choose a TT RS at all. The RS3 fires to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, which is, again, faster than the Gallardo. The RS3 is another phenomenal car for the city dweller. It's a shame it doesn't come in a hatchback. The five-cylinder engine has been said to have a peculiar noise. Some say that it isn't particularly pleasant, but it's unique, which is never a bad thing. The engine was first used in the Audi Quattro rally car, which served up some serious hurt to its competitors in the grueling Group B division. To this day, they still manufacture that engine as a sort of homologation to that car and the era it came from. Does that make you want one any more?
8 Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio
Now, we're on to my personal favorite car of last year. I had the pleasure of driving one of these babies during Car Week in Pebble Beach, and to put it simply, it was magnificent. It's 2.9L turbocharged V6 cranks out 505 hp and 443 lb-ft, which make it resemble a supercar more than its sedan look suggests. The whole time I drove it, I couldn't believe how similar it was to a Ferrari 488 GTB - it pulled and gripped that hard. The QV isn't "all bark and no bite," though, because it flew around the 'Ring in 7:39.00 - a significant lead over the Gallardo. But, of course, no one would see this Alfa and think that it wasn't fast. So, admittedly, it shouldn't belong on this list because it just oozes style, speed, and sexiness. One would think that when considering it was developed by the same engineer who was behind the 458 Speciale. Not exactly a slouch.
7 BMW M4 CS
CS...what does that mean? Well, there's the basic BMW M4 with 425 hp, and then, there's the Competition package, which offers tighter suspension and a tweaked chassis; then, there's the hardcore GTS with its huge price tag of $138,000 and massive spoilers and jutting splitters. The CS is placed between the Competition Pack and the GTS. It gets a 29 hp bump over the standard M4, bringing it up to 454, as well as a higher top speed of 174 mph and a diminished 0-60 time of just 3.8 seconds. The CS also has further tweaks to the chassis to make it even tauter than the Competition Pack and an array of carbon fiber bits to make it lighter than its predecessors. It's arguably the sweet spot in the M4 range due to its uncanny ability to perform and cruise well, but that sweetness comes at a sour price of $125,000 (around $25,000 less than the GTS). So, with that enormous price, you'd expect the M4 CS to be faster than the Gallardo, and you'd be correct. The CS put down a time of 7:38 at the Nurburgring (just 1 second faster than the Alfa QV priced $30,000+ less), which makes it faster than the Bull.
6 Audi S8 Plus
Now, the S8 is very similar to the RS7 in that it's very underrated in the performance department. This super executive sports sedan costs just over $115,000, weighs over 4,600 lbs, and can still get to 0-60 in a Gallardo crushing time of 3.3 seconds. There's a reason why the S8 was the poster child of the Transporter movies. It has no flares, no intakes, and no carbon trim to give it the illusion of being fast. In fact, if you were to place this next to another A8, you'd have a hard time seeing the difference. Nonetheless, this two-ton bruiser has what it takes to beat a mid-engined supercar, all the while looking like an Uber Black car. That's the magic behind the S8--it's perfect for people who want to embody that "sleeper" identity whilst on the road. The RS7, on the other hand, looks like a Gillette Razor blade in the front. People can tell you mean business.
5 Lotus Evora 400
Lotuses have a spectacular motto: "Simplify, then add lightness." The Evora 400 is no stranger to those words, weighing in at just 3,200 lbs. Wits its no-secret amount of hp (400 brake horsepower) and extremely light body, the Evora flies to 60 in just 4.1 seconds and with a top speed of 186 mph. Straight-line figures aren't the point of this car, however. The name of the game with the Lotus is "nimbleness," and oh man, does it rip around tracks. The Evora 400 is the most aerodynamic and torsionally rigid Lotus ever built and is regularly put against the Porsche Cayman GT4 as a direct competitor. The Evora hasn't put down an official lap time around the Green Hell, but the GT4 did it in 7:40.00, which is faster than the Gallardo. Get this - the Evora is .2 seconds faster to 60 mph than ten Cayman, so using my inductive reasoning skills and math, I can easily say that the Evora can put a similar time down as the Cayman GT4 can, if not, better. So, in conclusion, with no scientific backup whatsoever, I can say that the Evora is faster than the Gallardo. Period.
4 Cadillac CTS-V
Another example from America of a big, heavy sedan with radical power is the Cadillac CTS-V. The Caddy has 640 hp and 630 lb-ft from its 6.2L V8. Even weighing in at over two tons, the CTS-V puts down an identical 0-60 time as the Gallardo's of just 3.6 seconds. The quarter mile is dealt with in 11.8 seconds, which is slower than the Gallardo's, as well as a skidpad figure of .98 Gs (just .01 short of the Gallardo). The Caddy, similar to the X5 M, can't beat the Gallardo on paper but will, in fact, beat it in the real world. Thanks to launch control and big fat sticky rubber, the CTS-V will repeatedly do a 60 run in 3.6 seconds. That's impressive, seeing as Cadillacs have never been compared to Lamborghinis in recorded history. Now, big Bertha herself can dethrone the Gallardo with little strain at all.
3 Jaguar F-Type Coupe R
The F-Type, a car which is just as fun to cruise gingerly down a coastal road as it is to incinerate the rear tires in a burning cloud of smoke. It's poised yet dastardly. Don't you dare sneeze while going around a bend in the F-Type, or its 5.0L supercharged V8 will bite back. With 550 hp, this little Brit can shoot to 60 in just 3.4 seconds if you modulate the throttle accordingly. If not, you'll end up at the tire shop buying a new set of rubber for your Jag. I've driven this car, too. The year it came out, it was the talk of the car community. Jaguar test drivers swear that the V6 S is the best variant to drive, but I have to respectfully disagree because that snap and burble one hears from the overrun from that V8 is intoxicating. The V6 is very similar but lacks the guttural growl and is a whole second slower to 60 at 4.4 seconds.
2 Chevrolet SS
Another Sleeper Hall of Famer. The Chevrolet SS looks like Hertz rent-a-car that your dad picked up during a business trip. But what your dad doesn't know is that the Chevy SS has a total hammer of an engine - a 6.2L V8 engine making 415 hp, to be exact - and it cost just $47,000 when it came out. What a steal for a car that no one would even bat an eye at. The SS gets to 60 in 4.5 seconds with the use of three pedals. It won't exactly beat the Gallardo in any numeric tests or on a track, but the Chevy SS belongs on this list solely due to its stealthiness. Hardcore gearheads still have a tough time deciphering the SS from a normal Chevy mid-sized sedan. It has quad tailpipes, which is the one giveaway besides a tiny "SS" badge on the sides. So, in a scenario where you're racing a Gallardo on the highway, you'll most likely be the one to get away from the cops because they'll think you're just an innocent bystander who just so happened to be next to a bright yellow Lambo.
1 BMW M235i
With 322 hp and 332 lb-ft, the pseudo-M2 isn't what you or I would call "blindingly fast," but it's a lively and playful take on BMW's smallest model. The M235i is a fantastic canyon carver and duals as an economic city car. It still gets to 60 in 5.3 seconds and is available with a manual gearbox! If you want a sensible car to tear up your local streets with, look no further. Many of the cars on this list won't smoke an LP560-4 or even a first-generation Gallardo, for that matter, with its 520 hp, but that isn't really the point. A lot of the numbers used were from Nurburgring lap times, which do tell a lot but also don't at the same time. We car lovers want it all when we buy a car: speed, efficiency, comfort, safety, convenience, etc. The BMW can offer all of that (maybe at the expense of all-out speed).
Sources: Car And Driver: Top Gear; Edmunds; Wikipedia