Some enthusiasts revel in the attention they get from driving a low-slung exotic like a Ferrari, Lamborghini, or McLaren. They want to go fast and they don't care who knows it. But some of us prefer to fly under the radar in a car that's a little more subtle and unassuming.
That's where the sleeper comes in—sleepers, by definition, are cars that look slow but actually pack a ton of performance. If you enjoy some spirited driving from time to time but also need to haul a lot of people or things, a sleeper station wagon may be the ideal car for you.
10 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon
The Cadillac CTS was manufactured by GM for three generations from 2002-2019. Across all three generations, GM offered a high-performance version called the CTS-V. The CTS-V wagon was only available for the 2011-2014 model years, making it quite desirable on the used market.
Low-mileage examples of the CTS-V wagon sell for $40,000-$60,000, and six-speed manual versions often go for even more. And that's with good reason. This sleeper packs a 556-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 under the hood and boasts a 0-60 time of just four seconds. It also comes with magnetic suspension and Brembo brakes.
9 Volvo V70R
If you're looking for a quirky family hauler that packs a whole lot of power, the Volvo V70R may be just the car for you. Volvo produced the V70R across two generations and offered six-speed manual, automatic, front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive options.
The second-generation V70R, sold from 2003-2007, came equipped with a 2.5-liter, turbocharged inline-five rated at 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The car came standard with all-wheel drive, Brembo brakes, and driver-adjustable Öhlins suspension. It was capable of hitting 60 mph in around six seconds, which is still impressive by today's standards.
8 Buick Roadmaster
With its wood paneling and generally dated appearance, the Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon is definitely unassuming enough to qualify as a sleeper. While the 1990s may conjure up images of lumbering, underpowered station wagons, the Roadmaster is anything but.
In the last few years of the Roadmaster's run, from 1994-1996, both the wagon and sedan versions received a 5.7-liter V8 that bumped power output from 180 horsepower to a healthy 260. A different version of the same engine was found in Corvettes of the time. Plus, the Roadmaster Estate Wagon has room for eight passengers -- what more could you ask for?
7 Jaguar XF S Sportbrake
It may surprise you, but Jaguar sells a station wagon in the United States, and it's called the XF Sportbrake. The XF Sportbrake comes with all-wheel drive and boasts a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that churns out 296 horsepower. The wagon costs just over $65,000 and hits 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds.
If that's not enough for you, consider shelling out an additional seven grand for the XF S Sportbrake, which puts out 380 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque thanks to a supercharged 3.0-liter V6. Since it's a Jag, the Sportbrake is well-equipped with luxury features like 18-way leather seats and a heated steering wheel.
6 Dodge Magnum SRT-8
The 2005-2008 Dodge Magnum came with four engine choices, each of which boasted respectable power output. Buyers not looking for too much grunt could select a 190-horsepower or a 250-horsepower V6. Drivers who opted for the RT model got a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 rated at 340 horses.
But the real belle of the ball was the SRT-8, which featured a 6.1-liter Hemi good for 425 horsepower. When new, the SRT-8 could rocket from 0-60 in just over five seconds and complete the quarter-mile in 13 and change. This beast also benefitted from performance upgrades like stiffened suspension and Brembo brakes.
5 Audi RS6 Avant
Here in the states, we're used to sitting idly by while the rest of the world gets many of the coolest cars, and that especially applies to sporty wagons. But there's good news. Audi is finally bringing its high-performance long-roof, the RS6 Avant, stateside for the 2020 model year.
The 2020 RS6 Avant features a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 paired with a mild hybrid drivetrain. The combination produces 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. Audi claims that the RS6 Avant can reach 62 mph in 3.6 seconds and 120 mph in less than 12.
4 BMW M5 Touring
The BMW M5 Touring is yet another awesome car that never made its way to North America. BMW offered Touring variants for the E34 (1988-1995) and E61 (2005-2010) M5s, and neither were sold in large numbers. In total, under 2,000 M5 wagons were ever produced.
While U.S.-market E34 M5s topped out at 310 horses, some E34 M5 wagons received a 335-horsepower inline-six that resulted in a 5.9-second 0-60 time. The E61 M5 Touring sported a 5.0-liter V10 that made a whopping 500 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque.
3 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX Wagon
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, commonly called the Evo, is a legendary sport sedan manufactured from 1992-2016 across ten generations. Evos are known for their high power output, tunability, and success in motorsports.
But did you know that Mitsubishi sold an Evo station wagon from 2005-2007? Unfortunately, only 2,500 were produced and all were built for the Japanese market. It's a real shame, since this hot wagon sports a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that generates 287 horsepower and 289 lb-ft of torque. Start saving up -- the Evo IX wagon will likely cost a pretty penny when it becomes legal to import in 2030.
2 Mercedes E63 AMG S
The Mercedes E63 AMG S is the king of super-fast station wagons available new in the United States. It offers an undeniably appealing combination of power, personality, luxury, and practicality.
The current-generation E63 AMG S comes with a 4.0-liter biturbo V8 rated at a ridiculous 603 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. According to Mercedes, the wagon is capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in just 3.4 seconds. That's nearly supercar territory, and it's no wonder that the E63 AMG S comes with a hefty price tag of $108,850 (without options).
1 Audi RS2 Avant
The Audi RS2 Avant was a limited production, high-performance station wagon manufactured jointly by Audi and Porsche. Produced from 1994-1995, the RS2 Avant is now eligible to import. However, considering under 3,000 examples were ever made, expect to see prices north of 50 grand.
The RS2 Avant came with 315 horsepower and 302 lb-ft of torque thanks to a turbocharged 2.2-liter straight-five. The car put up performance figures that are still impressive to this day -- it boasted a 163-mph top speed, a 4.8-second 0-60 time, and a 13.1-second 0-100 time.