15 Best Used Sleeper Cars You Can Buy

By automotive-mag.com 11 Min Read

Sleeper cars come in all shapes and sizes. A compact SUV can be a sleeper, even certain pickup trucks fall into the same category. If you read our list of the best new sleepers to buy in 2024, you know that sometimes the fastest and sportiest cars are the most unassuming.

For this list, we’re looking at modern used cars—vehicles that were new no earlier than 2015 and have since been discontinued. That includes a few SUVs, some full-size luxury cars, and even a sporty hybrid you might not have considered.

601 Horsepower

One of the last cars you could buy with a V-12 was the BMW M760i. The V-12 engine debuted on the second-generation 7 Series in 1986 and survived until the sixth-generation model in 2022. The last iteration of the V-12-powered 7er was the M760i xDrive with a whopping 601 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque.

That massive engine gave the 7 Series a 0-60 mph time of 3.6 seconds—impressive for such a large car—and the M badge added some extra handling enhancements. If you know where to look, you can find some well-kept used examples for under $50,000.

Buick Regal GS

310 Horsepower

Buick has a history of building sleepers; the Regal GNX from the late ‘80s is a cult classic, and the Regal GS from 2010 with a manual transmission is well-regarded. But we’re not talking about either of those cars—we’re talking about the Buick Regal GS from 2018. That generation had a 3.6-liter V-6 engine making 310 horsepower and an excellent chassis. It wasn’t a hardcore sports sedan, but the Regal GS was quick, looked good, and had just enough performance qualities to help move the needle.

Cadillac CT6 Platinum

500 Horsepower

Traditionally, Cadillac builds vehicles that prioritize a smooth ride and luxury over outright performance. And that’s mostly true of this CT6 Platinum model. But this car is a sleeper because under the hood is a Blackwing V-8 engine.

Although it doesn’t look particularly sporty from the outside, the twin-turbocharged 4.2-liter V-8 under the hood makes 500 horsepower and 574 pound-feet of torque. It also has a Magnetic Ride Control suspension and hands-free Super Cruise. The full-bore CT6-V adds Brembo brakes, better looks, and more power—but the Platinum is the more understated of the two. Cadillac only made a handful of these models beginning in 2019, so finding one might be a challenge.

Cadillac XTS V-Sport

410 Horsepower

Before the CT6, the XTS was Cadillac’s full-size sedan, and the V-Sport was the performance-focused version of that model. The exterior wasn’t particularly aggressive, but buyers got a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V-6 making 410 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque running to an all-wheel-drive system.

According to Car and Driver‘s testing, the V-6 delivered enough power for the Caddy to reach 60 miles per hour in 5.2 seconds. The result is a vehicle that most folks wouldn’t notice on the road but with effortless passing power on the highway.

Chevrolet Equinox 2.0T

252 Horsepower

The Chevrolet Equinox is a common sight on the road, and most of the time, these SUVs aren’t very exciting. But Chevy did offer a version with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder from 2018 through 2020 that made it a subtle sleeper.

The turbo 2.0-liter made 252 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, connected to a nine-speed automatic gearbox. For comparison, the newly updated 2025 Equinox only comes with a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine making 175 hp and 184 lb-ft for the front-drive variant or 203 lb-ft for the all-wheel drive version.

A contemporary test from Car and Driver found the turbo engine in the Equinox hit 60 mph in 6.6 seconds and covered the quarter-mile in 15.1 seconds. That’s not blistering, but it’s still more performance than you’d expect from this anonymous Chevy.

Chevrolet SS

415 Horsepower

The Chevy SS is a true wolf in sheep’s clothing. It looks like a generic sedan on the outside, and some folks on the road might even confuse it with an Impala. However, the vehicle uses the Australian-market Holden Commodore as a starting point, and its 6.2-liter LS3 V-8 produces a healthy 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque in the engine bay. These cars might be the ultimate modern sleepers due to their anonymity and impressive levels of performance.

Ford Fusion Sport

325 Horsepower

The Ford Fusion was the brand’s mid-size sedan throughout the 2000s. From the 2017 through 2019 model years, it was a proper sleeper with a turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6 making 325 horsepower and 380 pounds of torque. The Blue Oval didn’t accentuate these Sport models with a big wing or a particularly aggressive front fascia. Today, they blend into the traffic as just another older vehicle that doesn’t appear to have over 300 hp on tap.

Ford Taurus SHO

365 Horsepower

The Ford Taurus SHO has always been a sleeper. Ford never made them look particularly aggressive, but instead crammed high-tech engines under the hood. From 2010 through 2019, buyers could get a sedan with a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 making 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque.

The only gearbox option was a six-speed automatic with torque-vectoring all-wheel drive. An optional Performance Package included different brake pads, revised steering, a shorter final drive ratio, and more. The result was a comfy cruiser with real performance ability on the highway.

Honda CR-Z

197 Horsepower

The Honda CR-Z had an attractive design and an efficient hybrid powertrain. It was never a proper hot hatch from the factory. But in its later years, Honda Performance Development (HPD) offered a dealer-installed supercharger accessory that woke up the sleek Honda.

The upgraded powertrain made 197 horsepower versus 130 hp in stock form. The kit included an air-to-air intercooler, higher-flowing fuel injectors, and revised ECU tuning. HPD charged $5,495 for the equipment plus the cost of dealer installation. HPD offered a limited-slip differential and improved clutch for an even more significant performance improvement. With all of these parts, a person could turn the CR-Z into a serious performer that most folks wouldn’t look twice at.

Kia Stinger GT

368 Horsepower

To enthusiasts, the Kia Stinger isn’t a sleeper. We know it’s an impressive performance sedan. But to the commoner, this car doesn’t isn’t overly sporty if you’re just sitting in traffic. The design is stylish and the range-topping version uses a twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6 making up to 368 horsepower. With so much power, buyers get a sedan that can hit 60 miles per hour in just 4.7 seconds while offering enough space for a whole family.

Lexus GS F

467 Horsepower

Like Cadillac, Lexus generally prioritizes a comfortable driving experience over performance. However, starting with the 2016 model year, the GS F offered customers something different. It featured a 5.0-liter V-8 engine making 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque. Inside, there’s a high-class cabin with lots of high-quality leather. No one would look at this car and suspect how much power it offers the driver. You should be able to find a few well-kept examples for under $50,000.

Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring

494 Horsepower

Part of being a sleeper is that a vehicle shouldn’t look quick, and the Lincoln Aviator PHEV doesn’t appear to be a particularly quick car. However, it has a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 with an electric motor making a total of 494 horsepower and a particularly impressive 630 pound-feet of torque. That is a huge amount of power, and the SUV can tow up to 5,600 pounds. Testing shows that acceleration to 60 miles per hour takes around 5.0 seconds.

Lincoln MKZ

400 Horsepower

The Lincoln MKZ is a sedan most people don’t think about. However, you could get it with a potent powertrain. The four-door was available with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 making as much as 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. There’s nothing particularly sporty on the outside, so owners can cruise around in traffic knowing that they have significantly more power than most other drivers.

Volkswagen Passat GT

280 Horsepower

The VW Passat GT doesn’t get much attention on the road, but it has a 3.6-liter V-6 under the hood making 280 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A tweaked exhaust is louder than other versions of the model. In addition, the ride height is 0.6 inches lower than the regular sedan. There are also stiffer springs and returned dampers. The only exterior tweaks are some black trim, a red stripe on the grille, and a few GT badges.

Volvo V60 Polestar

362 Horsepower

Most folks don’t look at a Volvo wagon and expect it to have 362 horsepower and 347 pound-feet of tap. This is the secret of the V60 Polestar, though. The vehicles also have an Öhlins sourced suspension for improving their handling. The body doesn’t look much more aggressive than other V60s, though. The available bright blue paint might grab some attention, but no one would think that there’s nearly 400 hp under the driver’s foot.

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