Sports cars aren't the most comfortable or useful automobiles to pull duty as a daily driver. Harsh suspension settings, heavy clutches and in many cases a lack of a backseat typically mean that sports cars are relegated to weekend, sunny summer weather cruisers while another automobile gets drafted into dealing with the daily grind. Just because you need four doors and a usable amount of interior space doesn't mean you have to settle for a plain vanilla vehicle, however. There are a number of sporty yet livable sedan options out there that are enjoyable to drive yet make you cough up an arm and a leg to get behind the wheel.
Let's take a look at eight fun and practical sedans that can help to spice up your daily commute.
The 2012 Buick Regal GS is an entry-level premium car that offers mid-size accommodations in a reasonably compact package. The Buick Regal GS is the sportiest model in the domestic brand's lineup, and in addition to a substantial list of luxury features it also comes with a stiffer suspension system, large Brembo brakes, sport seats and a GS mode that offers special tuning for the vehicle's engine and overall driving characteristics.
Underneath the hood, the 2012 Buick Regal GS is outfitted with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that churns out a healthy 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission comes with the Regal GS free of charge, while a six-speed automatic can be ordered as an option. Fuel mileage for the Buick checks in at a reasonable 19-mpg city and 27-mpg highway.
The 2011 Volkswagen CC 4Motion Executive is positioned as a stylish alternative to other mid-size sedans, featuring bold looks and a sloping, "coupe-like" roofline that sets it apart from the rest of the VW lineup. The Volkswagen CC 4Motion Executive is the top-of-the-line edition of the sedan, and as such it offers heated leather seats, an upgraded stereo system, Bluetooth integration, HID headlights and a navigation system as standard equipment.
The 2011 Volkswagen CC 4Motion Executive also provides considerable thrust from its 3.6-liter V-6 engine. Capable of generating 280 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque, this engine is yoked to an all-wheel drive system via a six-speed automatic transmission, giving it both excellent foul weather grip and smooth gear changes. Fuel mileage for this edition of the CC shows as 17-mpg around town and 25-mpg on the highway.
The 2011 Ford Taurus SHO is the first Ford super sedan to leave Dearborn in quite some time, and in order to live up to it's 1990s namesake the full-size family car has been loaded with a raft of performance features. On top of its hefty passenger space and cavernous trunk the Ford Taurus SHO also comes with HID headlights, leather sport seats and a unique suspension system. Optional on the sedan are bigger brakes, the ability to completely shut off the vehicle's stability control system, more aggressive gearing and a quicker steering ratio.
The 2011 Ford Taurus SHO makes excellent use of the automaker's EcoBoost twin-turbocharged engine technology. The vehicle's 3.5-liter V-6 offers up 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque, managed by a six-speed automatic transmission (paddle shifters included, of course) and standard all-wheel drive. Despite its high output, the Taurus SHO delivers surprisingly practical fuel economy with a rating of 17-mpg in city driving and 25-mpg during highway cruising.
The 2011 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR is the perfect illustration of Nissan's ability to design a mid-size sedan that incorporates the same DNA found in the company's top-notch sports cars. The Nissan Altima 3.5 SR demonstrates a willingness to be flogged that is often missing from other options in its class, thanks to a supple chassis that deftly balances comfort and performance without missing a beat in either category.
The 2011 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR is also gifted in the engine bay, where a 270 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 lies in wait. Capable of generating 258 lb-ft of torque, the six-cylinder motor can be paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously-variable automatic transmission. The latter offers the best fuel mileage of the two, listed at 20-mpg in stop and go driving and 27-mpg on the highway.
The 2011 Mazda Mazda6 s Touring Plus offers family car buyers a fun-focused offering that also counts a slick suspension system as its most compelling attribute. In addition to carving through corners with ease, the Mazda MAZDA6 s Touring Plus additionally features a dual automatic climate control, a Bose stereo system and heated leather seats to help keep drivers comfortable when snagged by gridlock.
The 2011 Mazda MAZDA6 s Touring Plus features a 3.7-liter V-6 engine that generates 272 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission handles the shifting duties for the six-cylinder, and fuel mileage is rated at 18-mpg around town and 27-mpg during highway cruising.
The 2011 Chrysler 300 C has been redesigned in order to improve on almost every aspect of its original platform. The full-size Chrysler 300 C now bears more rounded styling, a significantly upgraded interior and a revised suspension system that has increased road-holding while also smoothing out the vehicle's ride. The 300 C can additionally be ordered with high end equipment such as a navigation system, heated front and rear seats, and adaptive HID headlights.
The 2011 Chrysler 300 C is more than just a comfortable commuter - it's also a rocket thanks to the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that it offers as a standard feature. With 363 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of twist on tap, the 300 C delivers rapid acceleration and confident passing. A five-speed automatic transmission is the only gearbox available with the Chrysler sedan, while all-wheel drive can be ordered as an option. Fuel economy for the big car comes in at 16-mpg city and 25-mpg highway.
The 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX takes the competent standard Impreza platform and adds a layer of high performance that completely transforms the character of the compact sedan. A new sport suspension system, aggressive exterior trim and the ability to include a navigation system, a sunroof and leather seats make the Subaru Impreza WRX one of the most fun to drive - and affordable - four-door automobiles around.
The 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX's secret weapon is its 2.5-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Capable of cranking out 265 horsepower and 244 lb-ft of torque, the WRX also comes with all-wheel drive for no extra cost in order to help keep it stable in all manner of weather conditions. A five-speed manual marks the exclusive transmission option found on the Subaru's equipment list, and fuel economy for the compact car shows as 18-mpg city and 25-mpg highway.
The 2011 Volvo S60 T6 is another all-new premium sedan that turns conventional wisdom about what a Swedish automobile is supposed to look like - and how one is supposed to drive - on its ear. Swooping body panels and an in-your-face attitude make the Volvo S60 T6 impossible to ignore on out on the streets, and the vehicle's available FOUR-C sport suspension system and comprehensive load of safety technologies help to set it apart from other European mid-size four-doors.
The 2011 Volvo S60 T6 is motivated by a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder motor that makes use of a turbocharger in order to offer up 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. Drivers can bang through the gears at their own pace using the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters that come with the vehicle's standard six-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel drive helps to improve both traction and the vehicle's ability to launch from a standing start. Fuel economy for the quick sedan is listed at 17-mpg around town and 26-mpg during highway cruising.