Best four-door sports cars
For exciting performance and space for your family or friends, our list of best four-door sports cars gives you plenty of enticing options.
Buying a car with space for the family needn’t mean you have to sacrifice exciting performance and rewarding handling. The current breed of super-saloons are very powerful and are stuffed with tech to make them as fast and as good to drive as possible. That technology also makes the cars easy to drive quickly.
At Carbuyer, we appreciate that the extra practicality of these cars makes them easier to recommend over traditional sports cars. You can use them for everything, whether you want to carve up a racetrack or take the garden rubbish to the tip. All of these cars also have plenty of room for adults in the rear seats and all come with ISOFIX child-seat mounting points too.
A four-door body style tends to be a little more subtle than a two-door coupe, which also appeals to some people who don’t necessarily need the extra practicality.
You might expect this list to be full of fire-breathing monsters with enormous power outputs - and there are plenty of those to choose from - but some of the cars might surprise you. Several of the cars on our list of best four-door sports cars are available with diesel engines and we’ve also included an electric saloon with the performance to shame a supercar.
Our list also includes several five-door models that have a saloon shape. The difference between hatchback and saloon is simply whether the tailgate includes the rear windscreen or not, and sleek five-door models tend to be more versatile as the boot opening is much wider.
You might have expected a more powerful and more expensive car to top our list but the Skoda Octavia vRS has such a broad range of abilities that it’s impossible to ignore. It uses a 242bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine for a 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds, and even this engine returns almost 40mpg. For cheaper running costs, you’ll want to look at the 181bhp diesel version, which manages 50mpg yet still hits 62mph from a standstill in under eight seconds. The Octavia hatchback has a much bigger boot than the Golf it’s based on, and you might question whether you need the estate seeing as the hatch’s boot is so big. The interior is smart and well-equipped, too, and it helps that the Octavia vRS is one of the cheapest cars on our list.
If someone asked us what the ultimate sports saloon is, the BMW M5 would be our answer. It may weigh nearly two tonnes but a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 engine with 592bhp means 0-62mph is dispatched in just 3.4 seconds (3.3 seconds in the 616bhp Competition version). All-wheel drive is standard, but it’s designed to be rear-biased and the system can send all its power to just the rear wheels if you want it to. Flick the M5 into Comfort mode and it becomes just as refined as the regular BMW 5 Series. It’ll cover continents with ease, all while surrounding its occupants in luxury. Our only misgiving is that you’ll need to spend around £100,000 to drive one; three times more than the most expensive Skoda Octavia vRS.
A massive petrol engine has traditionally been the preserve of the four-door sports car, but the Tesla Model S shows there’s another, more eco-friendly way to head for the horizon as fast as possible. All are fast, but the Performance models will quite easily sprint past a supercar. At that point, you might think its price tag is something of a bargain, especially as the Model S will also manage over 300 miles of range and has a super hi-tech interior. It was the car that really put Tesla on the map, and arguably made electric cars cool. There are questions about Tesla build quality, and the Model S can be more expensive on finance than similarly priced rivals, but otherwise it’s very desirable.
Kia are purveyors of well-built and well-equipped cars with long warranties, but it’s not a brand associated with plush, sporty cars. Then the company launched the Kia Stinger, which aims to take on the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. The top GT-S model has a powerful 365bhp V6 petrol engine and delightful handling to match; we’d say the driving experience is more engaging than an Audi. Below this are two still-powerful petrol and diesel engines, but the truth is that none of the Stinger’s engines are particularly efficient. You’ll also be sat in a slightly bland interior but there is at least plenty of tech to play with. Like the rest of the range, it benefits from a generous seven-year/100,000-mile warranty.
The first Porsche Panamera wasn’t a pretty car but this latest one is much more of a looker. It’s more of a four-door 911 than ever before, and all models in the Panamera range hit 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds or less. You won’t find a diesel engine in a new Panamera but there are a couple of hybrid models that are capable of around 30 miles of electric running. The most powerful of these, the Turbo S E-Hybrid, gets from 0-62mph in just 3.4 seconds on the way to a top speed of 193mph. Despite its longer and larger bodywork, it still feels like a finely honed sports car and is much better to drive than the Macan and Cayenne SUVs. The hatchback boot makes it practical and all models are well-equipped, but check the specs list - some items you’d think would be included are expensive optional extras.
There are few angrier-looking saloons than the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S, and it has the performance to match. Sharing its underpinnings with the Mercedes-AMG A45 S, the CLA 45 S has a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine producing an astonishing 415bhp - 0-62mph takes just four seconds. If you compare it to some of the cars on this list, the CLA 45 S suddenly looks good value - and we think it makes more financial sense than the A45 S hatchback. Also shared with the A-Class is its luxurious interior, which feels more premium than some cars double the price with Mercedes’ two-screen layout. The standard four-wheel drive helps generate huge grip in all conditions, unless you hit the ‘drift mode’ button to enable dramatic smokey powerslides.
Audi’s fast S models have always been powered by petrol engines, until now. The latest models use a powerful diesel engine, which may seem surprising, but it suits the S4’s character well. The S4 is much more discreet than the aggressive RS4 and still very fast, but it’ll also manage around 40mpg when you’re not at full throttle. There isn’t too much steering feel and the automatic gearbox isn’t the quickest to change gear, but it’s more responsive than you’d expect and feels really quick. Audi interiors are some of the best in the business, and the S4 certainly won’t disappoint in this respect.
The Mercedes-AMG E63 S is the BMW M5’s closest rival, and pretty much matches it in performance terms. The 604bhp ‘S’ model is now the only model on sale, and it takes just 3.4 seconds to reach 62mph from a standstill. It has a limited top speed of 186mph. The two cars are closely matched elsewhere, too - the Mercedes’ interior is absolutely sublime and really lives up to the price. The price of just over £98,000 and the expensive running costs are really the only downsides to the E63 but you do at least get a sense of where all the money has gone.
Any version of the Alfa Romeo Giulia is attractive to look at but a couple of models add intoxicating performance to the mix. There’s a 276bhp Veloce model or a range-topping 502bhp Quadrifoglio model, which manage 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds and 3.9 seconds respectively. The latter has a Ferrari-derived 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 engine and it’ll get the car all the way to 192mph. We like the Giulia’s stylish and eye-catching interior, although it’s not quite as upmarket as a BMW or Audi and the infotainment system can’t match the systems in its rivals.
The Audi RS3 is available as a five-door hatchback or a four-door saloon but both are scorchingly fast. Up until the launch of the Mercedes-AMG A45 S, the RS3 was the most powerful hot hatch on sale, with 395bhp from its 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine. Zero-to-62mph takes a fraction over four seconds and Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system means you can explore all that power even when the conditions aren’t perfect. A rear-wheel drive car would be more entertaining to drive but many buyers appreciate the security of the all-wheel-drive system. Elsewhere, the RS3 shares positive attributes with the standard Audi A3: a five-star safety rating, a classy interior and good build quality.