After some performance fun with a semblance of practicality thrown in? Here are ten of the best four-seater sports cars
Owning a sports car can be a great experience, but while a Boxster or Elise can thrill on a Sunday morning, you might feel a tiny bit guilty about leaving the kids at home. There is an answer: buy a four-seater sports car.
With a two-seater, weekend trips out could end up being relegated to the MPV, and your hopes of a dynamic driving weekend quickly turn into a dreary taxi trip. So to combat this undesirable scenario, manufacturers have sought to offer seating for four in many of their latest high-performance offerings.
True, some may use a tad more fuel than a traditional family wagon, or cost a teeny bit more to buy, but there is no doubt that their ability to keep the passengers entertained will be on another level. Take a look at our picks and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
The latest Mercedes C63 has not escaped the trend to downsize engines to improve emissions but AMG fans needn’t despair as the latest 4 litre V8 adds twin turbo’s to make up for any power it may have lost over the old 6.2 litre unit. The 476bhp power output means 0-62 in 4.3 seconds, or 510bhp and 3.9 seconds if you go for the C63 S. The shapely new body still provides seating for four and makes this car one of the best compact sports coupes on the road today.
The latest 911 Carrera range may have caused a stir with its new turbocharged engines but few can complain about the additional power (up to 420bhp in the S), pace and reduced emissions. What hasn’t changed is the classic 911 silhouette, sharp handling and seating for four. Rear space has grown with each new model but longer trips may elicit some complaints from taller passengers. Nevertheless the additional practicality these seats provide mean that generations of new fathers have been allowed a stay of execution before slowly trading their way down to the dreaded minivan.
After a few near misses of late, BMW has found the M Performance bullseye with the latest M2 sports coupe. Its combination of sublime rear wheel drive handling and a concerted focus on the joy of driving leaves its competition for dead and threatens to upstage its bigger stablemates too. The turbocharged 3.0-litre engine churns out its 370bhp and seating for four just as any means you can practice your drifting skills with three screaming buddies by your side. An experience best savoured with the standard six-speed manual gearbox.
Now here’s one that appeals to both the head and the heart: the new Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan. Yes, it’s a four-door saloon, but being an Alfa in top spec Quadrifoglio form it pumps out 503bhp from its Ferrari-derived turbocharged 2.9-Litre V6, and promises to deliver supercar sniffing pace too. Throw in great handling and gorgeous looks, and we have the makings of a characterful alternative to the dominant but straight laced German opposition. 0-62 in 3.9 seconds and seating for four including their luggage makes this car the ideal family carry all.
The star of countless internet drag race videos, the Tesla Model S P90D, a four door, four seater sedan has somewhat unexpectedly become the harbinger of the performance electric car. 0-60 in 2.8 seconds flat tends to do that, and it’s a sure-fire conversation stopper when the kids get noisy in the back. Due to nature of the electric drivetrain, acceleration tapers off once you pass triple digits but by then your point will have been made. As long as you plan your route to include charge points, you can enjoy the instant lag free electric torque delivery down all your favourite roads – using zero litres of fuel in the process.
Another car that has redefined its category, the GT-R has kept supercar manufacturers up at night trying to match its price/performance advantage. A match for the Tesla from the lights it also follows this up with a staggering top end and grip through corners, that threatens to pull the tar off the road. The coupe body style hides a pair of seats in the back (perhaps a throwback to the fact previous Skyline GT-R models were based on regular coupe cars) which add a modicum of practicality to this 570bhp sports car.
With the other models in the Maserati range having received new smaller capacity turbo engines, the superbly mellifluous 460bhp 4.7 Litre V8 found in the nose of the Maserati GranTurismo Sport is surely not long for this world. More than big enough to seat four, the rapid GranTurismo Sport is a true GT car, able to cover great distances in single gulps, only tempered by its equally awe inspiring thirst. There can be no better way to enjoy a journey with three friends than in the company of this old school bruiser, and that amazing exhaust note. Get one now before it’s too late.
Finally, the latest Ford Mustang has been deemed worthy enough to be sold in the UK. Its dynamics and cabin quality have been tweaked for European consumption, and we can now enjoy the classic good looks and deep chested V8 rumble without importing a left-hooker from the US. While the controversial turbocharged four-cylinder car may be a fine car, the Mustang is best sampled in more traditional 415bhp 5.0-litre V8 form. It may still not be the last word in driving dynamics but few competitors out there offer this much character for the £34,000 asking price.
If you are looking for all-weather traction and blistering off-the-line performance without having to spend the kids’ inheritance, you may be interested with what Audi has done with the latest TTS. The latest iteration of its venerable 2.0-litre turbocharged engine now makes 310bhp, coupled with Quattro all-wheel drive it is a serious piece of kit. Down a slippery road, few cars will touch the TT, and unlike previous TT models, the latest generation is actually a lot of fun to drive.
In among the sea of hybrid Prius and Aygo models telling you to go fun yourself, lies a true gem of a car that seems at odds with everything else in Toyota’s range. The GT86 comes with a naturally aspirated 200bhp 2.0-litre engine, rear-wheel drive and a desire to go sideways that is unique in its class. It shows that Toyota (as well as technical partner Subaru) knows a thing or two about producing a proper driver’s car. 200bhp may not seem like much these days, and it needs plenty of revs too, but this car is all about overall balance and feel. Possessing a great chassis, it provides a rare level of finesse and poise all for a very reasonable price.
Words: John Tallodi