Big fast cars

To make a car faster, add power or reduce weight. Some cars are fast and big and don’t cost mega-money, though. Here are some of the best

James Wilson
Jan 8, 2021

Fast big cars are one of those things which simply shouldn't work. Why? Well, the bigger something is, the heavier you'd expect it to be. And the heavier something is, the harder it is to move it around quickly. Large and speedy cars are very much a thing, though, and they don't even have to be expensive, as modern lightweight materials and ever more powerful engines have helped ensure big cars can be speedy. In fact, there are even some large and practical cars which will outpace a fair few small sports cars.

Don’t think big fast cars are particularly rare, either. There are rapid estates, spritely SUVs and even the odd pacey pickup truck. What’s more, some makes and models fly under the radar with styling that masks the power below, while others are not so subtle with exciting exhaust notes and attention-grabbing styling. So whether you want your big fast car to be loud and proud or speedy but silent, there are plenty of options.

So, keep reading for our roundup of the best fast big cars across a number of car types. Naturally, each car had to be fast. However, we've scaled what we're classing as fast to suit the car type. For example, our fast big estate car choices can accelerate from 0-62mph in six seconds or less, while our big fast pick-up and people carrier are a little slower, but still speedy for the type of car.

Models chosen also had to be big irrespective of type - each car here is at least 4.6m long - although most are significantly longer - and offer a benefit for all that size, whether it's lots of seats for passengers, a large boot or load bed, or simply to provide a more luxurious feel. Finally, cars had to be readily available second-hand on BuyaCar for less than £40,000 (which typically equates to around £575 per month on PCP finance) but many are significantly more affordable. Now housekeeping is finished, on with the show...

Big fast cars

1. BMW 3 Series Touring

Best fast big upmarket estate car

Our pick BMW 330d M Sport
Used deals from £19,548
Monthly finance from £382*

Boot space (seats up) 495 litresBoot space (seats down) 1,500 litres
0-62mph 5.6 secondsTop speed 155mph

 

The BMW 3 Series is known for being well-built, practical, fast and economical - although how fast and how economical very much depend upon which engine you choose. Whether you go for a petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid model, however, all 3 Series models handle corners with impressive agility compared with most rivals. That means that if you choose powerful version you don't just have to use the speed in a straight line.

The 3 Series isn't the largest car, but the Touring estate does offer a bit more size and space - especially in the boot. Standard equipment on the powerful 330d diesel model is decent if not as generous as some rivals, though you do get Bluetooth, leather upholstery, rear parking sensors and climate control air-conditioning included in all models. An automatic gearbox is standard, too.

One area where the 330d stands out more is in its extremely punchy 3.0-litre diesel engine that produces just shy of 260hp - a hefty amount for a diesel engine of this size - and an even more substantial amount of low-engine-speed muscle. That means that not only can it keep accelerating to 155mph flat out, but it can also sprint from 0-62mph in a pretty speedy 5.6 seconds.

That's fast enough to outstrip most cars on the road and what's even more impressive is the 330d's ability to pick up speed effortlessly while already moving. Opt for an 'xDrive' four-wheel drive model and that muscle is even more usable, as you don't have to worry about having the traction control cut the power to stop spinning the wheels, making it more speedy more of the time. Being a relatively frugal diesel also means that there is impressive fuel economy to match the performance, too.

BMW 3 SERIES TOURING BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Skoda Superb Estate

Best fast big understated estate car

Our pick Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TSI 280 4x4 Sportline
Used deals Limited stock

Boot space (seats up) 625 litresBoot space (seats down) 1,760 litres
0-62mph 5.8 secondsTop speed 155mph

 

What do you get when you cross an enormous, big-booted estate with a rather powerful engine? The Skoda Superb Estate 280, that’s what. The standard Superb Estate is a superbly practical car for the money, offering a colossal boot and ample room to transport five supersized humans. You might be wondering how much of this practicality has been lost by boosting performance to enable a rapid 5.8-second 0-62mph time? The answer: zilch.

What’s more, the quick Superb doesn’t make speed a chore. All 280hp models come with a 2.0-litre petrol engine, four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox, so simply steer it where it needs to go and press the accelerator and you can make rapid progress without much effort.

There are only a handful of specifications available with the 280hp engine and they are Sportline, Sportline Plus and Laurin + Klement. The first two give the car a sportier feel, with Sportline Plus adding a few desirable extras, while Laurin + Klement has a more subtle look and a luxury feel on the inside. As these sit at the top of the Skoda Superb model range, standard equipment is rather good whichever you go for.

SKODA SUPERB ESTATE BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Volkswagen Amarok V6

Best fast big pick-up

Our pick Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 TDI 224hp Highline
Used deals from £27,999
Monthly finance from £644*

Towing capacity 3,000kg (minimum)Maximum weight in the load bed 1,000kg (minimum)
0-62mph 8.0 secondsTop speed 119mph

 

Pick-ups were traditionally tough workhorses with space in the back to throw tools and work materials and seating for up to five upfront. Until recently, though, they weren’t particularly relaxing to drive, they weren’t very well equipped and they weren’t fast. The Volkswagen Amarok V6, though, is all of those things and even comes with three power outputs, depending just how fast you want yours to be.

For the best balance of performance and affordability, mid-range models are the ones to find (the figures above are for this version of the Amarok). If money is no object, however, the range-topping V6 does promise more power (with 258hp) and a faster 0-62mph time of 7.4 seconds. That may not be rapid in car terms, but the Amarok really does feel rapid and is even surprisingly enjoyable to drive.

Range-topping 258hp models are only available in well-equipped Highline spec with the other main trim being Trendline. Standard equipment includes electric windows, air-conditioning and cruise control. While V6 Amaroks promise plenty of performance, they are quite tall so aren’t the sharpest around corners. The Audi SQ5 and Porsche Cayenne also in our roundup offer much more car-like handling - as they don't need heavy duty suspension to be able to carry and tow huge weights - so if this important for you, look at those first.

VOLKSWAGEN AMAROK BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Jaguar XF Sportbrake S

Best fast big affordable luxury car

Our pick Jaguar XF Sportbrake 3.0d V6 S
Used deals from £30,780
Monthly finance from £512*

Boot space (seats up) 565 litresBoot space (seats down) 1,700 litres
0-62mph 6.1 secondsTop speed 155mph

 

Jaguars are known for prioritising style and comfort above all else and while they are normally big, the Jaguar XF Sportbrake (with ‘Sportbrake’ being Jaguar-speak for estate), offers another benefit from its dimensions - bags of luggage space and ample room for five passengers. It also gives you oodles of performance in high-performance diesel 3.0d S form.

The positives don’t stop there either. Take the styling; few can argue the XF Sportbrake isn’t one of the most striking estate cars on the market. Plus there are plenty of handy features such as rear air suspension that automatically levels itself depending on the weight of luggage in the boot.

Unlike the Amarok above, which offers better performance than roadholding, this sporty estate doesn’t just go quickly in a straight line. It is a delight to drive along twisty roads. All 3.0d versions power the rear wheels - like a traditional sports car - and come with an automatic gearbox, so you can enjoy the power and comfort but don't need to be too involved in the driving process. Standard equipment includes an eight-inch touchscreen media system (which is good, but not as good as that found in the BMW 5 Series, for instance), Bluetooth, heated front seats and cruise control.

JAGUAR XF BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Audi SQ5

Best fast big sporty SUV

Our pick Audi SQ5 Quattro
Used deals from £25,989
Monthly finance from £427*

Boot space (seats up) 520 litresBoot space (seats down) 1,560 litres
0-62mph 5.1 secondsTop speed 155mph

 

Many drivers choose SUVs for the high ride height and showy looks. The SQ5, however, has speed in a scale to match its size, though. That comes courtesy of a supremely powerful 3.0-litre diesel engine that produces well over 300hp, which is a huge amount in a family SUV and fires the SQ5 along with serious pace.

All models come with four-wheel drive - so you don't have to worry about wheelspin when accelerating hard and making the most of that substantial power - and an automatic gearbox which works well with the engine to exploit the impressive performance, even if cornering in the tall SQ5 isn't as engaging as in the likes of the lower BMW 3 Series or Jaguar XF Sportbrake.

There is a newer version of the Audi SQ5 but we're recommending the original here. There are a couple of reasons for this; firstly, older versions are naturally more affordable and secondly they use a diesel engine, which is likely to be more economical with everyday driving than the current version with its petrol engine). As for equipment, there are a number of sporty goodies as standard - such as quad exhaust pipes, more aggressive exterior styling and a sportier feel inside.

AUDI Q5 BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer

Best fast big people carrier

Our pick Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer 2.0 BlueHDi 160 Feel
Used deals from £19,500
Monthly finance from £306*

Boot space (seven seats up) 165 litresBoot space (seats down) 2,181 litres
0-62mph 9.2 secondsTop speed 130mph

 

Right, bear with us here. In general, a 0-62mph time of 9.2 seconds isn’t all that fast and it is probably safe to say when people think of a fast car, they don’t think of a French seven-seat people carrier. That said, if you are looking for a fast and big wagon that can happily transport seven people, few are as quick and as practical as the Grand C4 SpaceTourer when paired with Citroen’s 160hp diesel engine. Don't believe us? The 180hp diesel Ford S-Max goes from 0 to 62mph in 9.7 seconds and the 160hp Renault Grand Scenic - which is much less practical - takes 10.7 seconds.

There are some more practical options (such as the van-based Mercedes V-Class) and there are some slightly faster alternatives (including the 184hp diesel Seat Alhambra) but the Citroen is the best of both worlds. More importantly for many drivers, used prices are very affordable, which contributes to low monthly payments, too, compared with many alternatives.

Moving away from speed, fuel economy is strong, although unsurpringly 160hp models cannot match the official fuel economy figure of the much slower 100hp versions, though we'd expect to have to work the weedy 100hp engine hard to get up to speed on faster roads, meaning that you're unlikely to get near its claimed figures. It’s not all about numbers, though, as standard equipment is important, too, and the Grand C4 SpaceTourer has plenty - rear parking sensors, cruise control and climate control are all included.

CITROEN GRAND C4 SPACETOURER BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Volvo XC90 T8 Plug-in Hybrid

Best fast big seven-seat SUV

Our pick Volvo XC90 T8 Plug-in Hybrid R Design
Used deals from £43,980
Monthly finance from £710*

Boot space (seven seats up) 316 litresBoot space (seats down) 1,816 litres
0-62mph 5.8 secondsTop speed 140mph

 

Like many Volvos, the XC90 prides itself on being safe, comfortable and well-built. What separates T8 models from regular XC90s (and many rivals) is an excellent plug-in hybrid system, which combines a petrol engine, electric motor and battery pack to provide strong acceleration and the ability to drive the car on electric power alone - provided you remember to charge the batteries up first.

Another standout feature is that the rearmost seats are big enough for adults - though taller people will prefer sitting in the middle row. The level of standard equipment thrown in is great, too, as you'd expect for a car that was expensive when new. Adaptive cruise control (which holds the car at a set speed and automatically keeps you a safe distance behind the car in front, slowing you down if it brakes and speeding you back up if it then picks up speed), reversing camera and keyless starting are all included.

All models come with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and an automatic gearbox. With the addition of the high-voltage electronics total power output isn’t too far off 400hp - a huge amount for any kind of family car - even a big, heavy one like this - helping to punch the car up to 62mph in less than six seconds.

Despite this, PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) XC90s are more about effortless performance than blasting around like you're in a sports car - which will quickly use up the battery charge. Either way, you won't want for power with the XC90 PHEV. Just remember to keep the batteries charged to benefit from the electric motor. Fail to do so and you're just carrying around a very heavy electric motor and battery pack, which will cause the petrol engine to burn more fuel.

VOLVO XC90 BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Porsche Cayenne

Best fast big luxury SUV

Our pick Porsche Cayenne Diesel S
Used deals Limited stock

Boot space (seats up) 618 litresBoot space (seats down) 1,728 litres
0-62mph 7.3 secondsTop speed 137mph

 

For most people, ‘Porsche’ automatically translates to ‘speed’, but before the arrival of the Cayenne, few of the German car maker’s vehicles were anywhere near large enough to be classed as properly big. The original Porsche Cayenne was a little hit and miss, offering an impressive drive but controversial styling. However, the second-generation was much better and takes some beating as an upmarket large fast SUV.

Due to the Cayenne's size and weight, while a number of the petrol models offer serious muscle and make it ridiculously fast, they can burn through a huge amount of fuel, making you less likely to enjoy the power than you might be. On the other hand, 3.0-litre diesel versions also offer a decent amount of punch but are more suited to everyday motoring - not least due to their decent fuel economy.

When it comes to specification, Porsche doesn’t do things like other manufacturers. The trims (such as 'S' and 'GTS') denote an engine as much as anything, so it is best to decide on the fuel/performance level that appeals and go from there. Yes, this means that waiting for the right used model with the right optional equipment added might seem like an irritation, but since Porsche is notorious for charging very high amounts for optional extras consider yourself lucky that you didn't have to pay the car's new price.

PORSCHE CAYENNE BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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