Sportiest four-door cars

Who said cars with four doors have to be boring? There are all manner of sporty yet practical cars with four doors out there

James Wilson
Nov 30, 2020

Not everyone who is in the market for a sporty car wants to trade usability for performance. Many drivers want rear seats which are big enough for adults to use and four doors to access them - plus the same level of sportiness as a dedicated sports car. Being that car manufacturers are not the kind to miss a trick, there are numerous sporty four-door cars on offer - from lighting fast sleek hatchbacks to seriously sporty SUVs.

Bear in mind that since a hatchback providing access to the boot is classed as a door by manufacturers, some cars with four passenger doors are classed as four-door models, while those with hatchbacks are branded as five-door cars. Either way, both of these offer four doors for passengers, so you don't have to worry about sliding your seat backwards and forwards to allow passengers in. We've included both 'four-door' and 'five-door' models in our list below.

If you're after a sporty car with a full complement of doors for passengers, you can take your pick from saloons, where the boot and the cabin are separate, hatchbacks where you can also access the cabin from the boot and high-riding SUVs that offer the same hatchback practicality with the look of a 4x4.

All of the shortlisted models below look sporty, are sporty to drive and typically sport a price between £20,000 and £50,000 second-hand. Most also offer incredible performance if you choose a version with the right engine under the bonnet. 

Sportiest four-door cars

1. Mercedes CLA

Our pick Mercedes CLA 45 AMG 4Matic
Used deals from £26,480
Monthly finance from £235

0-62mph 4.2 secondsTop speed 155mph
Power 381hpTorque 475Nm

 

In some colour schemes, the previous-generation Mercedes CLA 45 AMG can seem somewhat reserved but be warned, this German four-door is anything but. Thanks to a mighty 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing around 380hp there are very few cars on the road that a CLA 45 can’t keep up with (in a straight line, at least).

Part of what makes the CLA 45 so rapid is that all models come with four-wheel drive (ensuring that it can make the most of its substantial amount of power with minimum wheelspin) and an automatic gearbox for super-fast gear changes.

AMG versions, such as the CLA 45, sit at the top of the range so goodies such as dual-zone climate control, a digital radio and large alloy wheels are all included. Mercedes based the CLA on the regular A-Class so there is much carried over from the hatchback - including the styling.

Practicality is a mixed bag, as the rear seats are a bit cramped but the boot can hold a substantial 470 litres of luggage, which is 90 more than the new VW Golf hatchback. For those that require lower running costs and purchase prices than AMG 45 models offer, a number of less powerful petrol and diesel models are available from around £15,000.

MERCEDES CLA BUYERS' GUIDE

2. BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

Our pick BMW 440i Gran Coupe M Sport
Used deals from £24,999
Monthly finance from £328

0-62mph 5.1 secondsTop speed 155mph
Power 326hpTorque 450Nm

 

As sporty four-door cars go, the BMW 440i Gran Coupe takes some beating - although thanks to its hatchback, this really is a five-door. Few can dispute its good looks, its interior is a great place to be and to drive, well, it is a very satisfying machine. Part of the sporty yet practical 4 Series’ magic is down to its engine – a six-cylinder petrol – which sounds brilliant and produces well over 300hp.

Equipment levels are strong, with heated, electric seats and a great media system included as standard. Memory seats mean a car can remember your preferred driving position - useful if you share your car with someone else, so you don't have to keep manually adjusting the seat, every time you swap driver.

There is no choice in gearbox and where the power from the engine goes - all 440i models are automatic and rear-wheel-drive. If a manual gearbox is a must for you, the two-door coupe 440i was offered as a manual, though these are rare in manual form.

BMW 4 SERIES GRAN COUPE BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Audi RS7

Our pick Audi RS7 4.0 TFSI V8 Quattro
Used deals from £36,995
Monthly finance from £658

0-62mph 3.9 secondsTop speed 155mph
Power 560hpTorque 700Nm

 

Let’s not beat around the bush here, a sub four-second 0 to 62mph time is incredibly fast. Much like other cars on this list, the previous-generation Audi RS7’s performance is made possible thanks to a four-wheel drive system - which insures that the car rockets forward with minimal wheelsping - and an impressive automatic gearbox (called ‘Tiptronic’ in Audi speak).

Standard equipment is rather good for this car that once cost around £80,000 upwards; 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, one of Audi’s high-end sat-nav systems, front sports seats and an electric boot. If your budget allows, there are also ‘Performance’ models available - which were launched in 2016. These gained more power (pushing the output to 605hp) plus refreshed styling and a sportier exhaust.

2010-2018 AUDI A7 BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Alfa Romeo Guilia

Our pick Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.0-litre TB Veloce
Used deals from £22,099
Monthly finance from £297

0-62mph 5.7 secondsTop speed 149mph
Power 280hpTorque 400Nm

 

Four-door saloons are normally rather bland, but Alfa Romeo injected some much-needed life into the saloon market with its Guilia and in 280hp Veloce form it offers decent punch. Most of this is thanks to a four-cylinder petrol engine that is willing to be worked hard (it sounds pretty good, too).

The Guilia’s biggest rivals are cars such as the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class and it is swings and roundabouts as to which is best. The Alfa, though, shines for its striking styling and engaging handling (even if the BMW is a sharper car to drive overall).

All models are rear-wheel drive and come with an automatic gearbox, which is nice and smooth most of the time. One mark against the Guilia is that its media system isn’t up to the same quality as some rivals. That said, equipment levels are strong, with climate control, rear parking sensors, cruise control and automatic lights and wipers included as standard.

ALFA ROMEO GIULIA BUYERS' GUIDE

5. BMW 6 Series

Our pick BMW 640d M Sport
Used deals from £19,100
Monthly finance from £337

0-62mph 5.4 secondsTop speed 155mph
Power 313hpTorque 630Nm

 

What BMW achieved with its diesel 6 Series Gran Coupe was impressive. The company managed to produce a large car which is refined, comfortable, incredibly fast, excellent to drive and all the while claiming an official fuel economy of just over 50mpg - which is more than some tiny hatchbacks. Plus, standard equipment includes cruise control, parking sensors (useful as the 6 Series Gran Coupe is pretty long) and sat-nav.

For those that are put off by the diesel engine thinking it cannot possibly sound sporty, there really is no cause for concern here. When sat stationary the six-cylinder diesel is nice and quiet and under hard acceleration it sounds almost as sporty as a petrol. Inside the cabin is similar in style to all modern-day BMWs. It is well laid out, functional and well built - if a little restrained in style.

BMW 6 SERIES GT BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Mercedes-AMG C63

Our pick Mercedes C63 AMG Saloon
Used deals from £33,980
Monthly finance from £528

0-62mph 4.1 secondsTop speed 155mph
Power 476hpTorque 650Nm

 

Mercedes-AMG C63 models are quite hard to miss. They are loud, shouty and incredibly fast. As luck would have it, though, four-door saloon versions are practical, too. Sitting inside Mercedes’ rapid C-Class saloon is very pleasant thanks to the upmarket materials used, high build quality and the onboard technology being amongst the best in class.

All recent C63 models come with a rather large 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine that sends power to the rear wheels and sounds dramatic. Those hoping for a manual gearbox will be disappointed as the C63 is automatic only. Still, it is a very good gearbox and suits the car.

For those thinking that 476hp just isn’t enough - trust us, this is a lot in a car of this size - a more potent C63 S version is available. Naturally, there is a premium to pay for the additional performance, but if you want the fastest C63, this is it.

MERCEDES C-CLASS SALOON BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Jaguar XE

Our pick Jaguar XE 3.0-litre V6 Supercharged S
Used deals Limited stock

0-62mph 5.1 secondsTop speed 155mph
Power 340hpTorque 450Nm

 

Jaguar’s standard XE is a great car to drive thanks to its sporty handling. There is, though, a model which can turn things up to 11 and it’s called the XE S. S models come with a supercharged 3.0-litre engine which sounds brilliant but is not excessively loud.

Not only that, but the XE S has sleek styling and is comfortable and refined when it needs to be. On paper, the XE S is slower than rivals from Audi and Mercedes but it is on tarmac that the Jaguar shines, offering a pleasingly sharp drive, but decent comfort, too.

As with all XE models, sat-nav and parking sensors are included as standard. S models do get sportier styling than the regular versions as well as big alloy wheels and cruise control. As a final note, Jaguar updated the XE S in 2017 and as part of the revisions boosted power to 380hp, so if you want maximum speed in your XE, go for one of these models.

JAGUAR XE BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Porsche Macan

Our pick Porsche Macan GTS PDK
Used deals Limited stock

0-62mph 5.2 secondsTop speed 159mph
Power 360hpTorque 500Nm

 

The Macan may not be a traditional four-door - in fact, with its hatchback it's very much a five-door - we have included it for an important reason; it's one of the sportiest SUVs available. This is because the Macan (in GTS specification) is actually better to drive than a good few out-and-out sports cars. There is only one engine option – a 3.0-litre petrol which is paired with an automatic gearbox (which Porsche calls ‘PDK’).

When driven hard the Macan sounds sporty and purposeful but when plodding through town it is never too rowdy. Handling is very well judged, too - sporty but not too much of a handful for normal drivers. Equipment lives up to the upmarket badge, with parking sensors, cruise control, Bluetooth and adaptive dampers all standard. Throw in a useful 500-litre boot and it's not just the four - or should that be five - doors that make the Macan practical.

PORSCHE MACAN BUYERS' GUIDE

 

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