The spotlight always shines on the superstars. These are the cars with the most powerful engines, largest wheels and most radical bodywork. In the midsize luxury sedan market, the brightest illumination falls on the flagships such as the BMW M5, Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, Cadillac CTS-V, Jaguar XFR and Audi S6. These four-doors not only frequently secure the cover shots and garner the lion's share of publicity, they also carry hefty window stickers.
But take a look past the flared wheel arches, side skirts and rear decklid spoilers and drop down a big notch in price. There you will find the unexpected sleepers – vehicles that appear much like their standard siblings yet pack serious firepower under the hood and all the proper go-fast equipment to tame it.
While not everyone in the midsize luxury sedan segment offers a contender in this niche (Audi and Cadillac only muster six-cylinder power), the BMW 550i, Mercedes-Benz E550 4Matic and this Jaguar XF Supercharged we recently spent a week with are prime examples of four-doors ripe for the discreet enthusiast.