We’re continuing our look back at the best cars of 2021, and while we love performance we know not everyone can drive a two-seat sports car. So today we’re running you through the finest family cars we put through their paces this year.
It’s a diverse group, in terms of price, performance and style, but all have one thing in common – they all impressed us. Here are our picks, in no particular order.
BMW M3 Competition
A fantastic return to form for the Bavarian brand’s famous sports sedan. After the previous model proved too on-edge, particularly at the limit, this latest generation has a much broader operating window.
This makes for a more accessible and enjoyable, allowing you to extract the best from the turbocharged six-cylinder engine and the track-tuned chassis It still has BMW’s trait for a firm, and at times uncompromising, ride but overall this is a fine sports sedan.
Obviously you can’t talk about the M3 without mentioning the polarizing front-end design. Personally, I’m not a fan but it somehow manages to look more cohesive on the 3-Series four-door sedan than the two-door 4-Series range; even though it was primarily designed with the latter in mind.
If you can look behind the big grille, you’re rewarded with a deeply rewarding sports sedan.
Porsche Taycan 4S
On pure performance our pick would be the Taycan Turbo S we drove this year, but for its allrounder abilities and superior value the 4S is our pick of the Taycan range – at least for now.
While not as powerful as the Turbo, the 4S still offers up 390kW/640Nm which provides immense performance for a sports sedan. Or to put it another way, the 560kW/1050Nm Turbo S is a ludicrously fast car, while the Taycan 4S is only a very, very fast one.
The ease of performance, coupled with a typically well-engineered chassis along with its practical layout makes the Taycan a fantastic addition to the Porsche line-up.
Audi RS4 Avant
Sure, not technically a sports sedan as much as a sports wagon, but the RS4 Avant is the four-ring brand’s closest rival to the BMW M3.
Powered by a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 engine it shares with Porsche – which makes 331kW/600Nm – the RS4 blows away any old-fashioned, negative connotations attached to the station wagon layout.
It’s ability to swallow shopping or sporting equipment is matched only by its speed and poise when driven hard. This is a true all-rounder in the deepest sense of the word.
Kia Stinger V6
It can’t be all high-end sports sedans on this list, and while it’s in danger of fading away in the near-future, the updated Stinger range reminded us what an under-rated performance car it is.
While it never quite reaches the highs of the likes of the homegrown Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon, the Stinger is nonetheless a really fun sports sedan for those without a Euro-sized budget.
The 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 makes 274kW/510Nm, the chassis is well-sorted and the recent styling tweaks keep the looks fresh.
Unfortunately it doesn’t look like the Stinger will get a next-generation model, so if you want to experience it you may want to act sooner rather than later.