The Fastest Sedans in Lightning Lap History ""
Posted on: September 5, 2017

A fast four-door is something special—and secretive. Even the burliest, muscled-up sedans can slip under the radar of most fellow commuters, who see a family-oriented grocery-getter, not a track weapon. Yet there are a plethora of sedans that can throw down on a racing circuit, as our annual Lightning Lap shootout proves. We’ve run piles of four-door sedans at Virginia International Raceway—where we head each year with the hottest performance cars, in order to extract their quickest lap—and here we present the 15 quickest so far.Lightning Lap 2011-Class: LL2-Lap Time: 03:05.4-Horsepower: 416-Curb Weight: 3801 lb-A previous IS F turned a less-than-impressive 3:14.0. We said then, “A little attention to springs and damping might make this eager contender a real champ,” as the stiffly sprung F zapped confidence in high-speed corners. A revised model took to the track three years later and sliced some major time from its lap. READ MORE ››Lightning Lap 2013-Class: LL3-Lap Time: 03:05.2-Horsepower: 560-Curb Weight: 4425 lb-If there is a hero in the M5's 3:05.2 lap, it's the twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8. It's a war horse that pulls the wagon and refuses to yield under fire. READ MORE ››Lightning Lap 2012-Class: LL3-Lap Time: 03:04.9-Horsepower: 550-Curb Weight: 4308 lb-In a battle of the four-door heavyweights, Mercedes proves that a big competitor can be graceful. The CLS63 weighed in at a not insubstantial 4308 pounds, which should inflict a beating on tires and brakes. Yet, the Benz powered around the course coolly, and its 3:04.9 lap was quicker than both of the flyweight Lotuses, the Evora S and the Exige S 260 Sport, that were lapped the same year. If Colin Chapman were still alive, the procession of heads rolling at Hethel would make the French Revolution look like a minor skirmish. READ MORE ››2017 BMW Alpina B7 xDriveLightning Lap 2008-Class: LL2-Lap Time: 03:04.0-Horsepower: 556-Curb Weight: 4269 lb-If the Corvette was predictable as the LL2 champ this year, the car that put up the second-best lap time in the category was a surprise. Yes, the CTS-V’s 6.2-liter supercharged LSA V-8 made 556 horsepower, 120 more than the Vette, and, yes, horsepower definitely counts on this circuit. READ MORE ››2017 Audi S8 PlusLightning Lap 2014-Class: LL3-Lap Time: 03:03.0-Horsepower: 560-Curb Weight: 4442 lb-Sharknado, a cautionary tale about removing predators from their natural environment, is an apt metaphor for the Audi RS7. This 560-hp luxury bullet, so buffed and menacing, so unquestionably the top of the boulevard food chain, becomes a messy B-movie horror show on a track. We thought of nothing but escape, but cooler heads prevented us from using a chain saw to cut ourselves out of it. READ MORE ››Lightning Lap 2012-Class: LL4-Lap Time: 03:00.7-Horsepower: 550-Curb Weight: 4434 lb-We’ve clocked the regular Turbo version of Dr. Seuss’s Porsche at 3.3 seconds to 60 mph, so we know it is absurdly quick for its size. But who could have guessed that this new Turbo S version could outrun a 911 GT3 and equal the 3:00.7 lap time of the Ford GT on a racecourse as demanding as VIR? READ MORE ››Lightning Lap 2014-Class: LL3-Lap Time: 03:00.1-Horsepower: 577-Curb Weight: 4400 lb-The Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-model feels a lot like a nuclear-powered king-size water bed—probably. Soft, comfortable, and fun to jump on, the E63 has a 577-hp reactor under the hood that dials up sweat-inducing speeds with ease, but its four-wheel-drive chassis sloshes around whenever you change direction. Still, it turned a stunning 3:00.1 lap, 6.8 seconds quicker than the 518-hp, rear-drive E63 we tested back in 2011. READ MORE ››Lightning Lap 2015-Class: LL2-Lap Time: 02:59.8-Horsepower: 464-Curb Weight: 3809 lb-There are moments on the track when you’d swear that GM just went out and hired half the Le Mans grid for its development team. Really, the ATS-V sedan’s chassis is that good. After rumbling out of the pits, you’ve got at least three solid laps of peak performance to extract your time. That may not sound like very many, but we’ve seen cars of much higher pedigree go soft after a lap or two. The Cadillac’s tires and brakes—especially the brakes, those wonderful, unbreakable brakes—soak up the abuse with a shrug and keep going. READ MORE ››2017 Porsche Panamera TurboLightning Lap 2015-Class: LL3-Lap Time: 02:59.2-Horsepower: 503-Curb Weight: 3949 lb-For the past few years, Mercedes has sent along a man, Karl-Heinz Seitter, to mind its cars at Lightning Lap. He’s also become a kind of Mercedes-Benz team manager, ­gently prodding our drivers to do better. Tell him you got a 3:02 and he’ll ask you if three-flat is possible. Get the three-flat and he’ll have you chasing 2:59. We love Karl-Heinz; it’s like ­having the great, globular Rennleiter Alfred Neubauer along, but without the gray serge and fedora. READ MORE ››2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia QuadrifoglioLightning Lap 2015-Class: LL3-Lap Time: 02:56.8-Horsepower: 640-Curb Weight: 4114 lb-Some things, while physically possible, just shouldn’t be done. For example: flushing a public toilet with anything other than your shoe, driving a cargo van to pick up your prom date, or drinking a Skinnygirl Marga­rita at a football tailgate. You can add lapping a 4114-pound sedan at VIR in 2:56.8 to the list. Big sedans aren’t supposed to corner this fast; inhaling highway without compressing spinal discs over bumps is their prime directive. Yet GM’s ultrasedan does it all, sticking an all-American pin into the balloon of German dominance in this genre. READ MORE ››2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S “”

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