What’s the Best Sleeper Car?



Photo: Alex Hard

Who doesn’t love a sleeper? All the power and performance of a high-tier sports car, with none of the cop-magnet looks. Sleepers are the mature, grown-up choice for performance driving, once you’ve gotten tired of all the gawkers and tickets. But, surely, one sleeper must rise above them all.

Today, we’re talking subtle performance cars, and trying to determine what makes a perfect sleeper. Can a coupe truly be subtle? Can a crossover bring enough performance to earn the title? Should we have treated the Chevy SS better? The answer to all of these questions, and more, is “yes.”

Photo: Alex Hard

My pick for the best sleeper is simple: it’s the one I owned. The fourth-generation Subaru Legacy GT, with its WRX engine and transmission hidden beneath a staid wagon body. To get more specific, I’ll say the 2005 model — the only time the long roof was available in the U.S. with a manual transmission. The Legacy GT can borrow most of a WRX’s mod list, from turbos and intercoolers to engine and transmission mounts, but does so with a certain subtlety that the Rex always lacks.

I’m not the only one to love a fast Subaru wagon. The guys over at Mighty Car Mods have now built two of them, one of which wears the same old Legacy body as my former daily driver. Boxer rumble, turbo whoosh, and room for a full Costco run behind the rear seats — what’s better than that?

The Legacy GT Wagon is my pick for the best sleeper, but what’s yours? Do you love the Chevy SS’s subtle, Malibu-esque looks, or are you big on the Volkswagen Golf R’s plain hatchback body? Give us your best answers below, and we’ll collect our favorites tomorrow.

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