Treat yourself to a second-hand sleeper, now that’s a good idea!

They are the opposite of the S line, Pack M, N Line, Gordini or Alpine versions, as at Renault with the Austral for example. These labels suggest sportsmanship when this is often not the case. A sleeper is, on the contrary, a model with a wise look, but which actually has it under the hood.

Some of these sleepers can be betrayed by specific exhaust outlets or by a “V6” badge, but they generally hide their game very well. All their interest is precisely there. And to top it off, they don’t require too much of a budget.

Our non-exhaustive selection does not include certain models. We haven’t forgotten the Citroën Xantia V6, Ford Mondeo ST, Lancia Thema 8.32, or even the first generation Subaru Forester. They will be the subject of a second part on the subject. By the way, if you have any ideas, feel free to suggest them in the comments…

Audi A3 3.2 Quattro

Audi A3 3.2 Quattro

Slip a six-cylinder engine under the hood of a compact, the idea is not new, but still has its little effect. Under this discreet A3, very close to a diesel version apart from the “3.2” badge at the rear, hides a real GT. Its purpose is not to hit lap times on the track, but it allows you to drive fast and in good comfort. Technically very close to the Volkswagen Golf R32 of the time, its melodious and powerful engine (250 hp/320 Nm) provides great sensations. You just have to put up with a certain penchant for drinking.
Learn more about the Audi A3 3.2 Quattro

Treat yourself to a second-hand sleeper, now that's a good idea!

What you can find:
This model is offered at all prices. A budget of €10,000 seems the minimum to find a model in fair condition, but it will still show 150,000 km on average. Note that the S tronic automatic transmission is more widespread than the manual transmission.

BMW 130i

BMW 130i
BMW 130i

Apart from the chrome grille bars and the twin exhaust outlets, this Series 1 resembles a classic 120d, especially when it is devoid of the M pack. As soon as the engine is started, this BMW sets the tone. In addition to giving voice, the strong atmospheric 3.0 l block of 265 hp displays good health and only runs out of steam when approaching the red zone, at 7,000 rpm. On the chassis side, the steering remains precise, the front axle fits easily and retains grip with will, while the rear rolls up smoothly. A real pleasure ! And to top it off, she knows how to be sober.
Learn more about the BMW 130i

Treat yourself to a second-hand sleeper, now that's a good idea!

What you can find:
The 130i starts under €9,000. At this price, the 200,000 km mark has been crossed. Compared to the A3, manual gearboxes are more represented and the M pack is very often required. With €14,000 in your pocket, you can claim a phase 2 version having covered around 150,000 km. The most beautiful examples are close to €19,000, but low mileage hardly exists.

Citroen C5 I V6

Citroen C5 I V6
Citroen C5 I V6

Grandpa’s car the C5? In any case, this is the image it conveys, but it may surprise more than one. This large sedan with a placid line can spin up to 240 km/h! Its secret lies in its V6 3.0 of 210 hp and its contained weight, for a family (1,480 kg). Cozy and very pleasant to the ear, this block does not transform this C5 into a real sports car, but the vigor is there. It should therefore not be taken for what it is not, especially since the suspension clearly favors comfort over dynamism.
Find out more about the Citroën C5 I V6

Treat yourself to a second-hand sleeper, now that's a good idea!

What you can find:
The C5 V6 is at a bargain price, sometimes starting at €1,500! However, a budget of €5,000 is more appropriate to avoid disappointment. At this price, some models have less than 70,000 km. On the other hand, fans of mechanical gearboxes will have to arm themselves with a lot of patience.

Ford S-Max I 2.5T

Ford S-Max 2.5T
Ford S-Max 2.5T

A five-cylinder turbo engine in a minivan, that’s not trivial. It is neither more nor less than the block that animates the Focus ST of the time. With 220 hp and 320 Nm of torque, it has no trouble moving the whole family up to 230 km / h, and this in a hoarse sound. With such a size and such health, it necessarily pays off on the consumption side. It will be replaced mid-career by a more economical 240 hp four-cylinder block, but also much less tasty to use.

Treat yourself to a second-hand sleeper, now that's a good idea!

What you can find:
This minivan does not run the streets, nor the announcements. The only models advertised are offered for around €10,000 and can display more than 200,000 km. Obviously, the owners of five-cylinder S-Max do not hesitate to drive.

Mazda 6 MPS (2005-2008)

Mazda 6 MPS
Mazda 6 MPS

Its rims and its exhausts can betray it somewhat. For the rest, this Mazda seems to be a peaceful wagon. However, its 2.3 turbo block of 260 hp is just waiting to catapult its passengers. Plus, it can count on all-wheel drive to not waste any horsepower. Rather comfortable and soft at first glance, this 6 is not in the figuration side accelerations. We can then regret that the damping is not better calibrated and the chassis sharper.
Learn more about the Mazda 6 MPS

Treat yourself to a second-hand sleeper, now that's a good idea!


What you can find:

It is difficult to give a price range, as copies are rare. However, we can reasonably expect a budget of €13,000 for a model that has covered just over 100,000 km.

Rover 75 V8

Rover 75 V8
Rover 75 V8

This is a real UFO. Starting from a base 75, i.e. traction and transverse engine, Rover decided to fit a 260 hp Ford 4.6L V8 big block in it in the longitudinal position and thus make its rear wheels driving. A lot of investment for a commercial flop in the end. For this reason alone, this Englishwoman deserves our attention. Even if the running gear, brakes and suspensions are adapted, the 75 is above all a GT, capable of spinning at 240 km/h in royal comfort.

What you can find:
A very specific version from a brand that has disappeared, no need to draw a picture, this Rover is very rare.

Renault Espace IV V6 3.5

Renault Espace IV V6 3.5
Renault Espace IV V6 3.5

Group synergy is often good, this Space is proof of that. Under its hood is neither more nor less than the 3.5 l V6 of the Nissan 350Z coupé. It is a little less powerful here, but still claims 245 hp! He thus takes this “TGV” off the road at 225 km/h, despite a respectable weight of 1,745 kg. In addition to being healthy, the Espace V6 in no way denies its fundamentals: good space for each passenger, large trunk volume and suspension comfort. It is the ideal tool between family obligations and mechanical pleasure.
Find out more about the Renault Espace IV V6 3.5

Treat yourself to a second-hand sleeper, now that's a good idea!


What you can find:

They are not very numerous, but there are a few copies on the second-hand market. A budget of €6,000 is sufficient, provided you accept high mileage.

Subaru Legacy 3.0 R

Treat yourself to a second-hand sleeper, now that's a good idea!

Under its appearance of not touching it, the Legacy 3.0 R adopts a mechanism whose architecture is similar to that of a 911. It is a six-cylinder flat engine, developing 245 hp, and enjoying a unique sound. Subaru obliges, all-wheel drive is standard. Without being a weapon of war, this saloon, or station wagon, is capable of driving at a sustained pace, whatever the terrain encountered, all with great discretion. It therefore meets the sleeper criteria.

Treat yourself to a second-hand sleeper, now that's a good idea!

What you can find:
The hardest part is probably finding one. It is necessary to extend its research to Europe, and in particular Germany. A starting bet of €6,000 is sufficient, the estate variants are a little more represented.

Volkswagen Passat W8

Volkswagen Passat W8
Volkswagen Passat W8

With this generation of Passat, Volkswagen realized that it could tickle the premium brands. So, the idea came to install a large 4.0 l 275 hp engine, with a particular architecture since this eight-cylinder is in W. No need to believe in an ounce of sportiness at the wheel of this family. Its credo: calm, luxury and voluptuousness, or the art of transporting five passengers at 250 km/h in silence and without vibration.
Learn more about the Volkswagen Passat W8

Treat yourself to a second-hand sleeper, now that's a good idea!


What you can find:

They can be counted on the fingers of one hand, or a little more. Either way, this W8 is a rarity. However, a budget below €10,000 is enough, but high mileages are legion.

Volkswagen Golf IV V6 4Motion

Volkswagen Golf IV V6 4Motion
Volkswagen Golf IV V6 4Motion

It’s neither the GTi and its little four-cylinder, nor the flashy-looking R32, it’s a mix of the two. With 204 hp, the VR6 engine seen for the first time on the Golf III, makes it possible to reach 235 km/h here and to reduce the 0 to 100 km/h in 7.1 seconds. Interesting figures for this GT resembling a TDI version, the bewitching sound of the engine and more. In order to digest the 270 Nm of torque in peace, the 4Motion four-wheel drive transmission comes as standard.
Learn more about the Volkswagen Golf IV V6 4Motion

Treat yourself to a second-hand sleeper, now that's a good idea!

What you can find:
It is possible to find this model for only €3,500. But, if you have no notion of mechanics, it is preferable to increase the budget up to around €7,000. Once again, the counters are very often well stocked.

Volvo S80 V8

Volvo S80 V8
Volvo S80 V8

At first sight, it is unthinkable that this peaceful Swedish limo hides more than 300 hp under its hood, and yet! The brand had the idea of ​​developing its own, and unique, V8. It is open at 60°, cube 4.4 l of displacement and distills some 315 hp. The beauty therefore easily reaches 250 km/h, without it appearing. Indeed, as a good self-respecting Volvo, this S80 clearly favors comfort. A criterion that it masters perfectly, whether in terms of the seats, the atmosphere on board, or the suspension.
Learn more about the Volvo S80 V8

Treat yourself to a second-hand sleeper, now that's a good idea!


What you can find:

Like the Rover V8, you have to extend your research to Europe to find the shoe that fits. A minimum of €15,000 is still required.

Volvo C30 T5

Volvo C30 T5
Volvo C30 T5

What do the Focus ST, the S-Max 2.5T and this little C30 have in common? Their engine, since officiates the same five-cylinder turbo, in a configuration of 230 hp. We thus find the same qualities: typical sound of this architecture, flexibility, great vigor… Unfortunately, this is paid for at the pump since it takes 12 l/100 km on average. This Swedish is not just about its engine, its comfort, its quality interior presentation and its original line.
Learn more about the Volvo C30 T5

Treat yourself to a second-hand sleeper, now that's a good idea!

What you can find:
A minimum of €10,000 is required for this Swede with nearly 180,000 kilometers on the odometer in return. With an additional €4,000, you can claim a copy with around 130,000 km. Travel abroad should be considered.

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