Rear-wheel-drive sports cars are all the rage, but you can have plenty of fun with a front-wheel-drive car, too.
It’s no secret that RWD cars churn out performance like none other, ranging anywhere from 350 horsepower to 707 hp found in the Hellcat-powered Dodge Charger and Challenger models. But what about FWD cars? They have limitations, but you might be surprised to hear what the most powerful FWD cars available in 2016 are.
In case you’re wondering where the crossovers and SUVs are, we decided to reserve this list to traditional passenger cars.
Civic Type R – 306 HP
Wait, what? The Honda Civic Type R isn’t available in North America! Well, not yet… and that’s why it sort of deserves a spot on this list. OK, maybe we’re just Honda fanboys and we’ll make any excuse to include the Civic Type R on a list in hopes that Honda will hurry up and bring the hot hatch to the States. Even though the Honda Civic Type R sold elsewhere in the world churns out 306 hp, it is actually no longer the fastest front-wheel-drive car around the Nurburgring. That honor belongs to the new Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S that packs a close 305 hp.
Chrysler 200S V6 – 295 HP
As for what is available in the U.S., the list starts off with the Chrysler 200S V6, which is the only car on the list with less than 300 hp. The midsize sedan might be getting the axe soon, but it is one of the most powerful front-drivers available today. Under the hood is the familiar 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine from FCA, sporting 295 hp and 262 pound-feet of torque.
Nissan Maxima – 300 HP
Nissan isn’t shying away from shoving its V6 engine under the hood of every model imaginable. The Nissan Maxima is the latest to benefit, with the 3.5-liter V6 mill providing 300 hp and 261 lb-ft of torque.
Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E – 302 HP
Volvo might have a rich history in safety, but it’s getting serious about luxury and performance. The Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is both turbocharged and supercharged, generating 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.
Buick LaCrosse – 304 HP
Buick’s full-sized LaCrosse comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 304 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque. It is also available in all-wheel drive for those who need more control in rain, sleet or snow.
Lincoln MKS – 304 HP
Lincoln’s MKS sedan has a 3.7-liter V6 with 304 hp and 279 lb-ft of torque. Shoppers can also opt for all-wheel drive with the base engine, or upgrade to a 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 with 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. The EcoBoost powerplant is only available with all-wheel drive, however.
Cadillac XTS – 304 HP
With the Cadillac ATS-V and CTS-V models wreaking havoc all over the road, the XTS has arguably become the most boring model in Cadillac’s lineup. Standard is a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 304 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque.
Chevrolet Impala – 305 HP
Powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 305 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque, you might be surprised that the Chevrolet Impala is front-wheel drive. Well, it is. If you want to complain to somebody, complain to Chevrolet.
Acura RLX – 310 HP
Acura’s flagship RL sedan is another surprising FWD offering, sporting a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 310 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque. Then again, Honda and Acura have built their reputation over the years in offering FWD vehicles, so one could argue the RLX fits in the Japanese automaker’s lineup perfectly.
Lincoln MKZ – 350 HP
It might not be available just yet, but the 2017 Lincoln MKZ should be arriving dealerships before the year’s end. If you simply want the most powerful FWD car available, the new MKZ packs a serious punch with 350 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque from a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine. Even better is if you opt for all-wheel drive, you will get 400 hp to play around with. Now if you’re impatient, the 2016 Lincoln MKZ isn’t too shabby either, coming standard with a 3.7-liter V6 with 303 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque. The optional 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 can also be had in FWD trim with 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque.