The mid-’80s popularised the era of the fast family saloon, offering the practicality of a 4/5 door with performance in mind. Budgets start at 12K and the main criteria is to provide space for 4 people in comfort, their luggage and the ability to reach 130mph.
Ford provided excellent value for money with their practical XR4x4i which had the added bonus of being a 4 wheel drive.
Citroen’s brutal CX GTI was fitted with a Turbo, which enabled it to almost reach 140mph.
The Swedish gave buyers confidence by combining safety and speed, Saab had been a pioneer in the market with their 900 Turbo.
Volvo had a long tradition of fast family cars, but the introduction of the Turbo in 1986 took the brand to another level.
The newly introduced Lancia Thema was also aided by a Turbo, and quicker than the V6 version.
The Opel Senator didn’t need a Turbo to achieve its top speed, while just falling short of 130mph it was a subtle option for many buyers.
The Rover SD1 was coming to the end of its production run but had been revitalised by thanks to both the Vitesse and Vanden Plas EFI ability to reach 130mph.
Typically, the budget jumps up by some margin for the German brands, but provide some point excellent image-enhancing options. The S Class Mercedes had several engines that beat the 130mph criteria, with the 500 SEL representing the ultimate 4 door option for the brand.
BMW also has a long tradition of fast saloons, with all versions of the 5-Series above the 528i able to beat 130mph.
Audi’s all-wheel-drive 200 Quattro was an exclusive but pricy option, but the fastest of this batch.