The term “Q-ship” was created by the British, originally not to describe super sedans – but rather to describe a class of disguised merchant ships that were in fact heavily armored and carrying weapons. They were intended to fool German U-Boat crews into revealing their location – prior to unrestricted submarine warfare, U-Boats operated by a gentleman’s agreement where they would surface, let the crew of the ship know they were going to attack the ship and get off, and then they would sink the ship. However, these “wolves in sheep’s clothing” would later lend their name to an entire group of “unassuming” sedans equipped with larger engines and with sporting intentions. Often, the BMW M5 has been lumped into this category but I feel this is an incorrect name for it. The E28 M5 was anything but unassuming, with deep front and rear spoilers, large and wide BBS wheels, M5 badges front and rear and of course looking quite menacing in all black. To me, the Audi 200 20V is probably the ultimate “Q” ship – from the factory, only the slightly wider and slightly flared arches distinguished it from the normal 200 model; no badges, no spoilers, and sedate colors meant the performance under the hood was more or less completely hidden. Perhaps in 1985, when the M5 launched in Europe, people didn’t know what sedans were capable of – but by the time it hit U.S. shores in 1988, rest assured that every enthusiast knew what those all black E28s were:
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