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Back in the day, buying a fast car meant spending close to or over $100,000. That’s mainly due to the fact that most sports cars in the market weren’t nearly as quick as the exotic cars that cost twice as much. But it’s 2023, and most of the common sports cars nowadays are quicker than the exotic cars in the past. Check out these five high-octane sports cars that cost less than half of $100,000.

1. 2024 Ford Mustang GT with the Performance Package — $47,570

A bright-red 2024 Ford Mustang GT Convertible parks on a road near the beach.
2024 Ford Mustang GT Premium Convertible | Ford

The 2024 Ford Mustang enters its seventh generation with styling and performance changes. New generation aside, if you want performance at a good price, the Mustang GT is the way to go. The GT model is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine that generates 450 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque.

With that kind of power, it can get up to 60 mph from a standstill in only 4.2 seconds with the performance package. The best part is that this high-end performance costs less than $50,000.

2. 2024 Volkswagen Golf R — $45,540

An exterior side shot of a 2024 Volkswagen Golf R performance hatchback model
2024 Volkswagen Golf R | Volkswagen of America, Inc. Newspress Limited

The latest generation of the Volkswagen Golf R is powered by the same turbocharged 2.0-liter engine as before, but it makes more power. The stout powerplant now puts out 315 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, which is up from 288 and 280, respectively.

The newfound power goes out to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic or a six-speed manual transmission. When it hits the ground, the Golf R can go from 0 to 60 mph in only 3.9 seconds with the stick shift and 4.9 seconds with the automatic.

3. 2024 Audi S3 — $45,900

A front view of a red 2023 Audi S3
2023 Audi S3 | Audi

The 2024 Audi S3 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It can fit up to five passengers in its small sedan cabin, has a decent-sized trunk, and well-mannered driving dynamics. But if you hammer the throttle, the little Audi S3 comes to life with 306 hp pumping out of its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine. With that kind of power, the S3 can get up to 60 mph in only 4.3 seconds, thanks in part to the car’s Quattro AWD system. The S3 is definitely a little sleeper.

4. 2023 Honda Civic Type R — $44,890

The 2023 Honda Civic Type R on the track
2023 Honda Civic Type R | Honda

The 2023 Honda Civic Type R offers a spacious cabin and a cavernous trunk due to its hatchback configuration. But it’s not just any old commuter car; instead, the Civic Type R is powered by stout turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that pumps out 315 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The power is routed to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission and is able to propel this fast car up to 60 mph in only 4.9 seconds.

5. 2024 BMW M2 — $48,900

A new BMW M2 drives around a corner.
G87 M2 | BMW

The BMW M2 is quite a little terror on the track and the street. We tested it a few months ago and enjoyed every bit of its 453-hp, twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine. Of course, we couldn’t put all of the power to use by driving around town, but we got a good sense of its ability to get to 60 mph in only 3.9 seconds. The M2 is fast, relatively comfortable, and really sleek looking. It’s amazing that it costs less than $50,000.

These fast cars are definitely worth their sub-$50,000 price tags

You don’t have to look buy a supercar or exotic to have a fast car anymore. Nowadays, spending $50,000 will give you a lot of driving thrill and some practicality based on the cars on this list.