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When buying the latest, fastest cars on the market, $15,000 does not go far. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get yourself an exceptional car for $15,000 or less. HotCars drafted a list of twenty-two wallet-friendly collectibles, and we’ve got seven of those fast affordable cars that won’t disappoint. Here are seven of the baddest cars to buy on a budget.

2006 BMW M3 is a performance staple

BMW M3 Review | AutoTopNL

A BMW M car is always a crowd favorite, considering it represents a well-engineered marriage between performance and comfort. The E46 model (2001-2006) is no different. The affordable BMW still has performance credentials, boasting 333 horsepower produced by a smooth six-cylinder powerplant. All this power means that the 2006 BMW M3 was capable of hitting 174 mph, a speed still respectable today. According to HotCars, you can drive this performance icon while wrapped in a leather interior for less than $15,000.

2004 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG can do just about anything

2004 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG by the water
Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG | Getty Images

A staple of fun and elegance, the 2004 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG takes the standard SL formula and adds forced induction. The spice in that formula is a supercharged 5.4L V8 making 493 horsepower. The result of this power is a car capable of 200 mph. The engine should be enough of a selling point, but then you get to the folding hard-top. Should your SL55 be a well-maintained example, you can go from a hard-top sports car to an open-air cruiser with the flick of a switch. You’ll want to be seen in your convertible, too, considering the timeless styling of this gem.

2003 Honda S2000 revs up to sportbike ranges

Grey 2003 Honda S2000 corners at a road course
2003 Honda S2000 | Getty Images

You said you wanted an attractive little convertible with an engine that revs up to nearly 9,000 RPM? The 2003 Honda S2000 has got you covered. Not only does the Honda S2000 sport an enthusiastic 237 horsepower, but you can enjoy it with a six-speed manual transmission as well. The 2003 Honda S2000 represents a joyful bargain for anyone looking to enjoy their drive.

2010 Ford Mustang GT is timeless and affordable

2010 Ford Mustang GT | Car and Driver

The Ford Mustang is a car that needs no introduction, especially when equipped with a V8. The 2010 Ford Mustang GT, part of the S197 line of Mustangs, is available in no shortage of colors and trims. The genuine GT bargain comes in the shape of a torquey V8, which can be enjoyed with a five-speed manual transmission. If you see your Mustang GT as more of a Pacific Coast Highway cruiser, it was also available with a five-speed automatic transmission.

2014 Audi TT is ready to take on your commute in style

2014 Audi TT at an auto show
2014 Audi TT Concept | Getty Images

The 2014 Audi TT is an immensely usable package with all-wheel drive (AWD) and 274 horsepower. Audi’s tried and tested AWD system means that you can confidently take your budget-friendly sports car out in the rain. The 2014 Audi TT is not only ready to conquer your commute in style; it is prepared to take you to point B in comfort, too. The Audi features a modern and trendy interior, the likes of which will have you thinking you stole it for less than $15,000.

Chevrolet Corvette C6 is a road rocket

C6 Corvette on display at a show
Chevrolet Corvette C6 | Getty Images

The Chevrolet Corvette C6 (2005-2013) is a serious performance bargain, not unlike the older C5. There are a few model years of Corvette C6 to avoid, but the C6 offers a lot in an affordable package. First, the Kentucky-built American icon produced 400 horsepower and that same number in torque. If that is not enough, the base models had a removable roof panel, heads-up display (HUD), and leather seats. Finally, the Corvette is available with either a manual or automatic transmission.

2008 Mitsubishi Evo X is a four-door riot

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X | Roads Untraveled

Oh, so you want four doors on your performance bargain? The 2008 Mitsubishi Evo X will thrill you and your backseat buddies with 291 horsepower. Not only is the Mitsubishi Evo X powerful, but it’s also fun with an available six-speed manual transmission. Finally, the Mitsubishi Evo X will confidently handle the track and daily conditions using AWD.

Any of these cars will bring you fun with frugality

There is something for everyone on this list of affordable machines. Whether you are a JDM fan, an American muscle car enthusiast, or looking for an elegant European sports car, the options are endless. Each vehicle will have its strengths and quirks, but that might just be part of the fun.


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