The Fastest Rental Car You Can Get At an Airport

So you’ve just landed after a long flight, and you need to rent a car. You navigate the labyrinth that is the airport to find the slew of rental agencies all promising the lowest price. Now is the time to figure out what you want in a rental car, if you haven’t already. Thankfully, they offer just about any kind of car you could ever want. However, if you want something special, or speedy, those choices diminish rapidly. Here are a few options, with one clear winner. Just keep in mind they will most likely rent out the base models.

Mercedes A-Class: the most basic option

Mercedes-Benz A-Class on display in Brussels
Mercedes-Benz A-Class on display in Brussels | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Some agencies offer the Mercedes A-Class. The base model is the A 220 sedan, which uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, making 188 horsepower and hitting 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. It’s a $33,650 car and probably wouldn’t cost much to rent per day. It’ll be one of the most comfortable options at the rental car lot.

BMW has plenty of options for rental cars

BMW 3-series on display in Brussels
BMW 3-series on display in Brussels | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Some agencies offer two different BMWs, the 3-series and the 5-series. The 330i is the base 3-series that uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, making 255 horsepower. In its rear-wheel-drive configuration, the 330i gets to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. The base 5-series is the 530i, which uses the same engine but makes a bit less power than the 3-series at 248 horsepower. 

This car takes 5.9 seconds to reach 60 mph. Other agencies also offer convertibles at a high premium. The 840i, for instance, costs about $1,000 per day. It comes with a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six that makes 335 horsepower. It gets the car to 60 mph in just 5 seconds.

The Dodge Challenger SXT is a decent rental car choice

Dodge Challenger on display in Chicago
Dodge Challenger on display in Chicago | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Enterprise offers sports car rentals. Included in that is the Dodge Challenger. Rental agencies will most likely offer the base model, which just happens to be the SXT. It uses a 3.6-liter V6 that sends 300 horsepower to the rear wheels and hits 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. It’s mated to an automatic transmission and comes standard with rear-wheel drive.

Audi A5: an interesting rental car but not the best option

Audi A5 on display in New York
Audi A5 on display in New York | Eduardo MunozAlvarez/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

Rental agencies sometimes offer the Audi A5 or similar. It’s one of the more interesting options. It has a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four sending 261 horsepower to all four wheels. This helps it get to 60 mph in the high 6-second range, according to MotorTrend. So far not as impressive as some of the other options.

Infiniti Q60 is probably too expensive for what it is

Infiniti Q60 on display in Brussels
Infiniti Q60 on display in Brussels | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

The Infiniti Q60 comes with a 3.0-liter V6 that makes 300 horsepower and rear-wheel drive. It gets to 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds. It’s one of the front-runners but is also the most expensive, at almost $1,700 per day. It could be more comfortable than the BMW, but won’t have as much excitement.

Which one is the best choice?

Although the 8-series is the fastest from 0-60, it’s not as practical as some of the other choices. The next fastest is the Challenger at 5.3 seconds, but is only two doors and feels cumbersome to drive on the street. The best option is probably the BMW 3-series. It’s quick, has four doors, a proper roof, a lot of trunk space, and is relatively affordable to rent per day. 

Something to remember about renting a car from an agency is that they will give you the car they advertise, “or something similar”. However, with an early reservation, you may be able to get the car you want.

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