These 15 High-Performance Cars Cost Less Than $50,000

Believe it or not, Lamborghini, Ferrari, and the $3.4 million Bugatti Chiron Sport aren’t the only high-performance cars on the road. Some of the fastest cars don’t even cost six figures. Owning a fast car doesn’t have to break the bank. These speed demons cost under $50,000.

1. Audi S3

Audi S3
The Audi S3 cruises past 150 mph. | Audi

Top speed: 155 mph

We start off with the most expensive car on our list. Even though the four-door, $44,000-plus S3 looks like your standard sedan, it’s anything but that. It churns out 292 horsepower from a 2.0-liter turbo, which pushes the car over 150 mph

Next: Another German export.

2. BMW 240i

Rear view of red BMW M240i
This is the BMW M240i, but the regular 240i is a powerful car, too. | BMW

Top speed: 149 mph

A smaller version of the classic 3- and 5-series cars from BMW the 2-series doesn’t lose much under the hood. If you buy a 3.0-liter turbo for $36,000, you’ll be driving one of the most affordable high-performance cars on the road that pushes out 335 horsepower while it approaches 150 mph.

Next: An American classic.

3. Chevrolet Camaro

2018 Chevrolet Camaro
Even the base model Camaro gets you moving. | Chevrolet

Top speed: 165 mph

All Chevy Camaros get you up to speed quickly, and the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Camaro is no exception. You can find them for less than $27,000, but you won’t lose anything in the performance department. If you use all 275 horses in the engine, you’ll reach 165 mph on the speedometer.

Next: A lot of muscle in this car.

4. Dodge Charger Daytona

Dodge Charger Daytona; Charger Daytona 392 (left)
A 2017 Dodge Charger Daytona (right) and Dodge Charger Daytona 392 (left). | Chrysler

Top speed: 145 mph

Affordable and fun to drive — that sums up the Dodge Charger Daytona. The 5.7-liter V-8 isn’t cheap — close to $42,000 — but you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck because there’s a lot of muscle in this car. You’ll be able to reach 145 mph thanks to the 370 horsepower under the hood. If you pick the pricier Hellcat or SRT 392 models, then you’ll be driving some of the fastest muscle cars on the road.

Next: This car makes the most of what it’s got.

5. Fiat 124 Spider Abarth

2017 Fiat 124 Spider
The Fiat 124 Spider makes the most of what it’s got. | Fiat

Top speed: 133 mph

You might not be wowed by the Fiat 124 Spider’s 160 horsepower, but it makes the most of what it’s got. It’s a small and light car, so the engine’s limited power still pushes you over 130 mph, and with its sports suspension, you’ll feel like your ready for a Grand Prix race. All that for less than $30,000? Sounds like a steal to us.

Next: The proof is in the test drive.

6. Ford Fiesta ST

Ford Fiesta ST
The Ford Fiesta ST can pin you back in your seat. | Ford

Top speed: 143 mph

Don’t believe a Ford Fiesta can pin you back in your seat? Take the Fiesta ST for a test drive, and you might change your tune. It might not beat a Mustang off the line, but its 197 horsepower takes you up to 143 mph. Plus, you’ll be driving one of Ford’s many high-performance cars for less than $23,000.

Next: One of the fastest cars might make you do a double take.

7. Ford Focus RS

The Ford Focus RS is one of the most affordable high-performance cars you're going to find.
The Focus RS packs a punch under the hood. | Ford

Top speed: 165 mph

If you think a hatchback can’t pack a punch, then the Focus RS might make you do a double take. It’s another of Ford’s high-performance cars, and its 350 horsepower and 165 mph top speed is the proof. You’ll pay a lot for that power (close to $42,000), but the Focus ST (252 horsepower and 150 mph for $26,000 ) is there for the budget-conscious car buyer.

Next: We had to include this one.

8. Ford Mustang

Blue Mustang convertible for 2014 model year
The Mustang — an affordable high-performance car. | Ford

Top speed: 155 mph

There have been too many classic Mustangs to count over the years, and models such as the GT500, Bullitt, and Shelby GT350 hold their own against nearly any car. But the $27,000 base model Mustang, with its 310 horsepower taking you over 150 mph, is one of the most affordable high-performance cars you’re going to find.

Next: A beefier version of a popular car.

9. Honda Civic Si

Honda Civic Si | Honda
A high-performance car with a budget-friendly price. | Honda

Top speed: 137 mph

The Honda Civic is one of the most popular cars ever, and it has a laundry list of amazing facts behind it. It the standard four-door sedan doesn’t thrill you, then the 205 horsepower Si version might. It’ll take you close to 140 mph, but it costs less than $25,000. If that’s not good enough, the Type R hatchback hits 170 mph, but it costs another $11,000.

Next: you might realize this car’s power.

10. Mazda MX-5 Miata

Mazda MX-5 Miata
Mazda’s 2019 MX-5 Miata continues the model’s rich history. | Mazda

Top speed: 133 mph

The Mazda Miata has a richer history than you realize. And you might not know this fun-to-drive vehicle is one of the most affordable high-performance cars on the road at $33,000. The MX-5 churns out a modest 155 horsepower, but it clears 130 mph.

Next: It’s still a classic.

11. Nissan 370Z Nismo

NISMO, the heart and soul of Nissan performance for both the track and on the street, continues to raise the bar for straight-from-the-factory enthusiast vehicles. As the flagship of the Nissan Z® portfolio, the 2017 370Z NISMO embodies the spirit of NISMO – race-proven engineering that is attainable.
NISMO engineering makes the Nissan 370Z a high-performance car. | Nissan

Top speed: 155 mph

The cousin of the vehicle that tore through Prague for a promotional video remains one of the most affordable high-performance cars of all time. The V-6 on the 370Z puts out 350 horsepower and takes you up to 155 mph, but it costs less than $31,000 for the base model.

Next: Sporty and affordable.

12. Subaru WRX

Subaru WRX
The WRX is anything but your standard sedan. | Subaru

Top speed: 144 mph

Sure, Subaru makes a souped-up version, the WRX STI, but the WRX is everything you could want. It takes you close to 145 mph with 268 horsepower, but it costs less than $28,000. You can spend another $9,000 for the WRX STI, but all you get for the money is another 50 horsepower and 11 mph on the top speed.

Next: Don’t get confused.

13. Subaru BRZ

Subaru BRZ
The Subaru BRZ breezes past 100 mph. | Subaru

Top speed: 134 mph

It’s another Subaru with a lot of consonants in the name, but don’t get confused — the BRZ is definitely different than the WRX, which we just discussed. The two-door coupe is budget-friendly at $26,500, but it is still high-performance. The BRZ hits a top speed of 134 mph thanks to 205-horsepower from its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

Next: A car with bloodlines similar to the BRZ.

14. Toyota 86

2017 Toyota 86 coupe
The Toyota 86 provides affordable performance. | Toyota

Top speed: 126 mph

What used to be the Scion FR-S is now the Toyota 86, which has bloodlines similar to the Subaru BRZ. Like the BRZ, the 86 is one of the most affordable high-performance cars on the market. Like its Subaru cousin it churns out 205 horsepower, but it comes up just shy of 130 mph while the BRZ climbs past that benchmark. Still, you don’t have to break the bank ($27,400) to drive a car with a little power behind it.

Next: Ready to impress.

15.Volkswagen Golf GTI

Volkswagen Golf GTI two-door -- one of the most affordable high-performance cars on the road.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI is faster than you think it would be. | Volkswagen

Top speed: 125 mph

It may not look like much from the outside, but the Volkswagen Golf GTI is ready to impress. It perennially makes the Car and Driver 10 Best list because it adeptly balances form and function. The hatchback pumps out 220 horsepower and hits 125 mph, all for $27,310.

If that’s not enough performance, the Golf R produces 292 horsepower and reaches 150 mph, but it costs another $13,000.

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