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What car buyer doesn’t want their car to make as much horsepower as possible for less money? If that’s your concern, vehicles like the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger R/T could scratch the itch. The 2021 Ford Mustang GT topped the list of the most powerful newer cars for under $40,000. 

  • 2021 Ford Mustang GT– 460 horsepower
  • Chevrolet Camaro 1SS– 455 horsepower
  • Dodge Challenger R/T– 375 horsepower
  • Ford Mustang EcoBoost– 310 horsepower
  • Subaru WRX STI– 305 horsepower
  • Kia Stinger GT-Line – 300 horsepower

Is a Ford Mustang GT fast?

The 2021 Ford Mustang GT is very fast for its price point. With a starting price of $39,440, the GT comes in just below the $40,000 mark. However, it is the undisputed champion of this list, making 460 horsepower with its naturally aspirated 5.0L V8 engine. It’s also one of the few manual transmission holdouts on the market, offering a six-speed. 

The Ford Mustang GT topped the list of the most powerful cars you can buy for under $40,000.
Ford Mustang | Ford

Of course, it should be noted that the 2022 Mustang GT gets a slight cut in power, with the pony car now producing 450 horsepower.

Is the Camaro 1SS a V8?

The Chevrolet Camaro 1SS makes 455 horsepower with its 6.2L V8 engine. That puts it right behind the 2021 Mustang GT. Still, the Camaro is cheaper, demanding just $38,895 for all of that power. 

Is the Dodge Challenger R/T a powerful car?

With 375 horsepower, the 5.7L V8-powered Dodge Challenger R/T is a very powerful muscle car. However, it is heavy compared to the Camaro, making it quite a bit slower to 60 mph. The Camaro 1SS will dash to sixty in just 4.0 seconds, whereas the R/T requires around 5.0 seconds. Still, the R/T is one of the most powerful cars you can snag for under $40,000. 

Dodge Challenger shares the list of most powerful affordable cars with the Ford Mustang GT.
A Dodge Challenger on a stage | Eric Thayer, Getty Images

Is the EcoBoost Mustang a V6?

The Ford Mustang EcoBoost produces 310 horsepower with a turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder engine. While 310 horsepower seems like a far cry from the 2021 Mustang GT’s 460, the EcoBoost is a mighty bargain. You can snag an EcoBoost for a starting price of $28,865. 

Is the Subaru WRX STI a powerful car?

The 2021 Subaru WRX STI produces 305 horsepower with its eager 2.5L flat-four-cylinder engine. That makes it a pretty powerful car for under $40,000. Specifically, you can grab a 2021 model for a starting price of $38,170.

Is the Kia Stinger GT-Line more powerful than a Ford Mustang GT?

The 2022 Kia Stinger GT-Line is not as powerful as a Ford Mustang GT. According to Car and Driver, the GT-Line makes 300 horsepower from its 2.5L turbocharged inline-four-cylinder engine. While that can’t hold a candle to the GT’s numbers, the Stinger has four doors and starts at around $2,000 less. 

Kia Stinger is on the list of the high-powered, cheap cars.
2022 Stinger | Kia

Should you buy a Ford Mustang GT or one of the others?

The Ford Mustang GT and Chevrolet Camaro 1SS are challenging benchmarks to beat if you want bargain horsepower. In fact, the Camaro is one of the quickest cars on this list, with a 0-60 time of just 4.0 seconds. However, the list toppers are all muscle cars, which might not work for you. If you want four doors and AWD, consider a Subaru WRX STI. Finally, if you’re willing to go back a few years, cars like the Honda Civic Type R produce enough power to make this list.

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