So You Can't Afford: BMW M5
560-hp 4.4-liter twin turbo V-8
Price: $90,000 (est)
The inexpensive imitator: Subaru WRX STI
The top sport sedans have progressed so far that they are just about as quick as the last generation of supercars. A Cadillac CTS-V, for instance, will hit 60 mph in about 4 seconds flat. And now, with a the new twin-turbo 560-hp V-8, the BMW M5 could be even quicker, and reach 190 mph. Wow.
Yet, selling at an estimated $90,000 when it arrives in the U.S. next year, the 2013 BMW M5 will be far too pricey for many of the enthusiasts who would appreciate it most. But, going for less than $40,000, the Subaru WRX STI is a bargain-priced super sedan that won't break the bank.
But Maybe You Can Afford: Subaru WRX STI
305-hp 2.5-liter turbocharged flat four
An all-wheel-drive Japanese four-door with a Subaru badge doesn't have the wow factor of a BMW. But its 0-to-60 time of just over 5 seconds isn't exactly slow. The Subaru's beauty is in the holistic approach to its equipment. The suspension, steering, big brakes, and wide tires all come together in a package that feels seriously capable and engaging when you bend it into a turn—just like the BMW, albeit at a less ferocious level.
With that giant wing on the trunklid, the WRX STI embraces its roots as one of the MVPs of the sport-compact-car world. The look seems a little dated today. Still, the potent Subaru price tag is just too good. Let loose that spoiler and dump some of that money you'll save on the long list of aftermarket go-fast parts that are available for the STI. Oh, and you can even get a wagon version of the Subaru.