People commonly fantasize about driving a fast car on an open road. But given the price tag and impracticality of sports cars, owning these vehicles remains a fantasy for many. However, there are many affordable new and used sports cars that can satisfy your need for speed without blowing your budget.
Here are the sports cars that offer a thrilling ride without the high price tag. We’ll look at the fastest new sports cars around or under $30,000 and the fastest used sports cars for under $20,000.
Fastest and Most Affordable Sports Cars
1. Dodge Challenger
An American muscle car ranks first, the Dodge Challenger two-door coupe with a 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds with its base engine. It is among the best sports cars on the market with an iSeeCars Quality Score of 7.9. The brawny Challenger comes standard with a powerful 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine making 303 horsepower. The base Challenger goes from zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 156 mph. While the base V6 offers ample power and acceleration, higher SRT trims offer more powerful V8 engines, including a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with 375 horsepower, a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 with 485 horsepower, or the 717-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8. These more powerful engines can go from 0-60 in less than 3.5 seconds.
2. Chevrolet Camaro
The “everyman’s sports car,” the Chevrolet Camaro ranks second as the most affordable sports car with a starting MSRP at $30,900. It is also iSeeCars second-ranked best sports car overall with a quality score of 7.9. The Chevy Camaro’s standard turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, with 275 horsepower, goes from zero to 60 in 5.5 seconds and reaches a max speed of 155 mph. More powerful engines with quicker acceleration are also available, including a 3.6 liter V6 with 335 horsepower that does zero to 60 in five seconds, a 355 horsepower 6.2-liter V8 that can go from zero to 60 in four seconds, and the most powerful 6.2-liter V8 with 650 horsepower that can go from zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds.
3. Ford Mustang
The Ford Mustang earns the third spot as the fastest and most affordable sports car. It’s also the sports car with the highest iSeeCars Quality Score of 8.3, and ranks high on our list of most reliable sports cars. The Mustang comes standard with a 2.3-liter turbo four-cylinder engine with 310-horsepower and a six-speed manual transmission. This entry-level engine can go from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds when equipped with the optional 10-speed automatic transmission, and reaches a top speed of 121 mph. Higher trims with the 5.0-liter V8 engine have even faster acceleration and higher top speeds, like the Ford Mustang GT, which reaches 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 180 mph.
4. Mazda MX-5 Miata
Earning the fourth spot is the Mazda MX-5 Miata two-seat roadster. The Miata can go from zero to 60 in 5.7 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 135 mph. It has one engine choice, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. It also returns excellent fuel economy at 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, an excellent rating for the sports car class.
5. Subaru BRZ
The Subaru BRZ ranks fifth. The BRZ comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque with the manual transmission, and 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque with an automatic transmission. Thanks to its above-average reliability, value retention and reliability, it earns an iSeeCars Quality Score of 7.8.The BRZ has a zero-to-60 speed of 6.2 seconds and a maximum speed of 143 mph.
6. Toyota 86
The Toyota 86, which is nearly mechanically identical to the fifth-ranked Subaru BRZ, ranks sixth. The Toyota 86 and the Subaru BRZ have some minor differences, including their exterior styling, interior materials, pricing, and some minor suspension tuning differences. As such, the Toyota 86 has a slightly slower 0-60 time at 6.3 seconds and a maximum speed of 140 mph.
Fastest Cars Under $20,000
Sports car buyers with a budget of $20,000 can find used versions of the fastest new cars under $30,000, as well as few additional sports cars.
Fastest Cars Under $20,000
Average Used Car Price
2012 Nissan 370z
2012 Audi S5
2012 Ford Mustang
2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK
2014 Audi TT
2012 Dodge Challenger
2014 Chevrolet Camaro
2012 BMW Z4
2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata
1. Nissan 370z
A classic Japanese sports car, the Nissan 370z comes as a coupe or convertible and has a 3.7-liter V6 engine with 332 horsepower. It goes from 0-60 in just 4.8 seconds and has a maximum speed of 155 mph. A 2012 used Nissan 370z costs an average of $19,877.
2. Audi S5
The Audi S5 is the performance variant of the Audi A5. The S5 coupe has a direct-injection 4.2-liter V-8 engine with 354 horsepower, while the convertible has a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 that makes 333 horsepower. The Audi S5 can go from 0-60 in 4.9 seconds and has a maximum speed of 155 mph. A 2012 Audi S5 for sale costs an average $18,940.
3. Mercedes-Benz SLK
The Mercedes-Benz SLK roadster has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder base engine with 201 horsepower and a 3.5-liter direct-injected V-6 engine rated at 302 horsepower. It goes from zero to 60 in 5.1 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 155 mph. A 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK for sale costs an average of $16,251.
4. Audi TT
The front-wheel drive Audi TT is an elegant sports car with a unique design and engaging driving dynamics. The Audi TT from the 2014 model year has a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine with 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, and it accelerates from 0-60 in 5.3 seconds. A used 2014 Audi TT has an average price of $19,255.
5. BMW Z4
The BMW Z4 two-seater luxury convertible comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower. It can accelerate from 0-60 in 5.5 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 130 mph. A 2012 BMW Z4 for sale costs an average of$17,969.
Fastest Cars Under $15,000
For a fast car on a tight budget, there are a number of used sports cars that can be found for under $15,000.
Fastest Cars Under $15,000
Average Used Car Price
While four of the five vehicles are used versions of the fastest new cars under $30,000 and the fastest used cars under $20,000, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe also makes the list.
Hyundai Genesis Coupe
The Hyundai Genesis Coupe was discontinued after the 2016 model year to make way for Genesis to become its own luxury brand. The Hyundai Genesis Coupe has two engine options: a turbocharged four-cylinder with 274 horsepower and a V6 with 348 horsepower. The Hyundai Genesis Coupe reaches 146 mph and has a zero-to-60 time of 5.2 seconds.
All sports cars are fun to drive, but the ones topping this list offer a fast-yet-practical option for budget-minded enthusiasts. Be sure to also check out our guide on the best sports cars under $30,000 for additional practical sports cars, as well as our list of Best Sports Cars for more information on the sports cars listed above.
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This article, Fastest Cars for Cheap, originally appeared on iSeeCars.com.