It wasn't all that long ago that owning a sports car that included something like "V8" or "500 horsepower" in its description belonged to a fairly elite group of car enthusiasts, those with enough money to own an exotic supercar the likes of Ferrari or Lamborghini. In recent years, however, V8 engines and even bigger ones have become more widely available across the market. And then, car manufacturers began to hone in on their technology, drawing more and more power from their engines. In the not-too-distant past, 400 horsepower, while available, was reserved for the highest-end cars in the market, top-of-the-line Mercedes-Benzes, BMWs et cetera. Then, it went to 500 horsepower. If you had a hundred grand to spend on a luxury car, 500 horsepower was within your reach; otherwise, it was a pipe dream. Even today, 500 horsepower is fairly unheard of, reserved for only the fastest and most expensive of cars—or so you might think. The market over the past few years has seen a vast number of sports cars with over 500 horsepower become available, especially in the last decade. In fact, while it might not even seem possible, you can find a pretty large number of insanely fast and powerful 500-plus-horsepower-engine sports cars on a budget. It used to be a dream reserved only for the wealthy, but now, you can find 500 horses on the cheap. Here's a look at 15 cars with 500-plus horsepower that you can pick up for less than $50,000.
15 2009 Cadillac CTS-V
The Cadillac CTS-V is one of the many affordable options you have when you want to get your hands on a sports car with 500 horses. You can buy a used one of these for anywhere between $25-35,000, which, even just ten years ago, was virtually unheard of. The Cadillac CTS-V is a great choice, too, with 556 horsepower—well above the 500 mark—and a 6-speed manual transmission. Sounds to me like a dangerous amount of fun for an even more dangerous price.
14 2016 Mustang GT350
The 2016 Mustang GT350 is another massive hunk of American muscle you can have as your own for less than 50 grand. You can buy this car used for between $45-50,000, and it'll get you 526 bona fide American-made horses and some serious style to boot. The Mustang isn't a car you want to mess with; it means serious business, especially these newer models that came out when Ford started to take performance quite seriously. The fact that this car, which is virtually new, is within reach if you have 50 grand to spend is quite unreal, actually.
13 2008 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG
One thing you'll learn from this article, if anything, is that depreciation can be your very best friend or your absolute worst enemy. It all depends on when you're buying. For no car company is this truer than for Mercedes-Benz.
When you're looking for a 500-horsepower car for less than $50,000, this is a good starting place.
The S65 AMG from 2008 can be bought for $30-40,000 used, and it'll give you an incredible 604 horsepower, more than enough for anyone looking to get 600 horses for less than 50k.
12 2009 BMW M5
Another great option, especially if you're a fan of luxury, all things European, and 500+ horsepower is this 2009 BMW M5. You can walk away with the title to this car in your hand for $15-25,000, although I suspect you'd definitely want to drive away with it because this car packs a serious punch, harnessing a sublime 500 horses beneath the hood in the form of a spectacularly engineered 5.0-liter V10 engine. Depending on what you want from a car, it comes standard with either a 7-speed automatic or a six-speed manual.
11 2014 Mustang Shelby GT500
Coming around the corner, we've got another slew of American muscle, all yours for less than 50 grand. And we'll start with this: a 2014 Mustang Shelby GT500. It's all yours for between $40-45,000, and this one's a really insane one, a step above the last Mustang, the GT350. Your relatively small amount of money will get you a 5.8-liter V8 engine tuned to produce a truly stunning 662 horsepower. It'll take you to 60 in a lightning 3.5 seconds. Talk about a beast, a speed demon with incredible power. And it's finished with a surprisingly affordable price tag.
10 2015 Camaro ZL1
The Camaro is an American motoring staple, a longstanding legend, and one of America's worryingly few motoring icons for speed and performance.
Despite the lack of choices when it comes to truly fast sports cars, the biggest draw for American performance cars is their price tag.
They're always cheap, cheaper than European performance cars almost always. But that's good for anyone looking to buy on the cheap, the one looking for 500 horsepower with only 50k in his pocket. The good news is that you can get this ZL1 for $45-50,000.
9 2016 Charger Hellcat
The Charger Hellcat truly is a cat straight out of hell. This thing is a monster, with an engine tuned to the maximum and with only one thing in mind: speed—speed, speed, and more speed. And some power. The 2016 Charger Hellcat will run you anywhere from 47-51,000 bucks, so it comes in at the very top end of our budget. But what you get in horsepower is unheard of. That 50k will get you 707 horsepower. That's right, not a typo, no mistake—707 American horses waiting underneath your right foot, eager to rip your face off with speed and G-forces.
8 2006 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG
This is another Mercedes-Benz on our list of incredible horsepower for incredible prices. Mercedes is probably the best brand if you want value for your money, considering that with your horses, you get unbridled, unmatched German luxury and safety. This 2006 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG packs a punch, with 493 horsepower, just shy of the 500 mark. But we'll let it slide because this thing has absolutely insane torque, 516 ft-lbs of it, to be exact. That, and you can snag one for only 10 grand. That's right. Only $10,000, and this beautiful, insanely powerful machine is yours.
7 2016 Challenger SRT Hellcat
We've got another cat from hell on this list of cheap horsepower, and it's in the form of the 2016 Dodge Challenger Hellcat. This is a pretty wicked sweet hot rod, too, a classic example of American muscle and one of the tragically few true sports cars that America produces.
Nowadays, you can find it used for somewhere in the neighborhood between $48-52,000.
This relatively small sum of money will get you a lot of horsepower, something like 707 horsepower. Yes, just like the Charger Hellcat, you can have truly legendary horsepower for cheap.
6 2008 Corvette Z06
The Chevy Corvette is a bit of a legend, you might say, when it comes to the ideal American sports car. It has a rich history; it's fast, it's brash, it's bold, it's powerful (at least nowadays), and above all, it's iconic. If you're looking for 500 of the most iconic horses you can buy, this is the place to look: the 2008 Corvette Z06, which you can find anywhere from $30-40k. What you get under the hood is a huge V8 exploding with 505 raw horsepower. Now, almost anyone is able to own a 500-horsepower Corvette and not break the bank.
5 2003 Mercedes-Benz SL55
If you're looking for a true sports car, not a luxury sedan, and you want 500 horses, and you want to look classy, and you want some finely tuned and refined German engineering, look no further than the 2003 Mercedes-Benz SL55. You can find this car anywhere from 15 to 30,000 bucks, and when you find this, you'll find yourself all of a sudden wanting to go very fast, very much all the time. You'll have 510 horsepower launching you from point A to point B, hopefully with some fantastic winding roads in between.
4 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT
This Grand Cherokee is a beast—a mean, temperamental, track-loving SUV monster. If you don't want a sports car, a muscle car, or a luxury sedan, you can still get this. It'll cost you between $35-45,000, but you'll get one hell of a machine.
The engine is a massive 6.4-liter Hemi pushing out 470 horsepower.
Now, that's not an even 500, but it's pretty darn close, and if you want an SUV with over 500 hp on any budget, you'll be hard pressed to find it. So, we'll just round up because this is an incredible SUV and totally worth it.
3 2007 Mercedes-Benz R63 AMG
So now, we'll switch gears to this: a minivan. You might be confused to see one on this list but not as confused as you'll be when you hear that it has 507 horsepower. Yep, this minivan is here because it fits the bill. Mercedes never advertised that they had made it, so most don't even know it exists. But that's everyone else's loss because now you know about it. And you know that you can buy one for as little as 35 grand. So, don't tell your wife how much horsepower it has, and you've got yourself a new minivan for the family.
2 2016 Audi A8 L
Even Audi, which is a pretty expensive luxury brand that holds its aftermarket value quite well, has got its place on this list with the 2016 Audi A8 L, a luxury saloon from the German automaker.
Owned by Volkswagen, Audi is, in many ways, merely the luxury brand of VW.
But they've got some serious heavyweights in their lineup, and this is one of them. You can buy it for $45-50,000, and apart from the endless luxury, safety, and comfort, you'll get a 6.3-liter W12 engine that cranks out a golden 500 horses. Have fun in style with this one.
1 2007 Mercedes-Benz S600
To finish out this list of wondrous 500-horsepower cars you can own for 50,000 bucks or less, we'll talk about another Mercedes-Benz. Seriously, the best bang for your buck is Mercedes. It's one of the only car companies where it's possible to buy a $150,000 car for less than 10. This S600 will cost you $30-40,000 dollars used, and it's got a great 5.5-liter V12 giving you 510 horsepower. The best part about Mercedes-Benz is that their top-of-the-line cars tend to be about ten years ahead of their time, with safety, comfort, technology etc., so this car is basically new.
Sources: trucktrend.com, auto-types.com, carpixel.net