We've all been there at some point where you look at an expensive car and you end up loving it, however, you know that you can't afford it. While owning an exotic car might be a costly affair, this still doesn't mean that you can't go out there and have some fun or show off if you're on a budget. Many automobile manufacturers realize that there is a huge market for people who want to own a nice looking ride that can also perform without emptying your pockets.
Let's be honest here, a lot of us dream of saving up money for that one car we've always wanted but some of them are just too darn expensive. As technology progresses, some of the high performance features that were once limited to high end cars are now affordable and easily available. It doesn't matter if you can't afford a Lamborghini because you can now go out and buy a Miata and have fun on the track all day long. That is exactly why we've put together this list of some of the lower end performance cars that you can easily buy without breaking the bank. Some of these are also certified head turners so sit back, relax and enjoy our list of 20 cars that you can buy under $50k.
19 Alfa Romeo Giulia
If there is one thing that’s for sure, it’s that Alfa Romeos are one of the sexiest cars around. That signature V-shaped Alfa Romeo front grille is definitely something to look at.
It is powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four engine but don’t let that fool you because the Giulia produces a total of 280 horsepower thanks to those turbochargers, propelling it from 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds.
Handling is also pretty good since the car is rear wheel drive but an all-wheel drive option is also available as optional. The car manufacturer has ensured not to overlook anything when it comes to luxury as well since the car features leather seats and other high-tech options like adaptive cruise control. The best part, however, is that the Giulia will only set you back $39,000.
18 Audi TT
The Audi TT is an old classic and it has now entered its third generation. For a lot people this might not seem like the best choice considering the fact that there are so many better sports cars out there but the newer iteration of the TT is much sportier, thanks to a lot of changes that Audi has made.
It will definitely turn heads, if that is what you’re looking for and will end up costing you around $44,450 for the coupe and almost $48,000 for the convertible.
The Audi TT has a 4-cylinder 2.0 liter engine producing 220 horsepower which can make the car go from 0 to 60 in almost 4.2 seconds.
17 BMW 2-Series
So, what else can you get for $50,000? Actually, there are quite a few options in this range which is why we were able to put this list together. Now of course any list about cars would be incomplete without the mention of a BMW in there we seem to have a couple of entries here.
First is the BMW 2 – series, a small and compact sports car announced by the German automobile manufacturer to replace the 1 series coupe. There are several body styles available with this particular car. If you plan on going with the 230i, then you’ll get to have a 2.0 liter inline four engine producing 248 horsepower which is more than enough for a little bit of fun. The 240i, on the other hand, is more powerful featuring a 3.0 liter inline six producing 335 horsepower. It is quite affordable with a starting price tag of $35,795, but that’s not the only affordable BMW here because…
16 Subaru BRZ
Japan ensured that its presence in the automotive industry, more specifically the sports car segment was known back during the early 90s. Proof of this was the launch of vehicles like the NSX or the Supra. Fast forward to 2017, however, and there aren’t as many left around. Still, the Subaru BRZ is one of the most affordable rear-wheel packages still left around.
While the 200-horsepower engine may seem a little underpowered to a lot of people, this puppy simply doesn’t mess around.
This is a great car for anyone who is simply looking to get into the world of sports car or is already an enthusiast. Another major plus for it is the fact that it is one of the cheapest cars around, costing only $25,395 which makes it affordable for a lot of people.
15 Ford Mustang GT
If you’re looking for the biggest amount of fun in the most affordable package then you can’t really go wrong with this classic American muscle car. This time around, the Mustang GT is better than ever.
The Mustang has always had a bad reputation for being a car that was only good in a straight line and not so much around the corners, a trait that many other American muscle cars share. The newer model, however, is a sports car in the true sense since Ford has decided to ditch the solid rear axle and include independent front and rear suspensions. Couple that with the 2.3 liter 4 cylinder EcoBoost engine, though we’d advise going for the V8, and you have a complete package. The Mustang starts at $33,195 and goes up in price as you add more options.
14 Subaru WRX STI
Who said that sports car had to have two doors? The Subaru WRX STI has proved time and time again that this is simply not true. It has continued to show more impressive performance than many of its two door counterparts.
Powered by a 2.5 liter 4 cylinder engine, the car produces a total of 305 horsepower and a whopping 290 lb ft of torque.
It comes with the signature Subaru all-wheel-drive system and is available in a 6-speed transmission. The rally car heritage of the WRX STI is pretty evident here since not a lot of cars can keep up with it in a straight line and even fewer can keep up with it around corners. The best thing of all, however, is the fact that it costs $34,695 which is well within our budget of $50k.
13 Cadillac ATS Coupe
Love or hate Cadillac, there is no denying the fact that the automobile manufacturer has been responsible for creating some pretty well known cars. Not only does the ATS Coupe offer luxury, it is also a mix of stunning design, a sturdy chassis, and an impressive engine.
The powertrain behind this beauty is a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine that is turbocharged and produces 272 horsepower and will cost you $37,995 but that’s not all, however, because if you’re looking for some extra power then the V6 version of the ATS Coupe with 335 horsepower is what you should be going for and it will set you back $47,750 which is still in the $50k budget. Two transmission options with a 6 speed manual or an 8 speed automatic are also available.
12 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Any list of affordable sports cars would be incomplete without the mention of the Mazda MX-5 Miata. This car is loved by a lot of people and while raw power may not be one of its strongest suits, the MX-5 makes up for it in a lot of other ways.
It is light and nimble, meaning that driving it on a track and around corners is an absolute blast. It is also quite attractive and sporty looking which means that it will definitely attract some attention, not only from true car enthusiasts but from the ladies too. The Miata is powered by a 2 liter 4 cylinder engine that produces 155 horsepower while making use of the SKYACTIV-G technology. It is available in both a 6-speed manual and automatic transmission configuration with a starting price of $25,000.
11 Mercedes Benz C Class Coupe
Here is another amazing car which is both a classic as well as affordable and a must have for car enthusiasts on a budget as it is known for its detailing and the elegant and athletic look that differentiates it from other cars.
The C Class Coupe comes with a plethora of options such as the panorama roof, frameless door glass, and the tail lamps, all of which are a symbol of the expertise and work put in by the German automobile manufacturer.
The 18 inch wheels not only give it a unique style but also provide the perfect torque for the perfect drive. When we talk about the performance of this car, it is second to none as the efficiency and drive are truly amazing. This car is meant to be driven in all seasons without any worries due to the superb traction control system.
10 Volvo S90
All of the features that our next car includes are proof of how you can get the best bang for your buck. When we’re talking specifically about performance and extravagance, we simply cannot skip the Volvo S90.
With an exquisite wheelbase and a low roofline, it not only performs but looks great doing that. On the luxury side of things, the extra 4.5 inches of rear set legroom provides plenty of extra space, thus making it more comfortable. The interior of the car is also lined with materials that give it a super-premium feel, such as the authentic crystal pieces and the Flame Birch wood inlay. It starts at just under $50k with a price tag of around $48,100 and has been in production by Swedish automaker Volvo since 2016.
9 Lexus RC
Lexus is one of the most well known car manufacturers around the world and similar to the Volvo, the Lexus RC is a perfect blend of performance and luxury. The RC in the name stands for Radical Couple, a term which was created to explain how this is the two door coupe version of the Lexus IS.
The Lexus RC is offered in two different engine configurations, a V6 and also a turbocharged I-4.
The engineering on this car is outstanding, something that one can easily expect from the luxury car division of Toyota. It has a 0.30 aerodynamic drag coefficient, a top track speed of 130 mph which is electronically limited. The rear and front suspensions of the Lexus RC are electronically adjustable, gas pressurized and consist of stabilized bars. The braking system on this car is also one of its kinds and includes a standard electronic power steering with 2.8 turns lock to lock.
8 Audi A3 Cabriolet
Next on our list is the Audi A3 Cabriolet, a car that has been equipped with extra ordinary performance features including two powertrain options with either a 186 horsepower engine coupled with a seven speed S tronic dual clutch front wheel drive transmission or a 220 horsepower all-wheel drive option capable of producing 258 lb-ft of torque.
With a starting price of $ 38,350, the Audi A3 Cabriolet features both luxury and performance.
The comfortable seats and the LED headlights are also the statement features of this sports car. There are three trim levels for the Audi A3 starting with premium, premium plus and prestige, all of which cost less than $50k. With a top speed of 130 mph, it’ll be a while before you get bored of this.
7 Nissan 370Z
When we talk about the Nissan 370Z, the first thing that comes to the mind is affordability. Almost everyone is familiar with the infamous 350Z so this one was definitely an upgrade. The really cool part is that you can get this sports car for just $29,990, isn’t that amazing?
The engine produces a whopping 332 horsepower and coupled with 18” black finish aluminum alloy wheels, HID headlights, a 6 speed manual transmission and the very own Nissan intelligent key, it is a sight to behold. There are also no limits to the number of modifications that you can do to this car. Owners have the option to upgrade their stock 370Z with illuminated kick plates, a rear deck lid spoiler and a NISMO cat back exhaust system which will eventually end up increasing the performance of the car even more.
6 Ford Focus RS
The Ford Focus, yet another name that most of you will be familiar with. If you are the sort of person who likes to go on an adventurous ride, then this powerful beast will be perfect for you, since it not only packs a punch but is also stylish at the same time. The Ford Focus RS is a limited edition car, however, it is still under the $50k mark.
The car features four distinct driving modes, all of which have been included to provide the driver with an amazing driving experience.
The “Track” and “Drift” mode are especially useful for those who are looking for that extra performance boost when taking the car around the track. The Ford Focus RS has a pretty powerful engine with 350 horsepower and it is coupled with an advanced All Wheel Drive System, thus creating the perfect budget performance package.
5 Lexus IS 350F
Another car from Lexus family hits our list for the cars that cost less than 50 grand. Similar to some of the other cars featured on this list, the Lexus IS 350F was designed with luxury in mind, however, that still doesn’t mean that any sort of compromises were made when enhancing the performance of the vehicle.
While it can comfortably seat five people, it is also perfectly capable of doing 0 to 60 in 5.7 seconds and with a top track speed of 130 mph. Both the front and rear suspensions have been tuned using the F SPORT technology and the car is available in both a rear wheel and an all-wheel drive configuration. Despite all of these features, the car costs less than $50k, making it an excellent choice for anyone who is looking to get excellent performance and luxury without shelling out a lot of money.
4 Chevrolet Camaro
We mentioned the Mustang earlier so it was only a matter of time before the Camaro also showed up on this list. The Ford and Chevrolet rivalry is a long one but it has always been there for a reason. Both of these cars have always given car enthusiasts a much affordable options when compared to German or Italian automobile manufacturers.
With a starting price of only $25,905, the Camaro can be filled up to the brim with options providing that you’re willing to spend some extra cash, however, it will most probably still end up costing you less than $50k.
Similar to the Mustang, the newer Camaro has been created with a lot of changes which means that despite being an American muscle car, it can do so much more than going in a straight line. So, if you’re light on cash then this is an options that you can definitely consider.
3 Dodge Challenger
This high performance muscle car makes its place on our list of affordable sports car for a couple of reasons; one because it can bought for a starting price of only $26,995 and two, because this car is simply a beast.
The 3.6L Pentastar V6 has more than enough power to push this thing to 130mph and that’s not all, it also produces an impressive 305 horsepower.
The car is also equipped all sorts of modern features that one would come to expect from a car being manufactured in this day and age. Owner have access to a touchscreen which also includes support for Android Auto and Apple Car Play. If you want to get a car that screams performance without breaking the bank then this is definitely a worthwhile option.
2 Mazda 6
Mazda has been quite popular for a while, especially for all of the affordable options that the automobile manufacturer offers. The Mazda Miata is an excellent example of that, a car that is a favorite among the budget crowd ever since it first came out.
The Mazda 6 is yet another great option if you’re looking to get a car that is not going to cost you a lot. It comes in three different version, the sport, touring and grand touring, all of which have their own respective set of features. All of them, however, cost less than $50k and are powered by the same engine that is capable of producing 184 horsepower. Safety is also a top priority here with advanced airbags, an ABS system and an excellent traction control system.
1 BMW 4-Series Coupe
Our next entry is yet another BMW and this time, it is a 4-series coupe. BMW has in the past kept up a strategy of keeping it’s 4- door sedans quite different from their Coupe counterparts, whether it be the two door or the four door Gran Coupe versions.
The same story has been repeated with the 4-series Coupe and this time it features a 320 horsepower engine with an effective 50/50 weight distribution.
Once again, both comfort and performance have been kept in mind and boy is it a sight to behold. The interior isn’t lacking either with an active red leather theme along with some black detailing, making you truly feel that you’re driving a high performance vehicle. The traction control and active suspension ensure that you can have the most amount of fun with much safety risk.