Wanting to own a fast car with little to no money means we head to the used car lot – and in no way is that a bad thing. Buying a preloved car is like inheriting treasure, because it comes loaded with all the features you so desire, fitting into your budget like a dream. If you find a car with fewer miles on it and if the paint still sparkles, it’s a joy to drive it home and park it on your curb. If it’s a bit well-ridden and worn, remember to be a kinder owner to it and it will love you back. So here are the ten fast cars you can get for under $10k, at the preloved car lot.
10 2006 Audi S4: A Naturally Aspirated V8
The 2006 Audi S4 boasted a beautiful naturally-aspirated 4.2-liter V8 power mill. And this motor is housed in an equally beautiful car – a 2006 Audi, is still first and foremost an Audi. No turbocharger, and no reduced displacement – and still this beauty gushes out 340 horsepower and 302 ft-lb torque which even by today's standards, makes the 2006 Audi S4 one powerful contender in the car bazaar. In 2006, this would have cost around $50k, and even then it was well worth the price. Today, you can get a preloved beauty for less than $10k, anywhere between $7,000 and $9,500 and it will still fly at 155mph (electronically limited).
9 2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4: From Dud To Hit
The Dodge Neon was not a good car – it was one of the worst cars of the early 2000s and probably came at a time when no one wanted a car this size, or with these features. But when Dodge went SRT on it, it revived and became the SRT-4. The turbocharged inline-four mill jetted out 230 horsepower, and on a car that weighed less than 3000 pounds, this made it fly the roads at 153mph. It’s a basic American tuner, and a reasonable used car to have for $4,000-6000. The SRT-4 has slight racer-like looks as well, and does well as a fast, cheap and used seconds car.
8 2000 BMW Z3M Roadster: A BMW, Under $10k
With top speeds of around 160 mph, this one is quite the steal – the 2000 Z3M Roadster managed 235 horsepower and 197 ft-lb torque. These average sounding numbers, coupled with the roadster's under 3000 pounds curb weight gave it a superb power-to-weight ratio. The engine was a smooth inline-six naturally-aspirated power-mill that nailed top speeds with nary a shudder and was equally capable of coasting smooth roads at cruising speeds. This car is not very common, but can be had for approximately $10,000 – and well-preserved models may go slightly higher even. Choose one with some miles under its belt, and you get your under $10k car, a BMW roadster, no less!
7 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt SS: SuperSport Works
If model years also matter to you, then the 2000 Chevy Cobalt SuperSport may fit your needs better. Chevrolet followed Dodge’s Neon to SRT-4 conversion formula for this, and made the Cobalt, an erstwhile boring car, into the Cobalt SS that came in three options of naturally-aspirated, supercharged and turbocharged engines. The Cobalt SS, because of being a few years later than the Neon SRT-4 was a better-tuned ride. The 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine powered out 260 horses and 260 ft-lb torque and went 155 mph when gently nudged. The supercharged SS went even faster at 158mph. A Chevy Cobalt SS can be yours, preloved at $6000-8000 from the used car lot.
6 2006 Mustang GT: It’s A Mustang!
Need we say anything about the Mustang GT? A plain old Mustang (which is, of course, anything but plain) is a very capable muscle car. The GT is several steps ahead. The 4.6-liter V8 churns out 300 horses and 320 ft-lb torque, which are not supercar numbers but very muscular nonetheless. The 2006 Mustang GT is good enough on its own, and you can tune it to your heart's content with the number of Mustang specials available in the auto parts market today. With a 0-60mph sprint time of 5.6 seconds, this car can satisfy the speedster in you, while keeping your pocket happy too. At $6000-8000 in the used car lot, it’s a great car to buy.
5 2006 Pontiac GTO: The Goat’s Revival
The 2006 Goat was not as great as the 1960 Goat, but if you have to have a Pontiac GTO – the 2006 version can be had for under $10k. And that may be the highpoint of you buying it. The main grouse most had was with its looks and the fact that you could not replicate greatness. That said; if you didn’t experience the awesomeness of the original Goat, the second copy wasn’t bad. With a 6.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8, this car jetted out 400 horses and 400 ft-lb torque and since its demand was never astronomically high – it can be had from the used car lot between $8,000-10,000.
4 2000 Chevy Camaro Z28: For All Bumblebee Fans
The Z28 is one of the Camaro’s greats – not to say that any of the Camaros suck per se. The 2000 Camaro Z28 housed a 5.7-liter V8 that pulsed out 300 horses and 335 ft-lb torque which could take this speedster jet 0-60mph in 5.3 seconds. Faster than the 2006 Mustang GT, so there, Ford. The car weighed less than 3,500 pounds and was pretty aerodynamic both in looks and in performance. This makes it a perfect choice for those who want something like a Mustang, but not a Mustang when it comes to what lies under the hood. At $9,000-10,000 – this one is also a good steal.
3 1996 Corvette C4: The Much-Loved Vette
The Corvette is one of the favorite supercars of all dad-bod dads in America – somehow, despite the beer belly and the receding hairline, the Vette makes us all feel young and joyous again. And it doesn’t have to be a brand new Vette. How about the 1996 Corvette C4? Yes, that’s a lot of years older than today, but it’s a Vette. And it had a Lotus-engineered 5.7-liter V8 that made 300 horsepower and 335 ft-lb torque and could make the Vette go 175 mph under able hands and steering. At nearly $10,000 it is a cool and classic buy for anyone looking for some fun on wheels.
2 2008 Dodge Charger SRT8: Pure Performance
The Dodge Charger is a good car. And when it is the SRT8 trim, it's one of the best muscle cars to be had from the used car lot, even though getting one under $10k can only be described as a steal. Of course, these cars would be ridden hard and have a lot of miles under their belt – but it is still all Mopar. The 6.1-liter V8 big-block engine jets out a cool 425 horsepower and 420 ft-lb torque – and it looks awesome while it does so! Of course, with a Hemi engine, you cannot expect fuel economy from it but with a 0-60mph sprint of 5 seconds, do you want speed or fuel economy? Lucky ones can have this car for slightly under $10k, though mint condition ones will go higher.
1 2004 Porsche Boxster 986: Very Posh
The Porsche Boxster came roaring to Porsche’s rescue with the M96 engine – a water-cooled inline-six vari-cam mill that jetted out 225 horses and 190 ft-lb torque. With the Boxster’s aerodynamic design, it was a fun drive, especially when paired with Porsche’s six-speed manual transmission. The ragtop mid-engine car was fun to drive but got a bad rap for having a weak engine – it may not have been the best of Porsches, but it was still a Porsche and makes for a great driving experience. A 2004-model Porsche Boxster can be had for $8000-9000, depending upon its condition – though later models go much higher.