Let's face it, usually, when the term "inexpensive car" is brought into play it means a vehicle that will simply transport an individual from Point A to Point B with zero frills. While this ideology is all well and good for some, being an automotive enthusiast working with a tight budget while trying to squeeze as much horsepower-per-dollar as possible out of the purchase can prove to be quite difficult. Compiled here is a list of some of the current best offerings on the used market for sporty vehicles that won't break the bank, yet still, offer as many "smiles" per gallon as physically possible at their low price points.
10 2006 Chrysler 300C SRT8
One of the most often-forgotten models of the SRT lineup was the Chrysler 300, which took the normally basic American family sedan and shoved a screaming 6.1 Liter Hemi V8 under the hood, producing in excess of 400 horsepower to the rear wheels. Examples of this vehicle can be found for around $10,000 with reasonable mileage, and definitely allows this model to be categorized as a low price, high fun car.
9 2007 Audi S4
Representing the German manufacturer on this list is the Audi S4, an iconic car in the euro-tuner scene due to its low market costs, luxury prestige, and potent 4.2 Liter V8 engine cranking out 340 horsepower. While the cost of this particular model may be low for what it offers, with examples ranging from $10,000 to $20,000, its initial purchase price is often married with high maintenance costs as time goes on. It is imperative when purchasing an over decade-old German automobile to have it thoroughly examined before purchase to ensure that all major issues are brought to light before putting it through any hard driving. Mechanical issues aside, the engine is strong and its looks still turn heads 12 years later.
8 2008 Nissan 350Z
Although having been phased out for the newer 370Z, the 350 maintains a loyal fan following amongst Nissan enthusiasts for its low curb weight, time-transcending design, and easily rowable manual gearbox.
With countless examples being sold around the $10,000 mark, it is a perfectly feasible cheaper alternative to many other roadsters on the market. Low cost of maintenance due to its commonly found Nissan V6 that puts out an impressive 306 horsepower means spare parts will never be too far out of reach. The aftermarket support for this particular vehicle is huge as well, allowing owners to customize and modify their 350Z making it wholly unique.
7 2008 BMW 550i
The 550i is most likely the most balanced offering on this list, offering not only power and handling but function as well. A medium-sized offering from BMW, the 550i has an ample back seat as well as luxury appointments coming the way of heated leather seats and BMW's iDrive system. It's no slouch either, with a 360 horsepower V8 available the car can seriously catapult you down the road just as well as it could rev low at highway cruising speeds. However, like the aforementioned Audi, the low cost of this German luxury car, usually now around $10,000-$15,000 comes with a substantial possibility for mechanical issues, but, if that's an overcomeable obstacle, then the 550i is a great all-around choice for a fantastic driving car.
6 2007 Volvo S60R
With perhaps the oddest engine configuration of the lineup, a 300 horsepower turbocharged inline five-cylinder, the S60R is a perfect example of the Scandinavian manufacturer taking something that would make most American consumers scratch their head and have it work effortlessly. Since the S60R has flown so under the radar in terms of sports vehicles, examples of it can go for as little as $5,000, becoming the cheapest model on the list as well.
5 2009 Jaguar XF Supercharged
The second cheapest model on this list actually boasts the highest horsepower-per-dollar rating of any model here, with 420 horses fed through a wailing supercharger and a price point often under $10,000. The Jaguar is the perfect example of a homogenous relationship between street and high-end credibility, and with an initial MSRP of over $60,000 barely a decade ago, depreciation has made this formerly life goal car an attainable ride for nearly anybody.
4 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP
Although front-wheel-drive isn't exactly the most ideal drivetrain setup for a high powered sports car, the tire size and design of the Grand Prix GXP allows this unseemingly aggressive mid 2000's sedan to house the legendary LS V8 found on so many of its American sports car counterparts, and basically renders this vehicle as the cheapest entry point into that glorious engine, with examples selling for around $6,000. The Grand Prix GXP may not be the most visually stunning option on the list, but it is one of the most readily available ways to inexpensively commandeer 300 horsepower.
3 2008 Ford Mustang GT
It would be nearly impossible to compile a list of high horsepower, low-cost automobiles without including the model that brought that notion to the masses to begin with. The Mustang has, since its inception, been the easily attainable fast car with plenty of street cred, and that ideology transitions even to today.
The fifth generation Mustang, of which the 2008 model year is a part of, marked a significant turning point in Mustang design, as it did away with the former, largely unliked body style in favor of one more muscular with more defined edges. Although today a brand new base model Mustang makes the same power as the 2008 GT, roughly 300 horses, that number is absolutely nothing to slouch at. Couple that with the fact that many of these used ponies are up for grabs for around $10,000 in good shape, its a solid option for a car that can maintain civility, but also burn rubber when needed.
2 2010 Hyundai Genesis GT Coupe
With a sporty, streamlined look that still turns heads a decade later, rear wheel drive, and a potent 306 horsepower V6, the Genesis is a no brainer. The reliability of the engine means that you can get plenty of hard driving out of this model without fear of breaking something important under the hood. Solid gas mileage when driven conservatively means it is a very usable car in daily circumstances as well. Often coming in around the $10,000 mark, the Genesis coupe is the cheapest, highest powered KDM car available on the current market.
1 2009 Dodge Charger RT
After returning to the market as a fully redesigned four-door sedan bearing the name of its 20th-century sports car counterpart, Dodge fans were quick to be critical, worried that the new Charger wouldn't maintain the standard set by the previous generation that made its name iconic. Ten years and thousands of examples later the new Charger design is going strong, literally, offering a strong 370 horsepower Hemi V8. The redesigned Charger is the car for anyone who needs the usability of a full back seat and trunk, but who also still likes doing burnouts, and luckily early examples like the 2009 model are now on the market for roughly $10,000 in good shape as well.