Buyers looking for the fastest, most powerful cars these days have to be willing to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes millions. Lamborghinis, Bugattis and Ferraris – cars so expensive that only multimillionaires can afford them.
Fortunately, there are several exciting car options that don’t cost an arm and a leg. While these cars don’t feature the latest technology or 500hp engines, they do deliver a thrilling driving experience that leaves a big smile on the face of any purist. The best thing about these cars is that because they are cheap, drivers can push them to their limits without worrying about getting a scratch or a dent.
Pontiac Solstice 2006
With a sexy look, solid performance, and a value-driven price tag, the 2006 Pontiac Solstice was a nice package at launch. It is fitted with hydroformed body panels that give it seductive curves and flowing lines, making it one of the most beautiful cars of its time.
A true sports car, the Solstice comes standard with rear-wheel drive, near 50-50 weight balance, four-wheel independent suspension and 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels. At the heart of the Solstice is a 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine producing 177 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque, or a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 260 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque.
BMW 3 Series E30
The venerable E30 is the epitome of the BMW 3 Series – a car so popular that BMW produced over 2.2 million of them from 1982 to 1992. The E30 is regarded as the car that cemented BMW’s position as a manufacturer. top of the range compact but powerful vehicles.
What gives the E30 its advantage is its small rear-wheel drive chassis with an attractive design and perfect weight distribution. A 170-horsepower six-cylinder powers the Model 325, giving it incredible acceleration for a vehicle made so long ago. This car also benefits from tremendous aftermarket support, which makes it perfect for a project.
2002 Subaru Impreza WRX
Rather than competing with smaller sedans from Toyota and Honda, Subaru tries to be unique by offering things that other major Japanese manufacturers don’t – wagon body style, big horsepower, all-wheel drive, between other unique features. The 2002 Impreza WRX has been completely redesigned and fitted with a turbocharged engine, allowing enthusiasts to drive a powerful sports sedan without breaking the bank.
Its 2.0-liter Boxer engine is perfectly paired with a sport-tuned suspension with a wide front track, sport seats, four-wheel disc brakes and high-performance tires on 16-inch alloy rims.
In 1982, Porsche introduced the 944, which turned out to be one of its most important models. One of the standout features of the 944 was its new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 170 horsepower – not much by today’s standards but more than enough back then.
However, the 944’s value lies in its responsive handling and precise handling. It comes with a transaxle setup that distributes weight more efficiently and improves handling. On top of all that, the 944 has retractable headlights, a feature that we really miss these days.
1991 Toyota MR2
In the 1970s, most people viewed Toyota as a fastidious, economical automaker with no options appealing to enthusiasts. However, that all changed in 1984 when Toyota introduced the MR2, which instantly became a hit. It was appreciated for its affordability, excellent handling and exceptional performance.
While the first generation MR2 may be overpriced, subsequent generations are much more affordable and easier to find. Those who buy an MR2 can expect quick acceleration and fantastic handling thanks to its mid-engine layout.
2002 Mercedes-Benz SLK230
The SLK230 is a fun roadster that combines the safety and security of a hardtop, the fun and freedom of a convertible, and the reliability and precision associated with the Mercedes-Benz brand. The most notable feature of the SLK230 is its retractable steel roof which gives the car the appearance of a Mercedes-Benz sedan when raised.
Under the hood of the SLK230 hides a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine producing 192 horsepower. The powertrain could be paired with a five-speed TouchShift automatic transmission or a six-speed manual, which is more difficult to find.
Ford Crown Victoria
This handy machine may seem misplaced on a sports and performance car list, but it isn’t. The Vic Crown deserves a place here because it’s one of the most durable vehicles ever produced – which is one of the reasons cops and cab companies love it so much.
The Crown Vic draws its power from a modular 4.6-liter V8 engine developing 260 hp. That might not sound like enough, but it’s enough to give the massive rear-wheel-drive sedan above-average acceleration and cruise speeds.
Between 1970 and 1990, Japanese automakers dominated the industry, producing inexpensive sports cars that could do almost anything better than European cars three times the price. One of these cars was the iconic Mazda RX-7. Launched in 1978, the RX-7 is a rear-wheel drive sports car with all the makings of a cult classic.
Its most notable feature is the 1.3-liter Wankel rotary engine that produces 135 horsepower, enough to deliver a lively performance from this magnificent car. Mazda has sold nearly 500,000 RX-7s in the United States, which is why they are so cheap.
2001 Porsche Boxster
Porsche and affordable aren’t words that are easily found in the same sentence, but the Boxster shows that they can. Like other Porsche cars, the Boxster is a nice sports car with excellent driving dynamics. Unfortunately it has always been in the famous 911 shadow, which is why buyers can get the 2001 model without digging too much in their pockets.
The Boxster is powered by a 2.7-liter flat-six engine producing 217 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. This gives the driver an unprecedented thrill and one of the finest exhaust notes.
Ford Mustang 2003
No list of fun-to-drive cars can be complete without including a Mustang. The Mustang is quite simply the best muscle car you can buy, loved by many for its hearty V8s, affordability, and wide range of customization options. The 2003 model appeals to purists who love the sound of a massive V8. Being a rear-wheel drive car, the Mustang also behaves like a pro and has the allure of a legendary vehicle with a long and rich history.
It comes with a powerful 4.6 liter V8 serving 260 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission ensures that all that power is transmitted smoothly to the rear wheels.
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