Top 10 Fastest Cars Under $50,000

Top 10 Fastest Cars Under $50,000

While it may seem that automakers are focusing more on fuel efficiency than performance these days, cars are actually getting faster and (in some cases) cheaper. If you’re in the market for a performance car under $50,000, you might be surprised just how fast they can get.

Taking a look at 0-60 mph acceleration times*, we have compiled a list of the Top 10 fastest vehicles available on today’s market for under $50,000 including destination.

10. Nissan 370Z – 4.8 seconds


The Nissan 370Z kicks off the list with its ability to accelerate to 60 mph from a standstill in 4.8 seconds. The popular sports car from Nissan is powered by a 3.7-liter V6 engine with 332 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque and nets 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. It’s affordable too, with a starting price of $30,800 including destination. Those willing to dig deeper into their pockets can opt for the Nismo variant which starts from $43,830. It offers slightly more performance with 350 hp and 276 lb-ft of torque along with aerodynamic styling upgrades, stickier tires and upgraded suspension.

9. Subaru WRX – 4.7 seconds


Surprised to see the standard Subaru WRX on the list and not the WRX STI? That’s because the WRX is lighter and doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that makes the STI a better handling machine. As a result, the WRX goes from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds and has a really attractive starting price of $26,565. But that’s not to say that the WRX is a better car than the STI. Sure it’s faster accelerating to 60 mph, but that’s about its only advantage when it comes to true sports car performance. The WRX features a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 265 hp and 244 lb-ft of torque while the STI is more powerful with 305 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque. The other benefit the standard WRX has over its STI counterpart is that it’s more fuel efficient, getting a 19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway rating. The STI on the other hand is rated at 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.

8. BMW 135i – 4.6 seconds


The BMW 135i is a formidable sports car, accelerating from 0 to 60 in 4.6 seconds. Lurking under the hood is the German automaker’s popular 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine with 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. Equipped with a manual transmission (as it was for its 0-60 test), the 135i also gets a respectable 20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway rating. It has a starting price of $40,525, landing it closer to our $50,000 threshold.

7. Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 – 4.6 seconds


Want some good ‘ol American muscle? The Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 does its 0-60 sprint in 4.6 seconds at a cost of $45,190. Powering the American sports car is a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 engine with 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. Don’t expect good fuel economy however, as the Challenger SRT8 392 gets just 14 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. It’s not all about straight-line speed for the Challenger though, as it comes standard with Brembo brakes that allow it to stop from 60 mph to 0 in 117 feet.

6. Audi S4 – 4.4 seconds


The luxury performance S4 sedan from Audi is next on the list, with a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds. Powered by a six-cylinder 3.0-liter supercharged engine, the Audi S4 has 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque while getting an EPA-estimated 17 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The S4 however is the most expensive car on our list with a starting price of $48,995 with standard quattro all-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission.

5. BMW 335i xDrive – 4.4 seconds


BMW‘s main competitor to the Audi S4 is the 335i both in terms of price and performance. Of course there’s the more powerful M3, but given its price tag, the M3 won’t be finding its way onto this list. Since the S4 comes with all-wheel drive as standard, it’s only fitting that we compare it do the 335i xDrive which also features all-wheel drive. Priced from $46,325, the 335i xDrive has an advantage in the pricing department while its 0-60 time is identical to the S4 at 4.4 seconds.

4. Dodge Charger SRT8 – 4.4 seconds


Want American V8 power but need four doors? The Dodge Charger SRT8 is exactly what you need. Given how potent the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 is – the same motor found in the Challenger SRT8 392 – it’s no surprise that the Charger SRT8 can hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. It is however, more expensive than the Challenger SRT8 with a starting price of $47,445.

3. Chevrolet Camaro SS – 4.3 seconds


The popular Chevrolet Camaro SS is third on the list, though its 0-60 time of 4.3 seconds is actually tied with our next car. The Camaro 1SS can be had from $35,045 while those looking for more goodies can choose the 2SS trim, which starts at $38,845. Under the hood is a 6.2-liter V8 engine with 426 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque while getting a modest 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Of course there’s the more powerful ZL1 with 580 hp, but that’s well above our $50,000 price range.

2. Ford Mustang GT – 4.3 seconds


The Ford Mustang GT ranks second, despite the same 4.3-second 0-60 time as the Chevrolet Camaro SS. Reason being, the Mutsang GT is priced from $32,035, over $3,000 less than the Camaro. The 5.0-liter V8 engine boasts 420 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque while getting a 15 mpg city, 26 mpg highway rating with a manual transmission. Of course the Camaro and Mustang have been compared side-by-side for decades now, and choosing which one is for you could just come down to brand loyalty. Then again, you’re almost better off just hanging tight for the 2015 model year to hit dealerships.

1. Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG – 4.2 seconds


The Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class has already done wonders for the German automaker in terms of sales, and the CLA 45 AMG model is setting a new benchmark in luxury performance. Boasting the world’s most powerful four-cylinder engine, the CLA 45 AMG is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 355 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that the CLA 45 AMG delivers 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Best of all, real-world testing proves that the CLA 45 AMG accelerates to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, even faster than what the German automaker advertises. You can have it all for just $48,375.

*All 0-60 times are based on independent data, not manufacturer estimates.

  • DSF

    Mitsubishi EVO X ??????

  • Alfie

    LOL. The Evo may be a great handling car, but its 0-60 is not all that fast.

  • what a joke

    you obviously never drove an evo x if you dont think the 0-60 isnt fast.

    0-60, is faster than a 370 and sti.

    have fun hooking those rwd cars to get your exact 0-60 numbers.

  • Martin

    My ’05 GTO M6 can cut 1.80 60′ on 245 drag radials. I think I can hang with them.

  • thedog

    i can sneeze at over 2,000 miles an hour! rrt

  • Tony

    2012+ evos are much faster than the 08-11 due to more aggressive factory tuning. They WILL In fact burn everything on this list, especially if your driving the GSR

  • nurbu

    No evo wtf?????

  • Chris

    They don’t make EVOs anymore that’s probably why it’s not on the list :/

  • blueevo

    This will come as a shock to the dealerships with Evo X’s on the lot :T

  • Tony

    Yes they do

  • ian

    Ive never seen an article with such false facts. Who came up with these numbers. ..

  • Camaro Fan

    Whatever, I’ve never lost to a Rustang.

  • myviewpoint2

    Meet you at sundown my friend !!! I have heard a lot of that BS from you bow tie boys …

  • SFBay69 .

    lol…new 5.0’s with boltons run 11’s…slowmaro owners need to open the motor or run a power adder to see those times….

  • Will

    Most of these cars are $100,000 plus in Australia

  • Honest Abe

    Sucks to be you.

  • Nic

    All of these are 100k plus in Vietnam too, so what’s your fucking point?
    This is for American Drivers if you didn’t know.

  • Doc H

    Shit. I had no idea the CLA45 AMG was that fast! And it’s a frikin 4-banger!

  • Jesus Christ of Latter Day Sai

    Genesis Coupe? This list is dumb.

  • Jim Ray

    I wondered about that too. Supposedly the Genesis Coupe has more HP than the Nissan 370Z. I saw a comparison between the 2 about 2 years ago and the Genesis Coupe R-spec won.

  • Anon

    Would never dish out 50K for that tiny Benz. Period.

  • Tiffany Mendoza

    or you can get a used sl55 amg for 30k

  • asicit

    My ’05 Pontiac GTO, new for $30K, will run with these cars and you can buy one with low mileage for $16K today.

  • 808hustle

    “FAST” = top speed. “QUICK” = 0-60 times. This list should be the QUICKEST cars under $50K.

  • cchelios

    One can purchase the core edition of the Charger and Challenger SRT8 at a lower MSRP than listed in your article. Fewer bells and whistles but the same performance.

  • Jim Ray

    Not to mention the Charger SRT8 SuperB is about $5,000.00 LESS than the list price of the standard SRT8 Charger they showed here. Also the SuperB is 300+ pounds LIGHTER. So, if 100 pounds is good for 1/10th like the racers claim, then the Charger SRT SuperB should have been #1 on this list not Mercedes CLA-45

  • Jim Ray

    I regularly hit 0-60 in under 4.35 sec in my 2007 SRT8 Charger with no mods except a CAI and a tune. This car weighs 4200 pounds! I think I could take the new SRT8 Charger SuperB that has 50 more HP and weighs 300 pounds less and put a hurt on every car in this top ten list for under $40K

  • Shane Arnold

    No mods? Just a CAI and a tune, he says? Ugh… Those are mods genius.

  • sean

    yea i agree the CAI didn’t come with the car MODDED

  • Shane Arnold

    Dude, your car is modded. You say no mods, then go on to state you have a CAI and a tune. Those are mods, and will make your car go faster. Hate to break it to you, but your car IS MODDED!

  • Jim Ray

    Shane,I guess they didn’t teach you how to read in the 1st
    grade. I said I have no mods EXCEPT a CAI. The key word there is EXCEPT.
    Furthermore, a CAI is only good for 10 more HP at best. I guess you think that a 10 HP increase is
    going to make a 5 second 0-60 car run a 4.3 second. If I was into modifying engines for HP I
    wouldn’t even bother with a CAI. The reason I have an Air Raid CAI is that they
    have the LARGEST cone filter that accepts OIL. Oil soaked filters trap more
    dirt. The larger the filter is the SLOWER the air moves through it because of
    the LARGER surface area. This allows dirt to be TRAPPED by the oil. Of course,
    it takes a “Genius” to understand that.

  • intercool

    Problem is is that people don’t want to mod their brand new cars because it will most likely void the warranty (depending on the mod). A tune will 100% void the warranty with 100% of automakers, so your point is moot.

  • Jim Ray

    My car has been in for warranty repairs twice and 2 recalls. I also change my own oil. Not once has my warranty been voided due to this. I have a year left on my extended warranty and I have no fear of taking the car in for a warranty repair. Besides, the same hand held programmer that installs the tune can return the tune to stock BEFORE you take the car to the dealership……DUHHH!

  • Joshua Nathanael Stallings

    We use SRT8 Models but not the Mustang Boss 302? Which by the way does it in 4.0 seconds….

  • ColumWood

    A good point. The reason we didn’t use the Boss is that’s it’s only available as a 2013 model and not technically on sale any more. (The list is only for new cars).
    We’re big fans of the Boss!

  • jose

    what year is it?

  • trav

    The CLA45 AMG is 100k in Australia.

  • Jason

    but that isn’t even the new WRX technically the old one now that the slower 2015 model is on sale.

  • chaos

    2014 subaru wrx sti 55k 0-60 mph in 4.1 sec. Stock i got mine to push grand total kinda harsh fun to drive usa

  • Brad

    I’m sorry but the WRX is simply not faster than the WRX STi in a straight line! The WRX does not hit 60 in 4.7 seconds, the WRX STi does!

  • ben

    wow how much

  • Mitch

    Fact is my friends 4WD is the way things are going. In the wet, a RWD car becomes a liability able to do little more than make a great noise and a cloud of steam whilst you sit stationary. I own a C350 CDI, puts down a modest 261 BHP but 457lb/ft of torque. In the dry it’s properly quick (note I didn’t say fast), but next week I pick up my CLA45 AMG. Yes, it’s 4WD. Yes that means there’s less skill involved in driving it, but you know what? I don’t care. I’m not Lewis Hamilton, and nor do would I pretend to have even nearly the same level of driving prowess. But I get a kick out of going fast, the buzz of planting a car into a bend hard and coming out the other side alive and buzzing with adrenaline. Far too many people get caught up on saying “my car is better/faster than yours”, but you know what? Everyone on this site taking the time to comment on their ride – respect to them. You clearly love your cars. And personally, I don’t care if I was blown into the reeds by everyone on this forum – surely what we have in common here is our love of cars – new and old, small displacement / large displacement. It’s about the damn buzz you get when you go out in the thing, and know you’re pushing YOUR limits – regardless of whether you’re driving a £1.2 million Veyron, or a $40,000 Mustang. If you can’t recognize you’re one of a large group of people who share something special in common – a love of your machines – I’m not sure what you’re doing here. I regularly find myself out on an open road with another driver, who like me – is just out to feel the exhilaration of putting pedal to metal. I don’t think I’m better than him if my car is worth twice what his is, or worse than him if my car is worth half what his is – the fact is – a true petrolhead respects other petrolheads without the need to troll/ be abusive. I’ve had a number of encounters with other drivers giving it ‘some welly’ on the roads. And when we pull up at the lights, a respectful thumbs up is exchanged. Just my two pen’eth / cents :)

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