10 Value-Priced Performance Cars Every Gearhead Should Own


Most reducers want a sports car equipped with an engine that produces plenty of power and doesn’t have the curb weight of a ’74 Lincoln Continental. The Toyota GR86, for example, looks the part but is sorely lacking in speed and power. Consequently, it failed to attract gearheads with a real need for speed on a tight budget.

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While sports cars are exhilarating, they often cost an arm and a leg. Not everyone can shell out more than $150,000 for a car. There are cheap sports cars with insanely high redlines that cost less than a third of a Lamborghini Urus or BMW M6. Although they don’t boast astronomical numbers, they are fast and fun to drive aggressively on a track.

Toyota GR Yaris – MSRP $36,644

Toyota is no stranger to the sports car scene. While the Japanese automaker rarely equipped its previous midsize machines with big-block V8s, it made sure to squeeze as much power as possible from its skillfully engineered engines. Therefore, names like 2JZ-GTE and 7M-GTE have become synonymous with greatness in the automotive scene.

There are several things to know before buying a Toyota GR Yaris. The first thing people should know is that the Yaris isn’t made for a cross-country road trip, given its size. That said, the GR Yaris is perfect for city dwellers looking for a micro car that packs a punch. Under the hood is a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-three engine that produces 257 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, and it weighs just 2,822 lbs. Unfortunately, the GR Yaris is not sold in America.

Ford Mustang EcoBoost – MSRP $32,225

The Ford Mustang is the most popular American car ever made. Camaro fanboys may have a hard time accepting this simple fact, but the best-selling pony car of all time remains Ford’s Mustang. However, a division exists among Mustang owners. Since the release of the very first Mustang, gearheads have made it clear that the V6 version just isn’t worth buying.

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Die-hard Mustang fans will automatically ignore the Mustang EcoBoost. The fact that it doesn’t come with a V8 just doesn’t work for them. However, the EcoBoost is a great starter sports car. The turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four develops 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Ford also offers a premium package that gives the EcoBoost a much more racy look.

Audi S3 – MSRP $45,800

When Audi first released the S3 in 1999, it was an instant hit. Only available as a three-door hatchback, the first S3 featured a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine developing 207 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque. Besides being fast, the S3 was fitted with Audi’s legendary Quattro system, 17-inch wheels and a plethora of other features. Things have evolved since 1999 and are now better than ever.

Some of the best features of the 2022 Audi S3 will make anyone want to ditch their Hellcat. Unlike the Hellcat, the latest S3 isn’t just made for going fast in a straight line. Equipped with Audi’s Quattro system, the S3 can hurtle down a winding road without major problems. The entry-level sports car features a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four that produces 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.

Genesis G70 – MSRP $42,350

As crazy as it sounds, Hyundai has been around since 1967. It wasn’t until 1986 that the Korean automaker started selling cars in the United States. At first, Hyundai offered cars that were far less desirable than what most Japanese manufacturers were selling. Only recently have Hyundai cars sold under the Genesis brand become as attractive as its German rivals.

Despite the fact that the G70 looks like a 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, it’s still a formidable sports sedan. Following in the footsteps of Genesis cars released over the past 10 years, the G70 comes with a variety of performance parts. For $42,350, buyers will get a twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 that develops 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque. There are cheaper trim levels, but they come with a much smaller engine.

Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack – $44,155

In 1970 Dodge released some of the baddest muscle cars ever made. The Charger and Challenger were both gorgeous and fast. However, things got out of hand when the domestic auto industry entered the era of malaise. In the 1980s, the situation was so bad that the Challenger ended up becoming a badge-engineered Mitsubishi. Consequently, Dodge scrapped the Challenger.

RELATED: 5 Reasons You Should Buy a Dodge Challenger (5 Reasons We’d Rather Buy a Ford Mustang)

Over the past six years, the muscle car scene has seen the appearance of Mopar’s crazy Hellcats. However, not everyone can afford a lease on a Hellcat or just shell out over $63,000 on a Dodge. The R/T Scat Pack is the perfect alternative, as it comes with a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 that develops 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque. That’s plenty of power, even for the most experienced riders.

BMW M135i xDrive – MSRP $51,908

When it comes to German cars, many of the most exciting vehicles are accessible to many gearheads. For example, the 2022 BMW M3 starts at $70,100. While the M3 is great, it’s not the most insane M-badged car in BMW’s lineup. To put it simply, getting your hands on a high-end, limited-edition BMW is nigh on impossible unless you’re willing to remortgage your home.

The 2022 BMW M135i has a bold look and a more precise ride than previous editions. With bigger rims and a much more aggressive front end, the M135i is the sedan that can trump any sedan. Equipped with BMW’s xDrive system, the 302 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque produced by the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine are sent to all four wheels. Unfortunately, the M135i will not be sold in the United States.

Kia K5 GT – MSRP $31,190

Korean cars have never rhymed with sportiness and comfort. In fact, they were often seen as disposable cars, perfect for new drivers or people just looking to get from point A to point B. However, things have changed drastically over the past decade. Kia surprised the world by unveiling the monstrous Stinger GT2. However, it wasn’t the only Kia beast included in its lineup.

The Kia K5 GT is perfect for someone considering buying a premium sports sedan down the line. Besides being affordable, the Korean sports sedan comes with a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four that develops 290 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, the K5 GT only comes with front-wheel drive, which makes it slightly less appealing than cars of the same caliber.

Volkswagen Golf R – MSRP $44,090

Volkswagen first launched the Golf in 1974. It is one of the oldest nameplates in the German automotive industry. The sportier version of the Golf, the GTI, hit the streets in 1976. Since then, Volkswagen has manufactured a plethora of Golfs and their variants. The most memorable until recently was the 2003 Volkswagen Golf R32. Volkswagen decided to bring back the aura of the R32 over the past two years.

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The Golf has received a lot of hate over the past two decades or so. However, anyone with common sense will agree that Volkswagen Golf has steadily improved over the years. The latest Golf R inspires nothing but sportiness and affordable luxury. Comes standard with a quad tailpipe system and diffuser, the rear of the Golf R is truly aggressive. With a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine that produces 315 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, it’s completely understandable why Volkswagen decided to give the Golf R such an aggressive look.

Infiniti Q60 – MSRP $41,750

Japanese automakers quickly realized that the American market yearned for more luxurious and valuable vehicles. Accordingly, Toyota, Honda and Nissan created luxury divisions. Lexus, Acura and Infiniti are well known around the world as the Japanese brands that give German automakers nightmares. Infiniti has amazing vehicles in its lineup.

There are several things gearheads should know before purchasing the 2022 Infiniti Q60 in order to make the best purchase possible. While it’s hard to seriously go wrong when buying the latest Q60, it’s important to take the time to choose the right trim level. Pure, Luxe and Red Sport trim levels come with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that produces between 300 and 400 hp. The engine also produces between 295 and 350 lb-ft of torque. The icing on the cake: every trim level comes with an all-wheel-drive option.

Nissan Z – MSRP $40,000 (estimate)

The Z series has been around since 1969, when it was marketed as the Nissan Fairlady Z in Japan and the Datsun 240Z in the United States. The Z series has become the best mid-range sports car offered by Nissan. Things got really exciting when the twin-turbocharged 300ZX came out in the 90s. In recent years, the 350Z and 370Z have shown that Nissan is still capable of producing great two-seaters.

When Nissan announced the end of the 370Z, several gearheads thought Nissan was going to retire the nameplate for a while. Instead, Nissan has come up with an upgraded Z car that’s nothing short of stunning. This time around, the Z will come with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that develops 400 hp. The next Z won’t just be gorgeous, it’ll be perfect for wiping out some of the best two-seaters on the market.

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