Your inner child says that having a slow car is a one-way ticket to Snoresville! But, there’s a huge issue: fast cars are almost always expensive as hell. Actually, is hell expensive? I always heard that sin was cheaper than virtue. Well, it’s irrelevant because I don’t have the cash for either. Heck, I don’t even have enough cash to pay attention.
Well, we have the cure for what ails you and we’re coming at you with 10 cars that are under $10,000, and all of them will hit 150 on the straight. That’s fast enough to impress for sure.
Audi S4 – Learn to Love Repairs
We’re starting with a car that, let’s be honest, going fast is the only reason you’d consider buying one: the infamous Audi S4. Why is it infamous? Well, because there’s one thing Audi is known for more than anything else: they like to break.
But, that rally pedigree can make up for a lot of flaws. And the minute you step behind the wheel of the M3 competitor known as the S4, you’ll be able to justify spending all the money to keep it on the road. This article is about speed, though. So, how fast are we talking? 155 miles per hour. That’s actually a number you will see a lot, since a lot of cars are limited to 155. But, I can tell you from experience that it just takes a little bit of persuading the ECU and you can hit 170 without much trouble.
That’s pretty damn good for a car you can pick up for $6,000. We one with just over 100,000 on the clock and the drop-top that’s waiting for you to pick it up.
Next up, let’s go from a spirit German touring car to some good American V8 muscle masquerading as a “luxury touring car.”
Chrysler 300C – Is That a Hemi?
It’s called the Chrysler 300. But, this is not just any 300. This is the 300C with the 5.7-liter Hemi, which is a really friggin’ sweet engine. And it’s that sweet Hemi that motivates this barge from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in under five seconds. That’s really fast, but what makes it stunning is that, when you hit 60, you can just keep right on going straight to 155. And, just like the Audi (and, well, almost all the cars on this list), it doesn’t take much to go beyond. All for just under $10,000.
Let’s say you want something more reliable than an Audi but less in your face than a Chrysler, though. Well, the BMW E39 is for you.
BMW E39 540i – Wring Mein Werkzeug
The 540i is a great-looking muscle car. Yeah, I said it. See, the 540i is more than just the legendary M5’s little brother. It’s got a beautiful German V8 under the hood that can crank out nearly 300 horses and propel this luxurious four-door right up to the electronically-limited speed limit of 155. But, unlike the Chrysler, the 5 Series can handle the curvy parts too. That beautiful German V8 is bolted to one of the best handling 5-speeds of all time. Pretty damn good for a car that you can find sitting on a lot for $8,000!
Four doors not your style? Well, good news: there’s still one cheap sports car, and it’s the crowd favorite 350Z!
Nissan 350Z – Play the Magic Trumpet
Now, the sound of the VQ engine is an acquired taste. Fart or trumpet? Let me know in the comments. But, no one can deny that it’s fast. Unlike a lot of cars on today’s list, though, the 350Z is good for more than just scaring the crap out of your passengers. It’s the perfect car to start drifting, autocrossing, or club racing, making it a truly ideal car. And, yes, you can still find them in alright condition for under $10,000. We found one for just under $8,000. Get one now because they are going up in value.
We’ve hit Japan, America, and Germany. What about our friends in the United Kingdom? Well, they’ve got Jaguar and the refined, Scotch-bred XJR.
Jaguar XJR – It’s a Jaaaaaag!
The XJR is a great-looking car packing a beautiful supercharged V8 under the mile-long hood. And I don’t know if I would actually call it fast. It will go 155 miles per hour, for sure, but it takes a while to get there. The thing is that you won’t find a more comfortable car that can hit those speeds and costs as little as a used Jag. We found one for $7,000, which is really tempting. Just be aware that, like Audi, Jag has a real reliability problem, so I hope you and your mechanic have a great relationship.
Moving on, people are still sleeping on the SN95 Mustang GTs, so we can’t help but recommend one.
Ford Mustang SN95 – Crowd Pleaser
Mustangs just kind of, I don’t know, feel a little uninspiring sometimes since they’re so common. But the Modular V8 under the hood is a really great engine. And, for the money, it’s hard to find a faster car. I mean, we found one for $7,500. That’s a two-door coupe that will run forever and will hit 155 miles per hour, especially if you’re willing to wrench on it a bit. These are quickly becoming the cheap drag racing car of our era, so you better believe they can get up to speed in a hurry.
Speaking of legendary American V8s, Chevy has some things to say. And even the now-ancient C4 Corvette has some serious quickness.
Chevrolet Corvette C4 – It’s Explosive
Here’s the thing: the C5 Corvette is a better Corvette. It really is. But the C4 is still fast. People just don’t really think of it when discussing quick cars because it just didn’t do well versus its Japanese rivals like the 300ZX “Corvette Killer.” That really just speaks to the greatness of the Z, though, because the fourth generation of Chevy’s flagship car will go 160 miles per hour without much effort. And here’s the other thing: while we did find a clean one for $8,500, you can get them for $5,000 if you look. That’s a ton of car for not very much cash.
There are not many creature comforts in an ’80s sports car, though, and they will need work. If you want to go fast, but don’t ever want to turn a wrench, get a Lexus.
Lexus LS430 – Luxurious Blur
This is how you can tell I need to take my own advice. I don’t own a Lexus, even though they’re expertly engineered, last forever, and are more luxurious than their German rivals. I wish the Audi didn’t need any work. Which Lexus should you get, though? Well, the one with the V8, of course. Personally, I like the GS430 for looks, but the flagship LS series is so iconic that I can’t help but say that you shouldn’t be like me and you should buy an LS430. Like everything on this list, it’ll hit 155, and you can find them for under $10,000.
An LS won’t stand out in a crowd, though. And if you want to stand out, I have something that’s a phenomenal option for you. It’s called the SVX, or the Alcyone if you’re fancy, and it’s the Subaru that everyone forgot about.
Subaru SVX – Untapped Potential
In the ’90s, we had the RX-7, the 300ZX, and the Mark IV Supra all fighting for dominance. Subaru decided they wanted a piece of that, so they built the fighter jet-inspired SVX, which has a great engine and is shaped like a supercar. It’s decently fast, has Subaru’s legendary all-wheel drive system, and, on paper, it’s awesome. The only thing that hurts is that you can only get it as an automatic. I can’t imagine a modern company making a flagship sports car and only making it an automatic. Oh, wait, the Mark V Supra. Since time has sort of forgotten about it, SVXs are cheap. But, make sure to shop around. There are a lot of people that don’t know what they have and they just want to get rid of their old weird sportscar.
Wait. Do you hear that? It’s the sound of the honorable mention, baby!
Volkswagen Golf GTI – Honorable Mention
What are we mentioning today? It’s the Volkswagen Golf GTI, which is basically the best fast, fun, practical, daily driver that you can get. Honestly, I have nothing but praise for the Golf GTI, they are oh-so-fun to drive. So, why does it only deserve an honorable mention? Because this is an article about cars that can hit 150 and the Golf GTI falls just short with a top speed clocked at 146. Yeah, 4 miles per hour short, and that’s still hella impressive. And for under $10,000? Definitely an ideal purchase.
Alright, dudes and dudettes, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The final car on our list and one of my favorite sedans ever: the Mercedes Benz S550.
Mercedes-Benz S550 – Leather, Lace, and Tire Smoke
There’s not a lot to say about the Mercedes that hasn’t already been said by every motor journalist on Earth. It’s world-class comfortable, the power is more than adequate, the legacy of Mercedes makes a statement about you as a person, and it states “I made it.” It also says “this car will depreciate a helluva lot more.” New, these cars were over $100,000. Now? We found one for just under $10,000. That’s 90% off the sticker price for a car that will easily hit 170 miles per hour. Rumor has it, since Mercedes is famous for underreporting their performance specs, a well-cared-for S550 will tickle 200. That’s really damn fast for a car that anyone can just go buy.