I don’t know if you guys were aware, but I just got my very first supercar and it is awesome. It’s a V8-powered, gated manual, mid-engined Audi R8 supercar that goes 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds and can lap the Nurburgring in 8 minutes and 1 second. I love every minute of driving it and I love how it turns heads and makes me feel like the center of attention.
But I know there are people out there who believe that speed means everything. And if I’m super honest, there are some really surprising cars that are faster and cheaper than this beautiful Audi that I became the steward of.
R33 Skyline GT-R V-Spec – Woah, There Goes Tokyo
All we have to do is mention cheap cars that are faster than supercars and you know the JDM fanboys will start foaming at the mouth. For good reason. See, there’s this little car from Nissan that came out in the ’90s and it was so good at slaying supercars despite being half the price that it earned the nickname “Godzilla.” I’m talking about the R32 Skyline GT-R. And its younger sibling was a bit fatter and a lot faster.
The R33 Skyline GT-R V-Spec debuted in 1993, hich means it’s old, 15 years older than my R8. But if you got them both on the track, I’d be struggling to keep up. That’s really a testament to how good the R33 is and why it’s such a legendary car today. Especially the V-Spec, which had extra suspension mods, a more advanced all-wheel drive system, and over 300 horsepower, giving it a 0-to-60 time of 4.8 seconds, which is still really respectable. Not quite as fast as the R8, but respectable.
Where it really shines is as a complete package. You see, the R33 V-Spec was able to complete a lap around the Nurburgring in under 8 minutes, which is a hair faster than my Audi for half the price. Well, at least when they were new they were half the price. And since R33s are now more than 25 years old, you can import them into the States.
How much would you spend to own a V-Spec today? Well, we found one on Bring a Trailer that sold for about $20,000 less than I spent on the R8! I know this is what Squidd would have picked, but would you? Let me know in the comments.
A beautiful, German luxury car with a screaming V8? Or an old, turbocharged, all-wheel drive Japanese icon? Or maybe something with a lot more cylinders?
BMW M5 E60 – Who Needs Valves?
Enter the V10 BMW M5. They may not look it, but they are fast. They go 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds! All that’s thanks to that F1-inspired engine putting out 500 freakin’ horsepower. And they sound amazing! I don’t think they sound as good as an Audi V8 with custom exhaust, but what does? And I definitely wouldn’t trade this gated manual shifter for an extra two cylinders, especially when they’re tied to that milquetoast SMG transmission.
But I have to admit that the M5 is the most understated “supercar” in existence. Plus, they’re cheap as hell. We found a beautiful grey example with under 100,000 miles for just $25,000. I don’t think I need to tell you that $25,000 is a lot less than my Audi. You could buy that R33 and this BMW and you’d almost break even with what I paid for the R8.
Now, remember, these are cars that are faster than my R8, tot cars that are more reliable. You will be replacing major components on the M5, like every single day. In order to avoid going bankrupt at the BMW dealer, you may want to look for one of the most reliable companies out there and pick up a screaming hot hatch.
Civic Type R – Lava Hot Hatch
It’s called the Honda Civic Type R. I’m pretty sure you all know what it is because you watched that video Squidd made about the Type R, right? So we don’t have to explain that it’s the latest generation of one of automotive’s most prestigious lineages, right? All we have to do is say that it does the Nurburgring in 7 minutes and 43 seconds. That’s a sub-8-minute time from a front-wheel drive, totally practical, four-door hatchback that’s guaranteed to be more reliable than my R8.
Here’s the thing: you can pick one up brand new for $38,000, which is less than a used supercar. But Nurburgring times don’t matter on the street. My supercar is faster off the line. No ones going to care about handling when I leave you at the light.
Unfortunately, the next car on our list will have no problem walking away from any R8 from a dig, but I’m pretty sure my car sounds better…
Tesla Model 3 Performance – Woosh
Why do I say unfortunately? Because I don’t want to admit that a Tesla is way faster than a dinosaur-powered R8. But the Model 3 Performance is really fast. With a 0-to-60 time of 3 seconds, a full second faster than my Audi, it’s pretty hard to argue anything else. Throw a wing and some suspension on it, and it will run the Nurburgring faster than a V8 R8 as well, and for a lot less moolah.
We found one for $43,000 and it was practically brand new. But I hear you. I’m not really ready for the electric revolution either. Instead, how about some pure legendary JDM rivalry?
Lancer Evo – Teriyaki Boys in the House
I’m talking, of course, about the STI versus Evo rivalry. And, honestly, you can’t go wrong with either. A Subaru WRX STI is such a great driver’s car. And if you want something new, it’s the only choice. However, I’m more into the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, which, with a little bit of tuning, can easily run laps around most supercars.
If you want to pick one up just so you can hunt me down, get about $30,000 together and pick up a used Evo. We found an Evo 8 for $27,000; and after you talk them down, that gives you $4,000 to spend on mods. You’ll be good to go.
Honestly, the Evo 8 and 9 are perfect for the Ideal Car Strategies, a course you can enroll in to learn how to choose cars that will help you level up from a cheap car to a supercar by using pro financing tips and learning to leverage your lines of credit. Plus, it’ll help you do things like buy an Evo 8 at current prices and sell it for more than you paid for it in a few years.
Plus, before you sell it, you’ll be able to enjoy a super hot, all-wheel drive performance car that you can still use to go get groceries in. Or, if you’re willing to just sacrifice all practicality, get a Caterham.
Caterham Super Seven – Four-Wheel Superbike
Sure, they don’t have any room for anything other than you and maybe one of your lighter friends, and there’s no roof, but they are hands down one of the most fun cars I have ever driven. The handling and acceleration are just unreal. The problem is that, since they’re often kit cars, you don’t know exactly what you’re getting if you buy one.
The official Caterham cars, like the 500 Superlite, often have mind-blowing acceleration numbers. I’m talking 0-to-60 in less than 3 seconds and Nurburgring times that would embarrass the Type R. And for $37,000, they are about the same price as the Civic.
But, some people have weird ideas and will build a Super Seven replica with a tired 22R motor and skimp on the suspension. Just make sure you do your research and get a tried-and-true design rather than some backyard knockoff.
Wait. Small. Lightweight. Emphasis on handling. No, it couldn’t be. Is it Miata time?
Mazda Miata – Honorable Mention
No way. No way a stinking little Miata is faster than my R8. But the numbers don’t lie. An NC Miata driven by none other than the test driver from Koenigsegg set a blistering Nurburgring time of 7 minutes and 49 seconds, nearly ten seconds faster than my supercar. A Miata! It didn’t even have a ton of mods. It just had some big brakes, about 50 extra horses in bolt-ons, and some serious tires.
I think, though, the biggest difference is that it was a phenomenal driver. And that’s something to keep in mind if you really want to smoke me on the track. You’d better fix the loose nuts behind the steering wheel because, even though in theory something like a Civic Type R or a Miata can put down a faster lap, numbers don’t mean squat if you can’t actually hold the line.
But a Miata isn’t the one that stings the most. The Miata was driven by a pro driver and set up just for that race. Nope, the one that actually hurts is the Volkswagen GTI.
Volkswagen Golf GTI – Delivery Is for the Weak
It’s a car you can get used for less than $10,000, and it doesn’t take much for them to be faster than an R8. In fact, stock, even the older Mk 5 Golf can hold its own on the Nurburgring. And with a little bit of tuning, it’s easy to go toe-to-toe off the line. And the Mk 7 Golf R is faster around the Nurburgring.
The reason it hurts so much is that the Golf is a Volkswagen, you know, the same company that built my Audi R8. They’re both all-wheel drive, but the Golf has half the displacement, twice the number of seats, and none of the style. What’s up with that? How could they let their own little hatch be faster on the track than their flagship, beautiful supercar? And for so much less money. You can get a 2016 Golf R for just $33,000 or, like I said, buy an older generation for pennies, toss a few mods on it, and you will smoke me at a track day.
That all being said, I’m going to be honest with you guys. I wouldn’t trade my R8 for any of them. Performance isn’t everything. I mean, let’s be totally honest, my Porsche 911 can hold its own with a V8 R8, but I have never driven anything that feels as good to drive nor anything that looks this good. Nor have I driven anything, and this is important, that makes me feel like such a winner.