When you only have $5,000 to spend on a car, your options are pretty limited. You can either get a barely working, high-mileage Corolla, or maybe a Honda Pilot. Boring! I don’t know about you, but I want a car with power for cheap!
Oh yeah! I’m talking cars with 300 horsepower for under $5,000! Just hearing that gets my engine going! I’m your guide to the world of fast cars on the cheap, and today we’re going to look at some killer deals! Let’s go!
2009 – 2016 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
3.8-liter Lambda V6
306 HP / 266 TQ
First up on this list is the often overlooked and undervalued coupe from Korea, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. This Korean speed machine surprised everyone when it came out. Like, seriously, who would buy a Hyundai? No racing pedigree, no sports cars, nothing.
Yet, the Genesis became an instant success, and for good reason, too. With rear-wheel drive, an optional manual transmission, and a super speedy 3.8-liter Lambda V6, that makes a whopping 306 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, the Genesis is a great option! And when you pair it with the sound of that aggressive exhaust when you straight pipe it? Damn!
And it doesn’t stop there. Another thing that you can count on is the steering feel, which this car aces. See, the problem with a lot of modern cars is that the steering feels light and numb. Not in the Genesis.
Trust me, you’re going to be whipping it like you stole it. Not only because of the sporty handling and the stupid power, but also because you can pick one of these up for a steal! I found a silver Genesis with a manual transmission right at our budget. And now that Hyundai is cementing itself into the game with cars like the Veloster N and the G70, there’s never been a better time to buy one!
Now, wait, you want a couple more cylinders? Well, I got you. I’m sure this next car will scratch your V8 itch. Introducing the legendary American machine! The Ford Mustang GT!
2005 – 2014 Ford Mustang GT
4.6-liter Modular V8
300 HP / 330 TQ
Making all your first car dreams come true, the Mustang GT checks all the boxes for a slick sportscar. You got rear-wheel drive, extremely mean looks, and a juggernaut of an engine, the notoriously perfect 4.6-liter naturally-aspirated V8 that makes 300 horsepower with 330-pound feet of torque and that American V8 sound.
This thing is a crowd killer, literally. Ouch, that’s going to leave a mark. But where this beast won’t make a mark is your bank account. I found one with a 5-speed manual for just $5,000. If you want cheap speed, well, maybe the Mustang is always the answer? Sorry, Miata…
I mean compared to the Miata, the GT is like a supercar, going to 60 in only 5 seconds. And if you want to check out other cheap 0-to-60 speed demons, check out our Ideal video!
Now, if the Mustang is too rugged for you. I got something with a little more class! The E60 BMW 550i is it!
2005 – 2010 BMW E60 550i
362 HP / 361 TQ
This Bavarian harbors a beastly 4.7-liter V8 that makes a body-throwing 362 horsepower and 361 pound-feet of torque. That’s a lot of horses! And she has luxury! I’m talking leather seats, heads-up display, and a smooth ride that feels like it floats. Not all bad for a car that throws you to freeway speeds in under 5 seconds.
It’s all that opulence and sportiness that makes this car a masterpiece. Plus that BMW name! Now, just keep in mind the V8’s of the E60 generation have been reported to give owners trouble to some. However, most of the 550i owners swear by their car’s reliability, and you should be just fine in well-kept one with a clean service record.
Now, the whole reason the E60 550i is on the list is because it’s cheap! Like dirt cheap. We found an E60 550i with under 160,000 miles for under $5,000! Now, given this is a BMW under $5,000, it’ll be super hard to find one with low mileage. However, it’s a wicked deal to get into a top trim car that had and MSRP of $60,000! Nice! Just make sure to look into the service history, because if you don’t, a 5-figure repair bill doesn’t seem too unrealistic.
Now, moving on to the next car on this list, we got the Pontiac Grand Prix GXP.
2004 – 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP
5.3-liter LS4 V8
303 HP / 323 TQ
Rest in peace, Pontiac! This American sleeper is a seriously sweet deal. Just look at it, I mean, I would think that a grandma would drive one of these. No offense, love you, Gram Gram. But think again, my friend, this whip has a 5.3-liter LS4 V8 that puts out a patriotic 303 horsepower with 323 torque. Yee haw! That’s enough to beat most cars from the stoplight, and looking at this thing, I would never expect it to have a V8. Maybe a 4-cylinder. But a V8? Well, it’s the truth!
The GXP will crank out the power like nothing, and the interior ain’t that bad either. With features like paddles for the automatic transmission, a heads-up display, and leather seats, this cruiser has an unexpected sporty side to it as well. Unfortunately, the GXP was sadly only blessed with front-wheel drive, which means burnouts for days! Just don’t expect any doughnuts coming from this thing, or maybe give it a try.
All jokes aside, if you want to get one of these, we found a 2006 GXP for just $5,000. A sweet deal! And given the fact that this is a GM product, parts are cheap and widely available, so you won’t have to worry about headaches when it comes to reliability.
But if you do want some headaches with reliability, we got the Volvo S60 R.
2004 – 2007 Volvo S60R
2.5-liter Turbo Inline-5
296 HP / 295 TQ
The S60R is also a sleeper, but this car is so much cooler than your grandfather’s GXP. This Swede has some sweet specs. The S60R comes packing some serious heat with a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5 that makes 296 horsepower and 295 torque.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, Hey! That isn’t 300 horsepower! Why is it on this list? Well, my friend, it’s because this little guy has all-wheel drive with the Haldex system, so putting the power to the ground is easy peasy, putting the S60R to 60 in under 5 seconds, and you have traction for days.
I think that and the extra swagger of this car definitely gives it 4 extra horsepower. Sounds really great, right? However, make sure to do a thorough inspection before you buy one. One of the most common and expensive problems is the angle gear, which can get worn down over time, so watch out.
Also make sure the car comes with plenty of service records. You know, just use common sense when buying one of these or it’ll come back and bite you. If you want to take the leap of faith, I found a 2006 model for under $5,000.
If you want something a little more reliable, then our boys across the pond in Japan have your back, with the Infiniti G37.
2007 – 2015 Infiniti G37
3.5-liter or 3.7-liter V6
328 HP / 306 TQ
Being from Nissan’s luxury division, you already know the G37 is going to be nice. This sporty-styled sedan or coupe came loaded with comfort. Leather seats, leather steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, even a Bose sound system. This car is solid, plus it has the Holy Grail, the V6 power plant!
The VQ37 is super reliable, smooth, and powerful, making above 300 horsepower with ease. And that rear-wheel drive with killer weight distribution, handling is nothing short of amazing
If you want to pick one up, you got plenty of options. We found a black sedan G37 for $4,500. That’s a great deal for what you get.
Another notable aspect of the G37 is the platform, which is the same as another Nissan that you might know about, the Nissan 370Z.
2009 – 2019 Nissan 370Z
Yeah, that one. A lot of mods that fit onto the 370Z will fit onto the G37, because the 370Z has a super similar VQ37 engine to the Infiniti. And you want to straight pipe it? Sure, go ahead, and you got one of the loudest trumpets you’ll ever hear. Sounds pretty good in my opinion. Just make sure to not rev-bang everywhere you go.
And if you’re interested in getting a 370Z that looks way sportier than the Infiniti in my opinion, I found a black one in the top trim for right at $5,000. Whichever one that you choose, just know you’re getting a super reliable JDM superstar that’s slowly becoming a modern classic.
Back to the USA for our next car, we got the Chevy Camaro Z28.
1998 – 2002 Chevy Camaro Z28
5.7-liter LS1 V8
305 HP / 335 TQ
Also known as “The Catfish Camaro“. I mean, just look at that front end. It looks crazy! But you wont get catfished by all the smiles-per-gallon that engine makes. The 5.7-liter LS1 V8 mated to six-speed manual transmission helps the Chevy Camaro Z28 make 305 horsepower, a super respectable power output for a car that looks like a fish. Alright, I’ll stop ragging on the looks.
This car is a lot more rough around the edges than most cars on this list, with leather everywhere that will most likely look cracked and faded if not taken care of properly. And people love to beat the heck out of these things. Doughnuts and burnouts are almost guaranteed with this car. So, just make sure you do a thorough inspection.But if something’s wrong with the engine, parts are cheap and mass-produced, so it should be a breeze to repair.
If you want a catfish, I found a silver Z28 with a slushbox for $5,000. An awesome car with crazy looks and a crazy engine? Sign me up!
Now, chances are you have an itch. An itch for even more speed! Then, my friend, if you want the most powerful car on this list, you’re looking at the British banger, the Jaguar XJR!
1997 – 2003 Jaguar XJR
4.0-liter Supercharged V8
370 HP / 387 TQ
Now, this is one fast cat. I’d call this Jaguar more of a cheetah. Alright, sorry, that was bad. But this Jag really does have some serious power, though, coming with a 4.0-liter supercharged V8 that puts out a massive 370 horsepower and 387 pound-feet of torque. Damn! That’s enough power to push the XJR to 60 in under 5 seconds.
And the power isn’t the only thing you’ll be proud of. You also got leather like most of the cars on this list, a ride that is stupidly smooth, and that Jaguar name, which is exclusive among British villains and other high income folks.
One thing that I wouldn’t joke about, though, is that reliability, for which I have one word: nightmare. Most of the electronics and the engine fail if they’re not taken care of properly, so it might be hard to find one that doesn’t have a laundry list of faults. So, just be aware of that.
But this list is cheap cars that have over 300 horsepower, it doesn’t really matter how reliable it is. So, if you want one, it’s your funeral. We found a supercharged cat for only $4,500 with under 100,000 miles! A pretty excellent deal!