Hey, speed junkie! Imagine hitting 60 miles per hour in less than 5 seconds and still being under budget. Yeah, I know, we don’t have a ton of cash to go from zero to hero! But you’re about to find out it doesn’t take a whole lot of cash to go fast!
And we have everything from high-strung race-bread inline 6’s to big old American V8’s on this list, all ready to rocket you down the road without breaking the bank!
2011 – 2014 Ford Mustang GT – The 5.0 Is An Allstar!
You know what goes together just as well as peanut butter and jelly? Yeah, Mustang and 5.0! Ford went back to that tried-and-true recipe in 2011 with the S197 Mustang GT! I think the Mustang looks sick! It’s mean, it’s pure muscle, and it has the performance to back it up! Specifically, that fabulous 5.0, which pumps out 412 horses and 390 foot pounds of torque, which is delivered in a very predictable and linear fashion!
Now, don’t get a 2010 or older S197 because those came with a 4.6-liter and had 97 less horsepower! Lame! And I won’t even mention those horrific gas mileage numbers. Oh wait, I just mentioned it.
Here’s the thing about the 2011 and newer S197, they have extremely strong rear axles that don’t break under big power numbers, which is awesome because mods are super cheap for the 5-liter V8, so you’re going to be tempted to push it past 500 reliable horses. I don’t blame you, because these things sound like the Civil War is chasing you when you rip to 60 in just 4.6 seconds!
Out of the trio of domestic competitors, the Chevy Camaro, and the Dodge Challenger, the Mustang GT is the cheapest way to car-B-que 60 in under 5! Here you go, we found a 2012 GT with an underrated 412 horsepower, which is more like 435 horsepower stock, for less than $11,000!
But if an amazing German car is more your style, then I got just the one that only gets better with time! The E46 M3 is so good that I haven’t owned one, but two!
2001 – 2006 BMW M3 – Rated M
Just look at this thing, it’s hard to not just stare. The M3 is the benchmark in luxury performance cars. On the outside, it’s as cute as your high school sweetheart, and on the inside there’s this nasty hot-blooded Euro motor always ready to hit the high note!
The top-of-the-line M car has a 333-horsepower inline-six that cranks all the way to 8,000 RPM, which is good for 0 to 60 in 4.8 seconds! Now, the chassis is one of the best, and this M will go 10 rounds with any sports car in the twisties, and with a factory LSD, yes, it does skid quite well.
But, my favorite part about this car is that engine! It’s like a racecar engine! Cold starts are always entertaining, the highly-tuned 6 spits and sputters like no other car I’ve ever owned. And, oh boy, does she have an appetite for expensive motor oil, using about a quart every 2,000 miles.
Here’s the thing, it’s an incredible value right now, and the perfect car to use the Ideal Car Strategies on! So, check them out if you want to learn the right way to buy your next ideal car! I found one for $9,500, which, by using the strategies, you could easily drive for free for a year!
Now, what if you need four doors? How about a sleeper that doesn’t look like a cheap Korean sedan! I never thought you’d ask!
2013 – 2014 Hyundai Genesis R-Spec 5.0 – A Cheap “Expensive Looking” Sedan
Hyundai built the Genesis to compete directly with the big body BMWs and Audi, so you know that this 4-door sedan in top shelf trim is going to have a luxurious ride. But is it fast? And is it cheap? Well, yes, and yes!
Pop the hood and you’re looking at the company’s Tau V8, a 5-liter with 429 horsepower ready for a good time! And yes, it does sound amazing straight-piped and will hit 60 in just 4.9 seconds. It’s pretty cool that Korea makes one nasty sounding V8, and that sound comes out of a luxury sedan that you can get for pennies on the dollar!
Yeah! Under $10,000 for this 2013 Spec-R, but you want to stay away from the 2012 models due to their engines’ excessive oil consumption!
But, if you want the quintessential mid-life crisis mobile that offers a lot of performance, power and value, there’s really only one option.
1997 – 2004 C5 Chevy Corvette – The Blue Collar Supercar
The C5 Corvette! It makes sense that the gorgeous lines of the 5th gen appeal to the masses. And what makes this sled so incredible is that GM built it utilizing the LS1 motor, which guarantees a reliable 345 horses for a good time!
These things are now 20 years old, but back when they were new, their top speed of 175 miles per hour was world class! But if you want to see the cheapest way to break the 200 mile per hour barrier, check out our video about it!
What I love about the C5 is these two things. Number one, the price point new is high enough that it appeals to people that can afford to maintain them at the dealer, jorts and New Balances are totally optional! I’m totally guilty of scooping some white New Balances at the C8 corvette unveiling last year!
Anyway, the second thing is how moddable the LS1 is! Cheap, basic bolt-ons will turn this Detroit muscle into something truly extraordinary. Yee haw!
So, now you know what you get to look forward to if you buy one. But still, stock you’re looking ripping 0 to 60 sprints in 4.5 seconds, and you can do that in this fun vert for less than $9,000! Just promise me this, you throw a lumpy cam in there so it sounds badass standing still!
And if you want that same American power with just a different chassis, then the Pontiac GTO is for you.
2005 – 2006 Pontiac GTO – GTO Stands For “Get To Orbit”
The GTO is a two-door coupe that makes for a great daily driver with excellent build quality and some very sporty looks ripped straight from GM’s subsidiary from the land down under, Holden. It borrows the familiar naturally kick-ass LS2 V8 from the Corvette, giving this Pontiac 400 horses to the rear wheels, and putting 0 to 60 on the grill in a reported 4.7 seconds. Paired with that same ‘Vette sound, crazy, right?
And the GTO handles great too. With independent rear suspension, massive brakes for the curves, and a smooth rattle-free ride, you got a stupid fun, very reliable, and very affordable monster. One of the best things about those LS engines is that parts are cheap and you can find them at any auto shop.
But enough talk, if you want to get in on this sweet deal, I found a clean example with a sweet look for $9,000. The same price as the ‘Vette! So, which one would you have? The ‘Vette or the GTO?
Wait, do you smell that? It smells like fried eggs! Yes, the Porsche 996 911.
1999 – 2004 Porsche 996 911 – Eggs, Anyone?
Aside from its quite infamous headlights, the 996 has some great qualities. The most important today is that engine, the naturally-aspirated flat-6 engine in the back of the 996, rockets this Stuttgart stunner from 0-60 in 4.9 seconds, just under that 5 second mark
However, that’s not what this Porsche is all about. It’s a great all-around car, an everyday supercar. It has superb handling with that rear-wheel drive, and finely tuned weight distribution. You’re going to eat corners for breakfast, along with eggs.
Now, the 996’s are fairly reliable. However, if something does go wrong, it’s going to cost you. For example, a common problem is the IMS bearing. While it’s fixable, it is going to be pretty expensive. A new ceramic IMS bearing will run you around $1,700 to $2,500, not including labor, which is nuts.
But luckily, I found a 996 911 with the IMS bearing recently replaced for the low cost of $11,000. And just take it from me, we have a 911 ourselves here at Ideal, and I have to say, it’s pretty great.
2005 – 2010 Chrysler 300 SRT-8 – SRT8 Up Fast!
The SRT-8 is a luxurious, big-bodied, and powerful piece of American metal. Like, look at it, if you close one eye and squint with the other, it kind of looks like a Rolls-Royce. I mean, you can always get a body kit if you want to try and fit in with the Royce boys.
Unlike the intro to this car, that Hemi 6.1-liter V8 is no joke, pushing 425 horsepower! And, zooming to 60 in 4.9 seconds.
But, the best part about this deal is all that power is for cheap. I found a black 2006 SRT-8 for $8,600. Good luck around corners, though, because this thing handles like a boat!