Cheapest Cars That Do 12.0 Second Quarter Mile

black 2013 chevrolet corvette z06

So, you want to go fast, like really fast. Well, if that’s the case, you’re in the right place. 12 seconds, the length of the first flight by the Wright Brothers, and the same amount of time it takes these cars to trap the quarter mile.

This list of cars is faster than most supercars, and they’re all less than $30,000. And there’s even two cars on this list that will hit over 200 miles per hour! Let’s get into it!

2014 – 2019 BMW M4 – The Ultimate Driving Machine

bmw m4 coupe

Alright, those that know me, know I have to start with the Bavarian boys at BMW. So, first up on this list is going to be the amazing BMW M4. In 2014, BMW changed up their lineup, adding a new class to their lineup, the 4 Series. And while most turned out to be boring grocery getters, one model stood out from the rest.

Taking decades of motorsport pedigree, BMW’s M division made a masterpiece. Using plentiful amounts of carbon fiber and aluminum, engineers at BMW were able to keep the curb weight low. And using genius electronics to maximize performance and traction, the combination was a match made in heaven. Just like Brad Danger and mustaches.

The M4 is powered by a twin-turbo 3-liter straight-6 putting down 425 horsepower. The straight-6 pushes it to 60 in a staggering 3.7 seconds. Those are supercar like numbers! BMW has always been the choice of enthusiasts and ego centric douchebags alike. Regardless of who drives it, the M4 is a lethal track weapon, but it’s also at home at the drag strip, as it’ll run the quarter mile in 12 seconds flat.

Now, none of these cars on the list are going to be inexpensive, because you have to remember, if you want to go fast, you have to spend the cash. And thanks to depreciation M4’s can be had for right under $30,000, which is kind of a bargain considering these were over $60,00 new!

While the M4 is impressive, some enthusiasts don’t like how they ditched the V8 of the past. And if you’re like them, and you can’t live without a mighty V8 in your life. I don’t blame you. What’s brash, brutal, and badass? I’m definitely talking about the Camaro ZL1.

2012 – 2015 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 – Bitchin’ Camaro

2015 chevrolet camaro zl1
Car and Driver

But, of course, you’d never think of the Camaro ZL1 as a bargain. Well, until now. For less than $30,000, you could have a Mustang-eater, and an SRT-slayer. The beast is powered by an almighty 6.2-liter supercharged V8 putting down 580 horsepower to the rear wheels. It’ll launch you to 60 in under 4 seconds and trap the quarter mile in 11.93 seconds.

And since it’s got a heart of an LS, parts are cheap and plentiful. And making 1,000 horsepower isn’t out of reach. Even with a cam, headers, and exhaust, you can expect 700 horsepower. More than enough to hunt Hellcats.

The engineers at Chevrolet found a way to push a Camaro through the quarter mile in under 12 seconds for less than $55,000 new. They put all their money into developing the beastly LS engine, and the capable MagnaRide suspension.

Sadly, they kind of slapped the interior together last minute pretty cheaply. So, while the ZL1 isn’t lathered in luxury, who cares? It’s made to do one thing: go fast. And, oh baby, does this get the job done! And, thanks to the official mascot of Ideal, depreciation, they can be had for under $25,000!

Now, if the cheap interior on the Camaro is a deal breaker, why not go fast while sitting in your comfy massaging seats, sitting behind the wheel of the Audi S8.

2012 – 2013 Audi S8 – Haul Ass In Class

2013 audi s8
Motor Authority

With an original MSRP of $110,000, the S8 means business. It’s based off Audi’s ultra luxury A8, but stuffed with a twin-turbo V8 producing over 500 horsepower. This car hits 60 in a staggering 3.5 seconds. Yeah, that’s right. Line up with an R8 and leave it in the dust.

To this day the S8 looks like a million bucks, but it’s actually the cheapest on this list at around $24,000! That’s like 25% its original price! And it’s an Audi, so it’s got to be plagued with problems, right? Wrong!

Most S8 owners are surprised about their car’s reliability. A few run into issues with the air suspension, and a few rare instances where turbos blew. But, surprisingly, these beasts have proven to be reliable. And the Quattro all-wheel drive system makes it a great year-round car no matter the climate.

But, if you’re itching for a rear-wheel drive tire-slayer, this next car might just be for you. Back again are the boys at BMW, this time with the M5.

2011 – 2016 BMW M5 – Jack Of All Trades

2015 bmw m5
Bentley Gold Coast

The BMW M5 has been around for generations, taking technology, power, and luxury, and wrapping it all up in an iconic BMW sedan. Now, this M5 isn’t just your base 5 Series with a hopped-up engine. Oh no! This was the first M5 to be had with a dual clutch transmission, which improved shift time. And with 7 gears, it also aided better fuel economy over previous generations.

The dual clutch gearbox also helped reduce times at the track, as the M5 will lap the ring faster than a Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale, and it’s lighter, leaner brother the M2, while the M2 will hit the quarter mile in under 12 seconds.

I would suggest you opt for the manual transmission, even though it traps the quarter mile in 12.1 seconds. The manual transmission was an option only available in America, and who doesn’t want to row their own gears? And we all have to join together and save the manuals, right? Blasting down the PCH eating your Big Mac. ‘Merica!  

And thanks to deprecation the M5 can be had for less than the new Nissan Altima, you know, the rental car special.

Well, if a manual M5 is not American enough for you, this next car will definitely get the job done. How does a front-engine rear-drive V8 putting down 505 naturally-aspirated horsepower sound? Sweet, right?

2006 – 2013 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 – Mid-Life Crisis Mobile

2013 chevrolet corvette z06
Chevrolet Pressroom

This is the only car on this list that is only available in a manual transmission. And with that said, it’s the quickest to hit the quarter mile, in a staggering 11.7 seconds. The LS7 rockets the Z06 to 60 in just 3.7 seconds. Thanks to it low curb weight the Z06 is an absolute autocross animal, and it’s at home on the track too.

But be warned, with all that power on tap, the rear ends like to give out. Ouch. But hey, that much power is good for cleaning up your lawn too. How convenient! It can be hard to handle, but if you get it right, the Z06 will go like a bat out of hell.

And with a cam, intake, and exhaust, you can let the bald eagles fly while gapping Hellcats. I’m honestly surprised there’s not more of a following for the Z06. It’s good in a straight line, with people having stock Z06’s up past 200 miles per hour, and it’s got superb handling, getting a reputation like a V8 Miata.

And for the same price as a new Miata, you could have a Z06. That’s a tough one. For a lightweight sports car, I don’t think you could go wrong here.

The next car on this list has a much different approach. By taking decades of research and development, the guys at Porsche decided to get into the luxury sedan market with the Porsche Panamera.

2010 – 2016 Porsche Panamera Turbo – Not For Your Porsche Purists

2016 porsche panamera turbo

Some say the Panamera Turbo resembles a 911 limousine or a dachshund, but I call it confused. Models of the Panamera ranged from the standard V6 putting out 300 respectable horsepower to the 500 horsepower Turbo. The Panamera Turbo will transport 4 full-sized adults to 60 in 3.7 seconds and cross the quarter mile mark in 12 seconds flat.

But, just because it’s a big luxury sedan, you can’t forget that it’s still a Porsche, and it still corners like it’s on rails. So, that begs the question: is the Panamera Turbo the do-it-all Porsche? Maybe. But the 911’s will always have a place in my garage. If you haven’t already, be sure to go check out the video on my 996 911.

So, I love 911s. But, I have to say these Panamera Turbos are interesting. Prices started north of $130,000 for the Panamera Turbo, but today, these can be had for less than $30,000. We all have to thank deprecation for this one.

But, if you want a car that took a bigger hit, a car costing nearly $200,000 new, for less than $30,000, you could pick up a Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG.

2005 – 2007 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG – The Murderous Merc

2005 mercedes benz sl65 amg
Bentley Gold Coast

Oh, yeah! Did I mention the SL65 AMG comes with a twin-turbo V12 putting out more than 600 horsepower and over 700 pound-feet of torque? Those are similar specs to what a Pagani Huayra puts down! A coincidence AMG supplies the engine for the Huayra? Who knows. All I can say is that those are impressive numbers, even by today’s standards.

And did I mention the SL65 is a hardtop convertible? The SL65 scatters luxury throughout the cabin, pampering its drivers in only the most extravagant materials. The electronics are known to be a common issue with these cars.

But one electronic we all want to be disabled is the top speed limiter, and with the SL65 derestricted, people have pushed this car, and pushed it hard. With no modifications other than derestricting the top speed limiter and adjusted tire pressures, the SL65 has hit a mind-blowing, super crazy 211 miles per hour, beating supercars and hanging with hypercars. 211 miles per hour! Let that sink in.

For less than a mid-range Camry, you could be hanging with hypercars at over 200 miles per hour. Unfortunately, this is where all the fun ends, as there’s a laundry list of costly problems. And most mechanics won’t work on these cars because of how problematic they can be. But it can do 200. But it has a bunch of problems. I’m torn. Would you take the chance?

A car that you’d probably have better odds on is the BMW M6.

2012 – 2008 BMW M6 – The Bavarian Bruiser

2008 bmw m6
Car Gurus

Yeah, that’s right. Another BMW. The M6 hits 60 in just 3.8 seconds and finishes the quarter mile in 12 seconds flat. The M6 is BMW’s biggest M car, so it’s not quite as sporty as the M4, or as fast as the M5. But the M6 brings a lot to the table.

Offered in a coupe, convertible, and sedan, the M6 has a configuration for everyone. Well, everyone with over $100,000 to spend. Unless you buy used, but more on that in a minute.

The 4.40-liter turbocharged V8 puts out 560 horsepower, which is just enough to squeak out a 12 second pass down the strip. Enthusiasts criticize the M6 for not having the driving experience of a “real M car”, but they have to realize it weighs nearly as much as a freight train. It’s literally 1,000 pounds heavier than an M4 of the same year.

But with all that weight, the M6 still makes it on this list, and I don’t know about you, but there’s something special about the M6. Just listen to it one time and you’ll know what I mean. Catless downpipes and you’ll be popping popcorn all the way to the gas station. Yeah, it gets an advertised 14 miles per gallon city and only 20 miles per gallon highway. Ouch.

But, the M6 still squeaks by at under $30,000. So, you tell me, is the M6 a Bavarian bargain? Or just a bonkers Bimmer? Whatever it is, the M6 definitely earns its spot on this list.