If you're looking for speed, but don't want to spend more than $50,000, then you're in luck because there are plenty of quick cars available for 2020 that won't break your budget. New advances in engine and body design allow faster cars to be made for less money. You no longer have to shell out for a top-of-the-line sports car in order to enjoy a thrilling commute or weekend drive.
The GTI offers car buyers performance and practicality in a hatchback form. For the newest version, all GTI trims get the Performance package as standard equipment (previously, it was only optional). The GTI's turbo four-cylinder engine makes 228 horsepower, which is enough to get it from zero to 60 in 5.8 seconds. The latest GTI does this with a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission, which is optional. The base price of the GTI starts at just under $28,500.
Inside the Volkswagen GTI.
The MX-5 Miata is one of the lightest vehicles around, which also helps it be quite fast. The newest version of the Miata's 2.0-liter engine includes upgraded horsepower to 181 and torque to 151 pound-feet. When equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, the Miata can hit zero to 60 in 5.7 seconds. The starting price of the two-seater Miata remains very reasonable at $26,650.
Inside the Mazda MX-5 Miata.
The Buick Regal Sportback just might be the biggest surprise and the most unassuming car on this list, thanks to its Buick brand and a design that does little to suggest speed or handling. However, the Regal Sportback features a 250-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission; the duo helps this car hit 60 from a standstill in 5.6 seconds. If you add AWD, then the time goes up as it adds more weight. The Regal Sportback starts at $25,995.
Inside the Buick Regal Sportback.
The WRX uses its standard AWD to its advantage as it can launch from zero to 60 in about 5.5 seconds. The featured engine is a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with 268-horsepower; this version starts below $28,000.
Subaru fans looking for more power and speed should consider the WRX STI. This hotter version of the WRX packs a larger 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 310 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque. That power is good for a 5.2-second 0-60 time and the 2020 STI starts at $37,895 including destination.
The interior of the Subaru WRX STI.
Forget $50,000, this high-performance hatchback comes in below $30,000, and it can also go from zero to 60 in about 5.2 seconds. It's also earned a reputation as one of the most-fun performance cars on the market. The three-door, hatchback Veloster features a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 275 horsepower. In order to get the 5.2 second time, you'll need to get the six-speed manual transmission in the Performance Package. A less speedy version is the Veloster Turbo, which has a zero to 60 time of six seconds but also costs quite a bit less, at under $24,000.
Inside the Hyundai Veloster N.
Kia's Stinger full-size hatchback is pushing the brand to new luxury and performance heights; even better is the fact that the car is pretty quick. The Stinger GT1 features the same engine as the Genesis G70: a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 engine with 365 horsepower and a zero-to-60 time of 4.7 seconds.
Inside the Kia Stinger GT1.
One of the most surprising cars on this list is likely the G70 by Genesis. This luxury sedan made by Hyundai's luxury division has a price tag under $45,000, and it offers a powerful 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 engine that makes 365 horsepower and which will go from zero to 60 in 4.7 seconds. The G70 even runs the quarter-mile in a surprisingly competent 13.2 seconds, all while offering buyers plenty of interior luxury.
inside the Genesis G70 3.3T.
If you're not a fan of muscle cars, there are still plenty of options below $50,000. One to consider is Audi's S3. It comes with a practical four-door design and sophisticated look. The 288-horsepower, turbo four-cylinder engine will get you to 60 from zero in 4.6 seconds, and the sharp handling will get you around town smoothly. The price tag for the S3 comes in at just under $45,000.
If you like the Audi S3 but prefer something in the more practical hatchback bodystyle, consider its close cousin, the VW Golf R. Routinely praised by owners and critics alike, the Golf R pulls 288 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, paired with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Thanks to the grip of its standard all-wheel-drive (which the lesser Golf GTI lacks), this R model scoots from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds.
Though it's similar to its two-door Challenger cousin, the Charger offers a Scat Pack model to give car buyers the option of a four-door family sedan with a lot of speed. The same engine that is in the Challenger is also in this model, but it has fewer performance chops due to its family sedan designation. Nevertheless, the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 still makes 485 horsepower and can get the Charger from zero to 60 in 4.5 seconds. The price comes in at just under $42,000.
Inside the Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack.
Because it's electric, the Tesla Model 3 has some pretty strong performance chops. Starting at just under $49,000 for the AWD Long Range model before incentives, the Model 3 offers 271 horsepower with two electric motors and 307 pound-feet of torque at 0 RPM. Not only that, but it can reach a top speed of 162 MPH, and it does zero to 60 in 4.4 seconds.
Inside the Tesla Model 3.
If you're more of a GM fan and don't mind something slightly slower than the aforementioned Mustang, then the Camaro 2SS Coupe deserves a look. For just over $44,000, you get a 6.2-liter direct-injection V8 that makes 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. That engine rockets the Camaro from zero to 60 in about 4.4 seconds with the manual transmission. If you get the 10-speed automatic, then you can cut the time down to 4.1 seconds and get a quarter-mile in 12.4 seconds at 115 MPH.
Chevrolet Camaro 2SS Coupe interior.
Getting a German luxury car for under $48,000 is a pretty good deal all on its own, but when it's a fast one to boot, it becomes even better. The M240i xDrive Coupe by BMW promises a zero to 60 time of 4.4 seconds. It features a 335-horsepower, 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six engine paired with a rear-wheel-drive layout. If you add the all-wheel-drive xDrive option, then you can get that zero-to-60 time down to 4.2 seconds, not to mention more traction control and stability.
BMW M240i xDrive Coupe interior.
For about $42,000, you can get into an ultra-quick version of the Mustang with the Performance Pack I. This version of the Mustang GT comes with a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine that makes 460 horsepower and can go zero to 60 in 3.8 seconds. The powertrain is rounded out with a 10-speed automatic transmission that yields the best performance. You can make a single drag strip pass in 12.1 seconds at 120 MPH, which makes this Mustang no slouch at under $50,000.
Inside the Ford Mustang GT Fastback.
It's no secret that some versions of the Dodge Challenger (Hellcat anyone?) are some of the fastest and most powerful cars on the road today. But what about Challengers under $50,000? Consider the Scat Pack model, which starts at about $47,525. The 6.4-liter HEMI V8 makes 485 horsepower, and it can go from zero to 60 in 3.8 seconds. The quarter-mile time at 115 MPH is 11.7 seconds.
Inside the Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 Drag Pack.