Car Life Nation

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A person is shown walking away from a blue 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT SUV parked on a city curb.

Speeding, Not Spending: Fastest Cars Under $80K

When buying a new car, truck, or SUV, some drivers are searching for reliable daily drivers or roomy family vehicles. Others are in the market for the towing and hauling power of a heavy-duty pickup or a purpose-built off-roader that can navigate challenging terrain. Then there are the folks who want the fastest cars you can buy. They might not always be practical, efficient, or cheap, but there is no beating the excitement of stepping into a vehicle that can easily top 150 mph.

The holidays are right around the corner, so it is the perfect time to give you a few extra items to add to your Christmas list by exploring some of the fastest cars on the market. In an attempt to keep things reasonably affordable, we have limited our list to vehicles priced under the $80,000 mark. While that is still a pretty penny for most drivers, it is truly the shallow end of the pool for some of today’s high-performance vehicles, many of which easily top $100,000. Read on as we explore some of the quickest cars available today, ranging from well-known nameplates to some new up-and-coming cars.

2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition SUV

The first vehicle on our list is unique for a few reasons. First off, it is an SUV, which most drivers tend to think of as something other than being the speediest vehicle on the road. Second, and most importantly, it doesn’t have a huge engine. In fact, it doesn’t have an engine at all. The 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-e GT Performance Edition SUV might share a name with the brand’s famous muscle car, but it’s miles away from the pony car that started it all. Driven by two electric motors and featuring a performance-minded all-wheel drive setup, the Ford Mustang Mach-e GT Performance Edition leaves most of the SUV class in its dust with 480 hp and a top speed of 120 mph. Those numbers are nothing to turn your nose up at, but the SUV’s all-electric powertrain puts the biggest feather in its cap: 634 lb-ft of instant acceleration. Unlike gas-powered vehicles, which have to reach higher RPMs to deliver peak power, EVs give you all the torque on tap the moment you put your foot on the pedal. That makes for some fun driving, especially regarding launches, earning the 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-e GT Performance Edition SUV a mention on our list.

2023 Porsche 718 Boxster Style Edition

If you want to live that Porsche lifestyle – an experience of Porsche speed – without breaking the bank, consider the 2023 Porsche 718 Boxster Style Edition. The Cabriolet is the most affordable Porsche for 2023, but that doesn’t mean it’s making any sacrifices in the speed department. Powered by a turbocharged 2.0L flat-four engine, the 718 boasts a top speed of 170 mph, reaching zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds thanks to the 300 horses packed under the hood. While the Porsche bumps right up against our price cap with an MSRP of $76,700, it’s a relative bargain when you consider all the amenities. The 2023 Porsche 718 Boxster Style Edition not only features a heated steering wheel and futuristic illuminated door sill guards, it also borrows the 20-inch alloy wheels from the Porsche 718 Spyder to give the Boxster Style Edition a bold, distinctive look.

2023 BMW M4 Competition

The BMW 4 is already one of the brand’s standout models, giving drivers a luxurious and peppy compact that’s just as stylish as it is fun to drive. The 2023 BMW M4 Competition is all that and more, largely thanks to Mercedes’ M division. The German automaker’s in-house performance brand has built a reputation for taking Mercedes’s already impressive vehicles and infusing them with a sporty essence. The 2023 BMW M4 Competition is the perfect example. Powered by a 503 hp, 3.0L inline-six with not one but two turbochargers, the BMW M4 Competition can break 155 mph with no sweat. If you do a little tinkering with the M4’s top speed limiter and throw some performance tires on the front, the model is capable of speeds up to 180 mph (the M4 Competition already comes with 20-inch rear wheels wrapped in performance rubber). These stats make the M4 an exceptional bargain at $78,600, though opting for all-wheel drive will push the coupe past the $80,000 threshold.

A black 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Jailbreak is shown driving.

2023 Dodge Challenger Srt Hellcat Widebody Jailbreak or 2023 Dodge Charger Srt Hellcat Widebody Jailbreak

If you are looking for speed on a budget, Dodge is here to help. While the brand has historically been known for its popular trucks and minivans line, it has long had a foot in the performance sector with iconic models such as the Viper, Charger, and Challenger. The latter two models – along with the Ford Mustang – were among the industry’s first true muscle cars, allowing drivers to experience some high-speed thrills at a more reasonable price than much of the competition. That American muscle car spirit lives on in today’s Charger and Challenger models, especially when looking at some more exclusive trims, such as the Hellcat Widebody Jailbreak. Powered by the legendary 717 hp, 6.2L supercharged V-8 affectionately known as the Hellcat, the 2023 Charger and Challenger sure move like some malevolent force powers them. With a 0-to-60 time of 4 seconds and a top speed of 190 mph, the Charger is actually the tamer of the two models compared to the Challenger’s 3.9 seconds/195 mph. The Charger sweetens the pot with 20-inch wheels, high-performance brakes, and tires. Still, the Challenger is even better outfitted with a performance engine cooling system paired with a dual-snorkel hood, premium six-piston Brembo brakes, and a flat-bottom steering wheel.

2023 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

The 2023 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is an electrifying ride no matter which model you go with. From the entry-level 1LT priced at just over $32,000 to the $49,890 SS Collector’s Edition, the Camaro has perfected the pony car formula of packing in a lot of power without inflating the price. Still, the ZL1 version takes the model to the next level. The regular Camaro’s 455 hp small-block V8 is swapped out for a 6.2L supercharged V8 that puts out an excellent, even 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque; a switch that has led many to categorize the souped-up ZL1 as its own distinct model. The Camaro has a top speed of 191 mph and can rocket from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds (3.5 with the automatic transmission), but the real headline here is the ZL1’s price. With an MSRP of $67,300, the 2023 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is easily the most affordable model on our list, leaving you with a little extra money to invest in upgrades or a cool racing stripe. Chevy has already started you with a generous load of performance gear, including Brembo brakes, an electronic limited-slip rear differential, an alloy sports pedal, and adaptive suspension dampers.

A blue-and-white 2022 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is shown parked.

2022 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

We will end our list with a tease. With a top speed of 180 mph, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 might be one of the fastest affordable production cars ever released, but that production has been notoriously spotty. Ford has moved the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 in and out of the lineup several times since the dawn of the pony car’s second generation in 2005, most recently ceasing production in 2022. If you can get your hands on one – or wait for Ford to change its mind – untold pleasures await, thanks in no small part to the model’s 5.2L supercharged Predator engine. That aggressively named engine is brawny enough to churn out 760 hp and 625 lb-ft of torque, but you can thank the Mustang Shelby GT500’s new Tremec seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission for the car’s ability to break 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. It’s an impressive stat sheet that, combined with the $77,155 price tag, makes the 2022 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 a muscle car that would do its namesake – legendary American automotive designer and racing driver Carroll Shelby – proud.

As this list proves, “fast” doesn’t necessarily need to equate to “expensive.” From American-made classics like the Camaro, Mustang, and Charger to surprisingly affordable models from Porsche and BMW’s M division, these cars prove you don’t need to drop closer to six figures to get a decent performance car. Sure, you will probably still get burned off the starting line by a Lamborghini, McLaren, Buggati, and the like, but these models can hold their own against much of the performance segment without costing as much as the typical suburban home. Models like the Ford Mustang Mach-e GT Performance Edition SUV prove that you don’t need a traditional gas engine to hang with the big boys, opening up the door to a new generation of all-electric performance vehicles that, in some ways, are even better than the V8 powered beasts of yesteryear. Whether you’re looking for a refined European driving machine or a pure slab of American muscle, there’s a fast car out there waiting to burn some rubber.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *