9 Cheap Fast Cars to Buy 2023

Unleash your need for speed with this collection of affordable performance cars that provide a thrilling ride without draining your wallet. From powerful sports cars to versatile hatchbacks, find the perfect budget-friendly option to satisfy your desire for speed and excitement.

9 Cheap Fast Cars to Buy 2023

Need a dose of speed without emptying your pockets? Get ready to say hello to the most affordable speed demons on the block that will tickle your fancy and get your adrenaline pumping! Hunting for a car that packs a punch and performs like a dream while keeping your bank balance in the green can seem like finding a unicorn in a haystack. Even though the price tags on new cars seem to be climbing higher than Mount Everest, we've done the legwork and compiled a list of affordable performance rockets that promise a wild ride!

Moreover, each of these beauties comes in a performance-focused trim that retails around the $40,000 mark, although some of them come with the extra bells and whistles that might nudge their price upwards. Our garage of options includes everything from versatile hot hatchbacks that zig-zag through city streets, burly yet speedy SUVs that roar on the highway, to luxurious SUVs that make a stunning statement as they zoom past.

Regardless of what tickles your speed bone, we're confident our list has a budget-friendly, high-performance beast that'll quench your thirst for velocity. We've sifted through the world wide web to bring you a catalog of the most affordable fast cars. So, if your heart is racing for a fast car that won't burn a hole in your pocket, your hunt ends here! Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

Nissan 300ZX: The Thrill Ride on a Budget

Nissan 300ZX

Hey there speedster, meet the Nissan 300ZX, a sassy little number that's not just a car, but a heart-stopper. This babe's got a sleek, sloping body that echoes "I'm all sporty, come and get me!" Its integrated headlight design and standard T-tops add oomph to its audacious exterior, making it a head-turner on any street.

Oh, and if you think it's all about the looks, brace yourself! Underneath that pretty facade, this beast is packing a 3.0-liter VG30 V-6 engine that can roar with a blistering 300 horsepower and 283 pound-feet of torque, provided the previous owner decided to roll with the twin-turbocharged version. And here's a juicy nugget for you: the 300ZX TT Z32 had enough gusto to rub shoulders with the Ferraris back in the day.

It's quite a feat to remember that this speed demon was crafted by Nissan to rival heavyweights like the Chevrolet Corvette C4 and the Porsche 944. But oh boy, did it deliver! It could zip from zero to 60 mph faster than you can say "need for speed," in less than six seconds, and could reach a legal speed limit of 155 mph. If you've got a need for speed but your wallet's on a diet, hunt for a 300ZX with a five-speed manual transmission. Now, that's a fast car on a budget, just for you!

E39 BMW 540i: The Unsung Hero of the Fast Lane

E39 BMW 540i

Cue the drumroll, please! Making its grand entrance is the E39 BMW 540i, often considered the dark horse of the 5 Series family. From the outside, it might just seem like a swanky sibling of the E39 5 Series, but wait till you peek under the hood. This baby is practically an M5 in disguise, just a smidge less potent. But don't let that fool you; the 540i's got some serious bells and whistles up its sleeve, along with some impressive performance numbers.

Propelled by a gutsy 4.4-liter V-8 engine, this classy stallion commands a whopping 282 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. The result? An exhilarating acceleration that'll have your heart racing as it catapults from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.0 seconds and struts its stuff across the quarter-mile in 15.8 seconds at 104 mph. And like its counterparts, it doesn’t shy away from flaunting a top speed of 155 mph.

Now here's the icing on the cake. The BMW 540i E39 is one of the top used car gems you can snag for under $10,000, with prices kicking off at a humble $6,000. Talk about a steal! So if you're dreaming of recapturing the glory of the M5 but also fancy a bit more muscle under the hood, the 540i E39 might just be the knight in shining armor you've been waiting for!

Subaru WRX: Unleash the Beast Within

Subaru WRX

Ready to ruffle some feathers? Let's rev it up with the Subaru WRX! Sure, its design might have raised a few eyebrows, with its liberal use of black plastic sparking some hot debates. But hey, don't be too quick to judge this book by its cover, because the WRX is packing some serious firepower under the hood that’s set to blow your socks off!

But hold onto your hats, folks, because the fun doesn’t stop there. Subaru has gifted us with a spiffy six-speed manual transmission, and for those who fancy a smoother ride, there's an optional continuously variable gearbox. The cherry on top? This beaut whips up some pretty swift gear changes that'll have you grinning from ear to ear.

The standard all-wheel-drive system puts the cherry on top, offering a sublime cornering performance and grip that sticks like glue, whatever the weather throws at you. Strap in and hold on tight. So if you're itching to unleash your inner speed demon, the Subaru WRX has got you covered!

Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4: A Heavyweight with a Knockout Punch

Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4

Say hello to the big, bold, and downright beautiful Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4! With its burly 3,737-pound frame, you might mistake it for a slow-moving beast. But trust us, this chunky charmer handles like a dream and knows how to throw a punch. It would leave the likes of the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang biting its dust!

This star has aged like fine wine, maintaining its 1990s allure whether it's been cruising around town or strutting its stuff on the dealership lot for the past two decades.

Thinking about going for the VR4 version? Buckle up, buttercup, because it's one wild ride! With an array of aerodynamic additions like the cool inverted airfoil spoiler, this performance-primed 3000GT VR4 really pushes the envelope. It's powered by a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 engine, delivering a stunning 320 HP and 315 lb-ft of torque. Despite its rear-wheel drive, this big boy can zip from 0-60 mph in a swift 5.7 seconds, leaving many modern sports cars eating its dust!

But the fun doesn't stop there! The 3000GT VR4 can rocket up to an exhilarating top speed of 165 mph. Best of all, you can snap up a second-hand model for under $20,000, leaving plenty of change for those cheeky little extras. This bad boy came with three transmission options: a five-speed manual, a six-speed manual, or a four-speed automatic. But hey, if you're a speed demon like us, you'll want to keep your eyes peeled for the six-speed version. After all, life's too short for slow cars, right?

Audi S8 D3: A Heavyweight Champion with Lamborghini Genes

Audi S8 D3

Ever seen a heavyweight float like a butterfly and sting like a bee? Meet the Audi S8 D3! Despite packing a sizeable 2,400-pound punch, this speedster can zip up to an electronic leash-limited top speed of 155 mph. And guess what? It can also dash to 60 mph in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it 5.1 seconds. Impressed? Wait till you peek under the hood!

Lurking beneath the surface is a muscular V-10 engine with a hearty 5.2 liters of displacement. And here's the cherry on the cake: this engine shares its genes with the 5.0-liter V-10 that powers Lamborghini's breathtaking Gallardo supercar. Talk about a secret identity! The S8 D3's engine flexes a might 444 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque.

The S8 D3 isn't just a performer; it's a stunner too, oozing elegance with every inch. You can snap up used models of this speedster starting from just $6,000. It might look all prim and proper, but don't be fooled - it's a sports car in a tuxedo, itching to be let loose. Fast, affordable, and classy? Yes, please!

Infiniti G35 Coupe: The Speedy Sleeper You Didn't See Coming

Infiniti G35 Coupe

Bet you didn't expect the Infiniti G35 Coupe to be a speed demon, did you? After all, it was born and bred in the aftermath of the Nissan 350Z. But let us tell you, this beastie can sprint from zero to sixty mph faster than you can say "Infiniti" – in a lightning-fast 5.8 seconds to be exact! In ideal conditions, it can conquer the quarter-mile in less than 14 seconds.

While its 3.5L V-6 engine may not be the mightiest beast in the jungle, it does a pretty mean impression, packing a punch with 302 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The G35 Coupe has just the right balance of weight and performance to make this engine sing. It's not the most sought-after sports car, which works in your favor! With a bit of tender love and care, you can snag one for a cool $10,000 or less. Now that's what we call a steal!

Jaguar XJR: The Comeback Kid

Jaguar XJR

Now, the Jaguar XJR might not have made the best first impression, but there's more to it than meets the eye. You see, despite the XJ X308 not exactly being a crowd pleaser and having a bit of a reputation for, let's say, not being particularly reliable, the second-generation Jaguar XJ has been hanging in there for a whopping 17 years! Sure, its engine can be a bit of a money pit and its looks might be a tad on the outdated side. But hey, every car has its quirks, right?

In its heyday, this kitty could purr! Its V-8 engine could churn out an impressive 370 hp and 387 lb-ft of torque. This made for a 0-60 mph spring in a nippy 5.6 seconds, while it could hit a peak speed of 155 mph, which was only curtailed by an electronic speed limiter. You can pick up pre-owned XJR X308s for next to nothing, thanks to its somewhat spotty reputation. However, if you're feeling brave and have a soft spot for underdogs, you can bring one home for as little as $7,000. Who knows? You might be just the person to help it reclaim its former glory!

Volkswagen Golf GTI: The Little Hatchback That Could

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Don't be fooled by its modest size – the Golf GTI is every bit a force to be reckoned with! It might not be the most potent hot hatch on the block, but its trusty 241-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is always up for the task. With the seventh-generation GTI being around the block for six years now, you can snag a lightly loved model for well under $15,000.

Sporting a pretty nifty top speed of 155 mph, the GTI is no slouch when it comes to acceleration. While we have a soft spot for the silky-smooth manual, the optional dual-clutch automatic offers quick shifts without dampening the engine's lively character. And the GTI's nimble handling, especially when you're carving up some tight corners? A dream come true!

The GTI isn't all about performance at the expense of comfort, unlike some of its hot hatch brethren. Not only is it a hoot to drive, but it also features a classy, comfy interior and a suspension that won't rattle your teeth. Surprisingly spacious for its size, the GTI offers a whopping 34.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity. Now that's a small package that delivers big!

Porsche 944 Turbo: The High-Performance Bargain

Porsche 944 Turbo

Once upon a time, the Porsche 944 Turbo was the belle of the ball. In fact, it was such a hit that, during its nine-year run, almost 160,000 units were produced. Armed with a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four-cylinder engine that punches out a solid 217 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque, it's easy to see why. But, despite its impressive specs, the 944 Turbo is a relatively affordable buy, thanks in part to its high production numbers and front-engine setup.

Now, it might be a bit long in the tooth, which might put a dampener on exploiting its full potential. But if you're quick on your feet, you can still get your hands on early production 944 Turbo models with a modest 50,000 to 60,000 miles on the clock for around $12,000.

Just a heads up, though, prices for base models are on an upward trajectory, so it seems the days of the 944 being the poster child for budget-friendly sports cars are gradually drawing to a close. As always, make sure you check the VIN number of the car before parting with your hard-earned cash. It's always better to be safe than sorry!

In conclusion, our exciting journey has taken us through some real gems in the world of speed without costing a fortune. Our list included everything from the sporty Nissan 300ZX and the muscle powerhouse Chevrolet Camaro to the luxurious yet swift Audi S8 D3 and the retro charm of the Porsche 944 Turbo. Each of these speedsters proves that budget constraints should never be a hindrance to your dreams of experiencing speed and performance. So, choose your dream car, buckle up, and get ready to satisfy your need for speed while still staying kind to your wallet!