These 13 used performance cars may not be legends of zero-maintenance reliability, but they're far more engaging than any economy commuter, and buying one won't break the bank.
Used examples of the first-gen Mazdaspeed3 can be reliably found for under $10,000, and now, even some higher-mileage second-gen models are starting to reach that price as well.
Sure, the C4-generation Corvette may not be everyone's favorite Corvette, but you have to admit: It's a great value. For under $10,000, you get cool '80s looks, a V8 sending power to the rear wheels, and those cool flip-up headlights. can be yours for just under $5000.
Both Mk IV and Mk V versions of the range-topping Golf R32 are currently hovering around the $10,000 mark—though when it comes to the Mk IV version, there's a chance it could turn into an outright collectable worth holding onto. listed for $9,995 on eBay right now.
Though it may not be as engaging as a Miata, the RX-8 still makes for a compelling package. The main highlight is that rotary engine—you can't get it in anything else from this decade for these kinds of prices. is listed for just $6500 right now.
The Fiesta ST is now four years old, meaning used examples are starting to dip into the five-figure range. It's one of the best modern hot hatches we've driven, which is saying something. on sale for $9800 online.
The 500 Abarth can still be bought new at Fiat showrooms today, but early examples have depreciated well under the $10,000 mark. The Abarth is a smile-inducing city-friendly hot hatch equipped from the factory without a muffler, and it's tons of fun to drive. , and has just 57,000 miles on the clock.
The first-gen Boxster's looks haven't aged gracefully, and as such, they're shockingly affordable. For under 10 grand, you can get a mid-engine convertible sports car built by Porsche with a manual transmission and a naturally aspirated flat-six engine—all you have to do is put up with the looks (and maybe a few maintenance items now and then). is for sale for just $6800.
When it comes to cheap mid-engine performance, look no further than the Toyota MR2. Used examples from any generation of the MR2 can easily be found for under five figures, so you can choose which generation is right for your needs. is on eBay for just $5000.
Most people will see a handsome luxury sedan, but what they might not detect is the hammer under the hood. The B6 S4 packs a 4.2-liter, 40-valve V8 making 339 horses in stock form, with Audi's legendary dynamics and Quattro all-wheel drive, .
No one's going to argue that the M5 version wasn't a better driver's car, but the 540i is the E39 you want to own. And even though it doesn't have 400 horsepower, the 540i's low-end torque will keep you plenty entertained. for just under $7000.
If your idea of having fun is going fast in a straight line, you're going to have a hard time beating the Chevrolet Camaro's bang for the buck. You'll have to be careful in the corners, but you'll sure have fun in the straights. up for bidding on eBay right now.
The Dodge Neon is cute and generally competent, but the turbocharged SRT-4 version is viciously quick. Just be careful of buying someone's heavily modified project. And look out for torque steer.
Any G35 coupe you find is going to be at least 10 years old, but the design still looks great, even today. They're fun, surprisingly quick, and a great deal. .
If you're considering a used BMW 3 Series but you value reliability, look no further than the first-generation Lexus IS. The IS300 only had 215 horsepower, but its excellent handling and handsome design make up for it. for sale right now for under $5000.
Looking at the Mitsubishi lineup today, it's hard to imagine that the company behind the Mirage used to build a world-class sports car. But at the time, the 3000GT was exactly that. Some models are steadily increasing in value, so get one cheaply while you still can. .
Before the Nissan 350Z, there was the 300ZX. It's a screaming deal for anyone looking to get their hands on a rear-drive Japanese sports car, and if you can find a Twin Turbo coupe in good condition, you'll have one of the darlings of 1990s import performance. for sale for sale on eBay right now.
Used Porsche 911 prices are skyrocketing, but if you're on a budget, you can still buy a Porsche. The 944 might not be the 911, but it's still a great performer for your money. just had some recent maintenance, and can be yours.
If you want a performance car but still need something practical, the Volvo V70 R is a great answer. It's a station wagon with nearly 300 horsepower, all-wheel drive, and an available manual transmission. What more could you want?