7 min read
17 Oct

Are you on the hunt for an adrenaline-pumping ride that won't break the bank? Look no further, as we delve into the exciting world of the fastest sports cars under $10,000. But first, what is a sports car? A sports car is a high-performance, typically two-seater automobile designed for spirited driving, characterized by powerful engines, agile handling, and a focus on performance and aerodynamics. 

Unfortunately, sports cars are often more expensive than other types of vehicles due to their high-performance specifications and luxurious features. Typical examples include the Porsche 911, Chevrolet Corvette, and Ferrari 488. In this article, we'll guide you through a carefully curated list of budget-friendly performance vehicles that provide an exhilarating driving experience without emptying your wallet. 

Whether you're a seasoned enthusiast or a novice seeking an affordable taste of horsepower and performance, these affordable sports cars offer a thrilling combination of speed, style, and value. Join us as we walk down the aisle of speedy bargain sports cars to discover the hidden gems that put the joy of driving within your reach. 

Related Reading: MX-5 vs. Mustang: What Is The Best-Selling Sports Car Of All Time? 

10. 2003 Acura 3.2 CL Type-S (Manual)

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 5.9 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile: 14.5 Seconds
  • Horsepower: 260 HP
  • Used Price: $4,950–$11,950
2003 Acura 3.2 CL Type-S.

It's hard to hate a sporty coupe like the 2003 Acura 3.2 CL Type-S. Its power came from a 3.2-liter V6 engine paired with a 6-speed manual transmission. The V6 is good for a decent 260 horsepower and 232 lb-ft of torque. 

The Type-S trim featured sport-tuned suspension improving the car’s agility and responsiveness on the road. It had a sleek exterior design with distinctive Acura styling cues and a well-appointed interior with leather seats and modern amenities. 

9. 2001 BMW Z3 3.0 Roadster

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 5.9 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile: 14.1 Seconds
  • Horsepower: 225 HP
  • Used Price: $5,999–$29,999
2001_BMW_Z3_2.5i_topaz_blue Sunsinkola via Wikimedia.

The 2001 BMW Z3 3.0 Roadster was a compact and stylish two-seater convertible designed for driving enthusiasts. The ’01 Z3’s propulsion power came from a 3.0-liter inline-six engine, producing 225 horsepower and 214 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, this powerplant promised spirited performance and a responsive driving experience. 

The Z3 Roadster featured a classic roadster design with a long hood, short rear deck, and BMW's signature kidney grille. The interior was driver-focused and offered quality materials. 

8. 2002 Ford Mustang GT

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 5.9 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile: 14.6 Seconds
  • Horsepower: 260 HP
  • Used Price: $4,950–$25,966
2002 Ford Mustang GT.

The 2002 Ford Mustang GT benefitted from a 4.6-liter V8 engine producing 260 horsepower and 302 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 5-speed manual or an optional 4-speed automatic transmission. 

The Mustang GT's classic, aggressive look reminded everyone it was a quintessential American muscle car. You might want to expand your budget by around $5,000 and get a 2013/14 model with improved interior and tech features. 

7. 2010 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 5.8 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile: 14.3 Seconds
  • Horsepower: 265 HP
  • Used Price: $3,995–$17,998
2010 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT.

Back then, the 2010 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT was the way to go for shoppers who won’t mind a sporty and affordable coupe offering a balance of style and performance. More than a decade later, those are still the Eclipse’s selling points. Its power comes from a 3.8-liter V6 engine delivering 265 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 5-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission. 

While it wasn't a high-end sports car, the 2010 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT provided an enjoyable driving experience for those looking for an affordable coupe with a touch of sportiness. 

6. 2008 Audi TT 3.2 Quattro (Manual)

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 5.6 Seconds 
  • Quarter-Mile: 14.1 Seconds 
  • Horsepower: 250 HP
  • Used Price: $7,496–$20,990 
2008 Audi TT 3.2 Quattro.

The 2008 Audi TT 3.2 Quattro high-performance sports coupe combined a sleek design with impressive driving dynamics. Audi prepped it with a 3.2-liter V6 engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission to generate a decent 250 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. 

The "Quattro" in its name indicates Audi's all-wheel-drive system, providing exceptional traction and stability. The TT's distinctive rounded design made it stand out, and the interior offered premium materials and a driver-focused layout. 

Related Reading: The Porsche Mission X: A Spectacular Reinterpretation Of A Lightweight Electric Hypercar

5. 2011 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Coupe

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 5.6 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile: 14.1
  • Horsepower: 306 HP
  • Used Price: $6,900–$18,499
2011 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Coupe M93 via Wikimedia.

The 2011 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Coupe was a stylish and sporty two-door car that marked Hyundai's entry into the performance coupe segment. It was powered by a 3.8-liter V6 engine, producing 306 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, with the option of a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. 

The Genesis Coupe had a modern and eye-catching design setting it wide apart from other sports coupes. This car was known for its balance of performance and affordability. It’s an attractive option for those in the market for inexpensive speedsters offering thrilling rides on a budget. 

4. 2010 Infiniti G37 Sport Coupe

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 5.2 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile: 13.7 Seconds
  • Horsepower: 330 HP
  • Used Price: $8,900–$20,995
2010 Infiniti G37 Sport Coupe via Pinterest.

The 2010 Infiniti G37 Sport Coupe was a high-performance luxury sports car that now ranks as one of the best affordable sports cars on the market. Its power came from a 3.7-liter V6 engine producing 330 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. The V6 powertrain offered a choice of a 6-speed manual or 7-speed automatic transmission. 

Besides performance, the G37 Sport Coupe looks good, complete with a well-appointed interior featuring high-quality materials and advanced technology. Known for its sharp handling and precise steering, it catered to those who desired a combination of luxury and sportiness. The G37 is an affordable horsepower in the used car market worth considering. 

3. 2002 Chevrolet Corvette

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 4.8 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile: 13.5 Seconds
  • Horsepower: 350 HP
  • Used Price: $9,995–$58,988
2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06.

The 2002 Chevrolet Corvette was a high-performance sports car known for its powerful V8 engine and iconic design. Its 5.7-liter V8 engine made an impressive 350 horsepower in the base model and 405 horsepower in the high-performance Z06 variant. The Corvette was available with a 4-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual. 

This C5 Corvette stood out with its sleek, aerodynamic exterior design bolstered by signature pop-up headlights. A symbol of American muscle, the 2002 Chevrolet Corvette was a favorite among sports car enthusiasts just the way it is, but the Z06 package made things a lot more interesting, with the used prices ranging from $18,999 to $43,995 on TrueCar auto listing. 

2. 2005 Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 Roadster

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 4.8 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile: 13.4 Seconds
  • Horsepower: 330 HP
  • Used Price: $9,900–$28,995
2005 Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 Roadster.

Another difficult-but-possible bargain sports car under $10,000 – is the 2005 Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 Roadster. We found one with a list price of $9,900 on CarsforSale. This was a sporty and limited-production convertible offering from Chrysler. Under the hood, it featured a supercharged 3.2-liter V6 engine producing 330 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. 

This power was harnessed through a 5-speed automatic transmission. The SRT-6 Crossfire variant delivered enhanced performance and sport-tuned suspension. The SRT-6 Roadster offered an open-top driving experience and a comfortable, well-appointed interior to complement its distinctive styling cues and sculpted body lines. 

1. 2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 4.4 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile: 12.8 Seconds
  • Horsepower: 426 HP
  • Used Price: $9,755–$46,900
2013_Camaro_SS GPS56 via Wikimedia.

Used 2013 Camaro for sale under $10,000? Difficult but possible. At the time of writing this, we found one with a list price of $9,755 on TrueCar. The 2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS belonged to a renowned lineage of powerful and iconic American muscle. It cradled a 6.2-liter V8 engine under its hood, producing 426 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, and it was available with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. 

The Camaro SS featured aggressive and retro-inspired styling, paying homage to the classic Camaros of the past. Its modern, driver-centric interior offered a range of technology features. 

Even if you aren’t lucky enough to snag one under $10,000, you shouldn’t have much trouble getting a good deal hovering around that price point. According to JD Power, 80% of buyers paid $14,556 - $16,561 for their used ‘13 Camaro 2D SS. 

Notable Mention

2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 (Manual)

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 4.6 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile: 13.2 Seconds
  • Horsepower: 425 HP
  • Used Price: $8,995–$38,875
2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8.

Alright. You're unlikely to snag a decent '09 SRT8 Challenger with a budget below $15,000. In fact, their list prices go as high as $35,000 on the used car market, and we just checked before typing these words. So, why are we talking about an SRT8 here? We've been eyeing one listed for sale by the Texas-based Harrison Scott Motors for the bargain price of $10,999. 

Harisson Scott for sale Dodge Challenger SRT8.

While we can’t vouch for the overall health condition of this red and black-stripped SRT8, we think it’s definitely worth a phone call. The 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 was a modern interpretation of a classic American muscle car. Powered by a 6.1-liter V8 engine paired with a 6-speed manual transmission, you have a robust 425 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque at your disposal. 

The base ‘09 Dodge Challenger SE can make 0–60 mph in 7.3 seconds, which isn’t so bad, and can be had for under $9,000 these days. Performance aside, the Challenger SRT8 boasted a retro-inspired design with its long hood, bold grille, and iconic racing stripes. 

Sources: Zeroto60Times, TrueCar, JD Power

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