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Sunday, August 17, 2014

12 of the Fastest New Cars Under $40,000


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Speed and acceleration don’t always come cheap, but there are more than enough options out there for car buyers on a budget less than $40,000. In fact, even $25,000 is enough to get one of the fastest rides for the everyman set.

For this list, the price range has been pushed out further to allow for the largest engine options of the American muscle cars to get in the mix.

 Horse for horse and dollar for dollar, it’s tough to top the pony cars in this category. Automakers around the world usually go for sportier, less weighty models like the hot hatch to deliver powerful acceleration with smaller engines.
Here are 12 of the fastest cars available at a base price below $40,000.
While most are well below that target price, a few may end up over $40K when extras (who needs AC?) are added, but the prices are the MSRP before destination or any additional charges as listed on the automaker’s sites.
 Cars that have more than one model in this price only appear once, in their most powerful iteration (sorry, V6 Mustang.)
Ford Focus ST

12. Ford Focus ST ($23,625)

Ford has gotten mostly rave reviews for its Focus ST hot hatch. Just a glance at the engine specs are enough to get excited. The turbocharged direct-injection 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine hits a maximum 252 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque.

 This power quotient is enough to power the Focus ST from 0-60 in 6.6 seconds, according to tests by Edmunds. Sure, the Mustang may be able to take it on the open road, but when there’s a tight parking spot in town the ST has its number.

Scion FR-S

11. Scion FR-S ($25,470)

Treasured by drivers who love performance that doesn’t break the bank, the Scion FR-S shows off what Toyota’s performance division does best. The FR-S (and Subaru BRZ, its mirror image) are equipped with 2.0-liter engines capable of 200 hp. With manual transmission, Edmunds took the FR-s from 0-60 in 6.5 seconds, putting it neck-and-neck with the Focus ST. 


10. Infiniti Q50 ($37,150)

Refined in appearance but pretty darn fast, the Infiniti Q50 fits the bill for car lovers of multiple stripes. Speed-wise, the Q50 gets its potency from the 3.7-liter V6 under the hood. Capable of 328 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque, that was enought to hustle from 0-60 in 5.5 seconds – better than the Mustang V6 in Edmunds testing, and looking awfully pretty while doing it.

2015 Charger R/T

9. Dodge Charger R/T ($30,695)

Can a muscle car have four doors? Dodge says it’s possible and presents the Charger R/T as an example of how it works. The 2015 model has a slightly less aggressive appearance than the outgoing Charger, but there is no shortchanging in the power department.

 Chargers in the R/T trim house the 5.7-liter Hemi engine that packs a wallop. How fast can 370 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque take this Charger? Edmunds got from 0-60 in 5.4 seconds in rear-wheel-drive models.


8. Hyundai Genesis R-Spec ($29,350)

When David Mamet used Hyundais as a point of mockery in Glengarry Glen Ross (1982), he wasn’t referring to the Genesis R-Spec. This hot coupe does damage with its 3.8-liter V6 engine, capable of 348 hp.

 That powertrain sent the R-Spec from 0-60 in 5.3 seconds in Edmunds testing. With that type of performance, it would be enough to give the Alec Baldwin character a run for his money in the BMW he drove to berate the poor salesmen in the film.


7. Nissan 370Z ($29,990)

Sporting a 3.7-liter V6 like its corporate sibling the Infiniti Q50, the Nissan 370Z gets even better output. In fact, it peaks at 332 hp, which enables the 370Z to go from 0-60 in 5.1 seconds, according to Edmunds testers.
 Approaching the five second mark for this sprint is an achievement for any ride, but the Nissan 370Z is getting it done at a base price below $30,000.


6. Subaru Impreza WRX STI ($26,295)

One of the most undercover speed demons available, the Subaru Impreza WRX STI Subaru delivers exceptional speed for a strict budget. Peak performance numbers stand at 305 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque. Edmunds testers used that force to sprint 0-60 in just 5.1 seconds. Pending the outcome of testing on new models in 2015, that may put the WRX STI in the top five under $40K. Here’s the rub: its MSRP is below $27K.


5. Volkswagen Golf R (est. $34,000)

It may not be on the market with a price at press time, but the feisty 2015 VW Golf R is about to make hay under $40K. It sports a turbocharged 16-valve inline-four capable of 290 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. 

Car and Driver took it 0ut for testing and estimated the 0-60 mph run between 5.0 and 5.3 seconds (quarter-mile between 13.7 and 13.9 seconds) with a top speed of 130 mph.

Lancer Evolution GSR (640x426)

4. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR ($34,995)

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo GSR does speed unlike any four-door sedan in this price range. It houses a four-cylinder turbo engine capable of 291 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. That system was capable of flying 0-60 in 4.9 seconds during tests run by Edmunds drivers. There is a reason this car is so popular on the aftermarket. It’s a beast in sedan clothing.


3. Chevy Camaro SS ($33,355)

The American muscle car revival is real. In fact, the Detroit automakers (Italian-owned or not) are bringing all-new models of their legendary muscle car set to market for the 2015 model year. Chevy’s Camaro SS is one of the most explosive models in the sub-$40K price range.

 It packs a thunderous 6.2-liter V8 capable of 426 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Edmunds testers ran the 2014 Camaro 0-60 in 4.8 seconds. This test is subject to review on roadways all across the land. The SS is unlikely to lose two races in a row.

14MUST_GT_NMPLT_GRB (640x355)

2. Ford Mustang GT ($32,025)

The upgraded 2015 Ford Mustang made its debut at gala events around the world in December 2014, but the outgoing model is no slouch. In fact, the 2014 Mustang GT on the market remains one of the fastest (if not the fastest) on sale below $40K.

 Sporting the 5.0-liter V8, the GT is capable of 420 hp that delivers pure exhilaration. Tests by Edmunds sent the Mustang V8 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds. Until further notice, this acceleration (dollar for dollar) has no equal.

2015 Dodge Challenger 392 HEMI® Scat Pack Shaker
1. 2015 Dodge Challenger With Scat Pack Shaker ($39,490)

Dodge’s approach to its muscle car lineup for 2015 appears to be “stronger, faster, more imposing.” This goal took the incredibly muscular Challenger to an even higher output, estimated at 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque from the 6.4-liter V8 with 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker options.

 That upgrade will cause the price of the 2015 model-year beast to go up, but it will remain manageable with its MSRP still south of $40K.

Of course, the upgrade in power appears to have the goal of knocking off the 0-60 times of some of Dodge’s top competitors in the muscle car arena. The automaker believes this Challenger with vintage Scat Pack Shaker will run 0-60 in 4.5 seconds. That’s enough to muscle past the GT and SS, if all goes according to plan.