Gone are the days when the average human could only dream of buying a car with a powerful engine that won’t kill your savings account. True, most of the cars on this list don’t exactly qualify as inexpensive, but relative to their performance, they’re bargain buys. They’re even more affordable when compared to the price tags of cars from horsepower magnates like Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Ferrari, and McLaren.
For this latest version of our least-expensive 500-horsepower cars list, we decided to push the envelope a little bit to be more inclusive of other marques. Additionally, we set the threshold for pricing between $55,000 and $115,000 to maximize our buying power. All cars except for two come equipped with a V-8, and in some cases, offer more than 600 horsepower. Let the bargain 500-horsepower club shenanigans begin.
1. 2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat: 717 HP @ $55,020
Next to the Ford Mustang, the Dodge Challenger is among the most common muscle cars on the road. The SRT Hellcat variant prides itself in a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 that churns out 717 horsepower. Its $62,190 starting price (including gas guzzler tax and destination fee) makes it an incredible steal. Better still, Dodge is running a deal right now that makes it the undisputed king of affordable horsepower: $7,170 off, in cash, for a final base price of just $55,020.
2. 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350: 526 HP @ $61,635
The cheapest Mustang with at least 500 horsepower is the Shelby GT350, and if you don’t know how to drive stick, you’d better learn: a six-speed manual transmission is the only one offered. Under the hood is a 5.2-liter flat-plane crank V-8 engine that produces 526 horsepower, which Ford says is the highest-revving production V-8 it has developed. Doubting the Mustang’s quality? The GT350’s big brother, the Shelby GT500, won our 2020 Automobile All-Star award.
3. 2021 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1: 650 HP @ $65,695
The third member of our American muscle crowd, the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, seems like it keeps getting better with time. Its 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 delivers a heart-pumping 650 horsepower, and it’s a corner-carver, too. To get the best deal, though, opt for the six-speed manual transmission—it will save a few thousand dollars.
4. 2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio: 505 HP @ $74,595
Snagging the number four spot is the only car on the list with a V-6 engine: The handsome Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. Pronounced kwa-dree-fo-leo, this variant of the Giulia offers 505 horsepower from its 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 at a price that affords you both performance and luxury. Although the Alfa Romeo Giulia did not take home an award at our 2018 Automobile All-Stars evaluation of the best cars of the year, our colleagues at Motor Trend did crown it the 2018 Car of the Year.
5. 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S Coupe: 503 HP @ $84,100
Given the market these days, it wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t include at least one SUV, and the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S Coupe is a fine example, with a premium interior and a respectable 503 horsepower. Don’t underestimate hip moms behind the wheel of this one—their twin-turbo V-8 will do all the talking.
6. 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk: 707 HP @ $89,140
Boy oh boy, a Jeep with more than 700 horsepower. It sounds out of this world, but it’s real: Enter the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, packing a 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V-8 good for 707 horsepower. I had the chance to get some seat time in one a few years back, and this Jeep is no joke. It will keep your eyes wide open when you put the gas pedal to the floor.
7. 2020 Cadillac CT6-V: 550 HP @ $95,190
Technically, we probably should’ve omitted the Cadillac CT6-V, given that it will no longer be in production after the 2020 model year. Out of respect for one of the finest automobiles to come out of Detroit, however, we made an exception to include Cadillac CT6-V. Even though a menacing Blackwing V-8 producing 550 horsepower couldn’t save the stunning sedan, it had mad potential. Au revoir, Cadillac CT6-V. You will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.
There is currently a cash allowance of $2,000 for this Caddy, bringing its price down from its normal $97,190 sticker to $95,190.
8. 2020 Tesla Model S Performance: 762 HP @ $96,190
If your goal is to minimize your footprint on planet earth and speed is your primary need, then the Tesla Model S Performance is the car for you. Combined output from the front and rear motors is a rollicking 762 horsepower. Not bad for an electric vehicle that’s not only emissions-free, but is also still eligible for state incentives for further discounts against your tax liability.
9. 2020 Jaguar F-Type R: 575 HP @ $104,350
Bringing us over the $100,000 mark is the gorgeous Jaguar F-Type R. Pop the hood and take a moment to appreciate the 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 pouring out 575 horsepower, then take it for a wander about your favorite stomping grounds. This alluring coupe will turn heads, but better yet, it will feel good in your hands and put a smile on your face.
10. 2021 Audi RS6 Avant: 591 HP @ $110,640
Here we are at the end of our affordable 500-plus-horsepower club, and what better way to complete the list than with the excellent but underappreciated form of the station wagon? That’s right: The 2021 Audi RS6 Avant is a wagon that packs a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 rated at an impressive 591 horsepower. On top of that, it has a claimed 0-60-mph acceleration time of just over 3.0 seconds. If the wagon is ever going to make a comeback, it couldn’t do it with more style.