$100,000 doesn't go quite as far as it used to — or does it? In the world of the fastest cars under $100k, there are a number of standouts and a few surprises in what works out to be a huge slice of the automotive market. It turns out that there are some relatively inexpensive machines out there that can keep up with much pricier models, at least for a little while, and there are also a few exotics that squeak in right under the $100k barrier. Although these cars aren't typically cross-shopped against each other, they each have their place in the high performance pantheon. Let's take a quick look at 10 of the fastest cars under $100k.
10 of the Fastest Cars under $100k
10 of the Fastest Cars under $100k
Photo Credit: General Motors
2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 — MSRP $79,400
The 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is the track-oriented edition of the popular two-door coupe, a vehicle that offers an aluminum chassis and a suspension system that has been tuned to deliver competitive lap times. The Chevy Corvette Z06 over-delivers with its 650-horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine. Also capable of generating 650 lb-ft of torque, this motor and its matching 7-speed manual transmission (or optional 8-speed paddle-shifted automatic) allows the Z06 to reach 60 mph in just a tick under three seconds.
Photo Credit: Megan Green
2016 Ford Shelby GT350R — MSRP $61,295
The 2016 Ford Shelby GT350R relies on the tried, tested, and true philosophy of sticking a huge engine in a small car for a good time. The Ford Shelby GT350R takes the basic Mustang package and adulterates it with a 5.2-liter V-8 that has been supercharged to produce 526 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque. The GT350R gets a stiff sport suspension and big Brembo brakes (making it more track-ready than the regular GT350), the TrackApps package, launch control, and a 6-speed manual transmission. Hitting the throttle hard will result in a 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds — supercar status for a car that costs just over half of what several others in this roundup command.
2015 Dodge Viper SRT — MSRP $84,995
The 2015 Dodge Viper SRT — still available well into 2016 — is perhaps the most exotic of domestic sports cars. Priced at $84,995, the Viper SRT has seen some of its rawness tamed by the installation of stability and traction control, but at its heart it still remains a potent performer that rewards skilled driving and punishes mistakes made behind the wheel. Thrust is provided by a monster 8.4-liter V10 that can be relied on to produce 645 horses and 600 lb-ft of torque. No autoboxes here - the Viper doles out its power to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission, and it can leap to 60 mph from a standing start in a mere 3.7 seconds.
Photo Credit: Porsche
2016 Porsche 911 Carrera S — MSRP $98,900
The 2016 Porsche 911 Carrera S features an MSRP of $98,900, which means it just barely qualifies for our list of the fastest cars under $100k. Opting for the Porsche 911 Carrera S over the base Carrera means benefiting from an adaptive suspension system as well as grippier 20-inch tires and upgraded brakes. More importantly, it also swaps out the car's 3.4-liter flat-6 for a 3.8-liter, 6-cylinder mill that generates 400 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. Situated behind the rear wheels, this unit is capable of launching the Carrera S to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds. The Porsche can be had with either a traditional 7-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed automated manual gearbox.
Photo Credit: BMW
2016 BMW M3 — MSRP $63,500
The 2016 BMW M3 continues the automaker's tradition of producing track-ready versions of its best-selling 3-Series entry-level sedan, at an MSRP of $63,500. It comes with a high-revving, twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 that makes 425 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque, and the availability of either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed automated manual transmission. With a tight suspension system that keeps the car pointed straight and true even through the most challenging S-curves, M3 drivers will get wherever they are going exceptionally quickly — especially when considering the sedan's 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds.
Photo Credit: Benjamin Hunting
2016 Cadillac CTS-V — MSRP $83,995
The 2016 Cadillac CTS-V is a snarling cheetah locked up inside the stylish — but still intimidating — styling that defines the Cadillac image. The Cadillac CTS-V might be designed to offer drivers exceptional luxury, but under its metallic skin the 4-door automobile hides a menacing 6.2-liter V8 that makes use of a supercharger to churn out 640 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque. Cadillac pairs the CTS-V’s engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, enabling the rear-wheel-drive sedan to hit 60 mph in a blazing 3.6 seconds.
2016 Mercedes-Benz C63 S AMG — MSRP $73,250
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz C63 S AMG mixes luxury and sport performance in a compact package. In some ways, the Mercedes-Benz C63 S AMG can be thought of as a German muscle car, as it, too, features an oversized V8 engine between the front fenders of a small automobile. The Mercedes-Benz C63 S AMG also leverages the racing know-who behind the brain trust at the German brand's team of in-house tuners, and its twin-turbo 6.2-liter V8 cranks out 503 ponies and 516 lb-ft of torque. Managed by a 7-speed automated manual transmission, the rear-wheel drive Benz checks in with a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds.
Photo Credit: FCA Media
2016 Alfa Romeo 4C — MSRP $55,900
Alfa Romeo's made its triumphant return to the United States with the 4C, a 2-seat, mid-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car that's available in coupe and convertible body styles The 2016 4C is powered by a 1.7-liter turbocharged inline-4 that produces 237 Italian stallions and a stout 258 lb-ft of torque, put down through a dual-clutch transmission. This Alfa Romeo is built at a Maserati factory, and is sold in the United States through Maserati dealerships. The coupe version of the 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C gets from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, which is a little slower than the cars on the top half of this list, but then again, some of those cost nearly twice as much.
Photo Credit: Subaru
2016 Subaru WRX STI — MSRP $34,695
The 2016 Subaru WRX STI's MSRP of $34,695 makes it by far the most affordable automobile on our list of the fastest cars under $100k. Step inside its austere cockpit and you'll immediately see where some of those cost savings have been realized, but once the ignition has been switched on it's hard to deny the appeal of the Subaru WRX STI's all-wheel drive, active center differential, and turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The rally-inspired compact makes use of its excellent traction off of the line and its 305 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque to claw its way to 60 mph in a swift 4.5 seconds. A 6-speed manual is the only transmission available with the vehicle.
2016 Porsche Cayman S — MSRP $64,100
The 2016 Porsche Cayman S is intended as the road racing edition of the company's entry-level sports car. Somewhere along the way its designers must have gotten ahead of themselves, because the Porsche Cayman S is one of the most compelling coupes around from a performance perspective. The Cayman S features a mid-mounted 3.4-liter 6-cylinder engine, a unit which produces 325 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. The lightweight, rear-wheel drive Porsche makes the most of this output, as the car can reach 60 mph in a scant 4.5 seconds. A 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission can be ordered with the car.
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10 of the Fastest Cars under $100k
- Chevrolet Corvette Z06 — MSRP $79,400
- Ford Shelby GT350R — MSRP $61,295
- Dodge Viper SRT — MSRP $84,995
- Porsche 911 Carrera S — MSRP $98,900
- BMW M3 — MSRP $63,500
- Cadillac CTS-V — MSRP $83,995
- Mercedes-Benz C63 S AMG — MSRP $73,250
- Alfa Romeo 4C — MSRP $55,900
- Subaru WRX STI — MSRP $34,695
- Porsche Cayman S — MSRP $64,100