2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray above 900x600 ・ Photo by Chevrolet
Speed is woven into the fabric of modern American culture. Faster, we think, is better. Obviously, we like fast food, but fast delivery, fast internet, and fast service are the expectations of daily American life. And if one of them slows down, well, Karen would like to speak to the manager.
And then there are fast cars, the kind that shove you deep into the seat and cause a rush of endorphins as they zoom to extra-legal velocities. Historically, big, fuel-swilling, internal combustion engines were the provenance of speed. Today, that’s changing, and fast. Bellowing exhaust systems are on the way out, in many cases replaced by the smooth and silent whirring of electric motors, though most of this year’s fastest cars remain gas-fueled. Each of our selections rushes to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds or less, and they all go 149 mph or more. Keep reading to learn more about 10 of the fastest cars under $100k, listed in alphabetical order.
If you’re spending less than $100k on an Audi, but you want the fastest 2020 model available, the TT RS is it. According to the automaker, it accelerates to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and has a governed top speed of 155 mph.
An unusual automobile exuding plenty of personality, the 2020 Audi TT RS has a turbocharged five-cylinder engine making 394 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque, fed to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox. The Quattro all-wheel-drive system continually distributes power based on the driving situation, sending as much to the rear wheels as is prudent to ensure a traditional sports car feel from behind the wheel. Naturally, the car gets a full RS-tuned engineering treatment for maximum braking and handling capabilities, and the active exhaust amplifies the unique five-cylinder engine’s rhythmic note. Prices start at $67,600, plus destination charges.
Photo by Mathew Carpenter
If you want a rarity of a luxury performance sedan, grab a new 2020 Cadillac CT6-V while you still can. An overlooked gem, the Cadillac CT6 never garnered the popularity it deserved. The CT6-V was supposed to change that with a twin-turbocharged 4.2-liter V8 engine dubbed “Blackwing.”
With 550 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque, the hand-built engine works in concert with a 10-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system with a mechanical limited-slip rear differential. Cadillac says the car accelerates to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and is governed to a top speed of 149 mph — but ungoverned, this Caddy reportedly hits the 200-mph mark. The base price is $94,895, plus destination. Decades from now, the Blackwing-powered CT6-V could be a collector’s dream.
Photo by Cadillac
If you’re into speed, you know that the redesigned 2020 Chevrolet Corvette switches to a mid-engine layout in order to deliver supercar performance at a blue-collar price. And when you equip the standard Stingray with the Z51 Performance Package, it screams to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 194 mph. And Chevy hasn’t even gotten started, with Z06 and ZR1 versions almost certainly in store in years to come.
As is tradition, the new mid-engined Corvette uses a naturally aspirated V8, measuring 6.2 liters in displacement. In Z51 specification, it makes 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, which makes the short trip to the rear wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox and electronic limited-slip differential. Prices start at $58,900 plus destination, and the Z51 Package costs another five grand on top of that.
Photo by General Motors
If you want a Chevy but prefer your performance packaged in traditional muscle-car livery, the 2020 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is tailor-made for you. Equipped with a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine cranking out 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, and offering a six-speed manual gearbox with active rev matching or a 10-speed automatic transmission, the Camaro ZL1 rockets to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and can hit 198 mph.
An electronic limited-slip differential helps to ensure the power gets to the ground, while specific aerodynamic enhancements keep the Camaro glued to terra firma. The ZL1 also has braking, suspension, and technological upgrades that help a driver to make the most of the power. Prices start at $63,000, plus destination charges and a gas-guzzler tax.
Photo by Ron Sessions
A throwback to the 1970s, the Dodge Challenger is a retro-styled ride that recalls the glory days of American muscle. But the performance available during that decade pales in comparison to what a modern 2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye can supply.
Equipped with a high-output version of the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 used in the SRT Hellcat, the Redeye supplies an astounding 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque. It comes only with an eight-speed automatic transmission, which powers the car’s instantly smoking rear wheels. Naturally, Dodge gives the Challenger Redeye a full engineering upgrade to help the driver cope with the copious power. Available in standard and Widebody versions, the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye is priced from $70,595, plus destination charges and a gas-guzzler tax.
Photo by FCA Media
Just when you think Dodge can’t do anything more to make its aging yet muscular sedan faster, along comes the 2020 Charger Hellcat Widebody.
Dodge claims the Charger Hellcat Widebody is “the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world.” Thanks to its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine and Dodge’s performance numbers, it’s a position the automaker can defend. The engine makes 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, put to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. This firepower is good for acceleration to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and a reported 196-mph top speed. A competition-spec active suspension, oversized brakes, and other modifications help to keep this high-powered Charger under control. It can be yours for $69,995 plus destination charges and a gas-guzzler tax.
Photo by FCA Media
New for 2020, the Shelby GT500 is the most powerful street-legal car to ever wear a blue oval badge and is the fastest Mustang in the company’s history.
Equipped with a supercharged 5.2-liter V8 engine generating 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque, the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 accelerates to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and has a governed top speed of 180 mph. There isn’t a manual transmission though, so you’ll need to find satisfaction in the new seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox. There is more to this Mustang than pure muscle. From its unique magnetic ride control suspension and active performance exhaust system to its available carbon fiber wheels, the Shelby GT500 exudes a level of sophistication that transcends its muscle car heritage. Prices start at $72,900, not including the destination charge.
Photo by Ford Media
In terms of total vehicle sales, electric cars still comprise a very small portion of the overall vehicle market. But when looking at the entry-luxury car segment, the Tesla Model 3 is the most popular choice — and by a wide margin. Not the BMW 3 Series. Not the Lexus ES. Not the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. A Tesla.
Not only that, but the Tesla Model 3 is also one of the fastest cars you can buy for less than $100,000. Choose the Performance version of the car, and Tesla says it will provide 299 miles of driving range, acceleration to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, and a top speed of 162 mph. A set of 20-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, performance brakes, and all-wheel drive are a part of the Model 3 Performance model’s standard equipment. What will this silent, speedy, emissions-free car cost you? Prices for Performance trim kick off at $56,990, plus taxes and fees.
Photo by Tesla
Larger and more luxurious than the Model 3, and equipped with a five-door sportback body style that ensures maximum utility, the 2020 Tesla Model S is the electric vehicle company’s flagship car.
In Performance specification, the all-wheel-drive Model S accelerates to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds when the driver uses Ludicrous Mode, and top speed is 163 mph. Driving range between visits to the battery charging station amounts to 348 miles, but if you upgrade to the 21-inch wheels, added aerodynamic drag reduces that figure to 326 miles. The price of a Model S Performance is $99,990 before taxes and fees. Add a single option, and it passes over the $100,000 threshold for this list. But increasing your budget might be worthwhile in order to experience the instantaneous rush of speed only a Model S Performance can deliver for less than six figures.
Photo by Tesla
It might look like an egg on wheels that is most at home in a typical school drop-off line or the parking lot of a local shopping mall, but if you decide to challenge a 2020 Tesla Model Y Performance driver to a drag race, you’d better have one of the high-powered muscle cars above at your disposal.
Why’s that? This anonymous-looking kid hauler scoots to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and reaches 155 mph when equipped with the Performance Upgrade option. That package also installs a lowered sports suspension, performance brakes, and 21-inch wheels. So equipped, the Model Y Performance costs $60,990, plus taxes and fees. More than any other car on this list, it is the Tesla Model Y that signals the future of automotive performance. Is it a car? Is it a crossover? Shouldn’t it “look” faster? Shouldn’t it have a menacing or historically significant name? Clearly, when it comes to electric vehicles, none of it matters. If something like a Model Y can easily spank less intense versions of the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Mustang, it won’t be long before each of the fastest cars under $100k is electrically powered rather than gas-fueled.
Photo by Tesla