After what seems like more than a few decades of depressingly low power numbers, new technology means that the last few years have seen the glory days return with a continual increase in cars’ power levels. Whether it’s to get you down the drag strip faster, for bragging rights among your friends or just to make it marginally easier to destroy your tires in giant plumes of smoke, we’ve got you covered if you’re looking for a high-horsepower car. Our expert editors have created a list of 10 cars with the most horsepower under $100k (though some are considerably more affordable at only a fraction of that price), sorted by horsepower from the lowest to the highest. Read on to discover which car is best for you.
10 Cars with the Most Horsepower Under $100k
Photo Credit: Lexus
10) 2018 Lexus LC 500
The Lexus LC 500, a two-door luxury coupe, is the first entry on our list of the 10 cars with the most horsepower under $100,000. Coming in just under our limit with an MSRP of $92,000, the LC 500’s 5.0-liter V8 produces 471 horsepower, which is channeled to the rear wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission. That combo is good enough for a run to 60 miles per hour in under 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 168 mph. The LC uses typical Lexus styling cues, but in a stylishly aggressive way that makes it one of the most attractive cars the brand has ever produced. Steering and handling are good but would be even better if the LC 500 wasn’t quite as heavy.
Photo Credit: Dodge
9) 2017 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack
As you’ll see, Dodge seems to rule our list of 10 cars with the most horsepower under $100,000, and the manufacturer’s first entry on our list is also the cheapest with an MSRP of $38,995. The Challenger R/T Scat Pack features a 6.4-liter 392 Hemi V8 engine that pumps out 485 horsepower, all of which is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission (a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic is an extra-cost option). The run to 60 miles per hour takes a tad over four seconds. That may not be impressive compared to some of the other cars on this list but it's still plenty quick, and we think that the R/T Scat Pack is the best bang for the buck of the Challenger range.
Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz
8) 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Sedan
The AMG C63 S sedan (also available as a coupe) is a high-performance version of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class compact luxury car. As part of the performance upgrades, the C63 S gets a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine that generates 503 horsepower backed by a seven-speed Speedshift automatic transmission that uses a wet clutch (instead of the typical torque converter) to send power to the rear wheels. The sprint to 60 miles per hour is completed in 3.9 seconds and top speed is electronically limited to 180 mph. For $72,800 for the sedan or $75,000 for the coupe, you also get a widened track, aluminum body parts, an electronic limited-slip differential, computer-controlled dynamic engine mounts and the Race Start launch control system.
Photo Credit: Alfa Romeo
7) 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
The Alfa Romeo Giulia is a compact luxury car, and in Quadrifoglio trim it boasts a Ferrari-developed twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 that generates an impressive 505 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic transmission (unfortunately no manual transmissions are available here) sends power to the rear wheels and helps the Giulia get to 60 miles per hour in only 3.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 191 mph. Handling is top notch as well, and the Quadrifoglio has recorded a lap time of just over seven and a half minutes around the famous Nurburgring race track. With an MSRP of only $72,000 and an engine that you can brag about to your friends, the Quadrifoglio represents a unique bargain on our list of 10 cars with the most horsepower under $100,000.
Photo Credit: Ford
6) 2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
With the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, you get a lot for the starting MSRP of $56,145. Most notably, you get a flat-plane 5.2-liter V8 that spins up to an 8,250 RPM redline and generates 526 horsepower, paired with a six-speed manual transmission. Performance in a straight line is good, with 60 miles per hour arriving in just a few ticks over four seconds and a top speed of around 170 mph. The GT350 is about more than its engine, though, with many suspension and body tweaks that significantly improve handling performance. If you’re looking for one of the 10 cars with the most horsepower under $100,000 and would rather spend time on a road course than a drag strip, the GT350 has much to offer.
Photo Credit: Jaguar
5) 2018 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
The Jaguar F-TYPE R coupe just barely squeaks in under our threshold with an MSRP of $99,900. (A convertible is available, but at a price outside of our budget.) For that money, you get a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 that makes 550 horsepower, and to keep the power in check, you get an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels via an all-wheel drive system as well as a Torque Vectoring system and an Electronic Active Differential. Adding to the F-Type’s British good looks is the R’s raised hood with vents and quad exhaust pipes. All that helps get the F-Type R from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 186 mph.
Photo Credit: Cadillac
4) 2017 Cadillac CTS-V
The Cadillac CTS-V is a high-performance four-door luxury sedan that makes our list of the 10 cars with the most horsepower under $100,000 thanks to its supercharged 6.2-liter engine that makes 640 horsepower. That motivation is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission with magnesium paddle shifters and can get the CTS-V to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 200 mph. To keep all that power under control, the CTS-V comes with six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembo brakes, while a carbon fiber hood helps lower weight and improve its distribution. Compared to the Germans’ high-performance luxury cars you get more aggressive styling, more power and a lower starting price of $85,995. What’s not to like?
Photo Credit: General Motors
3) 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Starting at $61,500, the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is GM’s entry into the high-performance muscle car war. And with 650 horsepower from its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 (backed by either a six-speed manual with automatic rev matching or a 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters), it’s got the muscle part down. The ZL1 isn’t just about power, though, and it features a suspension with Magnetic Ride Technology and some aerodynamic tweaks over the regular Camaro that help it lap the Nurburgring Nordschleife in under seven and a half minutes. Add the $7,500 1LE Track Package, new for 2018, and you get even more capability thanks to front dive planes and an adjustable suspension. A similar engine is available in Chevrolet's Corvette Z06, but that’s near $20,000 more expensive.
Photo Credit: Dodge
2) 2017 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
The fine folks at Dodge take the second spot on our list of the 10 cars with the most horsepower under $100,000 with the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. Power comes from a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8 engine that puts out 707 horsepower, backed by an eight-speed automatic. The numbers are staggering for a $67,645 car: The sprint to 60 miles per hour takes around three seconds, the quarter mile is over in 11 seconds, and top speed is 204 mph. Of course, the Hellcat also gets suspension and brake upgrades, including massive 15.4-inch front rotors surrounded by six-piston calipers. You can also get a two-door Challenger version, and it’s available with a six-speed manual transmission if you think you would do better harnessing all those horses yourself.
Photo Credit: Dodge
1) 2018 Dodge Demon
Thanks to the slightly crazy (in a very good way) people at Dodge, you can now get a street-legal Challenger that’s built for the dragstrip with an 840-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi engine. Called the Demon, it comes equipped with a trans brake, a unique suspension, drag radials on every corner and select electronics that help it find the grip needed to accelerate to 60 miles per hour in only 2.3 seconds and through the quarter mile in under 10 seconds at speeds greater than 140 mph. It can pull an amazing 1.8g when accelerating, and it’s the first production car to be able to pull a wheelie off the line. Not all that practical day-to-day, but when you get 840 horsepower for $84,995, who cares?