When looking for speed at prices bordering on realistic (say, under $35,000), the list of automobiles available usually includes the muscle cars of Detroit and some hot hatchbacks from around the globe. Open the budget up to $50,000 and some surprising entries (e.g., sedans capable of transporting families) start appearing among the speediest rides.
The presence of old-fashioned sedans isn’t a fluke. Six of the 10 quickest cars around that are priced under $50,000 indeed have four doors, and they’re none the worse for it. Automakers have begun pricing the road-burning sports coupes higher than ever. Corvette or Shelby dreamers, be warned.
For this list, the quickest (0-60 miles per hour) and most powerful cars that come in at a base price with destination charges below $50,000 were included. There weren’t any $49,999 cars to make the job harder, but nothing was considered unless it was below $48,500 and could realistically get off the lot with a check for 50 grand in tow. Cars that had published quarter-mile times were easier to include among the fastest, but any car with legitimate power and a top 0-60 mile-per-hour time from credible sources qualified for our purposes here. These are the 10 fastest new cars under $50,000, edition 2014.
Editors’ Note: This post has been updated to reflect an inaccuracy in the reported price of the Subaru WRX STI. Thank you to our readers for pointing it out to us.
10. Nissan 370Z Nismo ($41,990)
Nissan’s base 370Z packs the same 3.7-liter V6 that comes in the Nismo, the performance variant of this sport coupe. Specially tuned suspension, SynchroRev Match transmission, and an extra dose of power separates the Nismo from the standard 370Z model. The total comes to 350 horsepower and 276 pound-feet of torque. That formula allowed Edmunds testers to flash from 0-60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds. It may not be the GT-R supercar Nissan is happy to offer thrill-seekers (or the Nismo model that burned up the Nürburgring), but the 370Z Nismo delivers a ton of excitement for this price point.