In the past, cars that boasted serious horsepower also boasted a serious price tag. Big power meant big money, and companies like Ferrari, Lamborghini, and others were only too happy to oblige those with the means to pay. That perception began to change with the introduction of the Corvette, the Mustang, and the movement that followed, but exotics — like today — still boasted the cutting-edge numbers.
However, the difference is that today, many vehicles offer sufficient horsepower to keep the gear heads happy at a price that’s a few zeroes shy of the serious, low-volume supercars. What’s more, these vehicles are no longer relegated to the Corvette and Mustang nameplates.
No longer a luxury for the rich, automakers’ ability to shoe-horn immense power into a small package has proven to be a successful formula for appeasing auto enthusiasts who pine for the Ferrari but can realistically afford a Ford. From $20,000 to $100,000, here are some of the most affordable plays for high horsepower available now. We calculated the cost per individual horsepower simply by dividing the MSRP by the car’s base horsepower figure, yielding how many dollars one pays per horse for any given vehicle.
All cars are measured in their base spec at their base prices, and this is by no means a comprehensive list. Here is the Auto Cheat Sheet’s ‘Most Bang for the Buck’ list in 2014:
1. Chevrolet Corvette
The Chevrolet (NYSE:GM) Corvette has long been associated with horsepower value. The new model is no different, boasting a minimum of 460 horsepower at a price of $53,000, which equates to roughly $115 per horsepower (a comparable 400 horsepower Porsche 911 Carrera S costs $247 per horse — and it only goes north from there). Obviously you’re treated to more than just horsepower, so you’ll also get a comfortable and greatly improved cabin, lots of torque, and nearly 30 miles per gallon highway thanks to cylinder deactivation.