People often think of cars as a necessity. But we know they’re more than that. They’re an extension of who you are. Cars can reflect your style or be a status symbol, but most people who buy supercars just love to drive.
Supercars are the pinnacle of all automobiles. They are the most expensive, quickest, and best cars money can buy. They have unparalleled performance that is unmatched by any other production car on the road.
But what if you’re not loaded? What if you don’t have the funds to buy yourself a brand new supercar?
Fear not! This list is for you – the everyman who wants to drive fast but doesn’t want to shell out hundreds of thousands of his or her hard-earned cash.
Of course, these cars are still going to be expensive relatively speaking, but perhaps not as expensive as you might have thought.
Here are 11 of the cheapest supercars that money can buy.
The Ferrari 360 is a two-seat, mid-engine sports car manufactured by Ferrari from 1999 to 2004. It succeeded the Ferrari F355 and was eventually replaced by the Ferrari F430.
At the time, some even considered it the best car in the world. It had a 3.6l V8 which produced 400 horsepower, and was paired with either a 6-speed manual transmission or Ferrari’s F1 Paddleshift gearbox. The 360 could hit speeds of up to 200 mph and reach 60 mph in around four seconds.
Despite its age, the 360 is still one of the fastest cars on this list and the good news is you can still own one for under $100k in the USA, and under £75k in the UK.
But be quick, because investors are starting to snap up nice examples of the 360 in their droves. They may not be this cheap for long!
The Audi R8 was introduced in 2006, not long after Audi’s acquisition of Italian supercar giant, Lamborghini. It was designed to compete with other exotic supercars at a more affordable price.
The R8 is available with either a 4.2l V8 engine or a 5.2l V10. The former produces 425 horsepower and the latter 530 horsepower. 0-60 is dealt with in 4.5 seconds with the V8 and in under 4 seconds with the V10, while top speed sits around 185 mph to 200 mph depending on which variant you choose.
Earlier R8 models can now be bought for under $75k in the USA and under £40k in the UK. In our view that’s an absolute bargain for a supercar that still feels relatively modern.
The McLaren 12C (or MP4-12C as it was originally known) was in production from 2011 to 2014. It was the first road car produced by McLaren since their their famous F1 hypercar in the 1990s.
The 12C features a 3.8l twin-turbo V8 with an output of 592 bhp. 60 mph is reached in 3.2 seconds and it has a top speed of 207 mph.
The 12C signalled the renaissance of McLaren as a supercar manufacturer. It went on to produce the more powerful 12C Spider model, and has since produced the likes of the 650S, 675LT, P1, and the Senna.
Despite being on sale for just four years and being extremely rare, prices of used 12Cs have fallen over the years. You can now buy one for under $120k in the USA and under £80k in the UK. Cheap… for a McLaren at least!
The Viper is a two-door supercar that was manufactured by the Dodge division of Chrysler from 1992 to 2017. It has seen numerous revisions during its production lifetime, but it’s the earliest vipers that offer some of the best value for money with prices starting at under $50k.
The Viper has gone through several redesigns over the years, but perhaps the most famous variant is the SRII Viper GTS which was produced in the mid-to-late nineties.
The GTS had an array of differences that distinguished it from the RT/10. Perhaps the most evident is the hardtop roof, as the GTS had transitioned into a coupe.
The power output from the 8l engine also increased, and of course the famous GTS stripes were also introduced.
The third generation was launched in 2003, and subsequent updated models were released in 2008 and 2013, but the SRI and SRII model remain two of our favorite American supercars ever produced.
There are still some great deals to be had on those early models making it a fantastic supercar for those on a budget.
The Nissan GT-R is a Japanese sports car that has been in production since 2007, and even when new was considered one of the most affordable ways of owning a supercar.
The GT-R was designed with both track racing and road use in mind, and with this versatility Nissan captured the imagination of enthusiasts all around the world.
The GT-R has been powered by a 3.8l twin-turbo V6 engine since the very beginning, but it has been tweaked over the years to consistently increase power output.
The original car produced around 480 horsepower, with modern cars producing in excess of 560 horsepower.
These days you can drive a GT-R for the same price as a run-of-the-mill German saloon; around $65k in the USA and £40k in the UK.
Honda / Acura NSX
Honda began production of the NSX in 1990, after famously developing it in collaboration with F1 supremo Ayrton Senna. In North America the Honda badge was replaced with an Acura badge, for a number of boring marketing related reasons.
Whereas there may be some questions around whether the Nissan GT-R we previously discussed can actually be called a supercar, there’s no doubt about it with the NSX.
It was a mid-engined coupe and was at the forefront of technological development during its time. The original NSX is still thought of as one of the most iconic supercars ever produced.
The nineties models featured either a 3.0l or 3.2l VTEC V6 engine which produced 270 or 290 horsepower respectively. It featured an all-aluminum body, the first production car to do so, making it extremely lightweight, nimble, and precise on the track.
Given its rarity and increasing popularity, the original NSX has seen an increase in value over the years. But we still think it represents a great deal if you’re looking to get behind the wheel of an all-time great supercar.
A reasonable example can be picked up for around $75k in the USA and £50k in the UK. But be quick, because prices of this classic are rising fast!
The Ferrari California is a luxury sports car that features a front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout and was launched in 2008. Despite the California technically being a grand tourer, it still carries the illustrious prancing horse badge, so we’re including it in this list!
The optional 2+2 layout, the elegant design, and the 4.3l V8 all combine to produce the best of all worlds; comfort, style, and speed. And with the California being the ‘entry level’ Ferrari (if there is such a thing), it means prices have always been relatively affordable.
The original California was produced for around five years before the new and updated California T took the reins in 2014, before the replacement Portofino was announced in 2017.
With prices of the earliest models hovering around the $95k mark in the USA, and the £70k mark in the UK, the California presents an opportunity to own a slice of Ferrari history without breaking the bank.
The Chevrolet Corvette is a sports car that was first produced in 1953, but remains ever-present in American car culture to this day. It has a distinctive shape and a low, sweeping body.
Because the Corvette has been in production for so long, it means there is a wide range of styles and performance credentials to choose from, depending on your budget and taste.
There really is something for everyone in the Corvette range.
In our view, if you’re looking for true supercar performance, it’s wise to look at the C7 (2014) model onwards. It offers a 6.2l V8 that produces around 465 horsepower, with prices starting at around $40k.
There is a plentiful supply in the USA, but Corvettes are a little trickier to find in the UK for obvious reasons. It is still possible to buy an imported model in the UK, however, so don’t be put off. It may just take a little longer to find the car you’re after.
If you’re really looking for a bargain then you take your pick of Corvettes from the nineties and early 2000s; they really are some of the most affordable performance cars in the used car market.
Porsche 911 Turbo
The Porsche 911 is the practical sports car that us petrol-heads have lusted after for decades, but certain variants can surely creep away from the ‘sports car’ label and into the ‘supercar’ bracket.
The 911 Turbo and Turbo S are two of those, and the 996 Turbo that was produced between 2000 and 2006, for example, offers considerable value for money.
It was powered by a 3.6l twin-turbo flat-six that produced 415 horsepower and could complete a 0-60 mph run in a shade over 4 seconds. Not too shabby for a model that many Porsche purists questioned at the time of release.
The 996 Turbo is one of the cheapest supercars on this list, with prices starting at around $50k in the USA and £35k in the UK.
If you want to spend a little more there are plenty of other options from various generations of 911 including the 997 that took over from the 996, or you could even go one step further and pick up a GT2 or GT3 (although prices of these models can start to become quite expensive).
If you’re on a budget, you can’t go too far wrong with the 996 Turbo.
Aston Martin Vanquish
Aston Martin have a rich history of producing some of the most iconic and memorable sports cars in the world, and there are few models with more cult status in recent decades than the Vanquish.
The first generation Vanquish was produced between 2001 and 2007, with the upgraded Vanquish S reaching the market in 2004. It featured a 5.9l V12 in a front-engined configuration, and even had space for two seats in the back.
It was Aston’s flagship grand tourer that could compete with the best supercars of the era from a performance standpoint, and outperform them when it came to practicality.
Aston went on to launch a second generation Vanquish in 2012, but if you’re after a supercar bargain that’s also likely to continue rising in value then it’s worth looking at the first-gen model.
Prices start from around $70k in the USA and £60k in the UK. Add 30k to your budget and you’re into the second-gen market, so make your choice wisely.
The Gallardo is one of the most recognizable supercars produced in recent decades. It sold incredibly well over the course of its 10 year production run, and continues to be one of the best selling Lamborghinis the world has ever seen.
The Gallardo came in a variety of flavors, but it’s the original 5l V10 model that makes it onto this list as one of the most affordable supercars on the market today.
It was produced under the watchful eye of Audi, with the German company having taken charge of the famous Italian manufacturer prior to its release.
But that doesn’t make it any less wild; pick one in the right color and you’ll be turning heads everywhere you go.
Owning a Gallardo was once the stuff of childhood dreams, but nowadays prices of reasonable examples start at around $95k in the USA and £70k in the UK. Not too bad for a 500 horsepower raging bull.
Should you buy a cheap supercar?
If you’re looking for a bargain and want to keep your budget down, there are plenty of reasonably affordable cars that fall into the ‘supercar’ category.
The cheapest supercars money can buy may not be as glamorous or powerful as some other models out there today, but they still pack enough punch to turn heads and get people’s attention.
Whilst you’ll be rewarded with all the glamour and glitz that comes with owning one of these machines, do be aware of the ongoing cost of maintenance that will surely be a drain on your bank account throughout your ownership.
If you’ve thoroughly researched the costs involved and want to get behind the wheel of a supercar, then picking one of these cars might well be the way to do it.
And if we had to choose, we’d pick the Ferrari 360. It currently offers great value, and prices are only going one way. It’s our favorite affordable option on this list!