People commonly fantasize about owning a fast car. But given the price tag and limited utility of most sports cars, many choose to own a more practical vehicle instead. However, there are many new and used sports cars that can help you live life in the fast lane for under $30,000. That’s less than the average one- to five-year-old used car, which costs $35,020.

Here are the sports cars that provide an adrenaline rush without the high price tag. (If your budget is slightly higher, be sure to check out our Fastest Cars Under $40,000 guide.)

Fastest New Cars Under $30k

These new sports cars all have starting prices of under $30,000 and are ranked in ascending order of the 0-60 time for their starting trim levels
Fastest New Cars Under $30,000
Rank Sports Car 0-60 Time Starting Average New Car Price iSeeCars Quality Score
1 Ford Mustang 5.1 $27,205 8.4
2 Dodge Challenger 5.3 $29,680 8.0
3 Chevrolet Camaro 5.4 $25,000 8.2
4 Subaru WRX 5.6 $29,105 8.4
5 Mazda MX-5 Miata 5.7 $28,315 8.4
6 Subaru BRZ  5.8 $27,995 7.8
7 Toyota GR86 6.1 $27,700
8 Volkswagen GTI 6.1 $29,545
1. Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang earns the top spot as the fastest new sports car for under $30,000. It’s also the sports car with the highest iSeeCars Quality Score of 8.4 out of 10 for its coupe version, and also ranks high on our list of best sports cars. The Mustang comes standard with a 2.3-liter turbo four-cylinder engine with 310-horsepower and a six-speed manual transmission. Its entry-level engine in the Ford Mustang EcoBoost model can go from zero to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds when equipped with the optional 10-speed automatic transmission and reaches a top speed of 121 mph. Higher trims with the 5.0-liter V8 engine have even faster acceleration and higher top speeds, like the Ford Mustang GT, which reaches 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and reaches a top speed of 180 mph. A number of performance packages are available, which take the price well above $30,000. The High-Performance package boosts the EcoBoost engine to 330-horsepower, and adds a larger radiator, larger brakes, heavy-duty front springs, a strut tower brace, a larger rear sway bar, a limited-slip rear differential, an active exhaust, and summer-only tires.

2. Dodge Challenger

An American muscle car ranks second, the Dodge Challenger two-door coupe. It is among the best sports cars on the market with an iSeeCars Quality Score of 8.0. The brawny Challenger comes standard with a powerful 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine making 303 horsepower. The base Challenger goes from zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 156 mph. While the base V6 offers ample power and acceleration, higher SRT trims offer more powerful V8 engines, including a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with 375 horsepower, a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 with 485 horsepower, or the 717-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8. These more powerful engines can go from 0-60 in less than 3.5 seconds.  

3. Chevrolet Camaro

The “everyman’s sports car,” the Chevrolet Camaro ranks third. The Chevy Camaro’s standard turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine with 275 horsepower goes from zero to 60 in 5.4 seconds and reaches a max speed of 155 mph. More powerful engines with quicker acceleration are also available, including a 3.6 liter V6 with 335 horsepower that does zero to 60 in five seconds, a 355 horsepower 6.2-liter V8 that can go from zero to 60 in four seconds, and the most powerful 6.2-liter V8 with 650 horsepower that can go from zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds. 

4. Subaru WRX

The Subaru WRX sports sedan ranks fourth. Redesigned for 2022, the all-wheel drive (AWD) WRX comes standard with a 271-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 258 lb-ft of torque paired with a six-speed manual transmission. The base model WRX comes standard with a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, USB ports, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. The 2022 Subaru WRX comes in five trims: base, Premium, Limited, GT, and STI

5. Mazda MX-5 Miata

Earning the fifth spot is the Mazda MX-5 Miata two-seat roadster. The Miata can go from zero to 60 in 5.7 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 135 mph with its softtop convertible roof. Models with the hardtop roof in RF form have a slightly slower time of 5.8 seconds. The Miata has one engine choice, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. It also returns excellent fuel economy at 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, an excellent rating for the sports car class. The Miata also comes standard with safety features including automatic emergency braking with forward-collision warning, blindspot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, and lane departure warning.

6. Subaru BRZ

The Subaru BRZ ranks sixth. After a hiatus for the 2021 model year, the BRZ re-emerged in 2022 with a full redesign. The BRZ has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder boxer engine with 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive come standard, and a six-speed automatic transmission is optional. The BRZ can go from 0-60 in 5.8 seconds with its manual transmission, while the automatic transmission lags behind at 7.0 seconds.

7. Toyota GR86

The Toyota GR86, which is nearly mechanically identical to the sixth-ranked Subaru BRZ, ranks seventh. Just like the BRZ, the GR86 was redesigned for the 2022 model year and has a new name after being formerly known as the Toyota 86. The Toyota GR86 and the Subaru BRZ have some minor differences, including their exterior styling, interior materials, pricing, and some minor suspension tuning variations. As such, the Toyota GR86 has a slightly slower 0-60 time at 6.1 seconds and a maximum speed of 140 mph.  

8. Volkswagen GTI

The Volkswagen GTI rounds out the list in the eighth position. ??Formerly known as the Volkswagen Golf GTI, the Volkswagen GTI is the sportier, hot-hatch version of the Volkswagen Golf, and is the only version remaining in the U.S. market after the Golf’s discontinuation. It has a 228-horsepower turbocharged engine and a six-speed manual transmission. Standard features include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.  

Fastest Used Cars Under $30,000

Sports car buyers with a budget of $30,000 can find used versions of performance cars and luxury sports cars . Along with used versions of the vehicles above, here are the fastest used sports cars that can be found for under $30,000.
Fastest Used Sports Cars Under $30,000
Rank Sports Car 0-60 Time Average Used Car Price iSeeCars Quality Score
1 2016 Nissan 370z 4.8 $29,079 7.6
2 2014 Audi S5 4.9 $29,492 7.9
3 2014 Audi TT 5.3 $24,994 8.2
4 2014 BMW Z4 5.5 $29,336 8.1
5 2019 Hyundai Veloster N 5.5 $29,058
6 2019 Fiat 124 Spider 6.8 $27,748
1. Nissan 370z

A classic Japanese sports car, the Nissan 370z comes as a coupe or convertible and has a 3.7-liter V6 engine with 332 horsepower. It goes from 0-60 in just 4.8 seconds and has a maximum speed of 155 mph.  

2. Audi S5

The Audi S5 is the performance variant of the Audi A5 sedan. The S5 coupe has a direct-injection 4.2-liter V-8 engine with 354 horsepower, while the convertible has a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 that makes 333 horsepower. The Audi S5 can go from 0-60 in 4.9 seconds and has a maximum speed of 155 mph.  

3. Audi TT

The front-wheel drive Audi TT is an elegant sports car with a unique design and engaging driving dynamics. It also has the benefit of rear seats to offer seating capacity for four, but the rear seats are cramped and best for small children. The Audi TT from the 2014 model year has a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine with 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, and it accelerates from 0-60 in 5.3 seconds. 

4. BMW Z4

The BMW Z4 two-seater luxury convertible comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower. It can accelerate from 0-60 in 5.5 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 130 mph. 

5. Hyundai Veloster N

Ranked fifth is the Hyundai Veloster N hot hatch, which is the high-performance variant of the now-discontinued Hyundai Veloster. New versions of the Veloster N are just above $30,000 at $32,500. The Hyundai Veloster N has a 275 horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. While it comes standard with a manual transmission, an eight-speed dual clutch automatic transmission is available for an extra $1,500. The Hyundai Veloster N does 0-60 in 5.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 155 mph. Along with being fast and fun-to-drive, the Veloster N offers more cargo space than typical sports cars thanks to its hatchback bodystyle.  Other used versions are also fast, including the Veloster Turbo R-Spec, which comes with a 201-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and has a 0-60 time of 6.8 seconds.

8. Fiat 124 Spider

Rounding out the list is the Fiat 124 Spider, which shares a chassis and much of its underpinnings with the Mazda Miata. The Fiat 124 Spider comes with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 160 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard, while a six-speed automatic transmission is also available. The base Fiat 124 Spider goes from zero to 60 in 6.8 seconds, while the Abarth trim 2dr Convertible reaches 0-60 in 6.5 seconds. Discontinued after the 2020 model year, only used versions of the sports car are available.

Bottom Line

All sports cars are fun to drive, but the ones topping this list offer a fast-yet-practical option for those who want a thrilling driving experience at a reasonable price. Be sure to also check out our guide on the best sports cars under $30,000 for additional practical sports cars as well as our companion lists for the fastest cars under $50k and the fastest cars under $40k.

More from iSeeCars:

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