budget performance cars


Expedition Leader
Edmunds Inside Line has an article that identifies 10 performance
cars you can buy for less than $10,000. Here's the link to their list:


1990-1996 Nissan 300ZX 3.0L turbo V6
1985-1991 Porsche 944 Turbo 2.5L turbo I4
1999-2000 Honda Civic Si 1.6L I4
1995-2001 BMW 740i and 740iL 4.4L V8
2002-2006 Acura RSX 2.0L I4
2002-2003 Subaru Impreza WRX 2.0L turbo flat 4
2001-2005 Volkswagen GTI 2.8L V6
1998-2002 Chevy Camaro Z28 5.7L V8
2001-2005 Audi A4 3.0L V6
2000-2002 Audi S4 2.7L twin turbo V6

Conspicuously absent are BMW 3 series and Ford Mustang.
What vehicles would you add to the list?

Chip Haven


Perpetual Transient
The 944 turbo was the first one I thought of with the thread title. I'd add, if you shop carefully, the C4 LT1 powered Vette. You can find a Mini Cooper S for around $10k too though usually not the best examples. Also I'll add a Porsche Boxster and Subaru WRX to the list too.
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Expedition Leader
Audi 2000-2002 (AKA 'B5') S4 owner experience...

Miata should be on there definitely.

As for the cars listed... I do have the noted Audi S4. Mine's an '01. The S4 is an A4 that they shoehorned a twin turbo 2.7l v6 into. It's as fast as I need it to be (156MPH due to limiter) and I can readily mod it to over 700 bhp :Wow1: which is both a pro and a con. Lots and lots of engine/suspension upgrades available from $500 to over $30K so your budget can be your guide to that.

Fast, very smooth, very comfortable car to drive both in and around town or on the open highway.:drool:

I've driven from the SF Bay Area to Denver & back for a vacation to Vail. It was quite the enjoyable drive and if my reservations was for the day before I would have done it straight but since I had no place to stay in Vail the day before, I stopped at a friends in Alpine UT.:smiley_drive:

It's $$$$$ to maintain or repair and because if this I wouldn't put it on that list. As an example, to do the valves is $2k+. I'm currently facing that issue right now and am still not convinced I should do it or if I should just trade it in for another car. :(

If the turbos go out, another $$$$$$ bill (more than the valves). Plus they have to remove the engine to gain access to the turbos. Also one turbo alone rarely dies. They usually die in pairs. One shortly after the other typically.:Wow1:


Former Chalet owner
Edmunds could clarify that a bit by calling the article "Under 10 grand, above 5 grand". They put Miata, Mustang & Subaru in their previous "Under $5,000 Top 10" article. That narrows the situation somewhat.

Root Moose

Expedition Leader
Porsches are stupid expensive to maintain as well. IMO it would be a bad choice for someone looking at a <$10k due to budget constraints. I'd say the same about the 7 series Bimmers.

With some looking I think you might be able to find a ratty but strong Honda S2000 at around $10k (think track whore).

I'll second the C4 Vette. Hell of a value in this price range.

Miatas, Mustangs.

Integras too.

I'm sure there's lots more if you want to go older.
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Definitely Miata. Name another car that's as much fun, and you can get a reliable one for under $5k.
I like them so much, I've owned two!


300zx- nice but impossible to work on. they crammed everything in there.
(same goes for any mid engine car, which I would never get for this reason)
944t- meh, not worth the effort imo

A4- 1.8T or 2.0T are the ones to get. Lighter, handles better, far better mpg's and with some mods will blow away the V6.

S4- it is exponentially more expensive to maintain than the A4. Lots of different parts (and expensive parts).
I would definitely opt for a B6 V8 S4 instead. It's not a twin turbo but the V8 has advantages.

Impreza, Camaro and GTI sound fun too.


They must be out of their minds...

1990-1996 Nissan 300ZX 3.0L turbo V6 - Yeah, good luck finding one that hasn't been completely thrashed for under 10k.
1985-1991 Porsche 944 Turbo 2.5L turbo I4 - Ok, but you'll spend another 10k refurbishing it before the year is out.
1999-2000 Honda Civic Si 1.6L I4 - Um...what about a 1998-2001 Acura Integra GSR? Can be had for the same money, better handling, better performance. I bought mine for $7k.
1995-2001 BMW 740i and 740iL 4.4L V8 - Um...I wouldn't classify that as a "performance" car.
2002-2006 Acura RSX 2.0L I4 - Yeah, neither that. Maybe the Type-S, but again, good luck finding a desirable example under 10k.
2002-2003 Subaru Impreza WRX 2.0L turbo flat 4 - Even those are borderline on that price tag. Good examples are still fetching 12-13k.
2001-2005 Volkswagen GTI 2.8L V6 - I'd rather have a 2002-04 1.8T. For a $400 chip and a tune, you're making WAY more power than the VR6 ever would without a supercharger.
1998-2002 Chevy Camaro Z28 5.7L V8 - They put in a Camaro but not a Mustang?
2001-2005 Audi A4 3.0L V6 - A4, and an S4? Biased a bit much?
2000-2002 Audi S4 2.7L twin turbo V6 - I wouldn't trust a sub-10k S4...

The way I would have that list would be....

1997-2001 Mazda MX-5 Miata
2002-2004 VW GTI 1.8T
1998-2001 Acura Integra GSR
1996-1999 BMW 328IS
2002-2004 Ford Mustang GT
2000-2001 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS
1984-1996 Chevrolet Corvette
1998-2001 Chevy Camaro SS/Pontiac Trans Am WS6
1992-1998 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4
1997-1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX/Eagle Talon TSI AWD


Automotive ADHD is fun!
As usual, forgot about the e36 M3, e28 or e34 M5, Z3, Audi ur-quattro.

Why didn't they title it "random list of cars we found that are somewhat performance-oriented" or something?


Automotive ADHD is fun!
And before someone claims those cars are over $10k...

My wife's $6000 daily driver M3


True, but MOST M3s aren't under 10k. You guys got a bargain, there!

They probably put in a search on Autotrader for cars under $10,000 and listed the first 10 that looked kind of performance oriented.

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