After the success of my last article, I’ve decided to make things more interesting. Previously, I’d set myself 2 criteria. These were, a budget of £10,000 and the car had to be under 10 years old. This was all well and good, I still consider the choices on that list to be bargains. However, £10,000 is still a lot of money. It’s certainly more than I can afford. So, to make things more interesting I’m going to half the budget. Unfortunately, with only £5000 to spend, I’m going to have to stretch the age limit, But I’m going to try and keep all entries on the list as ‘modern’ as possible. Its also worth mentioning that with any list of this nature, it’s easy to fall into the trap of just filling it with hatchbacks. As such, I’m going to try and offer a diverse range of cars. Finally, I’m going to try and avoid just using older models of the cars previously featured. So, without further ado, I present to you: 5 more performance car bargains.
Top Speed: 146mph
Acceleration: 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds
The Mazda RX8 is a car that people wanted to see in the previous list. There were a few reasons I didn’t feature it, but mostly it was due to the incredibly low purchase price. With examples available from as little as £1000, I thought this list would be more suitable. On paper, it doesn’t make sense for the RX-8 to be so cheap. Its sleek coupe design still looks fresh today, they handle well, and the famous rotary engine provides more than enough power to keep you entertained. Unfortunately, its that famous rotary engine that’s brings me on to some of the RX-8s downsides. The problems are well documented, but highlights include, a large appetite for petrol and oil, issues with starting when hot and ultimately engine failure. Later built R3 models are the most desirable and are available for under £5000, so providing you buy carefully the RX-8 is one of the biggest bargains out there.
Top Speed: 155mph
Acceleration: 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds
Second up we have the Nissan 350Z. The Z shares a lot of characteristics with the RX-8, both are front engined, rear driven, Japanese coupes. However, the driving experience of the two cars differs massively. This is mostly down to the engines, whilst the RX-8 needs to be worked hard to make progress, the big 3.5L V6 in the Z, should enable a more relaxed approach. Don’t expect the fuel bill to be any better though, as I’m sure the large capacity engine is equally fond of petrol. Owners have reported that the Z can feel heavy. As such, it makes sense to view it as a GT car apposed to a razor-sharp sports car. The big Nissan is possibly my favourite car on this list, arguably it’s a bit of an icon, and at less than £5K, it appears to be serious value for money.
Top Speed: 131mph
Acceleration: 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds
Whilst an obvious choice, it’s hard to ignore the MX5. Especially, if you prefer your performance car without a roof. Admittedly, the word performance is somewhat stretched here, however, at this budget, there are plenty of 2L Sport models to choose from. Sport models benefit from; a 6-speed gearbox, bigger alloys, upgraded suspension and an LSD. So, whilst not the fastest car in a straight line, the MX5 is at least set up for some proper B road fun. Furthermore, should modifications be your thing, then there are plenty of ways to upgrade the MX5. If the idea of roughing it in winter puts you off, then rest assured as this generation MX5 was also available with a metal folding roof.
SKODA FABIA VRS
Top Speed: 139mph
Acceleration: 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds
If the other options on this list are too old, or you simply want to slip under the radar, then maybe I can tempt you with a Skoda. Whilst still rare at this budget, I was amazed to find that this generation Fabia VRS has dipped below the £5000 mark. The VRS isn’t going to be to everybody’s taste, I say this because there was no option of a manual gearbox. However, the seven speed DSG box, coupled with an engine that uses both a super and a turbo charger, provide some pretty impressive performance figures. I like the VRS, its understated and doesn’t shout about its performance. As mentioned, this generation is still rare at this price point, but as time goes on, more and more will fall into budget. Unfortunately, the 1.4L engines can cause issue, so be be careful when buying.
MAZDA 6 MPS
Top Speed: 149mph
Acceleration: 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds
In a bid to cater for everybody’s needs, I had to find a car that offered more space than those already mentioned. Unfortunately, this choice means that three of the cars featured here are Mazda’s, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. MPS stands for Mazda Performance Series, and it appears that Mazda took the performance credentials of the 6 seriously. In addition to standard go-faster parts, such as revised suspension, Mazda went to the trouble of fitting new chassis sections to increase stiffness. The MPS also benefits from a four-wheel drive system, so should you need a car that functions as more than Sunday afternoon cruiser, then the Mazda may be worth considering.
Thanks for Reading! Let me know which you'd pick (If any) in the comments below. Be sure to check out my profile and follow me as I try to make my way into the automotive world.