This weekend, RM Sotheby’s will auction off one of the first Ferrari 250 GTOs ever built. Initial estimates suggest it will go for more than $45 million, making it the most expensive car in the world. But while that car is a piece of automotive history, some of the specs look a little underwhelming, at least by modern standards. The 250 GTO only made 300 hp, nearly half as much power as the Portofino, the least expensive new Ferrari available today.
Then again, that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Technology has come a long way in the last 50 years, and it wouldn’t be fair to expect a car, even a Ferrari, from the ‘60s to still be able to hold its own against modern performance cars.
But what about something a little newer? If you want a car that’s at least as quick as, say, a Ferrari F430, how many semi-affordable options are out there? Looking back through our test results, these 11 cars stand out as the least expensive ways to match or beat the 0-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds we recorded for a 2007 Ferrari F430 without launch control.
Alfa Romeo 4C – $64,495
With a base price of $57,400 including destination, you’d think the Alfa Romeo 4C would be further down on this list. Adding the necessary track package, though, requires you to add several other options that drive up the price. Even so, 0-60 in 4.1 seconds for less than $65,000 is a solid deal.
Cadillac ATS-V – $62,590
Cadillac’s BMW M3 rival may not have a spacious backseat or a cavernous trunk, but it’s sure got power. Its 464-hp twin-turbo V-6 launched the automatic version to 60 mph in an impressively quick 3.7 seconds. The manual version isn’t slow, either, tying the F430’s time at 4.2 seconds.
Chevrolet Corvette – $61,590
With the mid-engine C8 reportedly arriving soon and the ZR1 making 755 hp, the regular 460-hp Corvette Stingray doesn’t get a lot of attention these days. That doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant, though. Our seven-speed manual long-termer with the Z51 package launched from 0-60 mph in an F430-besting 3.8 seconds.
Porsche 718 Cayman – $61,160
The switch to a turbocharged four-cylinder may have changed the Cayman’s exhaust note, but it sure didn’t hurt performance. The 2.0-liter turbo-four is good for 300 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, and with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, it may even be quick enough to steal sales from the Cayman S. We recorded a 0-60 mph time of 4.1 seconds.
BMW M2 Competition – $59,895
Technically, we haven’t tested the M2 Competition yet. We have, however, tested the M2 it replaces. That car packed 365 hp and hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. Since the M2 Competition is an upgraded M2 that makes 405 hp, we’d be incredibly surprised if it isn’t at least as quick.
Mercedes-AMG C 43 – $54,395
We’re big fans of the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S and its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 that makes a tire-roasting 503 hp. That said, we have a feeling the less-powerful C 43 will take a lot of people by surprise. In our last test, it ran from 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds, and that was before Mercedes added another 23 hp for 2019.
Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 – $54,095
We can’t explain why the CLA 45 is only $300 less expensive than the C 43, but oh well. Life is full of mysteries. If, for whatever reason, you prefer the CLA 45, the 2014 version hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. We haven’t re-tested it since then, but Mercedes claims the current one’s 375 hp makes it 0.3 second quicker.
Audi S4 – $52,375
Our long-term S3 was a tick too slow to make this list, but the S4 proved just quick enough to qualify. With a 0-60 time of 4.2 seconds, it’s also just as quick as the last Mercedes-AMG C 43 we tested. Perhaps more impressively, the significantly pricier BMW M3 is only slightly quicker than the S4 and the C 43.
Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE – $44,995
If you have about $65,000 to spend, the 650-hp Camaro ZL1 will destroy the F430 in a straight line, launching to 60 mph in a scant 3.5 seconds. You could also save around $20,000 and buy a Camaro SS with the 1LE package. Even with a six-speed manual transmission, it posted a 4.0-second 0-60 mph time, and we suspect it will be even quicker with the 10-speed auto.
Dodge Challenger/Charger R/T Scat Pack – $40,390/$41,340
Like the ATS-V and C 43, Dodge offers the R/T Scat Pack as both a coupe and a sedan. The names and styling may be different, but either way, you get a 485-hp naturally aspirated V-8 that sends all of its power to the rear wheels. The Challenger and Charger also both laid down identical 4.2-second 0-60 mph times.
Ford Mustang GT – $37,945
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the three most affordable cars on this list are all American, because in this country we love getting a lot of horsepower for not much money. What is surprising, though, is how quick the new 10-speed automatic makes the Mustang GT. Even without the Performance package, it hit 60 mph from a stop in only 3.9 seconds.
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