Performance doesn’t have to come with a high price tag when buying a car in 2022. For less than $50,000, drivers have plenty of options on the market, including cars that are fast off the line. According to U.S. News & World Report, at least 10 new models can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour (mph) in less than six seconds while coming in under that price cap. Here are the top five fastest new cars under $50,000, per U.S. News’ ranking:

1. 2022 Chevrolet Camaro SS

The Chevrolet Camaro is the fastest car under $50,000, thanks to one of the most powerful engines on this list. The SS trim comes equipped with a 6.2-liter V8 packing 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque. U.S. News reports that will get you from 0 to 60 mph in a blistering 3.5 seconds. The SS trim gives you many performance features to enhance the driving experience, including Brembo front and rear brakes and enhanced cooling.

Additionally, many optional upgrades for the Camaro SS still fit under the $50,000 budget cap. The Track Performance package can give you upgraded suspension, wider tires, and a head-up display. It’s one of the more customizable options on this list. The rear seats are small, and the visibility isn’t great, but U.S. News reviewers do like the Camaro’s power, handling, comfortable ride, and user-friendly technology.

2. 2022 Ford Mustang GT

Ford’s iconic Mustang created the “pony car” segment of sports coupes decades ago and continues providing speed at a great price in 2022. For less than $50,000, you can get one of the fastest new cars on the market – the Mustang GT.

The GT’s powered by a 5.0-liter V8 producing 450 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. It also comes equipped with a limited-slip differential, upgraded brakes, and rev-matched downshifts for the manual transmission option. All of this can get you 0 to 60 mph in just 4.0 seconds.

With a lower starting price, there’s room for upgrades to the Mustang GT. The GT Performance package can add Brembo brakes, a sport suspension, improved engine cooling, and an upgraded limited-slip differential.

U.S. News calls the Mustang “one of the all-around best sports cars out there.” The Mustang tops the list as U.S. News’ best sports cars for 2022 and 2023, too. Overall, it’s a fast car under $50,000 that’s lots of fun wherever you’re going.

3. 2022 Polestar 2

From sound alone, you wouldn’t guess the all-electric Polestar 2 BST boasts up to 470PS. And very handsome it is too. #gwelectric #gw_Polestar pic.twitter.com/rFGETUUL5W

— Goodwood FOS (@fosgoodwood) November 21, 2022

The only electric vehicle on this list comes from the EV spinoff from Volvo. The Polestar 2 debuted in 2020 and continues in 2022 with lots of power thanks to dual electric motors on the rear and front wheels. That gives you a total of 408 horsepower and 487 lb-ft of torque applied with all-wheel drive. Thanks to that electric power, you’ll go from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds.

Though it is quick off the line, the Polestar 2 is more made for comfort and luxury than others on this list. U.S. News touts the Volvo DNA seen in the technology on board with the likes of an 11.2-inch touchscreen, heated front seats, and an eight-speaker audio system. There are also lots of standard driver aids included in the Polestar 2, such as forward collision mitigation, front and rear parking sensors, and lane keeping with steering assist. It’s a fast car under $50,000 that gives you plenty to enjoy wherever you’re going quickly.

4. 2023 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works

The iconic Mini Cooper is one of the fastest cars under $50,000 on the market, reports U.S. News. The John Cooper Works (JCW) edition bumps the engine up to a 228 horsepower, 236 lb-ft torque 2.0-liter powertrain. Those figures are the lowest on the list, but that doesn’t stop the Mini Cooper from being one of the quickest. At 2,892 pounds, it can go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. 

The JCW trim includes a sport suspension and sport seat upgrades. Its starting price is the lowest on the list and gives plenty of room for upgrades like the Iconic package. That gives you premium leather upholstery inside, a Harman Kardon sound system, and power-folding mirrors. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and you can get a combined 25 miles per gallon.

U.S. News reviewers say the Mini Cooper JCW maintains its go-kart-like handling and steering reputation, making it as much fun off the line as it is in cornering. But they do admit the ride is firmer than what you’d like from a daily driver.

5. 2022 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack

cars, chevrolet, ford

2022 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody | Stellantis

The Dodge Challenger rounds out the three popular American pony cars. Compared to the Camaro SS and the Mustang GT, the Challenger takes the top spot in terms of power with 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque out of a 6.4-liter V8 engine. But that power comes at the cost of weight. The Challenger weighs 4,233 pounds, 500 more than the Camaro or Mustang. This means that the 0-60 time is 4.8 seconds.

U.S. News reviewers note that the Challenger is one of the fastest new cars on the market, and the weight and size are noticeable. Going fast on the straightaways is easy, but taking corners can be difficult. There are lots of performance features on the R/T Scat Pack to enhance the driving experience. An upgraded cooling system, launch control system, high-performance suspension, and premium Brembo performance brakes are included.

What are the fastest new cars under $50,000?

For the most part, the fastest new cars you can get at a reasonable price are coupes like the Camaro, Mustang, and Challenger. Each can get you wherever you need to go quickly and at a price that doesn’t break the bank. But there is something for other drivers as well. The Polestar 2 is a great option for those wanting speed wrapped in technology and luxury at a price that won’t break the bank. And if handling is at a premium and even $50,000 seems daunting, the Mini Cooper JCW can give you plenty of thrills for a lot less than its competitors on this list.

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