Bhp bargains: cars with the most power per £

Vauxhall VXR8 GTS 2014 front action
Credits: Pete Gibson
16 May, 2014 12:00pm Steve Walker

Which new cars give you the most horsepower for your money? We crunched the numbers to find out

Raw, throbbing power; to some motorists it means nothing, to others it’s the key thing they look for when choosing a new car. Big power can mean big performance, scorching top speeds and 0-60mph acceleration that’s over in the blink of an eye. It can also, of course, mean inflated prices, bulky fuel bills and stomach-churning insurance premiums. 

So, generally speaking, a healthy dose of power is nice to have in your car, as long as it doesn’t come with the kind of epic bills that’ll have you living out of the back seat within a few months. Cheap horsepower is the optimum and that got us thinking. Which cars deliver the most bhp for your Pound?

Bargain bhp is the name of the game here. With the help for the data experts at CAP we’ve assembled a list of the best 20 new cars on sale for bhp per £. The results contain some stone cold performance bargains but they also show that the cheapest horsepower in today’s car marketplace can often be found in cheapest cars.

MG3 Style 1.5 front action

The top 20 cars with the most power per £:

Car Price Bhp £ per bhp
1 Dacia Sandero 1.2 Access £5,810.00 75 £77.47
2 MG3 1.5 Vti-TECH 3Time £8,219.00 106 £77.54
3 Perodua Myvi 1.3 Sxi £6,880.00 87 £78.90
4 Chevrolet Camaro coupe  6.2 V8 £34,200.00 432 £79.17
5 Nissan 370z Coupe £26,100.00 328 £79.57
6 Proton Preve 1.6 GSX £12,105.00 140 £86.51
7 Ford Focus ST 2.0T £21,650.00 250 £86.60
8 Dacia Duster 1.6 Access £9,260.00 105 £88.19
9 Vauxhall Insignia 2.0T SIDI Sri Vx-Line £22,104.00 250 £88.42
10 Proton Exora 1.6 GLS £12,605.00 140 £90.09
11 Kia Soul 1.6 GDi 1 £12,605.00 140 £90.09
12 Dacia Logan MCV Estate 1.2 Access £6,810.00 75 £90.80
13 Vauxhall VXR8 6.2 V8 Supercharged GTS £53,354.00 576 £92.63
14 Nissan Juke 1.6 DiG-T N-Tec £17,665.00 190 £92.97
15 Peugeot 208 GTi 1.6 THP £18,715.00 200 £93.58
16 Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2.5 £28,080.00 300 £93.60
17 Ford Fiesta ST 1.6 Ecoboost £17,065.00 182 £93.76
18 Renault Clio Renaultsport 200 1.6T £18,795.00 200 £93.98
19 Skoda Fabia vRS 1.4 TSI £16,955.00 180 £94.19
20 MG6 GT 1.8T £15,125.00 160 £94.53

Yes, the cheapest bhp you’ll find on the UK car market comes in the cheapest car you’ll find on the UK car market. In fact, with the Dacia Sandero, MG3 and Perodua Myvi taking up the top three places, it’s cheap cars that dominate the top three places, offering each bhp for under £80.

You can’t beat a super-low list price when it comes to bargain bhp but progress down the list and we start to get into cars that take a more performance-focused approach.

The hot hatches are ably represented by the ST versions of Ford’s Fiesta and Focus with the larger Focus in 7th place, it’s 250 horsepower costing a reasonable £86.60 each. Peugeot’s 208 GTi, the Skoda Fabia vRS and the Renaultsport Clio also creep into the reckoning towards the tail end of our top 20.

If you’re after something more potent, the Nissan 370Z coupe confirms its status as a bit of a performance car bargain in 5th place with its 328bhp V6. Vauxhall’s Insignia 2.0T SRi is a surprise inclusion in 9th, and a list of affordable performance cars wouldn’t be complete without the all-wheel-drive Subaru Impreza WRX STI down in 16th at £93.60 per bhp.

The first of the really big hitters is the Chevrolet Camaro. Powered into 4th place by its 432bhp 6.2-litre V8, the Chevy is a genuine bhp bargain capable of a 5.2s 0-60mph sprint but it’s outperformed by the monstrous 576bhp Vauxhall VXR8 down in 13th which will see 62mph a full second quicker. 

As for the most expensive bhp on the market, Lamborghini asks £505 for each of its Aventador LP720-4’s 720bhp - or how about the Rolls-Royce Phantom at £780 for each of its 459bhp? They both look positively cheap, however, next to the Pagani Huayra that offers 720bhp at a sobering £1,429 each. 

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I don't think most people who are concerned about getting decent BHP for minimum cost will have the Dacia at the top of the shopping list...just saying...

Camaro it is then. Do they do it in RHD?

What a completely and utterly pointless news item.

Fair point Pete. There's no doubt that the top 3 put a bit of a spanner in the works but the data doesn't lie.

Not a single Volkswagen makes the list. Shame on the brand that started up as "People's car". The VW Group musters just one bargain (discontinued?).
If the Autoexpress ever printed a list of the worst BHP (for money) cars, something tells me it will be crowded by the Volkswagen Group vehicles.

Some of those BHP figures aren't BHP at all they're the PS figures eg the Peugeot 208 GTI has 200PS but 197BHP so if they were really BHP figures it well may be different.

Yes, Price / Power to Weight ratio might have been a better metric.

Although admittedly the Dacias are fairly lightweight cars too so they might make a showing, but you'd at least have a decent chance of getting a caterham or similar showing up.

Sorry, I think this is a useful item, though many people may not care I think its cool to see what gives you the most bang for your buck!

If you want a real measure of *fun* per £, and not just biceps sizes, you need to divide these by weight... can we see that list please?

Using £/BHP/Ton with a few samples gives this lowest cost list:

Ariel Atom = £67
Citroen C1 = £81
Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart = £85
Renault Twingo GT = £102

With mid-range sports cars around £180-300
High end sports cars around £300-600

You clearly have not have looked at the figures. Maybe VW do not have a model in the top 20 list above, but when compared to the other Germans, VW's models have a bhp/price ratio which is identical to Audi (being similarly priced), and a far better bang for buck than either BMW or Merc.
It's BMW that you should be putting up for criticism on this issue, as despite their purchasers' expectations, the reality is that BMWs are often very poor "bang for buck".