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Best cheap fast cars

These used cars offer the highest speeds for the lowest prices, and a lot of fun into the bargain

Fast cars might offer some of the biggest thrills on the road, but they also tend to come at some of the biggest prices. Fortunately, there are still some truly rapid bargains to be found on the used car market, and the best cheap fast cars can still put an enormous smile on your face.

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While the flashiest supercars are usually passed from one wealthy collector to the next, there are also plenty of more accessible models that offer similarly blistering performance, particularly in the age of electric cars. While you might not stand out as much in terms of appearance in a cheap fast car, you’ll still leave plenty of people aghast when you floor the right pedal.

Of course, these performance machines need to be well maintained, so ensure that all the history is present and correct if you’re looking at a potential purchase and consider the running costs before buying. These cars are cheap compared to their brand-new counterparts, but you can still afford to be picky. A neglected example could result in some horrifying repair bills later on. 

The best cheap fast cars

Our expert road testers have rounded up the best fast car deals on the used market, read on to find them listed below.

Mercedes C 350e W205

  • We found: 2.0 PHEV Sport Premium, 2018, 33k miles - £19,280
  • Years produced: 2016-2021
  • Engines available: 2.0 PHEV
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When Mercedes launched the C 350e, plug-in hybrids were few and far between, and the tech hadn’t been around long. Despite this, it’s a great buy if you want a car that focuses on economy, but which isn’t a diesel. 

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Even better, while the C 350e can be frugal, in typical Merc fashion, there’s also a focus on usability, the build quality is everything you’d expect and it’s a very easy car to drive, if not that rewarding. Prices are a little high, but this is a 275bhp saloon that can achieve more than 40mpg in the real world.

Tesla Model 3 Mk1

  • We found: Standard Range Plus, 2019, 38k miles - £19,650
  • Years produced: 2019 to date
  • Powertrains available: 57kWh, 75kWh, 82kWh

You either love or hate Tesla’s products, because there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. We love them because while they’re not perfect, the American brand’s cars are relatively affordable, have generous real-world ranges and the Tesla Supercharger network is superb. 

The build quality can sometimes be indifferent, but battery packs seem to be lasting well, although their lifespan is dependent on how quickly and how regularly they’re charged, as well as how often they’re depleted. For £20,000 you can buy a Long Range car that will do 300 miles on a charge, but the Standard Range Plus is all most people need. This will do more than 200 miles between top-ups.

Maserati Ghibli Mk3

  • We found: 3.0 petrol S auto, 2016, 48k miles - £23,495
  • Years produced: 2013 to date
  • Engines available: 3.0T, 3.8T petrol, 3.0 diesel, 2.0T hybrid
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We’ll be the first to admit that the Ghibli isn’t as slick as an Mercedes E-Class or BMW 5 Series, but this stylish Maserati is a car that you can get emotionally attached to, so you’re buying with your head as well as your heart. 

Unsurprisingly, all Ghiblis emphasise performance over economy, although there is a hybrid edition, but we couldn’t find any for sale at this price. Instead it’s a choice between petrol and diesel V6s.

Porsche Panamera Mk1

  • We found: 3.0 diesel auto, 2015, 59k miles - £24,995
  • Years produced: 2009-2016
  • Engines available: 3.0T, 3.6, 4.8, 4.8T petrol, 3.0 diesel, 3.0 hybrid, 3.0 PHEV

It’s already 15 years since the Porsche Panamera arrived; it’s a car that shook things up within the luxury car sector, and which has become a lot more affordable to those who want to taste the high life, but don’t have incredibly deep pockets. 

In typical Porsche fashion, all Panameras are seriously quick, handle superbly and have a fabulous interior that’s crammed with expensive materials. But also true to form, running costs tend to be high, even if you go for one of the unusual plug-in hybrids or a diesel. The latter makes the most sense and is the most readily available for less than £25k.

Kia EV6 Mk1

  • We found: 77.4kWh GT-Line auto, 2022, 24k miles - £28,500
  • Years produced: 2021 to date
  • Powertrain available: 77.4kWh

The rate at which Kia’s standing has climbed with UK buyers is astonishing, and nowhere is this more evident than with the EV6, a car which cost more than £40k when it was launched in spring 2021. 

But compared with its rivals, the EV6 was a bargain, thanks to its hi-tech interior and a huge 77.4kWh battery that promised a real-world range of around 300 miles. With fast charging (up to 230kW) and plenty of power (at least 226bhp), the EV6 is very usable and looks superb. And for less than £30,000 you can buy a 2022 EV6 GT-Line that’s done just 20,000 miles.

Best cheap fast cars

Lucky enough to have a huge budget? These are the best supercars on sale

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Shane is responsible for looking after the day-to-day running of the Auto Express website and social media channels. Prior to joining Auto Express in 2021, he worked as a radio producer and presenter for outlets such as the BBC.

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