2011 Ford Mustang GT
Think you've got to spend big if you want a fast car? Think again.
Plenty of affordable cars will do zero to 60 mph in under six seconds; some are one-third the price of racers from Porsche or BMW.
The Ford Mustang GT, the Ford Mustang coupe and the rally-style Subaru Impreza WRX are just some of the thrifty speedsters that give luxury coupes a run for their money. Our list of the quickest under $30,000 has the others.
To compile this list we used zero-to-60 mph times for 2011 models tested by Edmunds' InsideLine.com. The 10 fastest that cost $30,000 or less made the cut.
It's no surprise that the cars with truly blistering zero-to-60 mph times, like the Aston Martin V12 Vantage and the Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid—4.1 and 3.1 seconds, respectively—are much too expensive for this tally.
But one surprising and notable absence on our list is the much-adored Mazda Mx-5 Miata. While track nerds and weekend drivers love the little roadster, it just didn't have the pep to compete.
"The Miata is fun and handles well and will beat some of those cars on a racetrack, but it doesn't have the horsepower to accelerate from zero to 60 quickly, " says Dan Edmunds, the director of vehicle testing for Edmunds.com. "Handling and cornering speed are where the fun is for many, but acceleration is a different factor."
Another note: Our list includes only cars. Had we included pickup trucks, the $26,410 Toyota Tundra Tundra (zero to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds) would have qualified.