We already rounded up the cheapest 300 and 400 hp cars on the market for you. But what if you've got the need for speed and nothing short of 500 horsepower will satisfy it? Well, here's hoping you can cough up somewhere between $55,000 and $100,000, because that kind of power doesn’t come for Honda Accord money.
Still, we were able to find a few deals among the list of cars that make 500 horsepower or more. Most require eight cylinders and forced induction to make the cut, but there are a few surprises under the hood. Let's dive in:
2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: 662 hp, $55,445
Give Ford credit for two things: first, it's the undisputed king of cheap speed in all three of our lists. Second, the cheapest car on this list is also the most powerful: the Shelby GT500 slays all nine of its list-mates with a 5.8-liter supercharged V-8 engine making 662 hp. That's enough to make the Shelby's engine the most powerful series-production V-8 on the planet, according to Ford. Ford's magnum-opus Mustang has enough power to hit the magic 200 mph mark, another exclusive for this list (while the AMG cars are reportedly able to hit that speed, they're electronically limited to 155 mph).
2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1: 570 hp, $56,550
Chevrolet's Camaro comes in second for the third time in a row, but don't count the Camaro ZL1 out as merely second best. The GT500 might have more power, but the ZL1 has more control. You can thank the ZL1's trick magnetorheological dampers for that, which iron out pavement imperfections in comfort mode and keep the big boy flat in the corners in sport mode. The ZL1 is scary fast, yes, but Chevrolet's myriad upgrades to the car make it a bit less scary to drive than Ford's big bruiser.
2013 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, Sedan, or Sport Wagon: 556 hp, $65,410
Cadillac's pricing strategy with the CTS-V is an interesting one: for the (relatively) low price of $65,410 you can buy a Cadillac with 556 horsepower and a coupe, wagon, or sedan body. Cadillac will even let you choose a transmission--a six-speed Tremec manual or six-speed automatic--without adding anything to the price. That transmission, by the way, is bolted to a 6.2-liter, supercharged V-8 engine pumping out 556 horsepower, and sends power to the rear wheels. Impressive.
2013 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: 505 hp, $77,590
The Corvette Z06 is part of a rare breed: the naturally aspirated sports car. Sure, plenty of cars with less than 500 horsepower do it without turbo- or superchargers, but nine of the ten cars on this list have some sort of forced induction. Not the Corvette Z06: it uses a 7.0-liter V-8 engine to produce its 505-hp rating. The Corvette is famously lightweight, too, so the Z06 is a seriously quick car. What we don't know, however, is if the 7.0-liter V-8 will make it into the upcoming C7 Corvette--we can only confirm that the 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 will be used in base cars at this point.
2013 Jaguar XFR: 510 hp, $84,095
If you look closely at this list, you'll find something interesting the Jaguar XFR makes roughly the same power as the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, but costs $6610 less. What can you do with all that money? Buy some options, that's what: an XFR with the "Speed Pack" (which adds an aero kit and ups the top speed to 174 mph), premium seats/headliner trim, and a heated windshield still costs less than the Mercedes. Even without the optional speed pack, however, the XFR is definitely quick: its 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 engine churns out 510 hp. That power is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG: 518 hp, $90,705
Despite being badged as an "E63 AMG," the hopped-up Merc doesn't have a 6.3-liter powerplant. Instead, it uses Mercedes-Benz's twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8 engine, which makes 518 hp. That power goes to the rear wheels through a 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission. The car is limited to 155 mph, but Mercedes is happy to sell true speed freaks a performance package that ups the power output to 550 hp and 590 lb-ft, tweaks the suspension, and resets the speed limiter to 186 mph. That performance pack isn't cheap, though: it'll run you $7300.
2013 BMW M5: 560 hp, $92,395
The BMW M5 might cost more than the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, but it also delivers more power. The M5's 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 makes 560 horsepower without any performance packages or extra tuning, and it sends that power through either a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission or a six-speed manual transmission (U.S.-market only). It does earn a slap on the wrist, however, because it's the only car on this list to use digital engine noise synthesizers, which amplify the engine note through the car's speakers.
2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG: 518 hp, $96,805
If you've already scrounged up the money to buy a Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, we'd suggest saving your pennies a little bit longer to buy the CLS63 AMG. Why? The CLS63 takes everything we like about the E63 AMG and puts it in a swoopy, coupe-like body. As before, the AMG performance package is a $7300 extra.
2013 Jaguar XKR Coupe: 510 hp, $98,395
If the Jaguar XFR is the sensible Jaguar on this list--it has four doors, space for five, and a trunk--the XKR is none of these. Instead, it's a low-slung coupe with little to no back-seat space and a small trunk. But it is still a compelling car: it uses the same 510-horsepower, 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 as the XFR (albeit attached to a six-speed automatic transmission), and the sultry body hasn't aged a bit since the car was unveiled in 2005. Sure, you can look at the XKR convertible or one of the hopped-up XKR-S models (with 550 hp, 40 more than the XKR), but those cost thousands more.
2014 Nissan GT-R Premium: 545 hp, $100,590
The GT-R has the recipe for high-performance motoring down to a science: it combines a 3.8-liter, twin-turbo V-6, a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and an intricate all-wheel drive system. The engineering behind all of this was clearly expensive, though: Nissan's given Godzilla a number of price increases and special editions over the years to keep the bargain supercar profitable. The result is that in 2013, for the first time, Nissan GT-R buyers will have to shell out more than $100,000 for a basic model. That makes the GT-R a whole lot dearer than it used to be, but customers should remember this: the GT-R accelerates to 60 miles an hour just as quickly as any Ferrari, Lamborghini, or McLaren (if not quicker), but commands just a fraction of the price.