Eight cars that give you great bang for your buck
Ever wondered which cars give the best power output per £? We take a look at the best cars across a variety of categories from supercars to SUVs
#1 Ford Focus RS 345bhp – £90/bhp – Hot hatchbacks
I’m sure we all know that if you want a lot of horsepower for not a lot of money, a hot hatchback is a fantastic place to start looking. Surprisingly, until we started working on this piece, we didn’t realise how valuable these cars are.
There is a higher prevalence of cars that approach or fall below the £100/bhp mark here than anyplace else. It isn’t just the low-cost hatches, either. The Ford Focus RS and Honda Civic Type Rs of the world, in reality, provide the most for the least, with sporty BMW and Mercedes hatchbacks also giving noticeable value.
#2 Jeep Wrangler 3.6 V6 Sahara 5dr 280bhp – £120/bhp – Large SUVs
There is almost certainly no other category with a lower average expectation than this. Even a Porsche Cayenne buyer does not sign the check solely for the sake of having a fast automobile. Instead, your money is spent on massive amounts of metal, complicated all-wheel-drive systems, and what is vaguely referred to as “design.”
Even so, if you’re willing to forego the expensive logo and excellent looks, there are a couple of automobiles here that deliver a decent amount of power for your pound. Just don’t expect miracles in this market or when the subject is a bang for your buck; they simply don’t exist.
#3 Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 Fastback 410bhp – £85/bhp – Coupés
A typical fast coupé, such as a BMW M2 or Audi TTS, will cost between £120 and £130 per horsepower, whereas a manual V8 Ford Mustang coupé will cost only £85. That’s the same as a Dacia Sandero in base trim.
It’s no surprise that they’ll be sold out for months. Also, consider upgrading this area. You can get a base Porsche Cayman for £135/bhp, but if you want a 911 instead, the price climbs to £210.
#4 Jaguar XJR 333 bhp- £169/bhp – Luxury Cars
These are cars that extort a lot of money from you for things that have nothing to do with speed. Indeed, with cars this massive and heavy, the necessity to keep running costs under control means that the market is dominated by 3.0-litre diesel engines known for their excellent fuel economy and low CO2 outputs, rather than their capacity to create street-melting amounts of raw power.
Some are better than others, but none of them, at least of the ones we looked at, can be called good.
#5 Vauxhall VXR8 GTS 577 bhp – £96/bhp – Executive Cars
A class of cars is distinguished by a number of characteristics, including excellent ride quality, spacious interiors, long lists of standard equipment, and a lack of concern in giving the driver a meaningful return on his or her money spent on power.
That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of reasonably priced cars in the category, or that there aren’t any with exceptional engine outputs. You’ll notice that the critical mix of the two is woefully lacking. Thank goodness for an Australian import wearing Vauxhall emblems to serve as the bright exception.
#6 Ariel Atom Supercharged 310 bhp – £111/bhp – Sports Cars
Aren’t there a few discounts here? As it turns out, there aren’t many. You’d think that automobiles stripped down to their bare bones and engineered to be light and powerful would produce a handful that would challenge the best bang-for-buck ratios available, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
It turns out that with these automobiles that we’re paying a lot of money for things like style, a badge, rarity value, and low-volume, bespoke production that have little to do with providing maximum power for the least amount of money.
#7 Mercedes-AMG GT S 577 bhp- £218/bhp – Supercars
Forget the limos: if you’re seeking the ultimate worst bang-for-your-buck, the supercars have carved out a niche for themselves.
Their ability to deliver massive quantities of horsepower pales in comparison to their creators’ ability to charge even greater sums of money for each of them.
Cars like the Mercedes-AMG GT S and Audi R8 V10 Plus, which are at the lower end of the scale and offer the best value, can’t even approach the £200/bhp barrier. Try something a little more expensive and see for yourself…
#8 Subaru Impreza WRX STI 296 bhp – £98/bhp – Family Cars
You must temper your expectations in a class dominated by diesel. Diesel cars have less power and cost more to buy than their petrol counterparts, a devastating double whammy on the bang-to-buck measure.
Petrol-powered cars, despite being in the minority, remain in most ranges, and if the current trend of seeing diesel as the source of all evil leads to a future tax environment that penalises them, their importance and popularity are likely to grow even more.
And, as anyone who has pondered the point of the Subaru Impreza WRX STI these days will soon discover, looking at cars from this perspective also permits some unlikely lights to shine.
That wraps up our list of the top 8 cars that give you the most punch for your pound, what do you think is the best value for money out of these? Let us know!