Best Cars Under £100k
So, you haven't got a cool £2.5 million for a Bugatti Chiron? Well, if your budget stretches to a hundred grand (and let's be honest, that's a big budget for most people) you can still get a heck of a lot of car. Plus, it'll probably be easier to look after than the Bugatti! At this sort of price point, the brands on offer are among the greats of motoring history, and the variety is mind-blowing. Read on to find your best car for £100k or less.
1. Audi RS5
The standard A5 is one of the best-looking coupes around. And in RS (Racing Sport) form, it’s an aggressively-styled beast packing a sweet-sounding V6. With a 0-62 mph time of just 3.9 seconds, you’d be forgiven for thinking RS stands for really speedy. But it’s not just about speed – it’s also surprisingly practical, especially in four-door Sportback guise. If a V8 is more your thing, pre-2017 models boast a 4.2-litre that sounds superb, but it’s actually a touch slower than the current model. Buying new will set you back a very attractive £65,000 or so, with deals on the used market getting you below that. Considering what’s on offer here, that’s a lot of car for well under £100k.
2. Noble M12
If an Audi RS5 is a little too common for you, take a look at the very rare Noble M12. Small, British manufacturer Noble hand-builds bespoke cars with a focus on driver engagement. The M12 (2003 to 2011) is set up for racing, giving you supercar thrills at a lower price. It may be best-suited to track days, but it’s still fairly forgiving on public roads. If you now really want an M12, your biggest challenge will be finding one!
3. McLaren 650S
Another British offering, this time from Formula One maker, McLaren. The 650S will take you to 62 mph in just 3 seconds and keep going until 207 mph. Supercar looks are paired with a potent 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 and excellent handling, but where the McLaren surprises is in its civility. When you want it, you can unleash grin-inducing power, but it can just as easily glide along, limousine-like, feeling restrained and comfortable. It’s a supercar that could also be your daily ride – though you’ll have to look used to experience that pleasure for under £100k.
4. Ferrari 458 Italia
No brand says sports car pedigree quite like Ferrari and this list wouldn’t be complete without one. For under £100k, you can get a used 458 Italia – and these ran from 2010 to 2016, so there’s a range of options out there. Looks-wise, it’s a thing of beauty and everything you’d expect from Italy’s motoring maestros. It handles as well as it looks too and the 4.5-litre V8 (yep, that’s why it’s called the 458) will rumble and scream to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds.
5. Chevrolet Corvette Z06
A used one of these will come in well under £100k and its supercharged 6.2-litre engine gives you 650 bhp, hitting 62 mph in 3.9 seconds. You’ll know about it too because there’s a heck of a lot of torque driving you forward. It’s not as refined as some of the European offerings on this list, but it’s far from the brash, only-go-in-straight-lines reputation of powerful American cars. Anyway, this is a Chevy, a ‘vette – it’s as American as apple pie and who doesn’t want a slice of that?
6. Porsche 911 997 GT3 RS
Okay, so you want a Porsche 911 (and why wouldn’t you?). But maybe even the harder, faster GT3 feels a little restrained and understated for you. In steps the GT3 RS – the 997 version, dating back to 2010 – with it’s bold colour schemes and graphics, plus an enormous rear spoiler. Yes, some may smirk at your less-than-understated choice. But the smile on your face will be much bigger, because this model is a dream to drive with its exhilarating performance and poised handling.
7. Aston Martin Vantage
A handsome, British thoroughbred, the previous Vantage ran from 2005 to 2018, so there are options well below our £100k budget. There’s a sense of classic styling to the Vantage that sets it apart from other cars on our list too. And, while you could never say a 0-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds is anything but fast, it’s not as quick as most in our top ten. The 4.3-litre V8 sounds great and the Vantage handles well, though the appeal here goes way beyond performance. It won’t beat many on this list around the track, but for all-out cool, charm and suave appeal, this may well be the best car for £100k or less out there.
8. Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Seen by many as the quintessential American muscle car, the Ford Mustang is, quite simply, an icon. The Shelby GT500 is the most potent production Mustang available and it feels pretty brutal when pushed hard – it must be tamed, much like its namesake wild horse. But then, that’s part of the fun. Though Ford has continuously improved the ride and handling, this is still not the most refined car on our list. No, it’s a muscle car in its purest form, and that’s why you want one!
9. Lexus LC500
It’s a curve ball, but the Lexus LC500 definitely earns its place on this list. The unique styling (in a good way) feels simultaneously classic and futuristic; the interior is exquisite too and offers good levels of comfort and space. There’s a growling V8 under the bonnet that will do 0-62 mph in 4.7 seconds, and there’s even a hybrid version – though the fuel-saving isn’t really worth the loss of driving engagement it brings.
10. Mercedes-Benz AMG C63S
Take a practical family car, give it some in-your-face styling and whack in a stonking great engine. And there you have it: the Mercedes-Benz AMG C63S! You can get it as a coupe, cabriolet, saloon, or (for extra practicality-meets-performance) estate, but all come with a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8. The C63S is incredibly engaging to drive and a lot of fun, arguably more so than rivals such as the Audi RS4.
Any of the options on this list will be an ideal way to start your journey into car ownership, and you’ll avoid the high first car insurance premiums that can be a real pitfall for newbies. If you’re not worrying about the costs of driving, you can really enjoy the freedom and fun that it provides. Head out on the roads in a safe, secure, and reliable vehicle – and before you know it, you’ll have the driving experience under your belt to get an even better deal on your insurance.