Help Me Choose an Entry Level High Performance Car

Hi everyone.

I've been driving a run down 2003 Camry with 150,000kms on the clock for the past few years, recently I've decided I want to live a little so I am in the market for an entry level high performance car. My requirements are the following:

  • Value for money, can be used or new.
  • Max price of $60,000
  • Minimum 160kw engine power
  • 4 door preferred, but will consider 2 door
  • Sedan/hatch preferred, but will consider coupe

What would you guys buy? and why?
Let me know in the comments below.


  • downgrade to kia stinger or mustang

    • Downgrade to Stinger? How so?

      • Unless he meant it as a joke, Stinger is actually a very good car. It's probably too fast as OP only wants max 160kw engine. I agree about Mustang though, I have driven the 4 cylinder and the 8 cylinder model and don't like either one of them.

    • Go test drive a Kia Stinger, before buying anything.

      270kw. 7 year unlimited km warranty. At 60k you wont find better value for money nor better performance.

      • Perhaps but that thing is ugly. Kia needs to understand it will never capture the Golf GTI or R type market.

        It’s Impressive performance wise I’ll give you that.

        • It's not competing with hot hatches.

          They're probably aiming for low end Lexus / BMW sedan buyers. For the same price you're getting a sh*tload more power and luxuries included as a base model 3 series etc

        • @Merlict: It’s a Kia though. It’s the same price as a used high end 3 series.

          No way a new 3 series buyer would consider a Kia. You may get more but that badge doesn’t exactly speak.

        • @knick007:
          At 60k you're basically looking at a 3 year old BMW 335, which is seriously down on power and inching towards being out of warranty and costing a fortune to maintain.

          Sure the Kia badge is a bit lame, but they laughed at Lexus when they were getting started too.

        • @Merlict:

          Exactly, once you start to actually think about, what they're offering is actually pretty damn impressive.

          It's cheaper than an Audi A5, with the performance of an Audi S5 are around 120K - about double the price of the Stinger GT.

          Once you factor the 7 year warranty, the much higher service costs and higher depreciation of the Audi, it becomes more of a question as to whether or not it's worth paying all that extra just to have an Audi badge and slightly better quality interior over a Kia badge.

          And if having a Kia badge is that much of a big deal, can always swap it for the Korean Kia badge. Which looks a lot classier in my opinion.

          Kia is obviously trying really hard to change their image, and if they continue like this, they'll be successful no doubt.

        • @Merlict: No one laughed at Lexus, the launched with the LS400 which was better than the S class of the time. It's just that people laugh at them now, because up until the LC500, all they made was out of date, underpowered rubbish in the last few years.

        • @ILikeBargenz: And at the end of the day, it's still a Kia.

        • @Burnertoasty:

          Certainly is still a Kia. But if you want to pay twice the price for similar level of performance just because you're worried about what other people might think about you driving a Kia - then ultimately it's your loss.

        • @ILikeBargenz: That's great, but it's still a Kia.

        • @ILikeBargenz:

          if having a Kia badge is that much of a big deal

          The nice people at Kia already thought of this and have a special badge on the Stinger.

        • @Merlict: ain’t Lexus being laughed at still ?

        • @vinster55:

          Lol I thought people still think of lexus as a glorified Toyota

        • You think the Kia Stinger is ugly? What the (profanity), what cars do you think are good looking?

        • @knick007: On the Hyundai, the badge was so bad they changed it to a new badge (which looks much more awesome). Genesis is a nice car because of that badge alone.

      • Can't go past the 7 year warranty. Especially when you end up blowing one or both of the turbos within a few weeks.

    • I’m sure the Stinger is actually a good car, but I really can’t stand the look of it.

  • Golf R with change (brand new)

    Or used S3.

    Manual for both

    • Nowadays the Dual clutch DSG is actually faster than a comparable manual transmission on the golf R (and I would assume, the s3). OP, if you really want a balance between performance, practicality and luxury, I'd buy a 1 or 2 year old golf r (with less than 30,000ks) and then add a couple of easy mods - coilovers, performance tires, APR tune (highly recommended) and potentially some rims for aesthetics. You'll have a blast!

      • My DSG died after 5 years with less than 40k kms and cost 5k to repair. LUCKILY VW paid full cost on good faith basis but i would never recommend a dsg to anyone after this experience. Had no car for at least 8 weeks as well. Supposed to be very common thing to fail, not worth the hassle. I have two friends with manual VWs which have never skipped a beat. Go manual.

        • VW has fixed most of the DSG issues. It was just that 2009-2011 period car.

          Still a manual is more fun on these cars. It’s more whether the OP is happy to do manual every day.

        • @knick007:
          Manual is more fun BUT dsg would be better in traffic.
          Where/when is the OP driving this car?
          If it's a major city, say Sydney, then forget about manual.

        • @JTTheMan:

          That's what I mean.
          If the OP takes the train to work every day and drives on the weekend then a manual would be manageable. If they are in stop/start traffic everyday it would be a little annoying.

        • @knick007: My model was apparently manufactured 1 month after the end of the recall period. Believe me they haven't 'fixed' DSG, there is a lot that can go wrong with the technology and it isn't limited to VW. In my case the mechatronic unit required replacement as it was leaking fluid.

        • @knick007: That is a personal thing.

          I don't mind using a shift in protracted traffic, ever. Maybe when I get older, or if my knees joints start hurting.

        • @Budju: my golf also had the same issue. VW replaced for free, but I had to get a hire car for the week.

        • @UNO: No hire car for me, just an F load of annoying interactions with the people at the dealership. I was going to take them to court if they didn't cover my costs, probably only had half a chance of winning but they were so rude I was going to do it anyway.

      • Nowdays? DSG has been faster since their inception. In fact most single clutch transmissions were way way way faster than manual.

    • if you get either of these, DSG is an absolute must..

    • Golf if you don't mind worst reliability

  • Used Nissan 370z with $35K left in your budget to do something else

  • 160kw is not a performance car in any way, unless you're looking at a Lotus 7 or something.

  • Focus RS.

  • +10 votes

    V8 commo
    many vintages

  • Supra. Or a Golf GTI/R or Focus RS.

  • +26 votes

    Kia Stinger is getting awesome reviews at the moment. Don’t know if it will fit in your budget though

    • OP should be able to get anything but a GT if they buy tomorrow. Drive away is 60,996.50 (city, NSW) for both the 2L GT-Line and the 330Si. KIA have a $777 discount though to Sunday.

    • +2 votes

      Kia are really comming along they got some good looking cars.

    • It looks sick too!

  • If you're prioritising value for money then you can't go past the Holden SSV Redline. Can still find a new or demo for under $60,000.

    • +1
      I have an SSV Redline wagon and love it.
      I'm never happy with my cars standard though and spent an extra $10k for 390kw at the engine.

  • Golf R/Focus RS

    • While these are both good cars (and I think the RS is a better car), I have a problem with their AWD systems, which are front biased haldex style units. Essentially they are fwd hatches, which shift power backwards on demand. I don't like handling that results from this kind of drivetrain, which is fine up to the limit, but when you step over, its an understeering mess. If only BMW did the M2 in a rear biased AWD.

  • Current shape WRX STI can be had for around $30k used, even for the Premium Model. Not sure what better value than that exists.

    • The only person in this thread with a brain.

    • As long as it hasn't had the sh*t thrashed out of it

    • -24 votes

      Not sure when the Japs lost the plot but you may as well sit in a tractor. If Honda made a lux Euro (ironic really) type car with high performance I would look at it. Hell I’d buy a Hyundai before a Subaru.

    • WRX STI V1 Premium

      Cheapest one at 34k, with a shitload of kms. I don't see how that's value for money.
      The WRX V1 Premium, IMHO is a much better choice.