For years, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye has been the pinnacle of a modernized American muscle car and the best performance vehicle to bear the Dodge insignia.
The star of the show is, of course, its 6.2-liter supercharged V8, which makes a staggering 797 horsepower and 707 pound-feet of torque, propelling the Hellcat from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. And there is no other sound on earth like the snarl of that Hellcat engine.
But all that power doesn’t come cheap. The 2022 Hellcat Redeye currently sells for about $76,430. The Challenger Jail Break Edition, moreover, crosses into six figures. To many of us, that’s a little too much. Thankfully, there are many cars out there that are just as desirable. And even more interesting, and there are the very few that are quicker and with a cheaper price tag.
We’re walking you through the 10 most affordable performance cars that will make you forget about the Hellcat. Our list includes a famous performance Tesla and a car that is even faster than a Bugatti.
2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingray
Not only will the C8 Stingray beat the Hellcat, but it will do so with relative ease. With the 8th iteration beginning in 2020, the current model holds a 6.2-liter LT2 V8, which churns out 495 horsepower at 7,600 rpm, and 470 lb-ft of peak torque.
How does a 495-hp Corvette beat a 797-hp Hellcat, you ask? Well. Being the first Corvette with a mid-engine configuration, the C8 established itself with a bang. It carries an eight-speed DCT automatic, which lets you go from a standstill to 60 mph in only 2.9 seconds – enough for us to forgive the lack of a manual gearbox. A used 2020 Corvette C8 starts at $59,995.
4th-Generation Dodge Viper SRT-10
After effectively dominating American roads for decades, spanning up to five generations, the Dodge Viper production ended in 2017. In our opinion, the fourth generation is the best of them all.
Produced from 2008 to 2010, the fourth generation model carries an 8.4-liter naturally aspirated V10, which makes 603 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque. The engine pairs with the Tremec six-speed manual gearbox, sending all of that rage to the rear wheels, giving the Viper a 60-mph acceleration time of 3.4 seconds, and a top speed of 202 mph.
Ford Mustang RTR Spec 3
While the legendary pony car saw numerous alterations during the S550 generation, the magnificent V8 remained. In a standard form, the Mustang’s output of 460 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque is unable to compete with the Hellcat Redeye. Fortunately, there are several brands that can adjust that while keeping the whole price below that of the Redeye. One of those brands is RTR, and their Spec 3 upgrade takes the already swift Mustang GT to the next level.
The package not only has numerous cosmetic and interior improvements, but its main function is to increase the 5.0-liter Coyote V8’s power and torque to 750 horsepower and 670 lb-ft of torque, giving it a 0-60 mph acceleration time of just 3.4 seconds. The RTR Mustang Spec 3 starts at $57,120.
Tesla Model S P85D
It’s no surprise that the Model S P85D made the cut. While the Hellcat accelerates to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, the Tesla Model S P85D can do better, achieving the same sprint in just 3.1 seconds, but only when you switch on the vehicle’s Ludicrous Mode.
There is a downside to the Tesla, though. It has a tendency to lose a lot of power as it accelerates, primarily because it only has one forward-drive gear and two pedals. But it defeats the Hellcat nonetheless. And what’s more, you can find a used model for around $50,000.
7th-Generation Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Produced from 2014 through 2019, the C7 Z06 came in sporty coupe or showy convertible body shapes, with three different trim levels: 1LZ, 2LZ, and 3LZ trims.
It’s the Z07 package model that enticed fans with its 0-60 mph acceleration time of under 2.95 seconds, thanks to its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine that made 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque.
2013 – 2014 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
While the newer Shelby GT500 comes with a desirable MOPAR, it also has a hefty price tag of $80,795. Budget-conscious buyers should consider the 2013 Shelby GT500, which starts at about $49,000 on the secondhand market with very low mileage.
It carries a 5.8-liter “Trinity” supercharged V8 that makes 665 horsepower and 631 lb-ft of torque. Despite the engine’s propensity to overwhelm the chassis, the car may still achieve the 0-60 mph sprint in 3.5 seconds.
2009 – 2013 Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1
Despite its somewhat contentious interior design, the Corvette C6 ZR1 is a quick and potent car. It’s also known to be among the lightest cars you can find, with a weight of 3,349 lbs.
Thanks to its 6.2-liter supercharged LS9, which makes 638 horsepower, as well as its extremely long gearing, the Corvette can go from 0-60 mph in under 3.3 seconds. Like the GT500, the C6 ZR1 also offered a six-speed manual transmission. You can find one for as low as $59,500.
2020 Ford Mustang ROUSH Stage 3
For anyone who doesn’t know, ROUSH is a company that develops the performance components for the RTR Mustang. Basically, you can buy the same supercharger kit from them, which will also include cosmetic, and interior changes.
The ROUSH Stage 3 increases power to 750 horsepower and 670 lb-ft of torque, allowing the car to accelerate from zero to 60 in 3.6 seconds.
2006 Mercedes S65 AMG
The Mercedes S65 AMG has always been a silent killer. It’s a car that’s already fantastic, but with a little extra zing that allows it to outperform its competition.
Under the hood is where all the magic is. It has a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 generating 604 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque, paired with a five-speed shiftable automatic. A tune can bump this to 700 hp, propelling the S65 to 60 mph in under three seconds. You can find a 2006 Mercedes S65 AMG for around $30,000.
2010 Nissan GT-R
Since its intro, Nissan has beautifully maintained the same design formula for the GT-R, and that also includes the 2010 version, which has a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V6 with a standard output of 485 horsepower.
The setup propels the GTR from 0 to 60 mph in under 3.4 seconds. Throw in a couple of boosters, and you’ll have 600 hp on tap, reducing the 60-mph sprint time to 2.5 seconds.
Sources: Nissan, Chevrolet, Ford