You don’t have to pay a fortune to roll around town in something classy

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The car world is a vast place, which offers something for everyone. And since the car is one of the inventions that captivated man’s imagination the most, almost everyone lusts after a nice set of wheels. Some people want the badge, as nothing speaks of success in the eyes of others like a luxury or exotic car parked in front of your house. Other, more sensible individuals, look for quality/price ratio. Another one is after the best “bang for the buck” option. Although nice cheap cars sound ideal, such propositions are hard to find, but the list below might just point you in the right way.

Nissan 350 Z (Z33)

9 Attractive Cars That Won't Break the Bank
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When we talk nice sports cars, Nissan has been coming to the rescue since the 60s with their Z-cars. This quirky, rear-wheel-drive 350Z can be had as a coupe or a soft-top convertible. There are two gearboxes available – a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic, so there is something for everybody. Moreover, the Fairlady is known to be quite reliable. Just make sure you find a good one.

The engine is a 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V-6 putting out 280 - 313 horsepower and up to 264 pound-feet (358 Nm) of torque, in stock form.

0-62 mph (100 km/h) happens in 5.7 – 6.2 seconds, and the top speed is 155 mph (250 km/h). You can pick up a 350Z for as little as $5,000. Later models can go up to $14,000.

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Nissan 350 Z specifications
Engine 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6
Horsepower 280-313 HP
Torque 264 LB-FT
0-62 mph (100 km/h) 5.7 – 6.2 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph
Price $5,000 - $14,000

Read our full review on the Nissan 350 Z

BMW Z4 (E89)

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BMW’s Z4 offers attributes similar to that of the 350Z. It features a classic sports-car silhouette with a long front end and short rear deck. As far as pretty cars go, the E89 Z4 has nailed it. The cockpit is driver-focused and well-executed. If you want the glorious sound of an inline-six engine, you best go for the 30i, 35i, or 35is versions. They all have a 3.0-liter engine. The first one is a normally-aspirated, pushing 258 horsepower and 232 pound-feet (315 Nm) of torque. The other two feature a twin-scroll turbocharger, which bumps figures up to 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet (400 Nm). For the 35is, those numbers are 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet (450 Nm). The 0-62 mph sprint happens in 5.2 and 4.8 seconds, respectively. Prices for the E89 Z4 are in the $14,000 – $26,000.

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BMW Z4 E89 specifications
Engine 3.0-liter inline-6
Horsepower 258/306/340 HP
Torque 232/295/332 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 5.2-4.8 seconds
Price $14,000 – $26,000

Read our full review on the BMW Z4 (E89)

Porsche 911 (996)

9 Attractive Cars That Won't Break the Bank
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If a Porsche 911 is what you are after, but you are on a budget, you are in luck.

Even though earlier 996 Carrera models made 300 horsepower and 258 pound-feet (350 Nm) from their 3.4-liter flat-six engine, they still managed to hit 60 mph in 4.9 seconds on to a top speed of 175 mph (281 km/h).

Later 911 Carrera (996) models went up to 320 and 345 horsepower and 273 pound-feet (370 Nm) from a larger 3.6-liter flat-six engine. A problem that plagues about 10 percent of all 996s is the intermediate shaft (IMS) bearing, which can cause catastrophic failure. You can drive a 911 (996) Carrera for as little as $16,000. For a later, low-mileage example, be prepared to pay up to $35,000. Keep in mind that if you want a Turbo or a GT3, you need to pay at least $45,000.

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Porsche 911 996 specifications
Engine 3.4-liter flat-6
Horsepower 300 HP
Torque 258 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 4.9 seconds
Top Speed 175 mph (281 km/h)
Price $16,000-$45,000

Read our full review on the Porsche 911 (996)

Kia Stinger

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If you are going to spend in excess of $30,000, wouldn’t you rather spend them on something newer?

For less money than an old Porsche, you can get a stylish, yet practical Korean four-door, which is still in production and has a luxurious interior.

The engine options available include a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with around 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet (353 Nm) or a 3.3-liter Twin-turbo V-6 with 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet (510 Nm). 0-62 mph happens in 6 seconds, and for the V6 GT model, as little as 4.7 seconds. Top speed for the Stinger GT is 167 mph (270 km/h). As far as nice affordable cars go, the Stinger is a bargain. A 2018 Stinger can be had for just $22,000. For the V-6 GT, you need to spend around $35,000.

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Kia Stinger specifications
Engine: 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine
Horsepower: 365 horsepower
Torque: 367 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: eight-speed automatic transmission
0 to 60 mph time: 4.7 seconds
Top speed: 167 mph

Read our full review on the Kia Stinger

Jaguar XJ / XJR (X350 / X358)

9 Attractive Cars That Won't Break the Bank
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If you still want the four doors but want the badge as well, then the Jaguar XJR is right up your alley. Not many cars scream “success” quite like a Jaguar.

This X358 generation is actually a facelift to the X350. It is also considered the last old-school Jag before the brand’s major design overhaul.

Although the brand isn’t known for reliability, these XJs actually cleaned most of the bugs older models had. The XJ also makes extensive use of lightweight materials, giving it a significant weight advantage over its competitors. The 4.2-liter V-8 can be had as a normally-aspirated or a supercharged unit. It produces 298 -395 horsepower and 303 pound-feet (411 Nm) to 399 pound-feet (541 Nm). Power goes to the rear wheels via a 6-speed automatic. The supercharged XJR is able to hit 62 mph in just 5 seconds, on to a 155 mph (250 km/h) top speed. Prices are in the $6,000 – $15,000 range.

Jaguar XJ specifications
Engine 4.2-liter V-8
Horsepower 298-395 HP
Torque 303-399 LB-FT
0 to 62 mph 5 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph
Price $6,000 – $15,000
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Read our full review on the Jaguar XJ / XJR (X350 / X358)

BMW 6-series (E63)

9 Attractive Cars That Won't Break the Bank
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This German gran-tourer designed by Chris Bengal is probably the biggest bargain of the bunch.

The BMW 6-series has the badge, the heritage, and performance to back up its aggressive design.

You might be surprised, but they’re also quite reliable (not including the V-10 M6). The 645Ci and 650i are your best bet if you want to get the most performance for the money. In addition, cheap cars that look good and are reliable are a rare occurrence. The 4.4-liter V-8 is well-known from older models. In the E63, it makes 333 horsepower and 332 pound-feet (450 Nm), which is good for a 5.5-second time to 62 mph (100 km/h). The 650i boasts a 4.8-liter V8 with 367 horsepower and 361 pound-feet (490 Nm). 62 mph is achieved in 5.0 seconds, on its way to the 155 mph (250 km/h) limiter. Prices are in the $13,000 $23,000 range.

BMW 6 Series Specifications
Engine 4.4-liter V-8 4.8-liter V-8
Horsepower 333 HP 367 HP
Torque 332 LB-FT 361 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 5.5 seconds 5.0 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph 155 mph
Price $13,000 $23,000
9 Attractive Cars That Won't Break the Bank
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Read our full review on the BMW 6-series (E63)

Volvo V60

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It’s always nice to see a Volvo on these lists. The Swedish manufacturer has a long history of giving us reliable and practical cars with decent performance. Although the current V60 doesn’t fit everyone’s budget, the previous model (2013-2018) is quite a bargain. For $15,000 – $28,000, you can get a turbocharged station wagon with a high safety-rating and decent fuel economy. T5 versions are equipped with a 2.0-liter turbo-four, putting out 245 horsepower and 258 pound-feet (350 Nm), while the T6 brings the numbers up to 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet (400 Nm). 0-62 mph happens in 6.0 seconds. Earlier T6 variants use a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with 304 horsepower and 325 pound-feet (440 Nm).

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Volvo V60 specifications
Engine 2.0-liter turbo-four
Horsepower 245-306 HP
Torque 258-295 LB-FT
0 to 62 mph 6.0 seconds
Price $15,000-$28,000

Read our full review on the Volvo V60

Chrysler 300C

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This might be the best US-German blend in automotive history.

The Chrysler 300C is actually based on an old Mercedes E-class, so the foundations are strong.

At the same time, you still get the torquey American V-6 and V-8 engines, together with an ala Bentley design. Many European 300Cs are equipped with a “Brabus” kit, which makes people mistake them for a Bentley. For as little as $9,500 you can get a decent example from the 2nd generation. If you want a HEMI, be prepared to pay up to $27,000. That said, even the base 3.6-liter V-6 manages a 6.9-second 0 to 62 mph time thanks to 292 horsepower and 258 pound-feet (350 Nm). The 6.4-liter HEMI V8 produces 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet (637 Nm). 0-62 mph is achieved in 4.5 seconds, on its way to over 170 mph (274 km/h).

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Chrysler 300C specifications
Engine 3.6-liter V-6 6.4-liter HEMI V-8
Horsepower 292 HP 470 HP
Torque 258 LB-FT 470 LB-FT
0 to 62 mph 6.9 seconds 4.5 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph 170 mph
Price $9,500 $27,000

Read our full review on the Chrysler 300C

Infiniti QX70

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The ideal car should excel at all daily tasks – grocery-shopping, getting from A to B in relative comfort and great pace, having enough room for four people, being enjoyable to drive, and handle a bit of light off-roading every now and then. The Infiniti QX70 is the Jack of all trades. It’s Japanese, so it’s reliable. It’s quick, thanks to a 3.7 V-6 or a 5.0-liter V-8, producing 320 and 390 horsepower, and 266 pound-feet (360 Nm), and 369 pound-feet (500 Nm) respectively. It has enough space for a family, and can get you almost anywhere. 0-62 MPH happens in 6.8 seconds for the V6, and 5.8 seconds for the V8. Prices for this four-door coupe, disguised as an SUV are in the 21,000 – 34,000 USD range.

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Infiniti QX70 specifications
Engine 3.7-liter V-6 5.0-liter V-8
Horsepower 320 HP 390 HP
Torque 266 LB-FT 369 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 6.8 seconds 5.8 seconds
Price $21,000 $34,000

Read our full review on the Infiniti QX70

Q&A

What cars look nice but aren’t expensive?

As far as nice sports cars go, you cannot go wrong with the Nissan 350Z. They are reliable if taken care of, have a contemporary and distinctive design, and are fun to drive.

Are there any affordable luxury cars?

There are many examples, such as the Jaguar XJR and the Infiniti QX70, on the list, which are stylish, luxurious, and quick.

What cheap cars are still nice?

The Porsche 911 (996) is one of the sports car benchmarks and is relatively affordable. The Nissan 350Z and Kia Stinger are also good examples of nice affordable cars go.

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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