What's better than the glorious whine of an affordable supercharger?
There is no denying that superchargers are awesome. The sweet whine that comes from a good supercharged engine is tough to beat. Unfortunately, superchargers are not as widely used as turbochargers because they aren't as efficient. Typically, they are only used on larger, more powerful engines. And these more powerful engines are typically only found in more expensive models. At CarBuzz we love finding awesome deals, so we decided to create a top five list of the best supercharged cars that you can buy for less than $15,000.
Back in 1993, Ford introduced the F-150 Lightning and in 2001 fitted it with a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 boasting a whopping 380 horsepower. This was the same displacement as the supercharged V8 that was found in the GT supercar. The Lightning was one of the coolest trucks that you could buy, and it's a crying shame that Ford no longer has one in the lineup. The model that we found for this list is a 2001 with 71,000 miles. The car is for sale in Michigan for $14,900. The interior may be full of cheap plastic, and the transmission may be a lousy four-speed automatic, but the supercharged V8 in this truck could get it from 0-60 mph in just 5.2 seconds onto a top speed of 147 mph. What a beast.
If the Lightning is a bit too "blue collar" for you then consider an Audi A6. We found a 2009 model with 82,000 miles on it for sale in Connecticut. The 3.0-liter supercharged 24-valve V6 in the A6 produces 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. This is the same engine that Audi put in the sportier S4 but with a slightly less aggressive tune. It would be pretty simple to tune the A6 to produce the same 333 hp that is found in its baby brother, though. Even stock, the Quattro AWD sedan could hit 60 mph just 5.4 seconds. That isn't bad for a sedan that weighs over 4,000 pounds. The A6 offers a nice balance of sporty handling and luxury comfort. It is hard to match this car as an all-rounder for less than $15,000.
The A6 is a wonderful luxury car, but if you want something with a few more cylinders and even more comfort you should check out the Jaguar XJR. We picked out a 2005 XJR with only 75,000 miles on it. The car is for sale in Massachusetts for $13,991. For that price you get a supercharged 4.2-liter V8 that produces 420 horsepower. The Eaton supercharger forces 13.1 pounds of boost for a total of 399 lb-ft of torque. With a six-speed automatic transmission the XJR can reach 60 mph in a quick 4.7 seconds and complete the quarter mile in just 13.2 seconds. This British cruiser won't just keep you comfortable with supple leather. It will also embarrass V6 muscle cars all day long.
We were surprised at how many supercharged cars you could find from Mercedes for less than $15,000. We found cars like AMG versions of the CL, E and S-Class within out budget, but we decided to go with the S-Class. However, we didn't just pick any normal S-Class. The 2003 S55 AMG that we selected has been transformed into a limousine. The car retains its 5.4-liter supercharged V8 with 493 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. However, our limo version comes with a beverage cooler and a television. This might be the most luxurious car in the world for less than $15,000.
The final car on our list is also a Mercedes. Just. The Chrysler Crossfire shared 80% of its components with the Mercedes SLK. The base V6 in the Crossfire was nothing special, but the SRT-6 version was an absolute beast. The twin-screw supercharged V6 in the SRT-6 produced 354 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. This was the same engine used in the C32 AMG. The SRT-6 could hit 60 mph in 5.1 seconds with the five-speed automatic, but tuners have been able to boost the Crossfire to insane levels. Which of our budget supercharged cars do you think is best? Let us know in the comments.