These 5 Practical Performance Cars Let You Row Your Own Gears For Less Than A Honda Civic


These performance bargains will make you wonder why anyone buys a new car.

For less than $25,000 you really can't expect to get too much as far as performance or luxury. Even the highest trim Honda Civic Touring starts out at $26,500, and the fun-on-a-budget Ford Fiesta ST is not what you would call luxurious. We already showed you some awesome cars that you could buy for less than the price of a fully loaded Honda Accord. Now we will show you that you can still buy a practical performance car for less than a new Civic. And the best part? They all have manual transmissions.

The Infiniti G37 IPL lived a short life. The model did go on for a short time as the Q60 IPL, but the Infiniti Performance line was never a true competitor for AMG or BMW M. Still, that doesn't mean that you should overlook what might be a nice performance bargain. We found a 2012 G37 IPL with 62,000 miles on it. The car packs 348 horsepower from a 3.7-liter V6 and is being sold for just $23,999. Our sleek grey model even comes with a six-speed manual transmission instead of a seven-speed automatic. Even in IPL trim, the G37 is still more of a luxury GT car than an all-out sports car, but we think it is a nice balance of luxury and sportiness for a reasonable price.

The 2012 Mk6 Golf R sends 256 horsepower to all four wheels through a one-choice-only six-speed manual transmission. We found a low-mileage example in VW's signature Rising Blue Metallic for just $22,899. The car only has 42,000 miles on it and is offered with a certified pre-owned warranty. The Golf R is practical for all-weather climates with its performance AWD system. Even though this particular example is a two-door, you can still fill the hatch with all of your stuff and enjoy the R's excellent driving experience.

Everyone forgets about the 2010 Acura TL SH-AWD. People seem to remember the previous generation TL which had a FWD Type-S version with an optional six-speed manual. The Type-S was a very nice car, but the SH-AWD is actually much better. We found a 2010 TL with a six-speed manual which was only available with the larger 3.7-liter V6 and Acura's Super Handling-All Wheel Drive. The 3.7-liter engine produced 305 horsepower and could hit 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds when equipped with a manual transmissions. The TL is definitely more of a luxury cruiser than a sport sedan, but the combination of AWD and manual transmission really gives this car an excellent feeling of speed.

Everyone thinks that Buick just builds comfortable sedans that their grandparents would buy. However, Buick is constantly trying to say that it is targeting younger buyers, and the Regal GS is the best example of that plan in action. The Regal GS is based on the European-market Vauxhall/Opel Insignia. You can get AWD, but if you want the optional six-speed manual you will be stuck with FWD. Even so, the GS comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo which produces a healthy 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. We could do without the chrome wheels of the 2012 model that we found, but with only 7,960 miles this $24,990 sport sedan is a pretty good deal.

For $24,995, this 2007 89,000-mile Audi S4 may seem a bit old for the money. However, this B7 S4 Avant has the only V8 engine on this list. The 4.2-liter unit sends 340 horsepower to all four wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. Since this is the Avant model, you also get more space in the back than most new SUVs. Running costs may be high, but how can you pass up a German V8 for the same price as a Honda Civic?

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