Power comes at a price. Nothing is truer in the world of motoring, where performance iterations of almost every make and model of vehicle come with hefty price premiums over their smaller engined, but otherwise nearly identical brethren.

If you've a hankering for some serious performance but have a budget more suited to an entry-level supermini, don't worry, as Motors.co.uk is here to help. Here is our pick of the top five performance motors for £5,000, all of which are certified capable of at least 150mph.


An obvious choice perhaps, but for good reason. Since the launch of the original E30 model in 1985, the M3 has defined the performance compact saloon. While you may just find a later E46 model for £5k, it'll be an absolute shed at that price. The smart money would go on an earlier (1992-1999) E36. Though somewhat unloved by aficionado's, its sonorous 3.0-litre was good for 278bhp, with a later 3.2-litre engine pushing power up to 317bhp – more than enough to punt the chiselled M3 up to an electronically limited (and highly illegal) top speed of 155mph.  

Take a look on Motors.co.uk for BMW M3

Mercedes CL

The only thing that depreciates faster than a premium performance saloon is a two-door premium performance saloon. Unfortunately for buyers who invested in Mercedes' flagship CL, it was one of the worst depreciating cars on sale. Their loss is your gain, however, as previous generation models (2000-2005) are just starting to fall under our £5k budget – A significant drop from a car that would have originally cost closer to £100k. And as long as you avoid the entry level V6 CL350, you'll get performance befitting the car's autobahn-stormer status, with everything from the naturally aspirated 5.5-litre V8 to the range topping 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 AMG model capable of head-butting its 155mph limiter.

Take a look on Motors.co.uk for Mercedes-Benz CL

Jaguar XK

The epitome of British luxury motoring: Sleek, classy, cosseting and above all else… fast. Thanks to a penchant for fuel, the Jaguar XK has lost favour amongst second hand car buyers and as a result it's available at a bargain price. Considered by motoring experts to be a better all-round car than its contemporary rival the Aston Martin DB7, the XK has a timeless appeal. Stretch the budget slightly and you'll find the hot XKR within your reach, which added a supercharger to the already potent 4-litre V8 engine for real eye watering pace.

Take a look on Motors.co.uk for Jaguar XK

Porsche Boxster

Ignore the 'poor man's 911' comments – if you want the real truth, the Porsche Boxster has always been the favoured model from the iconic Stuttgart manufacturer thanks to its precision balance and performance that was more exploitable on everyday roads. The more potent S model with its 3.2-litre engine will appeal to the hardcore performance enthusiast, but the entry-level 2.7-litre model (2000 onwards) is hardly a poor relation. That it comes with a convertible roof is just the icing on the cake.

Take a look on Motors.co.uk for Porsche Boxster

Nissan 350Z

While it may not boast the badge snobbery of the other cars in our shortlist, the brawny 350Z is not without its charms. Its 3.5-litre engine endows it with performance that would have even the Porsche Boxster straining to keep up and it's blessed with a handling balance best described as 'lairy'. For £5,000 you'll be looking at an early model, but given Nissan's legendary reputation for reliability it isn't a worry provided the model you're looking at has a full service history.

Take a look on Motors.co.uk for Nissan 350Z