GRR

The fastest cars you can buy for £100,000

03rd June 2024
Russell Campbell

Yes, we're back again on our quest to go as fast as physically possible, this time on a (very) healthy £100,000 budget. Here, you'll find GTs, supercars, and super saloons, but we also welcome our first muscle car and Lamborghini to the fray and offer a guest appearance to a Ferrari estate. Ignore the ill-informed naysayers; good examples of these cars are available in the UK right now and on budget. Happy shopping. 

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Porsche Panamera Turbo S – 196mph

This is the second time a Porsche Panamera has featured on one of our Fastest Car lists – the last being a 2009 4.8-litre Turbo capable of a ‘steady’ 194mph. Armed with double the budget, enough to buy a 2021 example, the Panamera's top speed shoots up to a rather disappointing 196mph. We say disappointing, but is there any need for the family and the dog to travel faster? Maybe not…

Safe to say, outright performance has never been a problem for the Panamera, but the original car wasn't without issues. First, it looked like a 911 with an unsightly growth hanging off its rear end. Second, it felt heavy and inert to drive in a very un-Porsche-like manner. The G70 Panamera Turbo S solved both these problems with five-door-coupé styling and a list of standard kit as long as your arm – including ceramic disc brakes, Porsche Active Suspension Management, active anti-roll bars, torque vectoring, and active rear steer – that means this behemoth stops, goes, and corners exactly like a Porsche should.  

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Mercedes-AMG GT R – 198mph

If the standard Mercedes-AMG GT was Merc's attempt at poking the Porsche 911 from the top branch of the usable-sports-car tree, the GT-R version had an altogether bigger target in its crosshairs – Porsche's phenomenal 991 911 GT3.

Many have tried and failed to beat the GT3's combination of decent road manners and unstoppable track ability but, as they say: "If you can beat them, join them." Hence, Mercedes copied the GT3 recipe almost spec for spec, giving its big GT a wide body, rear-wheel steer, more power, and active aero, which meant it could stick to the track like super glue to a curious toddler. Fundamentally, though, the Mercedes was still very different, swapping the incisive agility for old-fashioned V8 power. It can hurtle to a top speed of 198mph despite having an aero package with the drag factor of an open parachute.  

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Lamborghini Gallardo 560-4 – 202mph

A budget of £100K gives us our first opportunity to welcome a Lamborghini to our fastest cars lists in the form of the Gallardo 560-4. While the Gallardo might lack the evocative V12 of one of Lamborghini's hypercars – cars that would have fallen within budget not too long ago – its V10 is no less sonorous. It gives the Lambo all the power needed to secure a lower slot on this list, courtesy of its 202mph speed.

While the 560-4 isn't short of go (no Gallardo is), the '4' at the end of its name hints at this being a four-wheel drive version, which means it has all the grip you could ever need but lacks the handling flamboyance that you might expect of a red-blooded, mid-engine Italian supercar. It is why the Balboni version  – named after famed Lambo test driver Valentino Balboni – was two-wheel drive. 

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Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye – 203 mph

Few cars better demonstrate the USA's and Europe's differing approaches to performance-car building than the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye. Europe's machines wade into battle with a list of system acronyms worthy of a Wordle board designed to make your high-performance machine safe and easy to drive fast. By contrast, the Hellcat comes armed with a V8 force-fed by a massive supercharger and clever features amounting to not much more than the restraint with which you deploy your own right foot. 

As you can probably imagine, performance isn't an issue for the Redeye. Its 6.2-litre V8 and 2.7-litre supercharger produce 808PS (594kW), good for a (traction-restricted) 0-60mph in 3.4 seconds and a ludicrous 203mph flat out. Two hundred and three miles per hour. It sounds impressive in isolation; even more remarkable when you see Challenger's brick-like form – you can almost imagine the shockwaves bunching up on the bonnet's leading edge as it pushes through the double-tonne. While the Hellcat can't boast European sophistication in corners, its FR setup is honest, meaning there's not much to complain about when prices start from under £100K for a nearly-new car. 

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Alpina B7 BiTurbo – 205mph

Yes, it's another fastest car list and another opportunity to talk about the virtues of Alpina, the German manufacturer that takes BMWs from the factory and makes them better – 50mph better in this case. That is because BMW's 155mph limiter goes in the bin, allowing the 7 Series-based B7 to do a frankly ludicrous 205mph. How does it do it? Well, Alpina takes BMW's V8 and adds new pistons, a new exhaust, and a brace of bespoke turbos to produce 608PS (447kW). Using the V8 and not BMW's V12 makes sense, lopping 75kgs from above the front wheels for a more spritely turn in.

Alpina even ticks the luxury box better, plastering the BMW's interior (hardly poverty spec to begin with) with its own bespoke leather and steering wheel. The finishing touch comes in the form of a body kit that provides just the right amount of menace.

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Audi R8 V10 Plus – 205mph

The original Audi R8 caught motoring journalists on the hop, stunning us all with its gorgeous powertrain, entertaining drivetrain, and stunning looks. Replacing it was a job you wouldn't wish even on your worst enemy, but that didn't stop Audi from giving it a bash with the second-generation car. Sadly, not everything went to plan. The new car's fussier styling didn't have the simple elegance of the original, its electric power steering lacked the first car's tactility, and there was no manual option. 

That gets the bad news out of the way because the gen-two R8 is still a superb car with a V10 engine that sounds like it belongs in something far more exotic than an Audi; of course, it was a Lamborghini engine. The Plus version brought a new level of performance to the R8 with lightning responses and a V10 wail that was gloriously ear-piercing as it homed in on its 205mph Vmax. 

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Porsche 911 Turbo S – 205mph

The Porsche 911 Turbo S has a well-won reputation for being the do-anything supercar, and the 991 is perhaps the most well-rounded of the lot – bigger inside than the 997, it's also a lot posher and has all the latest tech you need to slot into your digital lifestyle. 

Like every Turbo S, the 991 is a devastating point-to-point car, further honed by rear-wheel steering and active engine mounts that allow the car to pivot in and out of bends. The 3.8-litre flat-six’s lightning-fast responses disguise the fact that it's turbocharged, and it'll accelerate even faster than Porsche's claimed 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds. Here, though, it's straight-line performance that we're interested in, and the Turbo S duly delivers with a barnstorming top speed of 205mph. Perhaps even more startling is the Turbo's claimed fuel economy rating of 30mpg. There is little this car does badly. 

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Bentley Continental GT – 207mph

Okay, so we've featured a Bentley Continental GT on most (if not all) of these lists, but we've said it before, and we'll say it again: if you want to go quickly for as little coin as possible, the Conti GT is as good a way an any. 

Only on this 'fastest cars for a £100,000' list, the coin isn't so limited, meaning we can splash out on the latest version of the Bentley's GT, which cured many of the ills of the original model. A ride quality that never truly settled down was one of the biggest complaints of the original GT. Bentley sorted that on the new model; you could choose from fully-wafty Comfort or Bentley mode, specifically designed to balance ride quality and control perfectly. Buying the latest GT also gets you the company's trick rotating infotainment screen that sounds like a fad until you see it in all its 360-degree spinning glory. What matters here, of course, is the Continental's top speed – a breezy 207mph. 

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McLaren 650S – 207mph

It says a lot to say the McLaren 650S's party trick is not it's 207mph top speed, ginormous though it is. No, the 650S is an acceleration monster that can dispatch 0-100mph in a mere 5.7 seconds, for a yard stick, that's half a second quicker than the haloed McLaren F1. 

While the McLaren's power is on an entirely different level, there's a Lotus Elise-like tactility to the 650's handling. It's textured hydraulic power steering and impressive ride quality that's made possible by the car's high-tech suspension, doing away with the need for roll bars. With cold tyres, the McLaren can understeer, and it will oversteer with a boot-load of throttle, but most of the time it just grips the road like an alpha male's handshake; it's a devastating cross-country machine. Sadly, though, while the 650's engine can serve up a list of outrageous performance figures, its industrial-like engine tone lacks the passion you expect of a circa-£100,000 supercar.

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Ferrari FF – 208mph

Did somebody mention passion? Ordinarily, an estate car would have precisely zero chance of outdoing a McLaren supercar in the desirability stakes, but stick a Ferrari badge on said estate car’s nose and suddenly those odds look a lot more favourable. And that's what the FF is, a V12 Ferrari estate car that's as happy transporting the family and its skies to a snow-dusted winter retreat as it is handing out beatings to supercars on circuit. 

The 'passion' part comes in the form of a 6.3-litre V12 that produces peak power – 669PS (485kW) – at a screaming 8,000rpm, and sends to all four wheels via a revolutionary four-wheel-drive system with a two-speed gearbox hanging off the front of the engine to send power to the directly to front wheels. The result? A car that can haul itself out of slides just when you think it is past saving. Performance is as brisk as you imagine; 0-62mph takes 2.5 seconds, 0-124mph 10.4 seconds, and the Ferrari doesn't stop accelerating until it hits 208mph. Not bad for a car with four usable seats and a 450-litre boot. The FF, which cost more than £220,000 new, can now comfortably be yours on a £100,000 budget. 

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  • Gallardo

  • Challenger

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  • 650S

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