This is the golden age of horsepower
To qualify for our recent list of the most powerful new cars sold in America, the vehicle had to have over 600 hp. Incredibly, 50 cars and SUVs qualified, the most ever offered by the auto industry. This is the golden age of horsepower. It’s happening right now.
But big power costs big bucks. Of the 50, only a handful cost less than $100,000, all of which are produced by Dodge, Chevy and Jeep. So we decided to revisit the subject. Here are the 10 most powerful news cars and SUVs sold in America in 2019 that cost less than $100K. Incredibly, they all have more than 500 hp. And get ready to wave the red, white and blue, as American manufacturers continue to dominate when it comes to horsepower per dollar.
2019 Mercedes-Benz C63 S
Mercedes and AMG build a long list of cars powerful enough to make this list — they just cost too much. The lone exception is the C63 S, which is the only German car to make the cut.
Available as a sedan, coupe or convertible, the hottest version of the Mercedes C-Class is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 making 503 hp at 5,500 rpm and an incredible 516 lb-ft of torque at just 1,750 rpm. All three bodystyles are rear-wheel drive, get a 7-speed dual clutch transmission and ride on staggered 19-inch wheels and tires.
Mercedes says the coupe is the quickest, with a 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds, while the sedan needs an additional tenth of a second. The convertible weighs about 200 pounds more, which slows its time to 4.0 seconds. Pricing isn’t finalized yet on the 2019 models, but in 2018 the sedan was the most affordable at $75,690, the coupe cost $76,495 and the convertible was $82,495.
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2019 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged Dynamic
Land Rover is now deep in the hot-rod SUV business, with models as strong as the 575-hp Range Rover Sport SVR. But for under $100K, its most potent is the 518-hp Range Rover Sport Supercharged Dynamic. It’s the most powerful European SUV under our price cap, with a starting price of $86,545 for the 2018 model.
Its blown 5.0-liter V8 is shared with the Range Rover, as well as the Jag XJ and the F-Type sports car. In the Range Rover Sport is makes 518 hp at 6,000 rpm and 461 lb-ft of torque at 2,500 rpm. All-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic with shift paddles are standard. LR says the SUV weighs 5,121 lbs and can hit 60 mph in 5.0 seconds. Its top speed is 130 mph. Buyers also get standard red brake calipers and 21-inch wheels and tires. A third row is available, which also makes this the most powerful 7-seater available for less than a hundo.
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2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio Quadrifoglio
These are Italy’s 505 hp Alfa Romeos. Quadrifoglio is to Alfa as M is to BMW. And in English the word translates roughly to “My Alfa Has Enough Horsepower to Tear Your Face Off”.
Under the hood of the rear-wheel drive 2019 Giulia Quadrifoglio is a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 rated 505 hp at 6,500 rpm and 443 lb-ft of torque at 2,500 rpm and backed by an 8-speed automatic. The combination gets the sedan to 60 mph in about 3.6 seconds and ultimately to 191 mph. Maybe Quadrifoglio actually means “Bye-bye M3.”
Ok, we’re kidding. Quadrifoglio means four-leaf clover, but you already knew that.
For buyers looking for that kind of punch with all-wheel drive and a more family friendly package, Alfa offers the 2019 Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Same engine, same transmission and essentially the same thrust as the sedan, although the SUV costs a bit more. Prices for the 2018 sedan start at $75,295, and the SUV will cost ya $81,590.
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2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
Until the 700+ hp supercharged GT500 arrives next year, probably as a 2020 model, the Shelby GT350 is the most powerful Mustang available. Its 5.2-liter flat-crank double-overhead cam V8 puts out 526 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque, and the damn thing revs to 8,250 rpm. Unlike its Camaro and Challenger competition, the GT350 is only available with three pedals and a 6-speed manual.
For 2019 Ford has thrown a few improvements at the Shelby, improving its aerodynamics, retuning its suspension and ABS and fitting new Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. Ford says grip is “dramatically greater.” Unlike the Camaro ZL1, Ford only offers the Shelby as a coupe. Prices haven’t been set yet, but the 2018 model cost $58,235. The GT350 R, which gets carbon fiber wheels and rear spoiler, cost $7,500 more.
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2019 Cadillac CTS-V
The most powerful luxury sedan you can buy for less than six figures is also from Detroit. It’s the Cadillac CTS-V, and it’s powered by the same supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V8 as the Camaro ZL1 and Corvette Z06. In the rear-wheel-drive Caddy, it’s rated 640 hp at 6,400 rpm and 630 lb-ft of torque at 3,600 rpm, and the only transmission is an 8-speed automatic. That’s 40 more horsepower than you get in the much more expensive BMW M5 and 37 more than you get in the pricy Mercedes E 63 S.
The CTS-V is the most powerful Cadillac ever, and GM says it can hit 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and touch 200 mph. The model is essentially unchanged for 2019, and its base price is $89,290.
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2019 Chevy Corvette Z06
With spy shots of the mid-engine Corvette dominating the internet, and the 755 hp ZR1 grabbing the crown as the most powerful Corvette ever (so far), the Z06 hasn’t been getting much attention. But it’s still the most powerful Corvette available for less than $100,000, and it’s still the most powerful two-seat sports car you can that won’t cost you six figures.
Under the hood is the same supercharged LT4 found in the Camaro ZL1. The 6.2-liter V8 is rated the same as it is in the Camaro, with 650 hp at 6,400 rpm and 650 lb-ft at 3,600 rpm. Offered as a coupe or a convertible, every Z06 is rear-wheel drive, but Chevy gives you a choice of a 7-speed manual or 8-speed automatic. Base price is $81,585 while convertibles cost $4,000 more.
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2019 Chevy Camaro ZL1
With 650 hp, the Camaro ZL1 is the most powerful four-seat convertible you can buy for less than one hundred large. It’s of course also offered as a coupe. The most powerful Camaro ever is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V8 packing 650 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm. Both bodystyles are offered with a 6-speed manual or 10-speed automatic and all Camaro’s are rear-wheel drive. Chevy says its capable of 0-60 mph runs in 3.5 seconds and a quarter-mile blast of 11.4 seconds at 127 mph. Base price for the 2018 model is $63,795.
For improved handling, Chevy also offers the ZL1 1LE, which adds an aerodynamics package, including a carbon fiber rear spoiler, Multimatic dampers, adjustable front end height, camber plates, an adjustable rear sway bar, 19-inch wheels and ultra sticky Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R tires. Changes for 2019 are focused on interior features and safety system upgrades as well as new taillights.
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2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
FCA’s blown Hemi V8 makes the rounds. It’s also under the hood of the most powerful SUV for less than our price cap. For 2019, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk is essentially unchanged. It’s still powered by the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi. Like in the Charger Hellcat, it’s rated 707 hp at 6,000 rpm and 645 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm and gets the 8-speed automatic. But unlike the Charger, the Jeep is all-wheel drive.
Jeep says it’s the most powerful and quickest SUV ever, capable of running from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds, passing the quarter-mile in 11.6 seconds and hitting a top speed of 180 mph. For 2019, its base price is $91,240.
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2019 Dodge Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcat
Dodge has also tweaked the Challenger SRT Hellcat for 2019, upping the power ratings of its supercharged 6.2-liter V8. The Hemi goes from 707 hp to 717 hp at 6,000 rpm and 650 lb-ft to 656 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm. It remains rear-wheel drive, and it’s the only Hellcat model offered with a standard 6-speed manual transmission. The ZF-supplied 8-speed automatic remains available. Visually there’s a new dual-snorkel hood, which is functional and shared with the 797-horsepower Redeye.
Wait, here’s the best news. The base price is now $64,750, that’s more than $5,000 less than last year. If you want the Widebody — and you do — the price jumps about $6,000.
If you want the most powerful sedan available for less than $100,000, Dodge still offers the Charger SRT Hellcat. For 2019, its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 remains rated 707 hp at 6,000 rpm and 650 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm, but Dodge has added Launch Assist and a Line Lock. There’s also a new grille with dual air inlets. As before, every Charger Hellcat is rear-wheel drive and uses an 8-speed automatic. Base price is $68,440 including the gas guzzler tax and destination.
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2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye
The Challenger Demon is dead. Dodge has ceased production of the 840 hp drag racing special after 1 year and 3,300 units. But some of its engine tech has been moved over onto the Hellcat, and the result is the Hellcat Redeye. In this model, the 6.2-liter Hemi V8 is rated 797 hp at 6,300 rpm and 707 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm thanks to a larger supercharger, increased boost from 11.6 to 14.5 psi, better air flow and the clever SRT Power Chiller, which uses the Challenger’s air conditioning system to chill coolant before it reaches the blower’s heat exchangers.
Like the Demon, the Redeye is rear-wheel drive and only offered with an 8-speed automatic. Base Price is $72,745, but if you want the Widebody — and you do — the price jumps to $78,745. Dodge says the Redeye Widebody, which has larger rear tires, can run the quarter mile 10.8 seconds at 131 mph and it has a top speed of 203 mph.