It doesn’t take a king’s ransom to score a set of wheels with scorching performance.
To steer you in the right direction, here are our bang-for-buck champions, all newly minted and for under Dh200,000.
Chevy’s shapely coupe serves up lively performance and style at a wallet-friendly price. Underpinned by the GM Alpha platform – also used by Cadillac’s ATS and CTS – the sixth-generation Camaro rides and handles with far more panache than its predecessors.
An outlay of Dh152,000 gets you into the 1LT model, propelled by a 340 horsepower V6 mated to a smooth-shifting 10-speed auto. If you can stretch to Dh235,000, there’s the more tantalising 2SS, powered by a 461hp 6.2-litre V8 that spears it from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in 4.4 seconds, and well past 260kph flat out.
Dodge Charger 6.4 R/T Scat Pack
This brawny saloon, priced from Dh190,000, is a genuine performance bargain. At its heart lies a hulking 6.4-litre V8 with 492hp and 643Nm that enables it to sprint from 0-100kph in 4.2 seconds, and top out at 280kph-plus. An eight-speed auto is standard issue, and the Charger’s generous dimensions means there’s seating for five and a 467-litre boot.
Yes, it sucks through unleaded juice at a prodigious rate, but that’s a small price to pay for this level of performance and space. It’s the consummate family man’s sports sedan.
Ford’s Mustang kicked off the “pony car” genre back in 1964, and the sixth-generation model that launched in 2015 raised the bar considerably versus its predecessors.
Pricing starts at Dh160,000 for the entry-level model, which is propelled by an EcoBoost 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo motor with a robust 314hp and 475Nm, sent to the rear wheels via a 10-speed auto. A 0-100kph split of 5.1 seconds is pretty sharp, and this straight-line urgency is backed up by crisp, entertaining handling.
Spend Dh214,000 and you get the even tastier GT, which packs a sonorous 467hp/570Nm 5.0 V8.
The 370Z is now 11 years old, but it still stacks up as a rapid and eye-catching sports coupe at an affordable price. The long-snout-short-tail profile is a nod to the 1969 240Z, and so is the six-cylinder motor, although it’s now a V6, rather than an in-line unit.
The 3.7-litre power plant serves up 328hp, which enables a 0-100kph sprint in 4.7 seconds. No shortage of performance here, even if the car as a whole feels a bit dated. You get 19-inch wheels, leather seats and a seven-inch navigation system as standard, so it’s good value at Dh149,500.
Subaru Impreza WRX STi
The Subie became a legend via its rallying success in the 1990s, and the original all-wheel-drive turbo formula has carried through to the current generation.
The turbocharged 2.5-litre “boxer” engine retains its trademark lumpy beat, and outputs of 310hp and 393Nm are far from shabby. You also get a hand-built six-speed manual gearbox and clever differentials that enable the STi to launch out of corners with alacrity.
Its combination of all-weather pace and practicality make this a compelling package, especially at a start price of Dh144,375.