Help me! I’ve just modified something I don’t want to keep and I’ve spent so much money on it and now I won’t get my money back when I sell. The problem is my car is too slow, I want an affordable fast car!
So many times I hear this statement, people modify the wrong car. You might be tempted to start modifying your first car, or something you have deep love for and wanted to do something different. Sometimes it’s best just to wait for the right car first.
In this list we will go over some of the top 5 cars you can get in the UK during 2020 that have over 200bhp and can be easily tuned. You don’t have to have bags of cash nowadays to get a fast hot hatch with tuning potential.
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5. Megane RS Mk2
Probably not the prettiest of the bunch, it’s also french, which usually throws people, but believe it or not the Megane RS is a fantastic car with awesome tuning potential.
It has a 2.0 liter turbo engine pulling 225bhp and 300nm of torque and a 0-60 in 6.5 seconds, meaning this little french number isn’t a slouch and deserves a spot on the top 5.
The great thing about the Renault is it is very affordable and is way under £5K for a decent example. This is probably the best time to buy one as depreciation has hit its hardest and you can steal one for rock bottom prices.
If you wanted one of these back in 2006 from new, you would have had to hand over to the dealers £18,600. Nowadays, if you look hard enough you might pick one up for £3,000.
The tuning potential is incredible, if you want to get the most out of these, parts are affordable too, being a Renault. All in all, this car is a fantastic car, you just have to look past the Renault badge.
4. Mini John Cooper Works
If you’re after fast and nimble, the cooper works might be for you! The smallest car on the list, but not something to be messed with. If you have a small family or plan on doing some weekend shopping, this car isn’t for you as the space inside is small.
But if you’re looking for a fast, fun little track project or just to zip around in, the JCW is brilliant. With 211bhp coming out of a 1.6 turbo engine and weighing next to nothing, this car will pull you to 60 in 6.5 seconds. Not bad for a 1.6!
Mini have really hit the nail on the head with the JCW. The sporty styling and the power to weight ratio gives this car A great start if you’re looking to stance it or if you’re looking to add bags of power.
The price of a mini is slightly higher than the rest on this list and pushes it to the limit, but if you want to buy one, look to spend the whole £5K and get yourself a well looked after car.
3. Subaru Impreza WRX
Do you want to scream to the world and tell everyone you’re there? Making noise on the road is easy with the Impreza wrx. Although £5K won’t get you an STI unless you’re in the back streets of London, it will get you a decent WRX.
The WRX is a great platform for building a good solid car and with 4 doors and turbo, this is also a great family car, you can use this one when you’re with the missus looking for a new project.
Engines for the Subaru came in a 2.0 or 2.5 and although the 2.5 sounds like a great idea, a lot of the enthusiasts will tell you the 2.0 is the better choice as it has a lot better reliability, more tunability and an all round better engine as you won’t be dealing with head gasket issues.
Buying a Subaru, you can pick a good clean runner for around £4K! If you want to spend the full £5k you might pick up a newer model with a few more miles on it.
The great thing about the Subaru is you can also buy these in an estate version. So if a loud burbling flat 4 isn’t enough, you also have a roomy family holiday car on hand.
2. Audi S3 1.8T
Audi is the cream of the cream with the S and RS cars. Dominating hot hatches for years, but it all started with this beauty, the Audi S3 with the notable 1.8T BAM engine.
Not the prettiest of cars on the list, still keeping to a sort of sleeper look, the standard s3 can still blend in with the crowd but surprise when pulling from the lights.
They can be tuned to be incredibly fast cars and with the 1.8T engine being used in most other VAG cars in the market, makes parts and swaps quite a bit easier to get a hold of.
The s3 is one of the best tuning cars that if done right can be a lifetime car that will give you smiles per gallon, if you want something that will look good Slammed at the next show, this will do the trick. The Mk1 s3 has a true following and is well recognized and we think there needs to be more of these out there.
To buy an S3 you can expect to pay anything up to £3k for a good one, although you could pick one up for £2K. Just make sure to check out for any knocks.
1. Focus ST Mk2
Unbelievable tuning, 5 cylinders, loud exhausts, pops and bangs, available in 3 and 5 doors, the Ford Focus ST is a brilliant fast affordable car. You will be surprised how much you can fit in the boot of a Focus aswel.
With a standard bhp of 225, and a 0-60 in 6.5 seconds just like the Megane and the Mini, this is a very fast car from standard. Plenty of fun on and off the track.
The great thing about these are it’s easy to distinguish specifications, there are ST-1, ST-2 and ST-3. The ST-1 will come with cloth Seats and be a little basic inside, while the ST-3 is the highest specification and offer leather, Sony sound system, key less drive, all the bells and whistles.
Nowadays if you want a top-notch Focus ST-3, you can pick one up for under £5K. Although they may have quite a few miles on them, so long as they are well services and had the internals forged, the cars can go on for many more miles.
This is our favorite hot hatch, just because of the bang for buck, the power you can extract, the pure noise of the 5 cylinders banging away, it’s just a mint car that you can’t beat for the money.
Where Can I Find These Cars
All these cars are fantastic starters for project cars, we recommend looking into each one individually if you want to see their true potential. If you already know where you want to go, get it bought and get it started.
Most cars can be found on Autotrader, we don’t really recommend eBay or gumtree to buy a car but it can be done. If not try looking through the Facebook groups for the cars like the Focus ST groups, there’s usually someone selling one and you know it’s been looked after.
Finding the project car you want to work on is the hardest part, once you’re set and you’ve got it on your drive, it’s all about what parts to buy next.
If you have anything to say about this post or want to add anything, drop a comment below and let us all hear from you.
Good luck on your voyage. God speed.
Founder of Boost And Camber