What Is The Most Horsepower You Can Buy For $25,000?

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Photo: Wes Siler (Jalopnik)

Gas prices are plummeting and the price of a barrel of oil is less than zero. While we’re not suggesting you buy the thirstiest car you can, now’s a good time for a fun thought exercise: If you were to spend around $25,000 on a high-HP car, what gives you the most power for your money?

Remember, the objective here is to find a lot of power for a somewhat “reasonable” transaction price. Some of these cars are the opposite of what most would consider reasonable (read: “reliable”) and will likely cost a lot to keep running. And some are being sold by sketchy retailers where “your job is your credit!”

But all of these options will give you at least 500 HP for about the cost of a base model Honda Accord. And that can be a dangerously tempting proposition.

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2008 BMW M5: 500 HP for $25,000

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What’s not to love about a high-revving V10 motor in an executive sedan? I might even argue that this car has aged well, despite being criticized for its aesthetics when it was new. Sure, the SMG paddle-shifted gearbox is likely about to explode at any moment. But you could argue this was the last great M5.

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2010 Mercedes-Benz CL600: 510 HP for $21,000

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This V12 Benz is a pretty clean example with reasonable miles for its age. Service history according to CarFax seems fairly regular and while the electronics may give you trouble, this Mercedes cruiser might be a good choice to try for a few years and toss it back before it becomes too problematic.

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2010 Mustang GT500: 540 HP for $22,475

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You probably don’t want to even think about how many burnouts this 90,000-mile supercharged Mustang has laid down, but on the upside, if this Shelby hasn’t already met an untimely end doing bad drifts out of a local car show, you may still get plenty of life out of it beyond the 100,000-mile mark.

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2006 Bentley Continental Flying Spur: 552 HP for $25,000

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Now that unemployment levels are on the rise it’s probably not wise to be rocking a Bentley if you want to keep a low profile, even with a car that is 14 years old. However, if you live an area where you need to keep up with the Joneses in their expensive luxury machines but don’t have the budget to do so, this twin-turbo W12 will give you baller status for less.

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2006 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG: 604 HP for $22,000

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Another monster Mercedes with a honkin’ 604 HP and an even more impressive 738 lb-ft of torque. All that twist is not without risk, but if there was any point in time to live the YOLO mindset it’s now.

Can you find more ponies at the same price? Drop them in the comments!

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Tom is a contributing writer for Jalopnik and runs AutomatchConsulting.com. He saves people money and takes the hassle out of buying or leasing a car. (Facebook.com/AutomatchConsulting)