Currently reading: 150mph cars for under £2000 - used car buying guide
We run down some of our favourite cars capable of 150mph for under two grand
3 mins read
16 February 2015

High-performance cars from the 1990s and early 2000s can be snapped up for family hatchback money. We highlight our favourite 150mph-plus cars for less than two grand.

1 - BMW 535i (1996 – 2003)

The E39 BMW 5 Series saloon has a timeless design, while possessing a superb ride and decent handling. It also has a fine range of strong engines and, in 3.5-litre V8 guise, the BMW 535i is capable of topping out at 152mph.

The 535i isn’t the most common of E39s on the market, but we found a tidy 2003 model with an automatic gearbox and respectable 112,000 miles under its belt, for £1,950. The motors themselves are strong, but look out for worn rear suspension bushes and electrical niggles with the ECU.

For Elegant looks and a fabulous mile-muncher

Against Electrical problems can flare up from time-to-time

2 - Volvo V70 T5 estate (2000 – 2007)

There’s a good reason why many police constabularies across the UK employed the Volvo V70 T5 as a motorway chariot – because they’re highly durable, practical and a genuinely fast estate car.Powered by a 2.3-litre five cylinder turbocharged lump kicking out 250bhp, it’s capable of 0-62mph in 6.8sec and will keep on accelerating to 155mph.

Being a Volvo, the V70 T5 possesses thick, comfortable seats and a high safety rating. There are some leggy examples in the classifieds, but look hard and you can bag a 2003 T5 estate with respectable mileage for £1,800.

For Spacious cabin, interior quality and safety rating

Against Not the sharpest-handling estate

3 - Lexus LS400 (1990 – 2000)

One of the most well equipped luxury saloons of the 1990s, the Lexus LS400 was arguably ahead of its time when it was launched back in 1990. The premium Japanese car firm spent six years developing the LS400, racking up US$1 billion in development costs.

It paid off, though. Six-figure mileages are a regular sight with these luxury barges and there’s even one example on record in America with 902,000 miles on the clock and still going strong. Opt for a post-1997 example and the 4.0-litre V8 engine pumps out 290bhp, helping the big Lexus hit 155mph.

For Superbly-built luxury saloon with plenty of kit

Against Expensive consumable items, such as exhaust and tyres

4 - Mercedes-Benz CLK430 4.3 V8 (1997 – 2002)

The first-generation Mercedes-Benz CLK430 is a rare beast, but a persistent scan of the classifieds can yield a genuine four-seater coupe, with all the toys and a thunderous 275bhp 4.3-litre V8 engine under the bonnet.

It’s good for 0-62mph in 6.4sec and a limited top speed of 155mph. Back in 2001, a brand new CLK430 Avantgarde would set you back £56,000. Today, the same car can be had for a fiver under two grand, with less than 100,000 miles on the clock. However, Mercs from this era are renowned for corrosion, so inspect carefully.

For Powerful engine and loads of equipment


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Against Uninspiring handling, dull steering feel and some electrical issues

5 - Fiat Coupe 20v Turbo (1993 – 2000)

Designed by Chris Bangle, the Fiat Coupe was one of the controversial designer’s better-looking efforts. Launched back in 1993, it was aimed squarely at the Vauxhall Calibra and Ford Probe. With a sumptuous Pininfarina-styled interior and based on the Fiat Tipo platform, it was a sharp-handling coupe and one of the fastest front-wheel drive cars of its era.

That was mainly down to its boisterous 2.0-litre five cylinder 20-valve turbocharged motor, developing 220bhp. Buy a post-1998 Coupe with the six-speed manual gearbox and it will crack 0-62mph in 6.5sec and peak at 155mph. Clean, well-maintained examples can be had for £1,800.

For Stunning design, exploitable handling

Against Ropey build quality and engine issues

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16 February 2015
All loads of cars for the purchase money, but, as usual, the running costs, running costs, running costs....


25 December 2017
Overdrive wrote:

All loads of cars for the purchase money, but, as usual, the running costs, running costs, running costs....

wrong.. in my whole 20 years of driving I have never had to spend on running costs of good old cars anywhere near the cost of the purchase price of a massively deprecating new car that will also require you to cough up extortionitly high main stealer servicing costs..

£100's of pounds just to change the oil and a couple filters?!.. just to get a stamp in my service book ?

no thanks! I can do it all myself. its not difficult.

16 February 2015
I had a brief look at Lexus LSs last year, the sub-2k examples are late 80s-early 90s.

16 February 2015
Might be good for Germany however the 535 had recirculating ball steering, you're better off with the 530 six as it had a more up to date front end.

16 February 2015
Features like this are interesting but I'd rather read them in a classic car publication...I look at Autocar for new car info and reviews. Older prestige cars are potentially great value and so much more interesting than most new cars (I've had several in the past and still own one) but they need to be purchased, maintained and driven by someone with mechanical knowledge, sympathy and enthusiasm. Do you at Autocar not think it a tad irresponsible to be promoting to anyone who can get hold of 2 grand that they go buy an old knackered powerful car and drive it at 150 mph...?


25 December 2017
jensen_healey wrote:

Do you at Autocar not think it a tad irresponsible to be promoting to anyone who can get hold of 2 grand that they go buy an old knackered powerful car and drive it at 150 mph...?

lol.. hardly.
A petrol head just likes to know these figures . And if they choose to drive at 150mph then they were likely to do that regardless of this article.

The real irresponsible thing is encouraging people to think its fine to buy brand new/nearly new cars on credit and get them selves into debt by offering them money they don't have .

it's far more responsible to spend 2k of real money on a good old car than waste 20k of fake money on a massively deprecating crap new one.. When that money would be better put towards a house.

5 October 2018

.. are relevant to me! I like this kind of article, makes a change from PR driven GUFF

16 February 2015
...and have owned two of! Never thought an Autocar article would be so relevant to me. Jeez, what is happening? If more people realised what fantastic cars are available on the used market, Autocar's advertisers would be leaving in droves!

Oh, and Jensen; I have never driven at 150mph in either of my sub-£2k cars mentioned here - and clearly - I am still alive. Perhaps they are not death traps after all...

17 February 2015
How about the Subaru Impreza turbo 5dr, and Saab 9-5 HOT, you can get a cracking example of either for 2k, and they start at about 700 quid.

Jag XJR also possible within budget.

19 February 2015
CWBROWN, they sound too exciting! Why have one of those when you could have a 1.6 eco-diesel for only £350pm for a month for the next three years, at the end of which you still won't own it!

Autocar, please ban me.


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