Looking for some extra power? Grab yourself a supercharged bargain from just £2995
14 June 2016

Superchargers can give a car a distinctive character as well as easily accessed punch. Here's our selection of the best value superchargerd cars on the used market.

1. Lotus Elise SC (2008-2010)

What do you get when you take a 900kg car with a 1.8-litre engine that revs to 8000rpm and then whack a supercharger on it? One of the best Elises to date.

The result is 217bhp sent through the rear wheels and face-stretching acceleration. From rest to 60mph requires just 4.4sec and it takes only 10.7sec to get from a standstill to 100mph.

See Lotus Elise for sale on PistonHeads

As with lesser-powered Elises, the handling remains epic, with one of the best steering set-ups of any car.

This is a hand-built, low-production sports car, so you’d be optimistic to expect bulletproof reliability. However, not too much seems to go wrong.

We found a 2010 SC with 14,000 miles on the clock for £23,950.

2. Mercedes-Benz SLK 200 K (1996-2004) 

We love the mid-1990s. During that period, a glut of new small, posh convertibles and coupés hit the showrooms. First came the BMW Z3 and then the Porsche Boxster, followed by the Mercedes-Benz SLK.

Our Verdict

Lotus Elise

Is the Lotus Elise still the last word in open-top British sports car fun?

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Mercedes’ vision was a mini SL, with a luxurious interior, top-notch build quality and grand touring abilities. Its party trick was a folding metal roof that turned it from sleek coupé to sexy roadster.

See Mercedes-Benz CLK for sale on PistonHeads

The 200 K supercharged four-cylinder model has the best mix of performance and fuel economy. Few major issues are reported but, due to its age, it would be best to get a full checkover from a specialist.

A tidy 2000 example with 90,000 miles will fetch from £2295.

3. Mini John Cooper Works GP (2005-2006) 

This limited run of JCW GPs from the mid- 2000s is threatening to become a future classic. Only 500 were released in the UK and it’s based on the first-gen Mini, which is surely the best-looking Mini so far. It gets lowered suspension, an aggressive-looking bodykit, big alloy wheels and red door mirrors, while the rear seats were replaced by a huge strut brace. The JCW GP is quick, with 215bhp on tap, and it's brilliantly entertaining to drive.

See Mini for sale on PistonHeads

Watch out for failing front strut towers and ensure the supercharger is in good condition, because rebuilds are costly.

Having lost less than half their value since new, these little pocket rockets can be picked up from £12,395 with around 50,000 miles on the clock.

4. Jaguar S-Type R (2002-2008) 

The S-Type looks as out of place in today’s world as a grandfather clock does to an Apple watch, but spot one with smoked lights and there’ll be a supercharged 4.2-litre V8 engine under the rippling hood. It pumps out 395bhp and will whisk the car to 60mph from a standstill in 5.5sec.

The R has a comfortable ride and plenty of grip, and it corners with little body roll, all of which helps to make this four-door rocketship fun to drive. The rear cabin is slightly cramped for a car of this size, though.

See Jaguar S-Type for sale on PistonHeads

In an otherwise reliable package, areas of concern include rusting sills and worn rear suspension arms.

Early cars with less than 100,000 miles can be picked up from £4995.

5. Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI GT (2005-2009) 

As downsizing really started to take effect, it was still a surprise that a mainstream family hatchback, like this Golf, got an engine with not only a turbo but also a supercharger.

Its 1.4-litre engine develops 168bhp, which means a 0-62mph time of just 7.7sec, yet it returns a claimed 38.2mpg.

It's perhaps not quite as good as a GTI, but the GT still handles keenly and you get the normal - and excellent - Golf practicality and a classy cabin.

See VW Golf for sale on PistonHeads

Some early engines had teething problems with such new technology, but reliability generally appears to be decent enough, although timing belts can cause an issue.

Plenty of GTs are available: we found a 56-plate example with 78,000 miles on the clock for just £3995.

Matthew Griffiths

Join the debate


14 June 2016
Avoid at all costs the Golf twin charger. I had big arguments on this very site against the pro-twin charger VW boys. It's hard to believe this engine once won a major award as it was a completely crap concept badly executed which, even if it doesn't break, will cost you more in oil than petrol. Don't believe me, there's a reason why it's so cheap second-hand!

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

14 June 2016
How about the 2010-on Nissan Micra 1.2DIG-S? Shoddily built, horribly styled and handled like the Exxon Valdiz......but what a cracker of an engine! Around 100PS from a neatly packaged 1.2 3 cylinder engine with Eaton blower, which could de-couple when not on load. Makes a great noise and goes like stink (in a straight line lol) The rest of the car was so bad that I'm sure they must be down to not far from this budget by now?

14 June 2016
First off, I can't imagine that anyone would particularly seek out a supercharged model, any more than they would a turbo at a £3k budget. The supercharger is, after all, just a means to an end. It is the overall performance and efficiency that counts. And then, there is only one car listed here at the headline price point. Can anyone imagine what a 16-year old Mercedes built at a time the brand's quality was at an all time low would really be like? All in all, this is a pretty random selection of cars where the common denominator is likely to be high running and insurance costs.

14 June 2016
Have to agree, at least as far as the SLK is concerned. The model described is not the R171 Mk2 model pictured, it is the R170 Mk1 which came complete with wooden handling, epic unreliability and, latterly, lots of rust!

15 June 2016
which was helpfull for my website aslo.... feel like you will be motivated by clicking link in the
good job..like with your work

15 June 2016
I always fancied a Polo G40 but never got round to owning one. Haven't ruled out the possibility sometime, though.

I don't need to put my name here, it's on the left


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