Written by Stephen Goldasz ▼

Top 200 BHP cars - on a budget!

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Whatever motorists are looking for in their new car, there's probably nothing they like more than value for money. In today's car market there are plenty of cheap offers for those prioritising criteria such as size, practicality or green credentials even.

But what if you're looking for performance however? The opportunity to own a brand new car with 200bhp or more is a tantalising prospect but if you have a budget of around say £25,000 then that may seem unrealistic.

For a lot cars you'll have to go past that budget to get 200bhp under the bonnet, however there are some interesting motors out there which you can buy for less and still acquire this amount of power or more.

In recognition of this, here are MotorTorque's ten picks of 200bhp plus cars, on a budget. Covering hatchbacks, coupes and saloons, hopefully there will be something for everyone.

Mini Hatch 1.6T S John Cooper Works

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Out of all the many, many specifications available for the latest Mini Hatchback, the John Cooper Works sits top in terms of pricing and performance.

It may seem questionable to spend this much money on a Mini, but what you get is an impressively fast hot hatch with a 1.6-litre engine and six-speed manual transmission.

The suspension and brakes have also been adjusted for optimum driving fun and the bright, distinctive paint jobs are good if you want to stand out in the crowd.

0-60mph time: 6.5 seconds

Top speed: 148mph

Power: 211bhp

Price: £23,795

Renaultsport Megane 2.0T Cup

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The standard Renault Megane is a straightforward and uneventful family car but its RenaultSport counterpart is a different beast altogether, and an impressive one to drive as well.

Boasting an impressive 265bhp from its 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, the RenaultSport Megane can certainly hold its own against the vast majority of today's hot hatches, sporty roadsters or coupes. With prices starting just below £25k, it certainly deserves your consideration.

0-60mph time: 6 seconds

Top speed: 158mph

Power: 265bhp

Price: £24,840

Ford Focus 2.0T ST

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Deliveries have only very recently begun for the new Focus ST hot hatch, but there's already a lot of positive feedback surrounding this car. And not just because Ray Winstone drives one in the new Sweeney film.

With a 246bhp 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, the Focus ST is not the fastest, or most hardcore hot hatch on the market, but its potential is not to be scoffed at. The ST also has a surprisingly large and practical cabin and price-wise it costs about £1,000 or more less than a lot of other hot hatches out now.

0-60mph time: 6.5 seconds

Top speed: 154mph

Power: 246bhp

Price: £21,995

Volvo C30 2.5 T5 R-Design Lux

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At the top of the C30 hatchback range is the sleek and classy R-Design Lux specification with a sport body kit and a 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine.

With this R-Design model, Volvo has also taken the dedication to modify the C30's chassis, suspension and steering so that it delivers a firm and fast ride like a true hot hatch usually does.

0-60mph time: 6.2 seconds

Top speed: 149mph

Power: 227bhp

Price: £24,470

Citroen DS4 1.6 THP DSport

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When trying to pick out a performance car from the Citroen range, your mind may go straight to the DS3 Racing hot hatch. However that is a limited edition model, only 200 came to the UK and unsurprisingly they've since sold out.

Motorists can still get a performance fix out of Citroen's DS line however, by checking out the larger DS4 hatchback in the DSport trim. Here the family car offers a 1.6-litre THP engine with 200bhp and while it's obviously not as fast as a hot hatch it's a more practical option.

0-60mph time: 8.5 seconds

Top speed: 146mph

Power: 200bhp

Price: £23,650

Mazda3 MPS

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The Mazda3 MPS is one of the less mentioned hot hatches on the market today, but the car has the aggressive updated looks, and certainly the performance to make a case for its purchase.

Few hot hatches based on family cars can beat the level of performance the Mazda offers and it isn't even that far off the more premium and expensive choices on the market.

0-60mph time: 6.1 seconds

Top speed: 155mph

Power: 260bhp

Price: £23,395

Peugeot RCZ 1.6 THP 200 Sport

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Since first hitting the UK market back in 2010, the RCZ coupe has proved a hit thanks to its sleek, sophisticated profile and its fun driving characteristics.

At its peak, the RCZ can offer 200bhp from a 1.6-litre petrol engine connected to a six-speed manual transmission. The two-door coupe isn't quite as fast as some of the hot hatches on this list, the RCZ still offers a quality drive at a valuable price.

0-60mph time: 7.6 seconds

Top speed: 146mph

Power: 200bhp

Price: £23,595

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BlockCentre:MotorTorque's Peugeot RCZ review

Seat Exeo 2.0 TSI 211 Sport

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The Seat Exeo is essentially a restyled version of the premium Audi A4 saloon, available at a cheaper price. The Sport specification also inherits the A4's 211bhp 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine.

All other specifications of the Exeo use a more subdued 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine so the Sport model's capabilities are likely to be underestimated by others. Therefore this car could offer you the element of surprise as well as highly respectable performance.

0-60mph time: 7.1 seconds

Top speed: 152mph

Power: 211bhp

Price: £23,695

Skoda Octavia 2.0 TFSI vRS

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Besides the vRS performance badge the Octavia is a sensible-looking and unassuming family car, but underneath the bonnet is a 2.0-litre petrol engine, taken from the VW Golf GTi, which carries impressive potential.

Overall you get a practical car with speed not that far off modern hot hatches or sporty coupes.

0-60mph time: 7.2 seconds

Top speed: 150mph

Power: 200bhp

Price: £20,330

Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TSI 210 Sport

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The four-door Passat saloon is a sensible and dependable family car, with an unfortunate reputation for dullness.

With that in mind you may be surprised to learn this car has a 'Sport' trim. In this specification however the saloon offers two petrol engines including a unit with over 200bhp.

While it is the most expensive model in the saloon range, this car can still be considered value for money at just under £25,000, considering the performance figures it offers combined with the Passat's level of practicality and premium quality.

0-60mph time: 7.6 seconds

Top speed: 148mph

Power: 210bhp

Price: £24,650

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