Top 4 Cars with 300 Horsepower

Tokyo Auto Salon 2022
Tokyo Auto Salon 2022 / Jun Sato/GettyImages

Like you, the reader and everyone else that cares about cars, when I buy a car, I care about three little letters B, H and P. But it’s hard to daily drive or fully enjoy nearly anything with 600+ horsepower (yes, I’m including golden era Mercs and BMWs too) due to the fact you’ll likely be paying more than you earn in fuel bills. Yes, it’s the sort of thing I would do but I’m not a positive role model. Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked, I was about to say it’ also hard to daily drive a fun car with under 200 horses, as you’d likely be sacrificing interior luxuries and ride comfort for the sake of lightness and handling (with the exception of the NC Miata, but that’s a different article).

So, what is the optimum amount of power for a daily driver? If you haven’t read the title of this article, in my opinion it’s somewhere in the region of 300.

But why is 300 the sweet spot? Well, it isn’t low enough that your car is underpowered, and not high enough that you’re averaging 4mpg in the city. With that explained, what are the best ways to use 300 horsepower?

Last word before we start, this list is in no particular order, and I’m sure there will be a couple of cars I’ve missed out, but this is my list.

Jaguar F-Type P300

There’s one thing I can hear you saying immediately. The F-Type isn’t an F-Type without a V8, and I disagree. Yes, there’s very few things better than the sound of a V8, but the P300 is honestly a fantastic car. I have only had the opportunity to drive one a very short distance, but I’ve been a passenger in one for a very long journey (198 miles to be exact), and it is everything you want a grand tourer to be.

Let me explain. On the highway the P300 F-Type sit’s comfortably at the speed limit, but also pulls really well when you want or need it to, it’s heavy enough that it feels planted and sits well on the road, but it’s agile and sharp enough that it feels like a proper performance car when it needs to be one.

To add to this, with the 300 horsepower you also get a 0-60 time of 5.2 seconds, which is very quick. Yes, I know due to social media it doesn’t sound fast, but it is. For a car in its class, you also get a half decent boot (or trunk depending on where you’re from) and I know it is boring, but you’ll get a combined MPG of somewhere between 31-33.

Oh, and one last thing you get a responsive infotainment system, heated leather seats and a heated windscreen, so you’re not missing out on anything inside.

27th International Motor Show
27th International Motor Show / Mauricio Santana/GettyImages

2. Volvo V60 T6 (That’s the plug-in hybrid one)

Are you bored of BMW? Tired of Audi? Sick of Mercedes? Well, what about Volvo? The Volvo V60 is a great alternative to the same generation E400. Both get to 60 in 5.2 seconds, both are great places to be inside, and both produce around 330 horsepower, with the Volvo being slightly more powerful than the Merc (335 vs 329). But what makes the Volvo the winner? You get more or less the same level of luxury as the Merc but for a slightly lower price, with slightly more power and much better economy, obviously due to the V60 being a plug in Hybrid, 156 combined MPG vs 26 from the Mercedes’ V6.

Now, if we step inside both cars, both offer responsive infotainment systems, with good reverse cameras, heated seats, decent enough navigation, cruise control and such. If you’re able to get your T6 V60 with the white leather interior I think you’ve got yourself a winner

In summary, the Volvo V60 just does a lot more right than the Mercedes, and it does it for less money. Station wagons, unfortunately, are a dying breed in this current climate of grey, swollen electric SUVs, that look like they’ve just had an allergic reaction, if you can keep the station wagon segment alive, please do. Oh, and if your only two options are the Volvo V60 T6, or the Mercedes E400 4MATIC wagon, choose the Volvo.

New York International Auto Show 2018
New York International Auto Show 2018 / Anadolu/GettyImages

3. Mini Cooper John Cooper Works GP III

Anyway, on to something slightly more insane. Admittedly, I didn’t know much about this until recently, but it only dawned on me writing that if you want the most insane daily driver that you can buy, with around 300 horsepower, look no further than the Mini Copper JCW GP.

For more or less $35,000 if you’re American or £30,000 in the UK, you can get yourself a Mini Cooper with 2 seats, a whole host of chassis bracing in the boot, and a huge wing on the back.

But here’s the thing, the John Cooper Works GP isn’t a completely unusable track day car. You still get a lot of the comforts you’d expect in a BMW product. You still get: A nicely finished dashboard, a nicely sized infotainment screen, Alcantara finished bucket style seats, air con (which you wouldn’t necessarily expect in a car built to be track ready), and a reasonably large glove compartment. With this Cooper only having 2 seats you also get a large space for cargo in the back too and the rear brace can sort of act as a cargo divider to stop things from sliding into the front seats. Oh, and as an option you can get your seats heated too.

As well as a comfortable enough interior the Mini does pretty well for gas too, drive carefully enough and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find your miles per gallon in the mid-30s.

I don’t know if there is a scientific reason behind it but every single car on this list so far seems to get to 60 in 5.2 seconds, and the Mini is no different. However, unlike the other cars on this list, all 301 horsepower are channeled through the front wheels, leaving it open to torque steer when you launch and understeer around corners. Either way if you’re looking for a useable track-ready car the Cooper JCW GP III is a great (and probably one of very few) options.

Salon Privé 2023 Returns To Blenheim Palace With A Line-up Of The World's Finest Car Brands
Salon Privé 2023 Returns To Blenheim Palace With A Line-up Of The World's Finest Car Brands / John Keeble/GettyImages

4. Alpine 110s

I am aware the A110 in general is on the pricier side but my god it’s worth it. Firstly, how many Alpines have you seen on the road? That’s right none, and if you’re like me, fatigued with the big three German brands this will be right up your street. Out of the cars in this list, the Alpine A110s is the best driving experience and the most unique.

But let’s start with performance, which is what we’re all here for. Every car so far has been pretty close 0-60, only varying on quality of ride and handling.

The A110s has less power than every car on this list, with 296bhp, it also has the lowest displacement, with just a tiny 1.8 litre 4-cylinder engine. However, it blows all of the others on this list out of the water, finally ending the streak of 5.2 seconds to 60. The little French cult classic launches to 60 in just 4.1 seconds, and will carry on all the way to 162 miles per.

And here’s the thing- On a longer journey it just doesn’t feel like you’re driving a low-slung, performance car. The only time you remember that you’re in something special is when you realise everyone is looking and taking photos and wondering what it is you’re sitting in, as a lot of the general public just aren’t aware of Alpine as a brand. The A110, especially in the San Remo ‘73 livery option is one of the most eye-catching cars on the road.

Inside the A110s is everything you’d want too. You get: Sabelt bucket seats, which are really comfortable, especially on longer journeys, a screen gauge cluster, which I’m not typically a fan of, but the layout looks really good in the A110s, especially when you put it in to sports mode, to add to this you also get actual carbon fibre (not carbon effect) on the dashboard, backs of the seats and in the centre console, which makes your interior feel much more premium than plastic or even a leather finished interior.

The even bigger upside to Alpine ownership, is that it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to own either, filling up is pretty cheap and on a longer journey in one a few days ago, we averaged around 45 miles per gallon, which is extremely impressive from a car that is almost touching entry-level supercars in the acceleration department. The Alpine is essentially a car that will get you the attention of a supercar without all the headaches of owning a supercar. When it comes to crazy the French are usually responsible, however on this occasion the French have managed to be sensible, whilst creating something easy to live with day to day.