Cheapest fast cars to insure

Looking for something big on performance but little on insurance? These speedy but cheap-to-insure machines should be just the ticket

James Wilson
Nov 13, 2020

Fast cars and cheap insurance rarely go together - but there is good news for speed freaks on a budget, as not all high-performance cars have sky-high insurance premiums. Yes, small, cheap city cars with less power than a lawnmower are typically much cheaper to insure than potent sports cars, but there are great deals to be found on a number of quick cars.

It may cost £326 to insure a slow and unexciting Citroen C1 but that could leap to a hefty £1,091 to insure the rapid BMW M2 Competition (with the same insurance terms). However, there is another BMW 2 Series that is very nearly as quick as the M2 that could be far cheaper to insure. The BMW M235i.

The M235i (a car which sits one rung below the M2 in the 2 Series range) would only cost £609 for the year. Not bad for a car that will go from 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds - barely any slower than the 4.4 seconds required for the M2 and miles better than the 14 seconds taken by the Citroen. So, choose the M235i and you get more than four times the power of the Citroen for less than twice the insurance cost. Sounds reasonable to us...

Getting a feel for how car insurance premiums should stack up for different models can be tricky - but the basics are pretty simple. Cars like the C1 are often relatively simple and sold in large numbers (meaning parts are generally cheap) and relatively slow (meaning less chance of the driver losing control) - traits insurers consider favourably. The opposite is generally true of performance cars and pricier models. They are normally expensive to fix, sold in low numbers and incredibly fast - i.e. an insurer’s worst nightmare.

As we've proven with the BMW M235i example above, though, choose wisely and you can find exciting, fast and desirable cars that cost less to insure than you'd expect. So below we've rounded up cars which offer an impressive amount of speed for their insurance costs - making them appealing whether you're a young driver looking for as much power as possible or you simply want the cut your insurance bill as much as possible.

Aside from being relatively cheap to insure, the cars we've chosen are readily available for less than £20,000 (or around £300 per month on PCP finance) and come with the kind of performance that will blow you away. Click here to see the details used to generate the insurance quotes shown.

Fast cars with cheap insurance

1. Mini Clubman Cooper S

Used deals from £12,950
Monthly finance from £215

Premium £389Excess £500
0-62mph 7.2 secondsPower 192hp

 

The Mini Clubman sits within a very busy and competitive market of speedy hatchbacks, but it stands out from the crowd thanks to its funky styling and enjoyable driving experience. The Cooper S version go one step further thanks to their impressive performance credentials courtesy of a punchy turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine producing nearly 200hp. It's even surprisingly cheap to insure - the cheapest in our line up here.

Both manual and automatic gearboxes are available, plus, for those who want maximum grip in slippery conditions, four-wheel drive models are on offer, too - these are badged as ‘All4’. Mini prides itself on the number of personalisation options it offers, so it can seem like no two Clubmans are the same - perfect if you want a car that is a little different to everything else on the road.

MINI CLUBMAN BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Suzuki Swift Sport

Used deals from £6,499
Monthly finance from £127

Premium £400Excess £450
0-62mph 9.1 secondsPower 129hp

 

The current Suzuki Swift Sport is all about fun that doesn’t cost the earth. In fact, it's very earth-conscious thanks to a mild hybrid system that helps to reduce emissions and boost fuel economy. That said, the 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine under the bonnet is at its best when worked hard, punting the Swift along with enthusiasm, which does fuel consumption no favours.

Out on the open road, the steering and suspension are well-judged and should put a smile on a keen driver’s face given a few twists and turns to tackle. Supporting the Swift Sport’s engaging driving experience is a number of sporty styling features - such as dual exhaust tips sticking out of the rear bumper and a pair of racy front seats. Despite these, it's still super cheap to insure.

SUZUKI SWIFT BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Abarth 124 Spider

Used deals from £17,995
Monthly finance from £274

Premium £400Excess £500
0-62mph 6.8 secondsPower 170hp

 

Abarth - Fiat's high-performance sister brand - did an excellent job with the 124 Spider. It sounds brilliant, it handles excellently and it's pretty quick, too. Part of Abarth’s success is thanks to the Italian carmaker striking a deal with Mazda so it could build its 124 using many of the same components that go into making the Mazda MX-5. This is no bad thing as the MX-5 is a superb two-seater roadster.

Every Abarth 124 Spider is powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine that produces around 170hp but there is the choice between a manual and an automatic gearbox - for thrills, the former is the best option. It looks the part, too, especially with the ‘Heritage Look’ option, which adds a matte black bonnet and boot lid. It may be a two-seat sports car, but with an insurance premium of £400, the 124 Spider is also surprisingly inexpensive to insure.

ABARTH 124 SPIDER BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Peugeot 308 GTI by PeugeotSport

Used deals from £13,398
Monthly finance from £218

Premium £561Excess £500
0-62mph 6.0 secondsPower 270hp

 

Thanks to some serious bits of go-faster technology, the 308 GTI by PeugeotSport is a great option for those who want a hot hatchback that is exciting to drive, seriously fast and still not too pricey to insure.

It isn’t all go and no show, either, as some models are available with a striking split colour scheme where one half of the car is either red, blue or white and the other half is black (this is referred to as ‘Coupe Franche’ by Peugeot). You may love or hate this look, but if you want your cheap fast car to insure to really stand out, this is one definite way of achieving that.

One thing to bear in mind with the 308 is its interior. It comes with something Peugeot calls 'i-Cockpit', which refers to the setup of a tiny steering wheel with the driver’s dials (such as the speedometer) being viewed over the wheel. This differs from most cars where you typically have a bigger steering wheel with dials that you look at through the wheel. Some love this, others hate it. If you're considering a 308 GTI, therefore, it's worth having a close look at the interior pictures to see whether you like the look of this or not.

PEGUEOT 308 BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Skoda Octavia vRS

Used deals from £12,099
Monthly finance from £190

Premium £562Excess £500
0-62mph 8.0 secondsPower 184hp

 

A diesel-powered fast car that is worth buying? Yes, we're serious. While diesel engines have historically been best suited to vans, buses and boring motorway cruisers - where economy is prioritised over performance - Skoda has made some rather fast diesels and one of the best is the Octavia vRS.

Diesel vRS Octavias come into their own for those who enjoy being able to overtake easily without having to work the engine hard, or constantly change gear. This means they are ideal for whizzing away from slower traffic when pulling away from roundabouts, for instance, without having to try too hard. 

If you want your fast, cheap car to insure to be seriously practical, too, estate versions are available in addition to the already practical hatchback version. Meanwhile, you can also choose between manual and automatic gearboxes, go for a petrol-powered model or one with four-wheel drive for added grip when accelerating.

SKODA OCTAVIA BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Mazda MX-5 RF

Used deals from £15,098
Monthly finance from £231

Premium £488Excess £500
0-62mph 7.4 secondsPower 160hp

 

What do you get if you cross one of the best sports cars in history with a metal folding roof? The Mazda MX-5 RF. The MX-5 has never come with mind-boggling power figures, but instead it prioritises simplicity and light weight - meaning that it doesn't need massive engines to be fast. The MX-5 is also famed for offering impressive roadholding abilities that mean it can carry plenty of speed into and out of corners without careering off the road.

Opt for the 160hp 2.0-litre petrol MX-5 RF and the car sprints to 62mph in a brisk 7.4 seconds, though the less powerful 1.5-litre version is a great option, too if you don't need something so quick. For those wanting the most power, Mazda revised the MX-5’s 2.0-litre engine in late 2018, boosting power to just over 180hp and making it feel notably quicker.

Aside from great performance the MX-5 remains a relatively simple car - which no doubt helps it to be pretty cheap to insure for a sports car - but it still comes with enough creature comforts to keep most drivers happy.

MAZDA MX-5 RF BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Audi S3

Used deals from £16,050
Monthly finance from £266

Premium £604Excess £500
0-62mph 4.8 secondsPower 300hp

 

The fact the Audi S3 can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds says it all, really - this everyday German hatchback is seriously quick and can out-accelerate a Porsche Cayman - one of the finest sports cars on sale. Such ridiculous pace is thanks to a couple of things. Firstly, the S3’s turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine produces a substantial 300hp. Secondly, the standard-fit four-wheel drive system ensures that power is delivered to whichever wheels have the most grip. Thirdly, an impressive automatic gearbox is available and ensures super-fast gear changes.

Away from the performance numbers, the Audi S3 is rather good to drive, which, believe it or not, is more than can be said for many other fast Audis - some of which can be too big and heavy to feel truly sporty. On top of this, the S3’s interior is excellent as the materials are of high quality and the design is classy. Though it may be fast, the S3 is also reasonably inexpensive to insure.

AUDI S3 BUYERS' GUIDE

8. BMW M235i/M240i

Used BMW M235i deals from £16,199
Monthly finance from £262
Used BMW M240i deals from £19,399
Monthly finance from £273
Premium £609Excess £500
0-62mph 4.8 secondsPower 326hp

 

The BMW M235i may be the most powerful car on this list - and the joint fastest, along with the S3 above - but it costs our example driver barely £600 to insure. That's nothing for a car that is seriously quick, features a tuneful and muscular 3.0-litre engine and sends power to the rear wheels, giving it a sporty feel that makes it fun to drive around corners.

BMW did an excellent job with the M235i and then the very similar M240i which replaced it. Not only are they fast in a straight line and around corners, but they will comfortably cruise down the motorway for hour after hour. Few sporty small cars feel so luxurious.

Inside there is the kind of cabin that people have come to expect from a high-end brand such as BMW including a very slick multimedia system and quality materials on all the elements you touch most - including the steering wheel and gear lever. For those wondering what the differences between the M235i and M240i are, they aren’t huge - the biggest change is that the M240i comes with a different engine that produces around 15hp more with a greater dose of low-engine-speed muscle. Manual and automatic gearboxes are available and both suit the car well.

BMW 2 SERIES BUYERS' GUIDE

EXAMPLE CAR INSURANCE TERMS: Policy: Fully comprehensive, paid annually, covering 7,000 miles per year and social, domestic, pleasure and commuting purposes. Driver: a 28-year-old male administrator living in Marlow, Buckinghamshire who has held a full UK driving licence for 10 years and has seven years’ no claims bonus, with his father as a named driver. The car is parked in a work car park during the day and on a driveway at night. The main driver has no motoring convictions.

 

Latest best cars & vans

  1. Best cars for toddlers

  2. Best cars for potholed roads

  3. Best cars for performance

What our customers say