Bang for your buck: The top power-for-pound performance cars

Like your cars with a bit of oomph? Well as important as a car’s power to weight ratio is, at ContractHireAndLeasing we’re more concerned with your power to pound ratio.

If you're a fan of all things fast and like getting your money's worth, just how much bang for your buck can you get if you lease?

Top left clockwise: Volkswagen Golf R, BMW M140i, Audi S4, Skoda Octavia vRS, Seat Leon Cupra 300.

We’ve had a peruse of the deals on our site right now to see just how much power you can get for your money. For argument’s sake, we’ll use brake horse power (bhp) as our unit of measurement, and only concern ourselves with models that class themselves as performance variants. Our aim was to find five with bhp outputs that match (or better) their monthly cost.

It’s not as easy as it sounds, but we managed it – here’s our top five bang for your buck lease cars…

Seat Leon Cupra 300 – 296bhp for less than £296 per month

Seat Leon Cupra 300

This year has seen some fantastic deals on the Seat Leon, and that’s the case whether you’re after an entry-level 1.2-litre SE or the full-fat performance variant we’re dealing with here. The Cupra 300 is actually the fastest road car the Spanish manufacturer has ever made – and it’s a bit of a bargain.

That 300 actually stands for PS, which equates to 296bhp. Happily, you’ll find the three-door, five-door and estate versions of the Cupra 300 are all available for less than £296 per month and, with a sporty bodykit and a class-leading suspension set-up, it stands up well against the likes of the mighty Golf. Speaking of which…

Volkswagen Golf R – 306bhp for less than £306 per month

Volkswagen Golf R

As nice as the Seat is, it’s the Volkswagen Golf R that remains king of the hot hatches – as far as Volkswagen Group products go anyway. This is a point that’ll be easily proved in a quarter-mile drag race; a recent power boost from 297bhp to 306bhp now means that Golf Rs fitted with the DSG semi-auto gearbox fly from 0 to 62mph in a ridiculous 4.6 seconds – that’s up there with many AMG- and M-badged products.

But can this 300bhp+ beast be had for £306 per month? While the GTI is easily accessible on that kind of budget, you may be surprised to hear the R is too – yes, personal lease deals standard for less than £300 per month. Great value.

Skoda Octavia vRS – 245bhp for less than £245 per month

Skoda Octavia vRS 245

If you were worried this was turning into a hot hatch rumble, fear not – the Skoda Octavia vRS is a more practical proposition. Ok, it’s not as potent as the hyper hatches above, but its 245bhp still ensures the petrol version gets from 0 to 62mph in less than seven seconds – not to be sniffed at. And now for the best part…

Octavia vRS personal lease deals current start from way less than £200 per month – that’s a significant amount less than its power output. But its bang for buck factor doesn’t stop at the engine – add its cavernous 590-litre boot into the mix (610 litres in the estate) and it’s difficult to think of more car that’s available for that kind of money.

Audi S4 – 345bhp for less than £345 per month

Audi S4

We’ll admit we’re pushing our power to pound limits with this one. It is yet another vehicle from Volkswagen Group’s stable, but as VG cars go, Audi is the nobility, and its standard A4 saloon is one of the best on the market, so you’d be correct in thinking that the S4 really is the crème de la crème of the fast compact-exec market.

Its 3.0-litre bi-turbo V6 provides mad levels of power when you need it (345 braked horses of power to be precise) but it’s also rather subtle as performance cars go, and we quite like that. The engine is the main talking point, but it’d be wrong not to mention the interior as well – beautifully put together, full of the latest tech, and being the S4 means it can be specced with stunning gloss and carbon fibre trim pieces.

BMW M140i – 335bhp for less than £335 per month

BMW M140i

And now for the car that’s probably the truest performance car on this list. Based on the 1 Series hatch, the 140i gets BMW’s legendary M-moniker, and they generally don’t stick that on anything that doesn’t really deserve it. As such, it gets six cylinders rather than four like the other hatches on this list. It’s a bit of an anomaly in this era of downsizing, but the result is a brutish 335bhp.

The M140i utilises a good old rear-wheel drive platform too, a marker of a “true driver’s car” if ever there was one. You might say that ALL BMWs are designed to be a true driver’s car, but it’s the M140’s nigh-on perfect weight distribution that puts it a cut above the rest. And honestly, the resulting handling and feel behind the wheel is equal – if not more – important than the six-cylinder’s 4.6-second 0-62mph time.

The most appealing factor of them all however, is that for lessees, a 140i can be had for less than £335 per month…

Mercedes A45 AMG – 376bhp for less than £376 per month

Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG

We know there’s an all-new A-Class coming next year, but the current model is still one of the best hatchbacks on the market and, in A45 AMG guise, it’s possibly the ultimate ‘hyper hatch’. Since we put this list together, A Class deals have been coming down in price, so much so that this incredibly quick 376bhp variant can now be leased for less than £376 per month!

0-62 mph will take just 4.2 seconds, easily making it the quickest car on this list. It may not be quite as nimble as the Focus RS in the corners, but for outright speed, no hatchback can beat it. Its all-wheel-drive system, smooth automatic gearbox and premium cabin make it a practical day-to-day proposition too. It just happens to be a practical day-to-day proposition with a top speed of 155mph.

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