The affordable sports car has changed the way we look at automobiles. It used to be that the sports car was an exclusive vehicle that only an affluent person could afford. But the modern sports car has become a much more affordable option and the used sports car market has heated up in recent years.
Whether you want a turbocharged supercar or a one of a kind import, there's sure to be a car for you. The Porsche used to be the pinnacle of what a sports car should be, but that has since changed, and there have been many more affordable options to take its place. Cheap wheels don’t always have to be boring, and these cars showcase that.
Cheap sports cars have become a part of our culture. There are all kinds of tuner communities that specialize in creating a fun to drive car for less. Many of these affordable sports cars have come and gone but they still represent a stellar deal. If you enjoy driving, you want a car that will positively respond to you. Vehicles such as the Audi TT are built for the road and you can feel the performance every time you take them out of the garage.
We're going to take a look at some of the more unique and affordable performance cars to hit the market. These cars are more fun than a Porsche and cost a lot less too.
20 Ford Mustang
A car that needs no introduction is the Ford Mustang. These things have been around the block for a long time and there's no sign of slowing down for Ford. You can find more recent incarnations of the Mustang for an affordable price point. If you want one of the best models, you can opt for the 5.0 Fox-body, which was a stellar choice.
19 Mitsubishi 3000GT
The Toyota Supra often gets all the credit for being the twin-turbocharged Japanese sports car. But the 3000GT was a comparable option that will cost you a lot less. The 3000GT featured a comfortable interior with passenger seating in addition to a very limited edition hardtop convertible with AWD.
18 Chevrolet Corvette
The Corvette is a name that's synonymous with performance. Pack a big strong V8 into a lightweight, fun to drive design and you have a serious mix of fun. Corvette owners are in their class with these unique sports cars and you can get a decent condition C5 Corvette for an excellent price.
17 Audi TT
This entry was developed by Porsche at a time when the Porsche Boxster was just coming into the marketplace. The TT is a modern sports car even by today's standards that offers one of the best powertrains you can get. There's also a beautiful roadster edition that looks as wonderful as it performs.
16 Nissan 300ZX
The Z car is already a legendary performance coupe, but throw in the option of a twin-turbo, and you have a special mix. The 300ZX was a fun to drive sports coupe that hit the market during Nissan's rough period. The 300ZX was nimble and functional, which meant that you could drive it on more than just the track.
15 Fiat 500 Abarth
When the Fiat brand came back to America, people questioned the brand's first entry into the market. The Fiat 500 was a tiny little thing in a sea of large crossover vehicles. But the Abarth is a fun to drive sports version of the car that will take you on a wild ride.
14 Pontiac Solstice
The Pontiac Solstice was a great car that came into the world at the wrong time. It featured a turbocharged engine that could take on the best with a lightweight design. The Solstice hit the market at a time when the economy was in a downturn, and thus, sales were lackluster at best.
13 Dodge Stealth
There was a period when Dodge sold a twin-turbo powered sports car. The Stealth was based on the 3000GT and it offered a notable improvement over lower-end sports cars that were on the market. The Stealth was a notable success for the Dodge brand and you can still find these in great shape.
12 Chrysler Crossfire
There has never been another sports car quite like the Crossfire. It was based on the Mercedes SLK platform and featured a unique exterior style. With innovative features, such as a retractable spoiler and an SRT edition, the Crossfire stood out from the crowd.
But the car is rather rare because it was never a volume seller for Chrysler.
11 Pontiac GTO
The GTO was universally panned for its styling and lackluster driving characteristics. But in the used car market, there is not a better deal for an aluminum LS series engine. Later years saw a substantial jump in horsepower and the price for one of these on the used market is reasonable.
10 Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ
Although the Scion brand is no longer around, the FR-S was the final hurrah for the company. Replacing the slot of the Toyota Supra, the FR-S is an affordable sports car that offers stellar performance for the price. This car has been a great seller for Toyota, and there's a good deal of them on the market. It was also branded as the Subaru BRZ, which means that you can get the best of both worlds.
9 BMW Z3
Two characteristics of the BMW Z3 is that they’re nimble and fun to drive. You take a car that's this lightweight, you throw a BMW engine into the mix, and you have a seriously fun to drive car. The Z3 is known for its nimble, fun driving attributes and the low resale value is a strong selling point as well.
8 Subaru WRX
The WRX is one of the most legendary sports sedans in the world. Subaru has dominated the rally circuit for a long time with the WRX. You can find the WRX in a lot of different body styles from over the years. The interior is practical with lots of space and the engine is a one of a kind blend of performance.
7 Honda S2000
Honda is a company that isn't known for its performance cars. But the S2000 roadster was a step in a right direction for Honda. The S2000 featured a highly tuned version of the same engine that you’d find in an Accord. Coupled with the functional interior and the convertible top, the S2000 was a serious blend of functionality and sportiness that still looks good to this day.
6 Mazda Miata
Another blip in the sports car world is the Miata. These little sports cars are well-known for their fun to drive demeanor and functional interior. As the years have gone by, there has been a Mazda Speed edition of the car. In addition to other sports cars, the Miata stands out from the crowd as a fun to drive roadster.
5 Didn’t Live Up: BMW E36 M3
Here's the problem with this generation of the M3: maintenance. The car was fun to drive, for sure, but the maintenance costs were enough to drive any owner off of a cliff. Naturally, it can seem a bit overwhelming when you think about paying so much for repairs, and that's why the E36 just didn’t live up.
4 Didn’t Live Up: BMW M3 (E46)
The next generation of the M3 had its fair share of issues. Transmission problems seemed to be at the forefront of this generation. In addition to the transmission issues, there were also reported electrical issues from time to time, which would cause car issues. Still, in terms of general performance, the E46 was a pretty good choice.
3 Didn’t Live Up: Mazda RX-8
The RX-8 was probably one of the most hyped sports cars on the road, and with good reason. The RX-8 was marketed as the next generation RX-7 and this leads the buying public to snatch these things up like hotcakes. But reliability was a huge shortcoming for the RX-8 and many were in the shop as soon as 80,000 miles.
2 Didn’t Live Up: Mitsubishi Eclipse
The final generation of the Eclipse was probably the biggest redesign in the car's history. But the actual vehicle fell short in terms of performance and features. The die-hard Eclipse owners just were not going for the futuristic look, which might have been far too ahead of its time. It also didn’t help that the new Eclipse launched during a recession.
1 Didn’t Live Up: Nissan 370Z
The 370Z is perhaps one of the most outdated cars on the market right now. The car lacks many of the new features that sports cars have and this makes for a slightly outdated driving experience. It doesn’t help things out that the 370Z has a high price tag too, which tends to scare most buyers away.