With the release of Chevrolet's C8 Corvette, the public was left wondering how exactly GM planned to build a mid-engined supercar capable of hitting 60 miles per hour in under three seconds, all at a starting price under $60,000. The general consensus has been that there is simply no way a car can achieve those figures for that price without serious corner-cutting when it comes to build quality.
The sad truth is that with automobiles, as with anything, you get what you pay for. Though everyone wants a fun-to-drive, powerful sports car at some point in their lives, the realities of reliability and maintenance soon squash those feelings—for most drivers, anyway. There are some good buys out there, but they're few and far between.
Keep scrolling for 18 cars that are undoubtedly a blast to drive, but that will drain a wallet faster than their powerful engines drain a gas tank.
18 Nissan GT-R
The current Nissan GT-R may seem like a modern version of the Skylines that Paul Walker loved in the Fast and Furious franchise, but whereas those earlier models were bulletproof, the new version is hilariously fragile. Case in point is the transmission, which Nissan advertised for its launch control functions, but which also couldn't come close to handling the GT-R's massive torque output.
17 Cadillac CTS-V
Cadillac's identity crisis over the last two decades has been quite well documented, even if it has brought some downright awesome performance vehicles to the market. There just aren't many cars like the CTS-V station wagon, with its 556-horsepower V8. But Cadillac has consistently ranked last on Consumer Reports' list of reliable US brands.
16 Bugatti Veyron
Bugatti stunned the world with the Veyron in 2005. With a quad-turbocharged W16 engine producing over 1,000 horsepower, the Veyron combined power and luxury at previously unheard-of levels. But owners must have been pretty stunned to discover the maintenance costs of their new cars, with oil changes costing $20-25,000!
15 McLaren MP4-12C
McLaren has spent the last two decades building lightweight powerful cars that can excel during spirited driving. And they look great, too. With the MP4-12C having depreciated significantly, the supercar may seem like a steal on the secondhand market. But buyers beware: the transmission is quirky, while the electronics—like motion-sensing door handles—leave a lot to be desired.
14 Ferrari LaFerrari
Any Ferrari on the market, even stranger examples like the hatchback all-wheel-drive GTC4Lusso, is sure to bring a smile to every driver's face. But Ferrari is infamous in the automotive world for requiring expensive servicing on a regular basis. And that reputation was established before the release of the hybrid-gasoline powered (and extremely complex) LaFerrari.
13 Lamborghini Aventador
Lamborghini is another Italian builder of stunning supercars, but just like Ferrari, the company is well-known for its reliability issues. The Aventador may be a track-conquering monster, but its enormous V12 engine is equally likely to conquer the wallet of any owner. Plus, there's that fire recall that covered every Aventador, plus the Veneno.
12 Audi R8
Audi's R8 was the perfect car for Tony Stark to drive in Iron Man, though it would take someone with Stark's resources to keep an R8 on the road for an extended period of ownership. Sharing many parts with its sibling, the Lamborghini Gallardo, is a bad sign. A set of four shocks and an expansion tank for the R8 can run up to $17,000.
11 Lotus Elise
Lotus, much like its fellow British sports car builder, McLaren, is known for building nimble sports cars that prioritize handling over outright power. The Elise hit the US in its second generation and, especially when equipped with the Toyota engine, seems like a great buy. But just remember that the fragile exterior is paired with British electronics, so even some Toyota parts aren't going to keep things cheap.
10 Audi S4 Avant
There aren't many cars on the planet that can match the mid-2000s Audi S4 Avant and its combination of a V8 engine, six-speed stick shift, and all-wheel drive in a station wagon form. But the S4 Avant famously suffers from extreme reliability issues, most notably timing chain tensioners and cam adjuster made out of plastic.
9 Audi RS6
Audi may build beautiful cars, but they sure have issues with maintenance costs. One of the most potent sleepers ever to hit the market, there was little on the exterior of the mid-2000s RS6 to differentiate it from a basic sedan. But under the hood lurked a monstrous twin-turbocharged V8. Sadly, upgraded components to support that engine were so rare and costly that now, RS6 examples have depreciated to a ridiculous level.
8 BMW E92 335i
BMW enthusiasts simply couldn't believe their ears when the German manufacturer brought the E90-generation 3 Series to the market. The M3 had a V8 while the 335i had a twin-turbocharged inline-six. Any snobs who drove the cars became immediate converts, though the N54 engine in the 335i became famous for all kinds of niggling turbocharger problems.
7 Mercedes-Benz GT
Mercedes-Benz has upped their game over the last ten years or so, dominating headlines with both luxury models and sports cars that pair massive power with bold styling and sumptuous interiors. But as their awesome factor has increased, the reliability stats have tanked, sadly, and models like the GT supercar are known to be a nightmare to maintain.
6 BMW 328i
BMW's base-level 3 Series sedan should be a reliable commuter car that still offers a fair amount of grunt out of its inline-six engine, plus excellent weight distribution, as well. But the 328i models from the last few years have been turbo-fours that swelled in weight up to around 3,400 pounds—and their maintenance costs have skyrocked, too.
5 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Just like most UK-based automakers, Aston Martin has long been plagued by reliability concerns. Doug DeMuro famously bought one of the Aston Martin models that's supposed to be among their best in terms of build quality, the V8 Vantage, but his well-documented woes did not help Aston Martin's reputation in the least.
4 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
Dodge earned a ton of headlines with its insane Challenger SRT Demon track monster. The Demon offers upwards of 800 horsepower and is so potent, the NHRA banned it from drag strip racing. But nowadays, Dodge is asking owners to take it easy on their Demons, which makes sense given that they're essentially a Fiat in disguise.
3 Ford Mustang
Ford couldn't sit still and let Chevy take over the modern muscle car era with the introduction of the fifth-gen in 2009. And the modern Mustang has, in most regards, been stellar. Among the news about special-edition Shelby and Bullitt models, though, has been the revelation that these Mustangs are among the least reliable Fords ever built.
2 Volkswagen Touareg
Most people don't think of the Volkswagen Touareg as being fun to drive. But pair a V8—or, even better, a V10 TDI—with three locking differentials and air-lift suspension and there are few better vehicles for fun off the tarmac. Unfortunately, the Touareg is one of the least reliable vehicles ever built, with electrical gremlins galore and an engine bay layout that just about requires dropping the front end any time anything goes wrong.
1 Acura NSX
Honda and Acura's original NSX proved to the world that the Japanese carmaker could take Ferrari on at their own game by building a supercar for a fraction of the price. Plus, it was reliable as any old Honda, with many owners driving their cars for hundreds of thousands of worry-free miles. The new NSX missed the boat, though, and is now an expensive, overly-complex, hybrid-electric, three-engined supercar.
Sources: AutoTrader, Jalopnik, and Wikipedia.