Cheap for a reason? We’d aim a little higher up the food chain and splurge a little. It’s a trick that can save you tons of money in the long run. One of the best values sports car Money can buy you, the Porsche 718 is a good example. Undercutting his bigger brother might seem like a good deal. That is until you read about the nagging ongoing problems owners suffer. Therefore, the additional sales bonus makes perfect sense.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The high-profile Chevrolet C8 Corvette ranks last in consumer polls, tarnishing the supercar’s reputation and highlighting the Camaro’s superior value. Automakers are by and large fending off cost concerns with longer warranties. However, free repairs will still annoy owners. Property is a minefield.
10/10 Light thrill – Caterham Seven 620R
Removing everything that doesn’t help the Seven 620R stop-and-go makes this a winner. With minimal weight, the 620R can hit sixty in 3.2 seconds. Supercar owners should be careful. Those retro lines hide a powerful 2-litre Ford Duratec and a 310hp fan combo.
Sports cars don’t come much cheaper, the 620R in running form will set you back $62,000 less in kit form. The simple design comes with the added bonus of reliability. The Ford Duramax engine can last 500,000 miles.
9/10 The ultimate driving machine – BMW M2 CS
Just how much power is too much in a small two-door coupe isn’t a question BMW asked itself when making the M2 CS. It’s an approach more automakers should be taking. The M2 CS upgrade includes a number of transmission and suspension tweaks. But gearheads only buy the CS for its engine, in this case BMW’s 444-horsepower N55B.
At almost $100,000, the M2 CS seems a bit pricey for a two-door coupe. But to put things in perspective you’d have to double that number to go faster, the M2 has a top speed of 174mph. The durability of the BMW is backed by a 3-year unlimited mileage warranty.
8/10 Cheaper than a Huracan – Audi R8
Alongside the $300,000+ Huracan, Audi’s R8 is a steal at $161,000. Both cars come with a 5.2-liter V10 engine that delivers power figures north of 500 hp. Which is the better looking car comes down to personal choice. At one track, the Audi R8 has to play second fiddle to the Italian, but who gets regular access to a track?
For everyday use, the Audi is a more viable prospect, backed by Audi’s 3-year/50,000-mile warranty. The only downside is that the boisterous V10 happily drinks premium petrol.
7/10 Old School Noise – Jaguar F-Type Convertible
Big Jaguars attract big bills is a common misconception. The F-Type could be on the way with Jaguar’s end of production in 2023. But there are still good reasons to buy one. Nothing delivers the same vocal range as the F-Type’s supercharged V8. The only remaining engine in the entire range, with up to 575 hp.
It’s an old-school approach that benefits the Jaguar, the F-Type is at its most exciting with a V8. However, gearheads have a long memory and Jaguar design has not always been the best. To address these concerns, the F-Type comes with 5 years of free maintenance.
6/10 User-friendly supercar – Porsche 911 Carrera
Porsche’s reputation as a “widowmaker” is a distant memory. The 911 has come of age, making the Carrera one of the most usable and exciting sports cars money can buy. But what might surprise gearheads is that for 102 grand you get surprising durability. The Porsche 911 came out on top in the 2022 JD Power survey.
Concerned that budget pricing reflects a compromise in performance? Don’t be, even entry-level Carreras are potent sports cars. Slung backwards, the Porsche’s flat-six squirts out 379 horsepower for a top speed of 182 mph.
5/10 Too cheap to pass up – Factory Five GTM
Build it and they will come. Factory Five is best known for making the highest quality Cobra replicas. Yet few gearheads will be aware that for the tiny sum of $25,000 they can build their own GTM supercar. The only additional costs are time and a suitable motor.
Two things will determine how cheap the GTM is to maintain. Skill in screwing things together and engine choice. We suspect that the former will be the bigger challenge. Factory Five developed the GTM with LS1/LS6 engines in mind. During testing with a 450-horsepower V8 under the hood, the car posted a 3-second 0-60 mph time.
4/10 Insanely fast, insanely cheap – Ultima EVO Convertible
At $122,000 for a kit, the Ultima EVO doesn’t come cheap. However, it is money well spent. The EVO is a 240-mile carbon fiber road racer. It’s not subtle. One only needs to see the two oversized tailpipes to understand that the EVO is all about speed.
Unlike other performance kits, Ultima provides everything needed to complete the EVOs build. Including a range of engines and power levels. Most EVOs come with reliable 480-700hp V8 engines. If that’s not enough, Ultima offers a supercharged version with 1020 hp.
3/10 More horses, more thrills – Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Muscle car, pony car or sports car? We let you decide. Most important is how many horses the GT500 has under the hood. Since the GT500’s introduction in 2020, Shelby tweaks have given Ford’s 5.2-liter V8 a mighty punch that unleashes 760 horsepower.
Fast forward to 2022 and Ford’s “Predator” remains the most powerful of the Blue Ovals. In the GT500, gearheads can expect a 0-60 mph time of 3.4 seconds. Reliability concerns rarely arise. But with Ford’s 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, you’re in safe hands.
2/10 Chevrolet’s best sports car – Camaro ZL1
Another debate between sports car and muscle car. The Camaro ZL1 boasts a retro-modern shape and enough grunt to rip your tires off. While the Corvette has a mid-engine layout, we’d take the classic rear-wheel drive Camaro any day. Not because it’s cheaper, but thanks to a 650hp 6.2-liter supercharged V8. It’s almost as fast.
The ride wasn’t always smooth. In 2021, the ZL1 suffered three recalls. Chevrolet has defied its goblins, however, and so far in 2022 the Camaro has been flawless.
1/10 Europe Only – Alpine A110R
Beautiful to look at and affordable for a pure two-seater sports car, the A110s is an excellent entry-level sports car. The bad news is that US transmissions will most likely never see the performance of the A110. Unfortunately, for unknown reasons, Alpine/Renault has no plans to export the A110 to US coasts. Personal import anyone?
Alpine’s first all-new sports car since the 1990s. The A110R resumed the French automaker’s earlier sporty form. Everything you see here is carbon fiber goodness and little else. However, the A110 does not lack a 1.8-liter turbocharger with up to 300 hp.