If you want the best possible driving experience, get a sports car. sports car offer the best designs, light bodies, the most advanced technologies, the best engineering and the most powerful engines, both visually and in terms of performance.
Unfortunately, sports cars also have the highest price tags, which is why budget-conscious gearheads end up not buying them. Fortunately, not all sports cars are expensive, especially those you find in the used car market. With a little research, you’ll find that there are still many decent sports cars today that you can buy cheap that are still fun to drive. Let’s look at some options.
10/10 Aston Martin DB9 – $37,000
When it comes to producing prestigious sports cars, few automakers can match Aston Martin. The legendary British brand is known for building beautiful sports cars with luxurious interiors and insanely powerful engines. However, the Aston Martin name often appears on lists of the most expensive British cars.
Astons aren’t meant to be affordable, but there are some models that are still within reach. The DB9 is one and what a fantastic car it is. The DB9 has all the styling cues to let anyone know straight away it’s an Aston, and a mighty V12 engine to power it. If the DB9 is too expensive, you can get its predecessor – the DB7 – for about half the price.
9/10 Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06 – $30,000
Now in its eighth generation, the Corvette shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon and we understand why. The Corvette has always offered a lot of performance for little money. The best affordable Corvette on the used market has to be the C6 Z06 model.
The C6 Corvette debuted in the mid-2000s with a fresh design that notably lacked pop-up headlights and had different engine options depending on the model. The C6 Z06 featured the largest small-block engine ever built – a 7.0-liter LS7 V8 with 505 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque.
8/10 Audi TT RS – $35,000
The late 90’s were a great time for gearheads who loved European sports cars as manufacturers built several affordable models. The TT was one of them and quickly became one of the most popular Audi models due to its eye-catching design, solid build quality and various reliable and efficient engine options.
However, for a sports car, many considered the TT to be slow, which is why the RS division built the TT RS. Powered by Audi’s new 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-five engine with 330 horsepower on tap, the TT RS was a lot more fun to drive than the base TT.
7/10 Porsche 911 (996) – $20,000
The 996 generation of the legendary Porsche 911 has to be one of the most unfairly treated vehicles of all time. The 996 debuted in the late ’90s with a refreshed design that ditched the round headlights that gearheads loved, which is why many hated it immediately. The 996 also marked Porsche’s switch from air-cooled to water-cooled engines.
For these reasons, the 996 is one of the cheapest Porsches you can buy today. Don’t let the price fool you, it’s still a 911 with the same driving characteristics that gearheads love on other generations.
6/10 Nissan 370Z – $25,000
Nissan recently introduced the latest version of the legendary Z series – the 400Z. We already love the 400Z, but if $40,000 seems like a lot to you, you can have its predecessor – the 370Z – for about half the price of the 400Z.
The 370Z enjoyed decades of successful production and was loved by many for its unique styling, powerful V6 engine and affordability. The 370Z offers around 350hp from stock, but as it’s one of the Japanese cars with the most aftermarket support, you can turn it into a monster.
5/10 Porsche Boxster 981 – $30,000
In the 1990s, Japanese automakers flooded foreign markets with cheap sports cars, forcing European manufacturers to rethink their strategy. As one of the first automobile manufacturers, Porsche reacted with the Boxster with its own entry-level sports car, which turned out to be a great success.
The Boxster has been in production since then and is now in its fourth generation. The third-generation model is still under $30,000, and considering it’s a modern Porsche with a 310-horsepower flat-six, it’s a great bargain.
4/10 Lotus Elise – $33,000
In the late 1990s, Lotus rewrote the formula for fun sports cars with the development of the Elise. Most people think that the most fun-to-drive sports cars have the most powerful engines, but the Elise has proved them wrong, as despite only making around 116hp it still offers an exciting driving experience.
The reason the Elise was so good was its lightweight body. The Elise had a fiberglass body on an aluminum chassis, resulting in a weight of just 1,598 lbs. This formula has not only made the Elise fun to drive, but it’s also why the car is affordable.
3/10 2012 Bentley Continental GT – $37,000
Bentley almost went bankrupt in the ’90s. Luckily, Volkswagen stepped in and took over Bentley to help him get back on his feet. The first car Bentley built after being taken over by Volkswagen was the Continental GT.
The Continental GT stunned gearheads with its design, size, spacious and ultra-luxe interior and monstrous W12 engine under the hood. The Continental GT quickly became the best-selling Bentley of all time, which is why early models are still affordable.
2/10 2009 Maserati GranTurismo – $28,000
Much hated for its questionable reliability of gearheads, the GranTurismo is still one of Maserati’s most successful models. We believe reliability largely depends on how well someone takes care of their car, and if you give the GranTurismo the love and attention it craves, you’ll have a pretty sweet ride on your hands.
Arguably the prettiest car on this list, the GranTurismo also has the power to back it up, as it has a Ferrari V8 engine under the hood. The latest GranTurismo costs a whopping $170,000, but early models cost a small fraction of that.
1/10 Mercedes-Benz SL R230 – $20,000
The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is one of the longest-running sports car models in history, having been produced in various guises since the 1954 R129 from the ’90s, and we can understand why – it had advanced technologies for its time and was powered by various over-engineered engines driven.
However, if you’re not a fan of the R129’s boxy design and are looking for a more rounded and modern SL, the R230 is a perfect choice for around the same price as the R129 or even less.