Get ready for a thrilling drive.

Best Affordable Sports Cars | CarMax

Add some fun and flair to your commute and weekend drives courtesy of a beautiful and high-performance sports car. If you've ever dreamed of owning a sports car, that dream is more realistic than ever thanks to a plethora of affordable cars designed to create a thrilling and unforgettable driving experience.

To help you with your search, we've compiled a list of the 10 best affordable sports cars for 2020 (with average prices less than $30,000), based on CarMax vehicle and sales data from August 1, 2019 through January 31, 2020. Please be aware that certain model years and upper trim configurations could bring the prices of some of these vehicles over the average price.1

  1. Nissan 350Z
  2. BMW Z4
  3. Subaru BRZ
  4. Mazda MX-5 Miata
  5. Nissan 370Z
  6. Volkswagen GTI
  7. Mini Cooper Countryman
  8. Subaru WRX
  9. Chevrolet Camaro
  10. Ford Mustang


Nissan 350Z

Best Affordable Sports Cars: Nissan 350Z | CarMax

Get ready for a zippy ride in your very own Z car. Though the 350Z coupe was discontinued after the 2008 model year (the roadster in 2009), it's nonetheless a fun and affordable sports car that boasts the timeless, aggressive look you expect from a two-seat thrill ride. The 2008 model is powered by a standard 3.5L six-cylinder engine that makes 306 hp. The base 2008 350Z boasts the following features:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Bi-Xenon® HID headlights and LED taillights
  • Remote entry
  • Cloth upholstery
  • Eight-way manual driver seat adjustments



Best Affordable Sports Cars: BMW Z4 | CarMax

After a two-year hiatus from 2017 to 2018, the 2019 BMW Z4 roadster is back and bold as ever. As with the 2016 model year, the 2019 version keeps things simple, fun, and powerful, with a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 255 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque through a rear-wheel drive layout and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The standard 2019 sDrive30i includes the following standard features:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Run-flat tires
  • Automatic climate control
  • BMW iDrive® infotainment system
  • Vernasca Magma Red leather seats


Subaru BRZ

Best Affordable Sports Cars: Subaru BRZ | CarMax

Sports car fun isn't all about power. In fact, it's really about balance and drive—the combination of a light, well-balanced vehicle with the right type of layout and powerplant. The 20172019 Subaru BRZ is a great example. It's a thrilling driving experience that comes courtesy of a rear-wheel drive two-seater powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder boxer engine that delivers 205 hp. Have fun carving corners. Standard features from 2017–2019 model years include:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Power windows
  • 6.2-inch touchscreen
  • Bluetooth® capability
  • USB port
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel


Mazda MX-5 Miata

Best Affordable Sports Cars: Mazda MX-5 Miata | CarMax

The Mazda MX-5 Miata has a simple and successful formula: all things in balance. This is the small car that offers sports car thrills in a two-seat, rear-wheel drive package. You'll love the feel of the current generation, which debuted in 2016—a pure driver's car. The 2019 model is powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder engine making 181 hp. Standard features for 2017–2019 include:

  • 16-inch wheels
  • Bluetooth capability
  • Six-speaker sound system
  • Rearview camera (2019)
  • Tilt/telescoping steering wheel (2019)


Nissan 370Z

Nissan 370Z | CarMax

The rear-drive Nissan 370Z offers a classic vibe and a distinctly modern driving experience. If you want something that really turns heads as you roar past, this is a great choice. The base model has a 3.7L V6 engine that delivers 332 hp, while the NISMO model offers 350 hp and 276 lb.-ft. of torque. Standard features from 2017–2019 model years include:

  • 18-inch wheels
  • Rearview camera
  • Bluetooth capability
  • LED daytime running lights
  • HID headlamps

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Volkswagen GTI

Volkswagen Golf GTI | CarMax

Now in its seventh generation, the Volkswagen GTI hot hatch boasts an ideal combination of practical body style with an outrageously fun-to-drive package. The 2017-2019 models come standard with a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 228 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. That's mated to a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (six-speed on 2017 models). Model years 2017–2019 have standard features that include:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • All-wheel drive
  • Cloth seat upholstery
  • 6.5-inch touchscreen
  • Rearview camera


Mini Cooper Countryman

Best Affordable Sports Cars: Mini Cooper Countryman | CarMax

With sports-car performance in the practical package of a compact utility vehicle, the Mini Cooper Countryman is an excellent hot hatch if you want to run errands quickly and with pizzazz. Base model powerplants get three-cylinder engines with 134 hp, while the S model gets a boost to a turbocharged four-cylinder that generates 189 hp. The John Cooper Works variant gets a higher-output turbo four-cylinder that makes 228 hp—this is the model you want if you're looking for a sports-car feel in a crossover package. Standard features for 2017–2019 model years include:

  • 17-inch wheels
  • Bluetooth capability
  • Dual-panel sunroof
  • Synthetic leather upholstery
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel


Subaru WRX

Best Affordable Sports Cars: Subaru WRX | CarMax

Thanks to all-wheel drive and a 300+ hp turbocharged engine in a compact car body, the Subaru WRX can take you to the thrilling realm of raw power and overall performance. Base models from 2017–2019 model years offer up a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine that produces 268 hp. The 2017 STI models make 305 hp, and the 2019 model gets a boost of up to 310 hp. For 2017–2019 model years, standard features include:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Brembo® brakes (2017-2019 models)
  • Limited-slip front and rear differentials (2017-2019 models)
  • 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ compatibility


Chevrolet Camaro

Best Affordable Sports Cars: Chevrolet Camaro | CarMax

From V8 power to retro-muscle styling, the Camaro offers a sports car experience for just about anyone. Engines range from four to eight cylinders, starting with a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder (275 hp), a 3.6L V6 (335 hp), 6.2L V8 (455 hp), and a 6.2L supercharged V8 engine (640-650 hp – ZL1 models only). Standard features from 2017- 2019 include:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Power driver seat
  • Seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
  • Rearview camera


Ford Mustang

Best Affordable Sports Cars: Ford Mustang | CarMax

From the day it debuted in 1965, the Ford Mustang has boasted incredible performance, design, and driving enthusiasm. Refreshed in the 2015 model year, 2017-2019 models have the following engine choices: a base 2.3L turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine (310 hp), or a 5.0L V8 (435 hp – 2017 / 460 hp – 2019 models, GT). The Mustang is a great choice if you want something easily recognizable with both V8 and turbocharged engine options. Standard features across 2017-2019 model years include:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Rear parking sensors
  • LED headlights
  • Keyless ignition
  • Bluetooth capability

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1Based on prices on carmax.com from May 1, 2019 through October 31, 2019. Actual prices may vary based on your selected model year, features and trim packages. Prices do not include taxes, tags, titles, and any applicable fees.
Unless otherwise noted, information relating to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.