Feel the need for speed? Check out these sporty cars.
Sports car owners pick their set of wheels for a variety of reasons. For example, you might think the throaty thrum of a muscular engine is music to your ears. Or maybe you prize the nimble handling and quickness that set many sports cars apart from sedans and luxury cars.
Regardless of what pops into your mind when you think of the best sports cars, there’s something on our list of the 9 best sports cars that’s guaranteed to pick up your pulse. Our picks are based on CarMax sales data from January 2017 through January 2018.
The BMW Z4 is a two-seat roadster that matches luxury and elegance with lots of sporty attitude. Do you yearn for the feel of the wind in your hair? The easy-folding hard top on the 2015 BMW Z4 SDrive35i really opens up the spacious cabin to the elements.
You have a choice of four- and six-cylinder engines with the Z4 — either turbocharged or naturally aspired, depending on the model year. The 2016 BMW Z4 SDrive28i, for example, gives you a 2.0L turbocharged engine that’s good for 240 hp. And not surprisingly, this Z4 comes with luxurious standard features like memory seats that can be adjusted in 10 different ways and an intuitive climate control system.
Last year, the Subaru BRZ got its biggest update since its introduction in 2013. The 2017 Subaru BRZ is still a two-door coupe, and it still seats four (the backseaters will be comfiest if they’re kid-sized). The suspension got some tweaks to help it hug the corners better, and there’s an available performance package that comes with bigger Brembo® brakes for added stopping power, which let you hit the twisties with more confidence.
The 2017 Subaru BRZ gives you three trim levels to choose from: Premium, Limited, and Series. With all trim levels, this rear-wheel-drive sports car comes standard with a 2.0L four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. This combination gives you plenty of power and responsive handling.
You can expect a 2016 Subaru BRZ to reach 60 mph from a stop in just over six seconds (stickshift version). A 2017 Subaru BRZ, when equipped with the standard 2.0L, four-cylinder engine and a snappy six-speed manual transmission, gets an estimated 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.1
The Subaru WRX takes the vision of what usually comprises the best sports cars — two doors, rear-wheel drive, and two passengers – and turns it on its head. A five-passenger sedan, the 2017 Subaru WRX Premium is powered by a four-cylinder, turbocharged engine. In our Subaru WRX review, we loved this four-door’s six-speed stickshift and nimble handling.
For 2017, the WRX retains its precise steering and nimble handling. Its all-wheel drive gives you additional traction that helps to minimize any power loss should you spin the wheels coming out of a turn on slick terrain.
New for 2017 is a "Retractable Fastback" option for the Mazda MX-5 Miata. In addition to this sports car's low-slung body and sleekly powerful lines, you'll like the fact that you can retract the roof at an intersection before the stoplight changes from red to green. Rather than stowing completely away, only the rear window and overhead roof panel disappear. It’s a classy look for a two-seater. If you have your heart set on a soft top, you can also choose one (as a manually-folding option).
Available in three trim levels, the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata is powered by a standard 2.0L four-cylinder engine that delivers 155 hp. While the Sport trim level comes with black cloth-trimmed sport seats, the Club version adds red accent stitching. If you want to sink into supple leather seats, opt for the Grand Touring trim level.
If classic sports car styling is what gets your heart racing, the 2017 Nissan 370Z delivers. The coupe and convertible models come standard with a V6 engine that's situated farther back on the car's frame. This more-balanced weight distribution gives it a maneuverability that you'll love.
If you’re a sports car purist, opt for the 370z’s available six-speed manual transmission. You can also sit back and let the seven-speed automatic do the shifting for you. For a bump in horsepower to 350 ponies – as well as some serious racecar looks — opt for the Nismo coupe-only model.
Since its introduction to the US market in 1983, the Volkswagen Golf GTI has gained an almost iconic status. It folds sporty styling, a powerful engine, and a generous cargo area into a compact body. A four-door hatchback (two-door GTIs were phased out at the end of the 2016 model year), the 2017 GTI is offered in four trim levels.
As a front-wheel-drive sports car, the 2017 Volkswagen GTI S comes with a 2.0L, turbocharged four-cylinder engine as standard equipment. If you want more horsepower under the hood of this compact powerhouse, choose a Sport, SE, or Autobahn trim level, which bumps your hp to 220.
All-American sports car fans can’t go wrong with the Chevrolet Corvette. This two-seater, sporty car is available either as a low-slung and graceful coupe or as a convertible. New for 2017 is a Grand Sport trim level that joins the base Stingray, Stingray Z51, and Z06 trim levels. The 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray coupe comes with a roof panel that you can remove and store in the trunk. Choose the convertible and experience the car's power soft top, that can be operated while you're driving.
The 2017 Stingray base model comes standard with a powerhouse of a V8 engine that's paired with a seven-speed manual transmission. Even though there's a lot of power (455 hp!) under the hood, you won't feel jostled. Because of the attention to comfort, you'll enjoy the snug experience of feeling like you're in the cockpit of a fighter jet.
The Chevrolet Camaro was fully redesigned in 2016, and it’s steadily evolving into a sports car with the beating heart of a muscle car. The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS, with its 6.2L, V8 engine, can roar from zero to 60 in under four seconds.
Even though it's quick and powerful, the Camaro handles precisely and responsively. When shifting, the car is nimble and adept, making your work commute something to look forward to. The front seats are comfortable, and the interior is awash with high-quality materials.
The Ford Mustang is another all-American sports car with more than 50 years of history behind it and a range of engine options for your taste and budget. The Mustang offers plenty of zip and responsive handling as both a commuter car and a weekend ride If you like your Mustangs noisy and full of adrenaline-charged fun, there’s one very special trim for you — check out our review of the Ford Mustang GT350. This model is sure to be a future classic, and Mustang fans love it.
As a four-seater, the Mustang makes it easy for you to cart the kids around while still enjoying a sports car body style and pep. The Track Apps feature, found on trims like the 2017 Ford Mustang GT, lets you automatically measure lap times and other data, while the rearview camera available on newer model years makes backing into those tight parking spaces a breeze.
(Very) honorable mentions
No list of the best sports cars would be complete without mentioning these high-performing two-seaters, which were also top-sellers last year:
After reading through this roundup of the best sports cars, you might still have questions about which is the best sports car for you. Check out these additional resources.
1 Fuel economy figures are based on EPA estimates when vehicles sold as new. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history. Unless specified, figures are for vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission. See fueleconomy.gov for details.
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.