For car enthusiasts, cars are everything, and no matter which one they like – be it JDM, muscle, European or off-road, to name a few – they all have a constant interest in building their own collections.
However, most enthusiasts are not multimillionaires who can go to auto shows and buy any car they want (I’m looking at you Shmee150) – and if they have the money to spend on a car, they will need to be aware of their budget. This is especially true when choosing sports cars, which cost an arm and a leg new, and heavily used sports cars won’t be on the reliable side. Examples of this: types of cars include Alfa RomeosBMWs and some Japanese sports cars.
So while sports cars are great, they will probably always be on the enthusiasts’ “one day” list. Alternatively, here’s a list of sports cars that won’t necessarily break the bank, yet are exciting enough to quench the endless thirst that every car enthusiast feels.
10 2010 Ford Mustang GT
The fifth generation Ford Mustang was one of the most popular versions of the legendary pony car to date. In production between 2004 and 2014, the S-197 Mustang sold nearly 850,000 units during its production run. The S-197 has been updated to the S-197-II in 2010 as part of the mid-term renewal.
The Mustang was available with V6 and V8 engines ranging from a 3.7-liter V6 in the base model to a supercharged 5.8-liter in the GT500. The most popular option was the GT, which was equipped with a 5.0-litre V8 in various power ratings. The Mustang GT is a great option and a brilliant entry into the world of muscle cars.
9 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Like the current Mustang, the Camaro has turned more into a sports car than a true muscle car. That was not the case with the previous generations of Camaro. The fifth generation Camaro was a popular car in the North American market and was reintroduced in 2009 after a 6-year hiatus as an all-new car.
The Camaro’s popularity has increased thanks to the first Transformers movie, in which Bumblebee took on the disguise of a yellow Camaro SS. The Camaro was available with a V6, or a range of V8 engines, with displacements ranging from 5.3 liters to 7.0 liters. The Camaro SS was the choice for many and as such it is more readily available model on the used market.
8 2010 Nissan 370Z
The Nissan 370Z was produced between 2009 and 2020. It was equipped with a superb 3.7-liter naturally aspirated V6, which produced approximately 330 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. The 370Z was available with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic transmission.
The 370Z was essentially an improved and updated version of the previous generation 350Z – just with better styling, handling and interior. The 370Z has huge tuning potential, where the engine can easily handle forced induction in the form of superchargers and turbos. It’s a great way to get into the wonderful world of Japanese cars.
7 2013 Dodge Challenger R/T
The Dodge Challenger is the only member of the American muscle car club that is still a true muscle car. While the current lineup includes a V6 and can be optionally equipped with four-wheel drive, the slightly older Challengers had a more old-school feel.
The range then is much the same as it is now, except for the Hellcat. The the best value for money model is the Challenger R/Twhich is equipped with a 375 hp 5.7 liter HEMI V8. The R/T was available with a choice of a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual, with the V8 featuring cylinder deactivation technology for better fuel economy.
6 2002 BMW 330Ci
The BMW E46 3-Series coupe is a great sports car or budget GT car. The top-spec M3 is a bit on the expensive side, but the 330Ci offers all the luxury you need. The 330Ci was equipped with a 3.0-liter straight-six engine that produced 225 horsepower and 214 lb-ft of torque. The engine was mated to a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic.
For the North American market (the US and Canada), the 330i sedan and 330Ci coupe can be supplied with the ZHP package, which added sportier camshafts, better tuned suspension, a heavy steering rack and a lowered ride height. These adjustments increased the power to 235 hp and resulted in a 0-100 km/h time of just 5.6 seconds.
5 2019 Toyota GT86
The Toyota GT86 was the first in the range of Japanese sports cars. Toyota teamed up with Subaru to create a small, sporty and exciting coupe that was inexpensive to buy, use or maintain. The result was the Toyota GT86, Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S. The FR-S was discontinued along with the entire Scion brand in 2016.
The GT86 was equipped with a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated boxer-4, which produced 200 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque and went to the rear wheels only through a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The engine was borrowed from Subaru, while Toyota did most of the engineering to make it work in the car. It is a fantastic car that can give much more expensive cars value for money in terms of driving pleasure.
4 2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI
The Golf GTI is the king of the hot hatch segment. Since its introduction in 1976, the Golf GTI has set the standard for all other hot hatches to follow. While many hot hatches are faster than the GTI, it still has the perfect blend of sportiness, functionality and everyday usability – a combination that many rivals lack.
The Mk6 Golf GTI took the success of the Mk5 and built on it to make another great hot hatch. The Mk6 GTI was equipped with a 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-4, which produced 205 hp which was sent to the front wheels only via a six-speed manual or a six-speed DSG automatic transmission. The Mk6 Golf celebrated its 35th birthdayso VW created the GTI Edition 35, which boosted the power to 235 hp.
3 2002 Honda S2000
The Honda S2000 is one of the best compact roadsters ever made. It was equipped with a 2.0-liter inline-4 — later a 2.2-liter — that produced 240 horsepower and 157 lb-ft of torque. The engine was designed to run at a high rpm, so the pre-refreshed S2000 was able to rev up to an astonishing 8800 rpm. Due to the larger displacement, this was reduced to 8,000 rpm in the renewed version.
Today the Honda S2000 is a sought-after Japanese sports car, and it has become increasingly difficult to find the ones that have not changed. Still, most owners limit their modifications to the cosmetics or suspension and exhaust, which largely results in a better car anyway.
2 2011 Audi S4
The Audi A4 B8 is one of the best generations of A4 to emerge from Stuttgart. The only major blemish on the A4 B8’s report was the Multitronic transmission – which caused many, many problems. Fortunately, Audi replaced it in 2014 with their much better S-Tronic 8-speed. The best A4 in the range was without a doubt the RS4 Avant, which had a glorious 4.2-litre V8, but that car may be a bit out of date for many enthusiasts. ‘ budgets.
A cheaper alternative would be the S4. to be, which was equipped with a supercharged 3.0-liter V6. It produced 100 horsepower less than the RS4, but many speculated that the engine could easily produce over 400 horsepower without any hardware changes – just a simple remap of the ECU† This change resulted in an S4 that is about a 10th of a second slower to 60 mph than an RS4. Not bad performance for a relatively cheap car.
1 2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP
The Pontiac Solstice was a sporty convertible roadster built by GM before they discontinued the entire brand. It was originally equipped with a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated inline-4, but GM decided to spice it up a bit. They added the 2.0-liter turbocharged i4 from the Chevrolet Cobalt SS and called the new car the GXP.
This meant standard 260 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, but as with the Cobalt SS, a dealer power upgrade was available, boosting power to 290 hp and 340 lb-ft of torque. The Solstice can be specified with a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic. The Solstice GXP is a great sports car with enough power to satisfy the thirst of any car enthusiast on a budget.
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