Sports cars are designed to demonstrate pure performance and put a big smile on the driver’s face. Many of these vehicles are surprisingly practical and can be used in everyday life, no matter where you live in the world. Some are even equipped with four-wheel drive!
The sports car is not a new invention, but manufacturing it with four-wheel drive is a fairly recent development within the automotive world. The original sports car that showed promise was the Audi Ur-Quattro from the 1980s, which demonstrates superior handling and grip in snowy conditions. While it was unmatched off the beaten track, it was much slower on the road compared to its rivals. As engineering improved and technology progressed, the four-wheel drive systems got better and better to the point where most sports car manufacturers offer the option of AWD with their cars. BMW of all manufacturers even offer their xDrive system on their current M cars. Audi stuck with their Quattro system and Mercedes-Benz developed its own system called 4MATIC. Most other companies just call their versions AWD.
The sports car evolved into an almost supercar rival vehicle where even the smallest hot hatch can outrun a supercar from a decade ago in the 0-60mph sprint – all thanks to four-wheel drive. Here are ten of the best AWD sports cars currently for sale on the market.
10/10 Audi TTS
The Audi TT was the German brand’s answer to the Mercedes-Benz SLK and BMW Z3. Over the years it evolved into a pretty good little sports car, with some contemporary motoring journalists even calling it a budget Audi R8 – especially the TTRS version fitted with the inline 5 cylinder.
Today, the TT is part of a dying breed as the current generation of both the Audi and BMW Z4 will be the last of the models – Mercedes-Benz has already killed the SLK and SLC. The TTS model is equipped with the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 from the VW Golf R, which produces 306 horsepower. Power is sent to all four wheels via a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
9/10 Lexus RC350 AWD
The Lexus RC is the sporty and luxurious mid-range coupe in the Lexus range. Built on the same platform as the IS, the RC features the same engines, including a 2.0-litre turbo inline-4, a naturally aspirated V6 and a large N/A V8 – the latter of which has been tuned by Yamaha.
The mid-tier RC 350 is available in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations, mating an 8-speed automatic with a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 311 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. The RC 350 is a fantastically comfortable sports car – even if it is a bit heavy for its class.
8/10 Dodge Challenger GT AWD
The Dodge Challenger GT is less sports car and more budget V6 muscle car. The GT is the second-lowest trim – just above the base SXT – and comes standard with some upgraded interior pieces and more optional extras. The exterior takes on a more refined look and can be mistaken for an R/T at a quick glance.
The main interest in the Challenger GT is that it is a comfortable, sporty GT car with a larger entry-level engine than the Chevrolet Camaro or Ford Mustang. The 3.6-liter V6 produces 305 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Not bad at all for the starting price of $36,000.
7/10 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG
Mercedes-Benz went through a rough time with their AMG models and introduced a V6 powered version nicknamed ’43 AMG’. The smallest of the 43s was the C43 AMG Coupé – still on sale due to the delay of the new CLE-Class.
The C43 AMG is equipped with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that produces 360 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels or to all four wheels via a 9-speed automatic transmission. The C43 AMG may be a pretty good car, but nothing can replace the roar of the V8 in the C63 AMG.
6/10 Jaguar F-Type R
The Jaguar F-Type is one of the best looking British sports cars since the original 1961 E-Type. The F-Type is currently in its second upgrade period after its launch in 2014 and now has a front to pull it in line with the rest of the Jaguar brand.
The great thing about the F-Type is that it is available with four-wheel drive on most models, apart from the entry-level 2.0-litre turbo. The large supercharged V8 model gets AWD as standard, while the V6 and detuned V8 versions keep it as an option. The F-Type is a beautiful vehicle and a fantastic sports car that can easily keep up with the Porsche 911.
5/10 BMW M240i
The BMW M240i is a great car. Admittedly, it’s not quite the M2 – which was recently unveiled – but it has the driving dynamics of a real M car. The styling and lack of usable rear seats may take some time to get used to, but there’s no question that it’s a much better sports car than it necessarily has to be.
The M240i has the same B58 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 like the other 6-cylinder BMW cars, but tuned to produce 370 horsepower and 370 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. BMW recently made the M240i available with rear-wheel drive, but has still omitted the manual transmission – something the new M2 does have.
4/10 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400
Think of the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 as the slightly more luxurious all-wheel drive version of the new Nissan Z – which is essentially what it is. The Q60 RS400 is equipped with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 that – as you might have guessed – produces 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque.
Interestingly, power is sent to all four wheels via a Mercedes-sourced 7-speed automatic transmission, while the other models in the Q60 range have a JATCO-built 7-speed automatic. It’s the same story with the new Z, which is a modified version of Mercedes’ 9G-Tronic automatically.
3/10 Audi RS5
The current Audi RS5 is the best it’s ever been, but it lacks one important department: the engine. Instead of having a great and powerful V8 engine, it has a 2.9-liter V6 with two turbos. In any case, it was designed and built by Porsche.
Producing 444 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, the RS5 sends all the angry German horses via an 8-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels via Audi’s famous Quattro four-wheel drive. The RS5 is a beautiful vehicle both inside and out, but it simply lacks the iconic soundtrack that its predecessor had.
2/10 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S
The Porsche 911 is the best sports car on the market and has been for a long time – no doubt about it. As such, Porsche has designed its 911 range to meet all the needs of its customers. In addition to increasing engine power, adding turbochargers and even making their award-winning four-wheel drive sports car, the German giant will introduce a hybrid version in the very near future.
Until that happens, one of the best options in the 911 range is without a doubt the Carrera 4S. It is equipped with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo flat-6 that produces 444 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque, sending power to all four wheels. The best part? The 911 is available with either the impressive 8-speed PDK 7-speed automatic or manual transmission. How cool is that?
1/10 BMW M4 Competition xDrive
The BMW M4 Competition is definitely one of the best sports cars on the market and arguably the best of the all-wheel drive versions out there. Of course, the M4 Comp is only available as rear-wheel drive, but if you can easily and quickly switch between 4WD and 2WD at the touch of a button, why not choose xDrive?
The M4 Comp has the same S58 twin-turbo inline-6 like the regular M4, boosted to 503 hp and 479 lb-ft. Power goes to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission – unfortunately no dual clutch. Thanks to BMW’s rear-facing torque distribution, the M4 Comp can make donuts even in 4WD mode. For anyone wanting a little more fun, switch it to 2WD mode and watch the rear tires shred in real BMW vandalism.