10 Cheap Sports Cars That Are Built For Performance

10 Cheap Sports Cars That Are Built For Performance

Many of us want to own a proper sports car with serious performance at some point in our lives. The allure of a car like this is ever-present, even to those of us who aren’t huge car enthusiasts. But, these cars can often be very expensive. Even if you try your luck with the used market, a proper sports car can be well out of your reach financially. There are a lot of cars out there, though, that have the performance and driving pleasure of a serious sports car, but don’t cost huge amounts of money to buy.


The sports cars on this list come from a variety of different manufacturers. There’s everything from smaller, more nippy sports cars to sports coupes, roadsters, and muscle cars. There’s even a generation of one of America’s most iconic sports cars in there! There are also a couple of cars that you’d be surprised to see can be bought for fairly reasonable money on the used market.

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10 Audi TT

10 Cheap Sports Cars That Are Built For Performance
Audi

The Audi TT is a sports car that often goes overlooked. That’s a bit of a shame in some ways, as it’s a very capable performance car that you can get for a very reasonable price! The Audi TT could be one of the best options for somebody who wants to get into sports car ownership for the first time.

If you’re on a budget, you might not be able to get an example of the range-topping RS version. But, that’s no bad thing. Pretty much any model of the TT will get you the great performance and handling you want out of a small sports car, and for a very reasonable price!

RELATED: The 2023 TT RS Iconic Edition Is The Last Hurrah Of Audi’s Sports Car

9 Ford Mustang GT

Ford-Mustang-2016
Ford

The Ford Mustang is a perennial favorite for anyone who wants a solid, reasonably-priced performance car. That’s especially the case on the used market, where plenty of them are around at a fairly cheap price point. The V8-powered GT model of later generations fits that bill of a solid and reasonably-priced sports car the best. The 5.0-liter Coyote engine is great from the factory and can easily handle more power with some tuning. It can also be had with a proper manual transmission, something which a lot of enthusiasts will definitely love!

While you might struggle to afford more recent GTs on the used market, the pre-2018 models are definitely in an affordable price range now. You’ll get a great, solid car with plenty of rear-wheel drive V8 power, and there are plenty of mods you can do to them as well should you want to do that.

8 Chevrolet Camaro

2022-chevrolet-camaro-coupe-exterior-front-angle
Via: Chevrolet

The Chevrolet Camaro has always been a solid choice for anyone who wants great performance on a budget. This is especially the case when it comes to the used market. The Camaro has always sold well, and as a result, there are plenty of used Camaros out there for great prices.

You won’t be able to get the higher-performance variants of newer generations for a reasonable price, even used. But, if you’re willing to settle for an older generation or a model that’s lower down the lineup, you can get yourself a proper performance car bargain!

7 Chevrolet Corvette (C6)

2005 Chevrolet C6 Corvette Front Quarter View Black
via Chevrolet

A new Corvette is something that’s definitely not cheap. A used one, however, can be a brilliant performance machine for a reasonable price! The C6 generation is the latest Corvette to start falling into more attainable price ranges. This Corvette was engineered for better handling than previous generations, and it definitely shows! While it’s fast in a straight line like any other Corvette generation, it also manages to be good enough in the corners to be a fun proposition for a track day or a canyon run.

With the Corvette’s shift from front to mid-engined and dropping the manual transmission option entirely, the C6 is now an appealing prospect. It’s an old-school American sports car, but it has the more modern refinements it needed to compete with European and Japanese offerings. With used prices now routinely dipping under the $30,000 mark, it really is affordable for most sports car buyers.

RELATED: David Patterson Explains Why The C6 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Is His Favorite Corvette Ever Made

6 Jaguar F-Type

Jaguar F-TYPE AWD COUPE-1
Jaguar 

You probably wouldn’t expect a Jaguar to be on a list of cheap sports cars. But, the F-Type has become somewhat of a bargain on the used market in recent years! Depreciation can often hit sports cars from slightly overlooked brands fairly hard, and the F-Type is one of those that’s been hit that way. Because of that, you’ll be able to enjoy the brilliant power and handling of the F-Type and pay a lot less than you would have otherwise thought.

You won’t be able to get one of the snarling V8-powered models for cheap on the used market. But, you will be able to get a V6. In many ways, that’s the next best thing, as it’s still got great performance and a great sound. The F-Type may be a bit old-fashioned now, but it’s still a brilliant sports car. It may be one of the last great ‘traditional’ sports cars we ever get, too, as Jaguar is slowly morphing into an EV-only company and won’t directly replace it.

5 BMW Z4 (E89)

BMW Z4 E85 Front Quarter Titanium Silver Driving
BMW

The BMW Z4 is a car that people have mixed feelings about. Some people think it’s great, while others aren’t so convinced. Chris Bangle’s ‘flame surfacing’ design language is a bit of an acquired taste even today, and it just isn’t seen as being as glamorous as other BMW Z cars. Either way, it has always been regarded as a solid sports car offering, with the typical great BMW handling and performance. This is especially the case now that plenty of them are floating around on the used market.

If you know where to look, you can get an E89 generation Z4 for a bargain price. Even higher-performance models shouldn’t be that far out of your reach. The Z4 is also tuneable like many other BMW models, should you want to explore that!

4 Toyota GR Supra

Toyota GR Supra - Front
Via Toyota

The Toyota GR Supra divided opinion quite a lot when it came out. People often had the view that it wasn’t a ‘true’ Toyota, due to it sharing so many parts with the BMW Z4. It’s even produced in the same factory as the Z4! It also wasn’t available with a manual transmission until very recently. But, now that used examples have started popping onto the market, it’s started to make a lot more sense. The BMW underpinnings and auto-only transmission aren’t so much of a talking point when it’s resulted in a car that’s easy to get on the used market at a reasonable price. The GR Supra also has a lot of scope for tuning, something which could be very tempting to take advantage of!

The GR Supra isn’t the cheapest, whether you buy one new or used. But, it’s a very enjoyable sports car for a reasonable price. It’s also one that you could potentially have a lot of fun tuning if you choose to go down that route!

RELATED: 2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium Manual Review: It Doesn’t Get Much Better For The Price

3 BMW 4 Series (F32/F33)

2013 BMW 4 Series
via BMW

While it may not be an out-and-out sports car, the BMW 4 Series has developed a reputation for its driving ability. As you’d expect from a BMW, the performance and handling of the 4 Series is great. While the latest version of the 4 Series has had some controversy over its guppy-mouthed looks, the previous F32/F33 generation doesn’t have any controversy attached to it at all. When you consider how cheaply you can get this generation used, it seems like a much more attractive proposition than the newer models too!

You might struggle to afford an M4 from this generation if you’re on a budget. But, that doesn’t matter so much, as the models below it are still great performance cars. The 4 Series is also tuneable, meaning that you can do a fair bit of customization to your one once you’ve bought it. Whatever 4 Series you get, you’re guaranteed to get a brilliant sporty coupe or convertible at a pretty affordable price!

2 BMW 6 Series (E63/E64)

2008 BMW 6 Series
Via: Wikimedia

The BMW 6 Series is another car that you might not expect to be considered ‘cheap’. But, thanks to the passage of time, the E63/E64 generation has become a used bargain! While these cars are more grand tourers than out-and-out sports cars, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t sporty to drive. The V8-powered 650i model still has a lot of grunt. Some actually prefer this model to the M6, due to it having a more reliable and less fussy engine.

If you want a cheap 6 Series from this generation, the V10-powered M6 will be out of your budget. But, you could still get a straight 6 or V8-powered example for a reasonable price. These non-M models can actually be a bit of a bargain for what they are!

1 Nissan 370Z

Nissan 370Z Front Quarter Magma Red Metallic Driving
Via: Nissan

When it comes to performance cars that are available at a reasonable price, there aren’t many that have been better than Nissan’s Z series. The 350Z was a game-changer when it came out during the ’00s, and the 370Z only improved on it. It might seem quite old-fashioned now, but a used 370Z will give you a huge amount of fun for a great price. They’re also very easy to tune, meaning you can get even more performance out of them by buying a few great off-the-shelf parts.

The 370Z was a very popular sports car. As a result, there are loads of them around on the used market for not very much money at all. It’s a fantastic car to get your first taste of sports car ownership, and you can either keep it stock or customize it to your heart’s content!

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