Here’s Why The $50,000 Sports Cars Are Dying A Slow, Painful Death

Here’s Why The $50,000 Sports Cars Are Dying A Slow, Painful Death

In 2023, sports cars are few and far between. Looking around the roads where once we may have once seen convertibles everywhere at the weekend and practical coupes on the weekday commute. Now we’re surrounded by awful large SUVs that prioritize economy in every way possible. Cars have gotten larger, and people prioritize reliability and economy more than ever before.


With environmental regulations getting stricter by the day and with disposable income lower than ever before, the sports car is a dying breed. Nietzsche, the influential philosopher, and the general sad man, wrote in 1882, “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers?”.

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While Nietzche meant the turn of modern society made to believe in the Christian God, in his eyes, a fiction, unbelievable and thus dead. It comes to mind when thinking about the demise of the $50,000 sports car. The affordable and insanely powerful sports car died because we no longer believed in it. With gas prices higher than before, emissions regulations, and the rise of car heights with the SUV, a belief in the sports car is impossible. The sports car is dead, and we killed it!

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Fewer People Want Sports Cars In 2023

2022 Toyota GR86 Speeding On Track
Via: Toyota

At one point, $50,000 could buy nearly anything, be that the classic 911 or Jaguar E-type. These cars and their equivalents got more expensive over time, rising with inflation. Just like luxury watches and house prices. However, some cars didn’t seem to get more expensive for a long time. For around $50,000 for nearly 3 decades, you’ve had various BMW M cars, the Porsche Boxster, affordable Japanese sports cars, and a plethora of top-of-the-range hot hatchbacks to choose from.

With the rise of the hot hatch with the Volkswagen Golf GTI over in Europe, vast swathes of the automotive industry died. Historic affordable brands like TVR and MG pumped out convertible sports cars. There was no need for them, a GTI was just as fun, and it would start every day. The entry-level sports car that hid in a garage no longer sold as result.

Notably, the enthusiast community calls for new manual sports cars. But that’s not what sells. After all, the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 weren’t major sales successes outside the United States. Back in 2021, Toyota UK hinted at this sales flop, “In its time on sale in the UK, GT86 amassed almost 7,500 sales and established a popular reputation far beyond those fortunate enough to buy and drive one”. In other words, people liked the car. But they didn’t buy the car. But this shared model exists as one of the final affordable sports cars, alongside the loyal Miata.

Some brands have completely stopped making manual transmissions. Take, for example, the Jaguar F-Type, which reintroduced the manual to Jaguar. In its V6 guise, a manual was optional, but sales were so low by the time it came around to facelift the car the manual option left dealers. So was the V6, with a turbo four-cylinder. The driver-focused supercar is a victim of this as well. With cars like the Ferrari SF90 Stradale approaching 1000 horsepower, for this the manual gearbox is out of the equation; Simply, it’s too much. Times have now changed, and the world has moved on from the simple, affordable sports car.

Sports Car Prices Increase Faster Than Wages

BMW M3 E46 CSL Front Quarter View
Via: BMW

Last year the new BMW M2 launched, in spirit, a successor to the BMW E46 M3. The new M2 has an MSRP of $63,195; back in 2018, a BMW M2 Competition had a sticker price of $58,900. While not a major increase, it seems that little bit less obtainable. One also has to remember that the M2 is technically a class beneath the M3, a compact performance coupe. For 2023, a new M3 starts at $74,300. Even the most comfortable of middle-aged professionals would have to finance themselves up to their eyeballs to afford this wild BMW.

Now, look at the 2023 Porsche Boxster. These now start at $62,000 for 2023. Let’s be real you’re not leaving the Porsche dealership without dropping a few thousand dollars on options. These somewhat attainable performance icons, which were once in the realm of possibility for young men or those with responsibilities and a midlife crisis, are slowly moving out of reach. Like most of the travesties in modern society, you could perhaps trace this back to the 2008 financial crash. Wages may have increased but not at the same rate as inflation.

Back in 2018, Bloomberg wrote regarding inflation “A gauge of U.S. consumer prices jumped by the most in a decade in July, eating into wage gains that have barely budged in the past four months”. This trend continues in the previous decade. With rents at an all-time high and amid another recession, post-Covid, enthusiasts’ buying power is at an all-time low.

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These Sports Cars Died To Save The Environment

audi-r8-gt-exterior-front-view-on-track
Via: Audi

The decline in purchasing power couples up with the current trend toward EVs. This year this will kill the Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet Camaro, and Audi R8. Dinosaurs of a bygone era, these high-performance, high-polluting cars aren’t long for the world. While manufacturers have held on to limping sales, after all, these cars mean something symbolic for the brand. Halo cars bring people into dealerships.

Environmental regulations have disincentivized owning a highly polluting car, while an inconvenience is likely a wise move for the general sake of the planet. All of these results in less demand, normally this would mean that the prices of a product would decrease. Instead, manufacturers look to make as much on each sale as possible.

With wages at an all-time low relative to living costs, the emotional and irrational decision of buying a sports car no longer makes sense. Especially when you’d increase your carbon footprint. We’re now in an age of sensible, financially savvy decisions. That means fewer sports cars and more economical SUVs.

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