Driving enthusiasts are always after the best deal to ensure they get as much bang for their buck, and great value sports cars are always near the top of their lists.
Although the price of performance has gone up, there are still some excellent options in the value sports car market, and here are some of the best choices…
Weighing just 1,060kg and having a 168bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine under the bonnet, the Abarth 124 is based on the Fiat model and harks back to the classic lightweight sports cars of the past. With prices starting from £28,825, the 124 has attractive looks, good performance and it’s a convertible, so will be great all year round with the roof up or down.
For similar sort of money, you could get the Audi TT, which at £28,850 offers a quality finish alongside German reliability. The one of choice in the standard TT line-up is the Sport model with the 226bhp, 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol – as you get good value performance alongside good equipment. Also, it means that you can save money when compared to the S and RS versions that Audi offers.
BMW 2 Series
As the smallest coupe BMW currently offers, the 2 Series is a stylish and well-oiled machine that offers plenty of performance in the M2 and M240i guises. Those, however, are a bit steep in the price range, so for a reasonable £32,145 you can get the 230i in M Sport trim, which offers 248bhp and lots of good equipment. It also comes with the reputation of being a great driver’s car, so the 230i is definitely worth a look.
Powered by a 2.0-litre Ford engine that offers 210bhp, the Caterham 420 is a quintessential British sports car – no practicality of note and an old-fashioned feel. Although the looks may not be to everyone’s tastes, the 420 offers impressive performance – 0-60mph in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 136mph, fast enough for a car that low to the ground. The removable roof is easy to stow too, so it won’t take too long to put the roof up when a quick shower hits.
A name that holds plenty of standing in the sports car market, and a car that has had a retro renaissance since it was remodelled back in 2015. Although purist will say this car should only be built with a 5.0-litre V8, the 2.3-litre EcoBoost model still holds its own with 312bhp at its disposal. A 0-60mph time of 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 145mph means that it may not be the fastest on this list, but it is surely one of the coolest. Prices start from £33,645.
Widely seen as the best small sports car on the market, the MX-5 holds a place in many enthusiasts’ hearts. Coming with a soft- or hard-topped RF, the MX-5 offers plenty for sports car customers, including excellent performance and an engine that you can rev almost everywhere. The latest version is arguably the most attractive, too, so why not take the plunge, with prices ranging from £18,795 to £24,395.
On the market since 2009, the 370Z is starting to look a bit dated, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that it is still a well-sorted sports car. The 3.7-litre V6 engine under the bonnet produces 323bhp and is paired to a six-speed manual – showing that this small package has a lot of punch. The setup underneath is also very good, showing that the baby brother of the GT-R has plenty to offer.
The first of two Subarus on this list shares its platform with the Toyota GT86 – which we’ll talk about later. With 197bhp made by its 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, the BRZ is all about the excitement rather than the outright performance. The rear-wheel drive setup is one of the cheapest on the market, and that means lots of fun times can be had on track days. The fact that it has stylish sports car looks helps to make the BRZ even more tantalising.
Subaru WRX STI
With the brand’s rally heritage, the final UK WRX STI is one to savour. The WRX STI has a gained a sometimes unsavoury reputation in the past due to its raucous nature, but for petrolheads it is a great rally car for the road. With a ridiculous rear wing, bonnet scoop and dynamic body kit, this WRX is the last hurrah before the UK market loses it. At £31,995, it is quite good value for a 296bhp sports car.
Arguably one of the most attractive coupes currently on sale, the Toyota GT86 is one that the driving enthusiasts admire. With the cheap outlay for a rear-wheel drive car, the 197bhp model shares the same mechanical details with the Subaru BRZ – and most of the equipment too – so you could go for either and feel the same. But with slightly better equipment and options on offer, the £26,855 GT86 could be the car for you.