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There’s a common misconception in the motoring world that a sports car must cost an excessive amount of money to own. Sure, there are some high-performance vehicles that come with price tags to match, but there are also one’s that are just as iconic, capable, and fun with more affordable starting prices. And if you buy second-hand, you can find epic sports cars that are astonishingly cheap.
When it comes to buying a high-performance vehicle, it’s a good idea to choose one you feel connected to and one where the controls feel right for you. Remember, it isn’t just about brake horsepower, but rather the overall balance of performance. When you’ve bought your sports car, consider:
We think you might be surprised by the affordable high-performance vehicles available for under £50k. You might be more surprised to learn there are cars on this list with pre-owned prices under £13k… And there’s no cutting back on quality either, all the vehicles mentioned below are well made and excellent fun to drive. Read on to discover what we’ve chosen as our top 10 best cheapest sports cars.
When it comes to the cheapest sports cars nothing comes close to the Mazda MX-5, which has a very affordable starting price whether buying a new model or a used. In fact, pre-owned variants have an average sale price of just £13k, making sports car motoring accessible. And it’s not just cheap, the MX-5 is a great auto, delivering exactly the kind of fun and performance you’d expect from this class of vehicle. Naturally, it’s great value for money, yet it also boasts incredibly stylish looks, nimble and well-balanced handling, and a playful character. To drive, the MX-5 is engaging and a whole lot of fun too. The latest range topping model will do 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 137mph, which may not sound as competitive as other sports cars, but you certainly feel it. Simply put, the Mazda MX-5 is the best cheap sports car and one of the most enjoyable convertibles on the market.
USED PRICES FROM £1,800
Whilst it certainly costs a fair bit more than the Mazda MX-5, the Alpine A110 is a fantastic sports car that has been garnering high praise from all corners of the motoring world, from professional reviewers, to sporting enthusiasts. And understandably so, as it is a breath of fresh air in a market that usually focuses on bigger, faster, number crunching machines. The Alpine A110 takes a difference approach, offering a pure driving experience with a lightweight body that allows you to feel a true connection to the road. It provides that perfect balance between power and control, letting you feel in control at all times. For numbers, it still manages an impressive 0-60mph in around 4.5 seconds and with an approximate top speed of 160mph. It may not be the fastest sports car, but it doesn’t try to be. It tries to be a truly fun and engaging one, and here it exceeds. Typically, prices are around £40k to £60k depending on the model, whether buying new or used, which is why the Alpine sits in second place on this list.
USED PRICES FROM £44,000
Whilst most drivers would expect a Porsche to feature somewhere (usually on a podium) in a top 10 list of sports car, there are many that might be surprised to find one sitting in third place for the cheapest category. Yet the 718 Boxster perfectly fits the bill. It is available new from approximately £46.6k and it has an affordable, pre-owned average price of just £28.9k. And for that price, you get to join an exclusive club, safe in the knowledge Porsche cars are built to handle extremes. And no car handles or drives like a Porsche. Furthermore, the iconic Boxster just so happens to be a class-leading roadster and one of (if not the) finest on the market.
USED PRICES FROM £33,000
With new and used prices similar to the Alpine A110 (around the £43k-£53k mark), the latest Toyota Supra might not be everyone’s definition of cheap, but when it comes to the world of sports cars it certainly ticks that box. And it’s an amazing vehicle at that price too. The Supra is also a real beauty to behold and the revival of the iconic name all came about thanks to a partnership between Toyota and BMW, which is why the latest model shares many similarities with the fantastic BMW Z4. Yet the Supra still has its own identity, with a low centre of gravity and responsive handling. Again like the Alpine A110, it was designed to be fun and it more than meets that specification. At the same time, it can do some impressive numbers: 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds, with an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph. Finally, if you want an even cheaper variant, opt for one of the older, classic models, which can be enjoyed from as little as £13k – they’re worth it for the iconic looks alone.
USED PRICES FROM £10,000
The Subaru BRZ is another cheap sports car that puts the emphasis back on fun, providing a lightweight body, a compact cabin, and a low centre of gravity – all of which add up to one exciting ride experience. New prices start at £30k, whilst second-hand models can be found sitting around £20k. However, it is possible to find older variants with higher mileage for as little as £10k, which is a small price to pay for a big payload of fun on four wheels. If you like the sound and look of the Subaru BRZ, then be sure to check out its sibling too, the superb Toyota GT86. The two cars share many of the same parts and have a lot of similarities, the biggest ones being: they are both exciting to drive and both have affordable new and used prices. In fact, the GT86 is good enough for a joint 5th position… so go ahead and add the Toyota right beside the Subaru BRZ.
USED PRICES FROM £14,500
The classic BMW Z4 roadster has that unmistakable BMW quality to it, from its premium interior, to the sleek styling. In fact, we’d go so far to say that the Z4 is one of the best looking cars that BMW has produced, which is a very big statement to make. On the tarmac, this excellent roadster is engaging with precise cornering and a fantastic amount of grip on the road. It has power to draw on when you want it and an enjoyable, sporty driving experience. It also has an affordable second-hand average price of just £15,181. You can even find older variations for as little as £3k, providing a lot of fun at a very cheap price indeed.
USED PRICES FROM £3,000
The Nissan 350Z is a car you’ll have to search the used car market for, as it was discontinued in 2009. However, that means you can find very affordable models from as little as £5k to £10k, which is an astonishing price for a slice of sporting excellence. It is a well-built car too, with a great reliability rating. It also has sharp styling and streamlined looks for a truly suave exterior. On the road, it provides the perfect combination of power, grip, and precision, and on a race track it can more than handle its own. It’s a great all-rounder of a sports car and, most importantly, it is a whole lot of fun to drive.
USED PRICES FROM £5,000
For many, the Lotus Elise is a benchmark sports car like the Porsche 911. It is every bit as iconic in its styling and it offers the full high-performance package. Furthermore, the Elise has a very low centre of gravity and a snug cabin allowing, you to really feel the road and the power behind the wheel. It excels at cornering, braking, and steering, and top spec models will hit 0-60mph in a mere 4.2 seconds, with a top speed of around 145mph. As you can probably imagine, the Lotus Elise is a lot of fun to drive. It also carries a very affordable used price tag and you can own one of these magnificent vehicles for as little as £15k, with newer and more powerful models spanning anywhere in between to around £40k.
USED PRICES FROM £15,000
Okay, so the Honda Civic Type R is a hot hatchback, but it sure handles and feels like a sports car. Prices starts from around £30k to buy one new, yet on the second-hand market you can pick one up for less than £4,000. You can even find last generation Type-Rs for an affordable £18k. It makes this list for those reasons, but also because it really is a great option, especially at those prices. The hot hatchback looks the part, with a stylish and imposing exterior, and few cars in its class can match it on the road when it comes to cornering. It has pin-point handling and effortless grip, providing a fantastic driving experience. And as a hot hatchback, the Type R is also user-friendly with enough rear space to fit adults and a practical 420-litre boot – perfect for everyday use. For a day out on the track, the latest Type R can also muster 0-60mph in just 5.9 seconds, with a top speed of 169mph, which is faster than some of the sports cars on this list.
USED PRICES FROM £3,700
With striking looks and a powerful range of engines, the iconic Ford Mustang is a sports car that likes to be seen and heard. It’s also one that’s hard to peel your eyes from how beautiful the exterior is. And one that’s even harder to peel the grin from your face after a swift drive on the tarmac. Available as a convertible and a hardtop, the Mustang is also available with a mighty V8 engine and a double helping of fun. Big, brash, and brawny, this car dominates the road. Compared to others on this list, it does trade a certain amount of precision and finesse for a greater helping of power and muscle, allowing top range variants to churn out numbers like 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds, with an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. And when it comes to buying one, you can find models ranging in price from £20k to £40k.
USED PRICES FROM £14,000
Looking for a cheap sports car to take you on your next adventure? Check out our huge range of cars available at Motors.co.ukSearch used cars