The sports car is alive and well, at least for now. Despite the ubiquity of crossovers, the resurgence of pickups and an ever-present interest in SUVs, sports cars still have a pulse. It may not be strong, but it proves there’s still a market for this staple class of vehicles.
If sports cars are to continue surviving, it’s important they properly meet customers’ expectations. The basic criteria every sports car ought to fulfill is performance, luxury and style on the outside. Along with these attributes is another unspoken rule: it has to be worth its value.
When it comes to sports cars, owners usually don’t care about the price. They’re in a vulnerable position where they’re willing to fork out more of their hard-earned money than it’s worth. It’s more important to them to have a car that raises their status and satisfies their inner thrill than it is to worry about a price tag.
That doesn’t mean all sports cars are exorbitantly priced. There’re just as many sports cars out there for a bargain as there are rip-offs. Part of what makes a sports car valuable is the amount of horsepower it gives for the price, how much its worth depreciates over time and whether the ride is reliable?
We put a list together of sports cars where half of them are a great value for what buyers get, while the rest fail to meet the appropriate price they’re really worth. Even though all the sports cars on this list are great, not all of them are worthy of their MSRP.
OVERPRICED: MASERATI GRANTURISMO / $132,975
Automaker Maserati has a lot of diehard fans for a reason. Even though the brand has its following, their GranTurismo model suffers more in value compared to the average automobile.
Starting out with the positives first, this stylish machine comes outfitted with a powerful 4.7-liter V8 engine. Beautiful things come at a price though, and the Maserati demands a lot.
According to The Drive, a new GranTurismo will set back buyers in six figures by $132,975.
Here’s the painful part, the same source reports that a little over 60% of that price will go down the drain in a mere five years.
OVERPRICED: PAGANI HUAYRA / $1,070,500
The Pagani Huayra is a masterpiece. Few vehicles manage to hit all the right marks when it comes to luxury, performance and status. It truly elevates automobiles to a new level that shows a car’s exterior can also be a piece of art.
The only downside to the Huayra—and it’s a big one—is the price tag.
This is a car that’s going to cost prospective buyers over $1 million dollars to own. Few actually believe the car is worth that much, but who can really blame Pagani for pricing it that much? As a famous quote from a 1989 movie goes, “If you build it, they will come.”
GREAT VALUE: NISSAN 370Z / $30,885
The addition of the Nissan 370Z is one of the more controversial items to include on this list. Without a doubt, it’s a great value, though many will think the price tag is too high for what buyers get in return.
Here’s the facts, the 370Z has tremendous power, as Car and Driver notes, with 350 hp. That means it can cause a ruckus when it goes 0 to 60 mph in a mere five seconds flat. While the same source notes that its handling could use some improvement, it makes up for it in raw power, which comes at an affordable price at $30,885.
OVERPRICED: BMW I8 / $145,000
The BMW i8 may achieve a new level of design and engineering, but it’s not exactly priced at a level that suits its value. It’s going to get attention for its style also, which looks good on any road or race track.
According to AutoGuide, it comes lacking in performance, which is unusual considering its promising exterior. To add insult to injury, it costs a whopping $145,000, which is going to alienate a large part of the market.
This car may look good, but it’s got to have the insides to match if it wants to be a car the public sees as worthwhile.
GREAT VALUE: MCLAREN 570GT / $191,100
We know McLarens aren’t often held as affordable vehicles. In truth, the 2017 McLaren 570GT is no different; it costs a lot of money. With some perspective though, the 570GT’s value starts to seem more tolerable.
Car and Driver gives this car a five out of five stars for its performance and lavish interior. This is a car that can go as fast as 204 mph. That’s all thanks to a 3.8-liter V8 that’s capable of churning out a whopping 562 hp. The bad news is it’s $191,100. When one considers all the car’s perks though, the price starts to look better.
GREAT VALUE: FORD MUSTANG ECOBOOST / $25,000
The Ford Mustang is still going strong and it’s because of models like the EcoBoost. Part of what makes this an appealing option is its price tag, which according to AutoGuide, comes out to a bit more than $25,000.
While that isn’t the cheapest sports car available, it’s a huge deal when one factors in the 310 hp it’s able to generate. That’s all thanks to, what the same source notes, is its 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine. For an affordable price, buyers also add a Mustang—one of today’s most recognizable brands—to their garage. That makes this an attractive sports car for any level of income-earner to own.
OVERPRICED: DODGE VIPER / $118,795
No one doubts the Dodger Viper’s ability to turn heads. This is a sports car that rightly grabs attention. It’s not all glitz and glamour though for this expensive car, which Money Inc. reports goes for $118,795.
It’s not the end of the world when a sports car delves into six figures on its price tag, there’s just the expectation it better deliver as a result. Unfortunately, in the Viper’s case, it’s plagued with mechanical issues more frequent than the average car, as the same source points out. Making matters worse, the interior isn’t very spacious and dampens the overall driving experience as a result. As a postscript, this all relates to the 2016 model.
GREAT VALUE: PORSCHE BOXSTER / $52,100
There’s a reason Porsche comes up twice on this list – they know what they’re doing when it comes to sports cars. The Boxster offers luxury, style and performance all in a small affordable package.
What capitalizes even more on the power behind this car, as Autobytel notes, is its precision handling.
Darting around in a Boxster will make grins from ear-to-ear. The 2016 model, as the same source highlights, starts at $52,100. While it may not be the cheapest one on the list, it manages to find a comfortable middle ground, which is satisfactory for such a versatile sports car.
GREAT VALUE: MAZDA MIATA / $25,000
The Mazda Miata is a familiar entry on the list that’s been around a long time. In all its time on the market, it continued to remain a great bargain among sports cars. AutoGuide reports that it’s only $25,000, which makes it attainable to the general public who can’t imagine driving in pricier alternatives.
What owners get in return for their $25,000 is a small and agile roadster that can do, what Car and Driver confirms, is a competent 181 hp. It also doesn’t get the worst fuel economy around with 26 mph in cities, 35 on highways—not that this is even a factor when buying a sports car.
OVERPRICED: BMW M5 / $102,700
The BMW M5 is an eye-catching sports car that gets a lot of deserved praise and attention. Not all of the attention is good though.
Buyers beware, according to The Drive, the value of the M5 depreciates by a whopping 61.8% in the first five years.
While it’s normal for cars to lose value the moment it’s taken off the lot and, in the years following, it’s unusual for cars to lose this much this fast. With a starting price tag of $102,700, owners are looking at a potential loss close to $62,500 over the course of half a decade.
OVERPRICED: NISSAN GT-R / $101,770
The following info deals with the 2016 model. The Nissan GT-R is a coveted and legendary model with a reputation rooted in racing and performance. According to Money Inc., the car starts at $101,770, which just nearly breaks the six figure realm.
What buyers get in return is a car that doesn’t score very high when it comes to dependability. In essence, owners could potentially pay a lot more than that six figure price tag after all the expenses in repairs and labor add up. It’s not the best sales pitch for a car that’s long been a favorite among car enthusiasts.
GREAT VALUE: SCION FR-S & SUBARU BRZ / $22,000 – $25,000
These cars share an entry together because they’re practically the same. While bearing the same parts underneath, the only real difference is the slight styling adjustments on the outside. Many car enthusiasts rightly think this pair of performers deserves more attention.
The Scion starts at about $22,000, while the Subaru one is around $25,000, reports Road and Track.
These are great entry level sports cars, especially those who want to tap into the thrill of driving a car. These not only prove that driving can be an exciting venture, but that it’s a luxury available for an affordable price tag that’s hard to pass up.
OVERPRICED: AUDI S5 / $54,400
The Audi S5 is an unfortunate sports car that has more in common with a money pit than it does anything else. Value is not part of this car’s mantra, even if it’s a competent ride. Part of what makes this a good car is its power.
The Drive reports that it comes with a 3.0-liter V6 that’s going to crank it up to 354 hp. While the initial price of $54,400 isn’t so bad, it is the depreciation that tells a different story. The same source reports that it depreciates nearly 60% in just five years time, making one think twice before buying an S5.
GREAT VALUE: CHEVROLET CAMARO 1LE / $30,995
Broadly speaking, most Camaros belong on this list as great values. Among Camaros, there’s one that truly separates itself from the rest of the pack when it comes to car value. Having more in common with race cars is the 2019 Turbo 1LE, which offers enormous power for less.
Car and Driver reports that the four-cylinder version of this Camaro starts at $30,995, which is a great deal considering it’s able to put out 275 hp.
It’s also able to go 0 to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds, giving prospective buyers even more bang for their buck. This is a performance-geared car for a great value among sportier cars.
OVERPRICED: MERCEDES-BENZ SL / $89,150
In a report conducted by The Drive on what sports cars depreciate the fastest, the Mercedes-Benz SL made it to the top spot. It’s not exactly a category automakers want to place on, let alone take home the top honors in.
The source notes that even though their SL isn’t the priciest sports car on the market by any means—sitting at $89,150—it depreciates a staggering $55,000 over five years. That puts its estimated value drop at about 62.6%, which makes it easy to resist going all in on this one. It’s too bad considering how nice these cars look.
GREAT VALUE: JAGUAR F-TYPE / $60,750
Jaguar made a splash with its 2015 Jaguar F-Type and continues to expand on this thrilling lineup. Like many on this list, what makes the F-Type excel is its great value for the power buyers receive in return.
The Motor Trend reports that the F-Type can do a huge 550 hp. That’s all thanks to a 5.0-liter V8 that makes this car haul. It might be a smaller car, but don’t let its exterior fool you—it’s more than capable of getting attention for more than its exterior styling. The 2019 models starts at $60,750, as The Car Connection notes, making this a bargain among sports cars.
OVERPRICED: AUDI S6 / $70,000
The Audi S6 takes a familiar course similar to its sibling, the S5. According to The Drive, the S6 loses almost 60% of its value in the first five years of ownership. That’s even more painful than the S5, considering the S6 costs about $20,000 more. As the same source notes, that means there’s a potential loss of $40,000.
Despite the depreciation in value, the S6 is a beautiful sports car that can do an amazing 450 hp. Even though it’s one of the higher performers on the list, it’s hard to justify buying one with such a steep price tag with high depreciation.
GREAT VALUE: PORSCHE CAYMAN / $57,000
The Porsche Cayman has it all. With an eye-popping exterior and the power to back it up, it’s easy to see why this car is one of the legendary automaker’s finest models today. Not only does the Cayman come from a trusted brand, but as their official website points out, it’s able to churn out a remarkable 350 hp underneath that unassuming frame.
The hardest part to believe though is its price tag, which comes in at a conservative $57,000, according to AutoGuide.
That makes this one of the best values when it comes to sports cars on the market today.
OVERPRICED: DODGE CHALLENGER & DODGE CHARGER / $27,295
Two for the price of one – this space takes issue with both the Challenger and Charger, which are arguably overpriced for what they’re worth.
As AutoGuide points out, these cars use parts from other cars, including a Chrysler LX platform and Mercedes-Benz components.
That makes this something of a repackaged Frankenstein that’s made to look a lot nicer than its price tag reflects. That’s not to disparage the cars in any way though. These are high-performing machines that not only garner deserved attention but can roar like few sports cars out there. The Challenger is the cheaper of the two, which Edmunds confirms starts at $27,295.
GREAT VALUE: CHEVROLET CORVETTE / $55,000
Chevy Corvettes have been around a long time for a reason—beyond the luxury of bearing a household name, they continue to live up to their reputation. People come to expect fast and beautiful cars when they think of Corvettes, and that hasn’t changed.
According to AutoGuide, the C7 models can do an astounding 455 hp, which puts this in a whole other class of sports cars.
Just as surprising as its performance is its price tag, which comes out to a little more than $55,000. The future for Chevy’s popular lineup of cars looks like it’ll be close to its storied history, bright.