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Sports Cars Under $80k

Mazda MX-5
1
  • Willing, free-revving 2.0-litre engine; Brilliant manual shift action; Agility and stability through corners; Quality ride; Good pricing

  • Some major ergonomics issues in the cabin; Lots of hard plastics; Engine doesn't sound very sporty; No standard reverse-view camera on any variant

Ford Mustang
  • Savage powertrain; Cost of entry; You'll win the hearts of many admirers

  • You can't buy a brand-new one anymore; Ride and handling a touch fidgety; Track time the only way to get the full-fat experience

BMW 2 Series
  • Techy and sporty vibe; Charming three-pot in the 218i; Decent performance in the M235i; Competitive pricing

  • Sharp ride quality; Questionable styling; Lacks some maturity; Price hike over the 1 Series

Renault Megane
  • Noticeable power bump; Excellent dual-clutch transmission; Active exhaust brings the ruckus

  • Sticker shock at first glance; Fiddly infotainment system; Constantly firm ride is not for all

Toyota 86
  • It doesn't need a turbo!; Raw and pure sports car; Back seats fold down for more practicality; Tight handling

  • Lacking safety tech; Cabin features are dated; Exhaust could sound better

Sports Cars Between $80k-$200k

Porsche 718
1
  • Slick, mechanical-feeling gearshift; Playful but user-friendly rear end; A reminder of everything that’s great about NA engines

  • Everything about the roof – it traps road noise, looks unfinished inside, and is a pain to raise and lower; Visibility is incredibly poor for something so open; Timid-sounding default exhaust mode

2

BMW M2

BMW M2
  • Increased performance from the reworked M six-pot; Superbly responsive and engaging handling; Improved body control, added grip; Wonderfully sonorous exhaust note

  • Expensive carbon-fibre parts vulnerable to damage; Still weighs the same as the M2 Competition; Cup tyres are iffy in damp conditions; Question marks remain over ride quality; Rear seat lacks for space; High price tag

Audi A5
  • Inherent good design qualities not lost with a new skin; Clever connected technologies onboard; Cheapest in its class

  • S line treatment stops at the bumpers and door sills; Access to the second row is small; Loss of rotary dial for infotainment control

Mercedes-AMG C43
  • Blisteringly quick when you want it to be; Rear-biased AWD oozes confidence; Nine-speed auto a delight; So too the 3.0-litre turbo V6; Adaptive dampers at their peak when driven hard...

  • ... but a touch brittle in their softest setting; Engine drones at city speeds; Infotainment now a generation behind

Toyota Supra
  • Unrivalled sports car performance for $85K; Entertaining dynamics; Great seats and driving position; Impressively comfortable ride for a sports car

  • Some obvious BMW links; No manual gearbox option; Some visibility restrictions; Model upgrade due late 2020

Sports Cars Over $200k

Porsche 911
1
  • Wide arches and fat rear end have aged well; Comfortable and tractable enough to drive every day; Still plenty of punch from the NA flat six

  • Manuals are rare, and the Tiptronic isn't the greatest; Check for IMS bearing service history; It's maturing well, but the 996 still not to all tastes

Lamborghini Huracan
  • Engine's performance is monstrous and accessible; Gearbox is likewise well behaved, but fast when you want it; Cabin execution is a work of art

  • Does it have enough visual theatre?; Way too fast to enjoy in Australia unless you can access track days; Even more exhaust noise please

McLaren 720S
  • Astonishingly quick in seemingly any conditions despite 2WD; Chassis control amazing no matter how you push; Ride comfort over crappy roads; Roomy cockpit; High levels of feedback make this car a breeze to drive fast

  • Exhaust note is getting better, but can't compete with the NA-powered Lambo Huracan Performante Spyder

Mercedes-AMG GT
  • Still the bad-arsed hot rod of the super sports car set; GT C an ideal fit for the road; GT R still the manic track beast; Digital instrumentation an improvement

  • Clumsy cabin layout; Frustrating infotainment usability; Pricing is up $10–$13K across the range; They're quite thirsty

Ferrari 488
  • Uncompromising performance; Unrivalled street appeal; Best V8 engine in existence; Brilliant ride and dynamic capabilities; Very much a race car you can happily drive daily

  • Options, options, options; Interior feeling its age; Lift kit needs to remain on at higher speeds; Sounds insane, but it's no 458