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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
  • Excellent touring manners; Flexible powertrain on-road; Real sports car mojo; Red-hot once you hit the track

  • No quicker than the Boxster S for 0–100km/h; No PDK yet; Quite thirsty

2

BMW M2

BMW M2
  • More performance from the new twin-turbo six; Better dynamics from a stiffened chassis and tweaked suspension tune; Precise handling; Sounds glorious at full noise; Plenty of standard kit

  • Ride on the firm side for around town; Cramped back row; Warranty

Audi A5
  • Decent performance without being breathtaking; Well-resolved ride on adaptive dampers; More practical than the A5 coupe

  • Some safety tech a bit trigger-happy; Sub-par warranty; No touchscreen

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
  • Fantastic handling reflexes; Cabin fits like a glove; The right balance of background tech and analogue driving; An evolution of the Supra, not a nostalgic repeat

  • Squat design hampers visibility; Connected tech features dormant in Australia; Touchy brake pedal when driving enthusiastically; Bloody ugly steering wheel

Sports Cars Over $200k

Porsche 911
1
  • Engine is prodigious and you can easily access the performance; Wide-body rump is stunning from any angle; Duality of character is impossible to fault

  • Options list is undeniably expensive and some of them could be standard; Infotainment menus require some study due to complexity; Not a negative for me, but do you love the colour combo?

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