Sports cars are all about driving fun. Performance is central to this, although it’s not everything – a car can be quick in a straight line, but not so capable through corners, for example. And breathtaking speed is no use if the ride is so harsh you can’t bear to drive a car for more than a few minutes. The top buys in this class manage to balance performance and agility with a reasonable amount of comfort, with many allowing owners to adjust the suspension to the type of road they’re driving on or the mood they’re in.
The sports car market covers a wide price range, and buyers with a big budget will be able to compromise on practicality in the pursuit of fun behind the wheel. If you have a bit less to spend, you’ll look past two-seaters and aim for more of an all-rounder – a performance car that can entertain on B-road blasts and track days, yet still carry more than one passenger when it needs to. Some of the best are even based on family models.
No matter how deep your pockets are, the car you buy is likely to be petrol-powered. There are still some hot diesels on the market, but while they promise lower fuel consumption, they can’t match the pace of a petrol-engined sports car.
As most performance models are the flagships of their respective ranges, they want for nothing in terms of kit. But you’ll still have a decision to make on the transmission. Do you go for the involvement of a manual gearbox, or the precision of a slick-shifting dual-clutch automatic? And do you pick rear-wheel-drive thrills over the security of four-wheel drive?
Security will also have a bearing on your choice of bodystyle, as many sports cars are available with a fixed metal roof or a fabric folding hood. Buyers just need to consider how much they’re likely to drive with the top down, and whether this justifies the higher purchase price and insurance bills of a convertible. All but the very best drop-tops also demand compromises in driving fun.