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Best used sports cars 2024

These are the top used sports cars for those looking for some fun but usable second-hand wheels

We all like to have fun, especially on the weekends, and few kinds of motor can give quite the same thrills as a proper sports car. Unfortunately, the most exciting models often carry the biggest prices, but opting for one of our best used sports cars can bring the same levels of four-wheeled happiness, but without the wallet-related woes.

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Pick a used sports car with a proper service history and there's no reason to think it'll be less reliable than a new sports car - especially as owners of these desirable models tend to look after their cars carefully. Just be on the look out for examples that have been pushed hard on track

Our expert road testers have had the pleasure of testing every sports car on the market, so you can be sure that every single one delivers maximum driving enjoyment for minimal purchase price. Read on to find our favourite used sports cars, listed below.

Best used sports cars to buy

  1. Porsche 911
  2. Audi R8
  3. Caterham Seven
  4. Jaguar F-Type
  5. Porsche Cayman
  6. BMW M4
  7. Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe
  8. Aston Martin V8 Vantage

1. Porsche 911 (MK7/991)

  • Our pick: Carrera S PDK (2018/18, 24k miles, £74,995)

If there’s one thing more certain than death and taxes, then it’s a 911 scooping another award. With pace, poise and practicality, its a near-perfect used buy, and it takes our sports car crown for a second time.

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The 911 celebrated its 60th birthday this year, but careful evolution has kept the Porsche at the top of its game – and this 991 version is one of the best yet. It retains the car’s classic looks and layout, but adds a big dose of power, refinement, efficiency and tech. 

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It offers even more choice than ever, too, with everything from an entry-level Carrera through to the near-200mph Turbo S. There are also the raw, race-inspired GT3 versions, although these collector’s items attract telephone-number price tags. Pick of the bunch are the post-2016 facelifted versions, with a new range of turbocharged engines that boast more brawn and greater fuel economy, plus much-improved infotainment that’s easy to use with enhanced connectivity. 

Any 911 guarantees a good time behind the wheel thanks to fast steering that’s full of feedback, agile and engaging handling, and tenacious grip. Then there’s the flat-six engine that gives neck-snapping acceleration and a spine-tingling soundtrack. Most 911s have the brilliant PDK twin-clutch gearbox, but for ultimate engagement, seek out one of the rare seven-speed manual examples.

Yet the real brilliance of the 911 is that it combines all these thrills with everyday usability. Its reasonably compact dimensions and excellent visibility mean it’s as comfortable on a commute as a race circuit, while you’ll see 30mpg fuel returns if you take it easy. The small rear seats are perfect for kids, or fold flat to accommodate any luggage overspill from the deep front boot. 

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Of course, maintenance bills will be bigger than on more mundane motors. But plenty of specialists can do the work for less, while famously unburstable mechanicals mean the Porsche will still be going long after more exotic rivals have expired. A sports car you can buy with your heart and head? That’s the 911.

2. Audi R8 (Mk2)

​​Blending jaw-dropping looks and involving handling with everyday usability and decent durability, the R8 is a supercar for all seasons. But the star of the show is its V10, which offers a snarling soundtrack and stunning performance

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The mid-engined Audi serves up beautifully balanced handling and an interior that looks and feels special, and even with over 600bhp on tap, it’s as easy to drive as an A3 hatchback. Audi has recently stopped production, so buy now before the R8 becomes a collector’s item.

3. Caterham Seven (all generations)

Less is more when it comes to the stripped-back Seven. With roots going back more than 70 years, the quick, nimble and flyweight Caterham Seven offers an almost telepathic link between car and driver.

A cramped cabin and lack of comforts mean it’s really only for high days and holidays, but it’s easy to maintain and as frugal as a supermini, while its kerbweight of around 500kg makes for electrifying performance. 

4. Jaguar F-Type (Mk1)

The Jaguar F-Type is available as a coupe or a convertible, and both are great. The coupe looks sleeker but the convertible provides open-air thrills and the ability to fully enjoy the sound of the V6 or V8 engines — just be sure to avoid the four-cylinder.

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The engines are the real highlight and provide incredible performance along with a bold soundtrack. The F-Type isn't for shrinking violets, despite its classy looks. It's fun to drive, though it's not as sharp as a Porsche 911 or even a Cayman to drive.

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Go for an auto model, as the less common manual models aren't as good. The V8 R version is incredibly fast but the V6 S is better value, nearly as fast and still sounds brilliant.

5. Porsche Cayman (Mk3/982)

The Porsche Cayman is a two-seater, unlike the 911, and since it's smaller it makes more sense for those who don't expect to carry more than one other person around. The Cayman is arguably even more fun than the 911 - it's not as quick but the delightful steering, agile chassis and powerful engines mean it's a real driver's car.

The Cayman's engine is an interesting one to consider. The 718 Cayman models of recent years use four-cylinder turbocharged engines which aren't as responsive as the six-cylinder cars that came before it - but they are really powerful and the chassis of the 718 is fantastic. The later 718 GT4 and GTS models have the best of both worlds, with the newer chassis and a six-cylinder engine.

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Yet we'd recommend any version of the Cayman - all are amazing to drive, comfortable, refined, have enough in-car tech and they're great value.

6. BMW M4 (Mk1)

BMW is known for making ordinary cars that are fun to drive, and then turning them into extraordinary cars with its M division. The BMW M4 is one of the best in recent years, particularly if you can find one with the desirable Competition pack, which added more power, different wheels and a better suspension set-up. Not that the standard car was lacking in any area - it's a fast, fun and usable everyday sports car.

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There's a set of reasonably-sized rear seats in the back of the M4, so it's useful for short trips if you need to carry passengers. The interior is high quality and comes with loads of toys, so it makes a great commuter for those with pockets deep enough to pay for the fuel.

After all, the six-cylinder turbocharged petrol is rather thirsty - though it's acceptable considering the incredible performance. The BMW has no trouble at all scaring passengers with how quick the car is - and it's all the more thrilling for the driver.

7. Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe (Mk4)

The BMW M4 isn't for everyone - it doesn't have the most sophisticated image, and the turbocharged engine, while punchy, isn't a delight to use. The same can't be said for the Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe's incredible V8 engine, which sounds like thunder rumbling away in the distance.

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It provides performance to match the M4 as well, and the Mercedes is just as fun to drive, with an adjustable rear-wheel drive layout and loads of grip round corners. The Mercedes isn't the most comfortable cruiser but it's still usable every day, and has a decent boot.

It's not very economical, though few cars on this list are. The C63's luxurious interior is packed with tech, is a great place to spend time and feels well built as well.

8. Aston Martin V8 Vantage (Mk1)

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage is an old-school sports car that can be now picked up for as little as £25,000, which is an incredible price for what is a relatively modern sports car that has an astonishing V8 soundtrack and stunning design.

It's a great car to drive, with plenty of performance from the potent V8 engine and the rear-wheel drive chassis. The steering could have more feel, and the auto gearbox isn't the greatest, but if you can live with those, who could resist the way the V8 Vantage looks?

If you're thinking of buying you'll have to be aware that these cars are getting a little older now and you'll want one that has been regularly serviced at reputable dealerships or independent garages. Running costs can be a bit high but the entry cost is so affordable, it still looks very tempting.

Now find out more about the best used cars you can buy...

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Chief reviewer

Alex joined Auto Express as staff writer in early 2018, helping out with news, drives, features, and the occasional sports report. His current role of Chief reviewer sees him head up our road test team, which gives readers the full lowdown on our comparison tests.

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