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Top sports cars of 2024

With school runs, pot holes and traffic jams forming so much of our day-to-day motoring lives, it can sometimes be easy to forget that driving can be fun, and cars can be exciting, enjoyable machines to pilot.

Come the right day and the right road, however, it only takes a moment to rediscover the pleasure implicit in a nicely taken corner and judicious use of the right-hand pedal, and it is this sort of scenario that sports cars are designed for. Such vehicles may not always be the most practical cars, and they often come with high price tags relative to a humble hatchback, but if you're someone who relishes the freedom brought by the open road, and the rewarding nature of a well-tuned chassis and engine, a sports car could be just the ticket.

Our experts have put their heads together to come up with a list of the 10 best sports cars you can buy today, and each of these has one main focus at its core: to be enjoyable and rewarding to drive.

Porsche 911
Desirability Award
S/T version

1. Porsche 911

Porsche 911 review
Audi R8

2. Audi R8

Audi R8 review

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Porsche 718 Cayman

3. Porsche 718 Cayman

Porsche 718 Cayman review
Driving Pleasure Award
Highly Commended

4. BMW M2

BMW M2 review
Mazda MX-5

5. Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5 review
Porsche Taycan

6. Porsche Taycan

Porsche Taycan review
Battery range up to 360 miles

7. BMW M3

BMW M3 review
Toyota GR86
Pleasure Of Driving Award

8. Toyota GR86

Toyota GR86 review
Lexus LC Convertible

9. Lexus LC Convertible

Lexus LC Convertible review
Lotus Emira
Driving Pleasure Award
Highly Commended

10. Lotus Emira

Lotus Emira review

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More advice about sporty cars

Sports cars FAQs

The term ‘sports car’ generally refers to a car that has been designed to offer above-average performance in both acceleration and handling. Common traits found in sports cars include a low-slung two-door body style, two-seater layout and powerful engines. 

Sports cars can, however, be just about any configuration and there are many popular sports saloons that can take a family of four and their luggage while still offering pulverising performance.

The word ‘coupe’ refers to a two-door body style, so a coupe can definitely be a sports car. However, this body style is used in everything from budget cars to ultra-luxurious grand tourers, so not every coupe is automatically classified as a sports car.

If you enjoy driving and don’t mind a bit of a compromise in practicality or ride comfort, then a sports car is a great choice. Some sports cars like the BMW M5 manage to combine both luxury and sportiness into one very usable package, while other cars like the Porsche 718 Cayman are purely designed for driving enjoyment and don’t offer much in the way of practicality.

If you are on a tight budget then a Mazda MX-5 is a great choice. It isn’t the quickest sports car but it handles superbly and is affordable to run.

Judging from recent reliability surveys, the Audi TT, BMW 2 Series and Mazda MX-5 all scored highly in this regard. The Porsche 911 has also proven to be reliable in recent years while Lexus's reputation for building solid and reliable cars should see the LC Convertible perform well in this regard.

With such a broad range of sports cars on sale right now, prices vary greatly. A Mazda MX-5 is one of the most affordable sports cars, while a Porsche Taycan Turbo S sits at the other end of the scale, comfortable into six figures.

For something like an entry-level Porsche 718 Cayman or Jaguar F-Type, pricing starts from arounf £50,000 to £60,000, depending on the version.

While the exact pricing will be influenced by an individual’s risk profile, vehicle-specific factors that can push up insurance costs include cars with very powerful engines, expensive price tags and expensive repairs.

Seeing as most sports cars tick a lot of these boxes, they tend to be more expensive to insure than less sporty vehicles.

Sports cars can come in both automatic and manual transmissions. Traditionally, many sports cars were only offered with manual transmissions because they were believed to provide a more engaging and connected driving experience. However, with advancements in technology, many sports car manufacturers now offer automatic transmissions with paddle shifters or dual-clutch systems that provide faster and more precise shifting. Ultimately, the choice between manual or automatic transmission for a sports car depends on personal preference and driving style.

Not all sports cars are rear-wheel drive, but many are. Rear-wheel drive is a popular drivetrain configuration for sports cars because it often provides better handling, balance, and weight distribution. With rear-wheel drive, the front wheels are free from the job of propelling the car forward, allowing for a more precise and responsive handling experience. However, there are also sports cars with front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Ultimately, the choice of drivetrain configuration for a sports car depends on various factors such as the intended use, performance goals, and driving preferences.