10 Best Entry-Level Sports Cars

Looking for a fun, sporty new drive? From the Nissan 370Z to the Lotus Emira, these are the 10 best entry-level sports cars.
Written by Andrea Barrett
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Not all sports cars are the epitome of luxury, but many do tend to come with a luxury-like price tag. If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a sports car but the budget didn’t allow it, the Audi TT, Chevy Camaro, and Ford Mustang are just some of the top entry-level sports cars—and they definitely don’t sacrifice speed for affordability.
The car you drive says a lot about your personality. If you have a big family, a practical and versatile SUV or minivan might be the perfect fit, while for the successful big-city professional, a luxury sedan could be your calling. 
But if you’re looking for a fun, sporty, and thrilling driving experience, nothing beats a fast and fiery sports car. They’re sleek, speedy, and ready to offer you the ride of your life at any second—but the price tags on a sports car range just as much as the colors you can choose for its exterior. 
Looking for all the fun of a sports car without breaking your wallet? Here to walk you through the 10 best entry-level sports cars is
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10 Best Entry-Level Sports Cars

Audi TT Coupe—$51,595

Top speed: 155 mph
Car & Driver rating: 8/10
Audi TT
might just be one of the market's most recognizable luxury sports cars, and it’s somewhat of a style icon. The TT features a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The Audi TT offers the perfect blend of strikingly good looks, fuel efficiency, and top-notch driving dynamics in an ultra-compact package. It comes standard with all-wheel drive, a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission, and a slew of premium interior features. 
  • Pros: Fuel efficient, sport handling, standard AWD
  • Cons: Less powerful than competitors, snug rear seat, few available driver assistance features

Mazda MX-5 Miata—$28,715

Top speed: 137 mph
Car & Driver rating: 9/10
If you’re looking for speed on a budget, the
Mazda MX-5 Miata
fits the bill. Now on its fourth—and quite possibly best—generation, the Miata has undergone many changes, but it remains true to the model’s original ethos
With an affordable starting price, the Miata caters to a wide range of sports car fanatics. While it may not offer as much speed and power as rivals, the fastest model features a 187-hp 2.0-liter engine taking this baby beast from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. And with a nearly 50:50 weight distribution, the handling on the Miata is unlike anything else. Is it hard to see why it’s everybody’s favorite sports car?
  • Pros: Engaging drive, affordable convertible, excellent fuel efficiency, smooth ride
  • Cons: Cabin is loud at high speeds, snug cabin, poor cargo capacity

Ford Mustang—$28,845

Top speed: 163 mph
Car & Driver rating: 8.5/10
Ford Mustang
is the epitome of a classic American muscle car. It’s been around since 1965 and still holds one of the top spots for the most affordable sports cars on the market—even though top-level models can take your paycheck. 
Whether you choose the base four-cylinder EcoBoost engine of the fully-loaded V8-powered GT, the Ford Mustang offers great style combined with pure performance. And with numerous appearance packages, a plethora of performance-enhancing options, and coupe or convertible body styles, it’s yours to personalize. In the arena of muscle cars and sports cars, the Mustang is hard to beat. 
  • Pros: Ample power, comfortable cabin, low noise levels, lots of package options
  • Cons: Snug back seat, poor cabin access

Chevrolet Corvette C8—$62,295

Top speed: 184 mph
Car & Driver rating: 10/10
Chevy Corvette
is possibly one of the most classic sports cars around. Although the design has become more streamlined and modern in recent years, the Corvette still retains many of its classic features. 
It’s switched to a mid-engine layout for the C8 generation and is powered by a monstrous 6.2-liter V8 engine that delivers 490 hp and 470 pound-feet of torque—you’re in for a huge thrill whether on city roads or the race track. Paired with an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the C8 Stingray can reach zero to 60 mph in a jaw-dropping 2.8 seconds
While the Corvette may not be classified as a supercar, its performance says otherwise—and for the price tag, it’s a value you can’t find anywhere else.
  • Pros: Great power and acceleration, impeccable handling, great value, luxurious interior
  • Cons: Poor rear visibility, tough to get in and out of, lacks some driver safety features, no manual transmission

Nissan 370Z Coupe (2020)—$34,715

Top speed: 155 mph
Car & Driver rating: 6.5/10
You may not be able to buy a new
Nissan 370Z
, but the 2020 model won’t make you think twice about a used one. At some point in its history, the Z transitioned from a lightweight two-seater with an inline six-cylinder engine to a larger, heavier car with an unaffordable pricetag. But Nissan resurfaced it in 2009 and has returned the 370Z to its agile sports car image. 
Powered by a 332-hp 3.7-liter V6 engine with a six-speed manual transmission, the rear-wheel drive speedster can hit zero to 60 mph in just 5.0 seconds. Although it may not offer the purest sports car driving experience, its improved suspension, aero, wheels, and tires are the real reason to get behind the wheel of the 370Z.
  • Pros: Sharp steering, precise handling, cheaper than rivals, 
  • Cons: Lots of engine noise, lack of steering feedback, prominent blind spots, rough ride
MORE: The best sports cars for teens

Subaru BRZ—$28,990

Top speed: 140 mph
Car & Driver rating: 9.5/10
Subaru BRZ
is one of the best examples for proving that you don’t need to drop bills for an incredible drive. Whether you're a novice driver or a seasoned pro, the BRZ offers plenty of enjoyment for all skill levels. Powered by a 228-hp naturally aspirated flat-four engine paired with a six-speed manual transmission, the BRZ can reach zero to 60 in about 6.8-seconds. And with its lightweight, back-to-basics rear-wheel-drive architecture and affordable price point, it’s one of the top picks for an entry-level sports car—and proof you don’t need 300+ horsepower for quality performance.
  • Pros: Lightweight, strong and response engine, precise handling and steering
  • Cons: Firm ride, not as fast as rivals, tight back seat, lack of storage space

Chevrolet Camaro—$26,395

Top speed: 165 mph
Car & Driver rating: 8/10
Chevrolet Camaro
is one of the best representations of a classic American muscle car—and one of the cheapest options for an entry-level sports car. The Camaro delivers on performance regardless of what trim and engine you choose. 
Under the hood, the base 275-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers ample power, and when combined with a six-speed manual gearbox, the drive is engaging. And although the Camaro still retains its classic features, it’s upgraded with pulse-pounding old-school muscle car acceleration with a high-tech interior and elevated handling performance—the perfect match for an entry-level sports car enthusiast. 
  • Pros: Strong engines, 1LE track package, sharp and nimble handling, plenty of standard features, smooth acceleration
  • Cons: Tight rear cabin space, limited trunk space, significant blindspots

Toyota GR Supra—$44,635

Top speed: 160 mph
Car & Driver rating: 9.5/10
is undeniably Toyota's most famous sports car, initially released in 1978 as the Celica Supra. Now in its fifth incarnation, the Supra offers a decent amount of car for a fair starting price. 
Powered by a 255-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder and an optional 382-hp 3.0-liter inline-six engine with rear-wheel drive and a snappy eight-speed automatic transmission, the Supra may have been co-developed by BMW, but it has its own uniqueness. And with plenty of infotainment features and safety tech alongside stellar performance, the Supra is a solid pick for a sharp-handling sports car that’s just as at home on the open road as it is on the track.
  • Pros: Premium powertrains, pleasant driving demeanor, upscale cabin, lively handling
  • Cons: Minimal cabin storage, seats not comfortable for long-distance driving, loud interior, no manual transmission 

BMW M240i—$49,545

Top speed: 155 mph
Car & Driver rating: 8.5/10
Driving around with a BMW ‘M’ tag might not come at a budget-friendly price, but the
slots in as an excellent alternative. Costing nearly $10,000 less than the M2 itself, the M240i still comes with a perfectly balanced chassis and precise driving dynamics that make for an engaging and lively driving experience. 
Under the hood, you’ll find a 335-hp 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that blasts you from 0 to 60 mph in under 5 seconds. A ZF eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on the M240i, but the shorter ratios on the gearbox mean quicker shifting that’s reminiscent of a dual-clutch unit. 
And while the driving performance is pretty spectacular by itself, the fuel efficiency might be what gets you, getting an EPA-estimated 26 mpg combined, 23 city, and 32 highway—better than any previous model.
  • Pros: Good fuel economy, powerful engine, upscale cabin
  • Cons: Stiff ride, tight rear seats, less trunk space than competitors 

Lotus Emira—$77,100

Top speed: 170 mph
Car & Driver rating: N/A
The Lotus Emira is Lotus’ first new car in almost a decade. New for the 2023 model year, it’s their last car to use an internal combustion engine before swapping to all-electric. Compared to other models, the Emira is more practical, has a more upscale interior, and offers more active safety equipment, making it more fun to drive and safer. 
The entry-level Emira features a 360-hp turbo-four, but Lotus also offers a supercharged V-6 with 400 horsepower and an available manual gearbox. It’s projected to hit zero to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds and tops out at 170 mph. Although the price may not be “entry-level” per se, the thought of owning their last gas-burning speedster may be too enticing to pass up. 
  • Pros: Impeccable steering and handling, upscale interior (for a Lotus), more spacious interior than previous models
  • Cons: Small cargo area, pricey

How to find cheap insurance for your sports car

High performance comes at a cost—and we’re not talking about just the purchase price. If you’re planning to buy a sports car, you can look forward to paying more for
car insurance
But if you’re not willing to pay fancy insurance rates for a fancy sports car, there’s a simple solution: meet
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The cheapest sports car on our list is the Chevrolet Camaro, which offers sharp handling, potent acceleration, and a smooth ride. While the entry-level Camaro may start at $26,395, optional features and packages can easily take your Camaro over $60,000. But if you’re looking for affordable high-performance, you can’t beat the Subaru BRZ.
The best sports car for a young driver depends on what you’re looking for—luxury, speed, affordability. But for a young driver on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the Mazda Miata. For under $10,000, you can purchase a sports car that’s fun, fast, easy to drive, and affordable.
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