Best sports cars 2022

Life’s too short to drive a boring car, which is why you need to read our list of the best sports cars of 2022.

These might not be the most practical or efficient new cars on the market, but they’re guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Even the most tedious journeys will become a joy, so you’ll have to get used to taking the long way home from work.

Whether you’re after an affordable sports car for just the two of you or something with a couple of seats in the back, we’ve selected 10 of the best sports cars you can buy right now.

They all have the same things in common: exhilarating performance, superb handling and sleek styling. Your head says you need an SUV, but your heart tells you want a sports car. As a Swedish pop duo once said: listen to your heart. Practicality is so overrated.

 Best sports cars

 

 

Mazda MX-5

This is the best-selling affordable sports car on the planet. Right now, it’s also the only affordable sports car you can buy new in the UK. So it’s fortunate that the Mazda MX-5 is so good. In fact, it’s as much fun to drive as some sports cars costing 10 times the price. It feels like the kind of roadster your parents owned in the 1960s, but with the advantage of modern safety features and the latest tech. Following an upgrade in 2019, the 2.0-litre engine is our pick of the range, but don’t rule out the cheaper and surprisingly willing 1.5-litre version. Either way, this could be all the sports car you’ll ever need.

Read our full Mazda MX-5 review

Porsche 911

At what point does a sports car become a supercar? At the top of the range, the Porsche 911 Turbo S offers a level of performance to rival the most expensive and exotic supercars, thanks to a 3.7-litre twin-turbo engine developing 650PS. It’ll sprint to 62mph in just 2.7 seconds before hitting a top speed of 205mph. Prime supercar territory, then. Meanwhile, the entry-level Carrera uses a 3.0-litre twin-turbo engine producing 385PS, which is enough to propel the 911’s best impression of an affordable sports car to 62mph in 4.2 seconds. The top speed is ‘only’ 182mph, but in many ways this base 911 is the sweetest model in the range.

Read our full Porsche 911 review

Alpine A110

With Lotus axing the Elise and Exige models, the Alpine A110 is arguably the purest sports car you can buy, short of the extremely compromised Caterham Seven or Ariel Atom. A Renault-sourced 1.8-litre turbocharged engine producing 252PS in basic form might sound a bit underwhelming, but the A110 weighs just 1098kg in its lightest form, which is less than most modern superminis. This featherweight sports car offers the acceleration of a Porsche 911 Carerra and can change direction with the alacrity of a housefly. As a bonus, you even get decent fuel economy, although you’ll be having too much fun to look at the fuel gauge.

Read our full Alpine A110 review

Toyota GR Supra

With the brilliant GR Yaris hot hatch hogging the limelight, you’d be forgiven for overlooking the Toyota GR Supra. If you could put a price on aesthetics, the GR Supra would command a six-figure fee, which makes the £46,000 cost of entry seem like a bargain. Look beyond the fast and furious styling and you’ll find a BMW-sourced 3.0-litre straight-six turbocharged engine that hits all the right notes. The performance to rival a Porsche, with the soundtrack to rival a symphony orchestra. Cliches aside, the GR Supra is superb to drive, beautifully balanced and comes with a long list of standard equipment.

Read our full Toyota Supra review

Jaguar F-Type

It’s been on sale since 2014, but a styling makeover in 2020 has given the Jaguar F-Type a new lease of life. Available as a coupe or a convertible, with a choice of four- or eight-cylinder engines and with rear- or four-wheel drive, you’ll almost certainly find an F-Type that’s right for you. The entry-level P300 features a 2.0-litre engine and is the F-Type to choose if you’re after reasonable running costs. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the P575 R is powered by a supercharged V8 producing – you guessed it – 575PS. It feels like a junior Aston Martin Vantage.

Read our full Jaguar F-Type review

Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman

We offer no apology for featuring a second Porsche on our list of the best sports cars. Forget the quips about the 718 Boxster and Cayman being ‘poor man’s 911s’, or concerns over the fitment of four-cylinder engines. On UK roads, these are as much fun to drive as the more expensive 911. Besides, if you’re after something hardcore, with the soundtrack of a flat-six, you could opt for one of the GT4 models. Most buyers, though, will be delighted with the performance of the entry-level 300PS Cayman and Boxster models. Not that there’s anything remotely ‘entry-level’ about a Porsche with a 170mph top speed.

Read our full Porsche 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman reviews

Caterham Seven

Right now, this is as close as you can get to the essence of a Lotus sports car. The Caterham Seven channels the spirit of the original Lotus 7, which dates back to 1957. It’s therefore not the car to buy if you’re after a few creature comforts on your commute to work. Still, if you’re prepared to don a bobble hat and a pair of gloves – and possibly a pair of ear defenders – the bypass will feel like Brands Hatch and the inner ring road like Imola. The basic 170 features a tiny 660cc Suzuki engine and is the lightest ever production Seven.

Read our full Caterham Seven review

BMW Z4

If you overlooked the Toyota GR Supra because you fancy a soft-top, the BMW Z4 could be the sports car for you. That’s because the two cars share the same platform and engine, along with much of their interior trim. But while the Toyota is strictly closed, the BMW is an open and shut case. The electrically operated textile roof hints at the BMW being a touch softer than the hardcore Toyota, so it’s the one to choose if you’re after more long-distance comfort, plus the attraction of a premium badge. Oh, and you’ll also get to better enjoy the glorious soundtrack of the 3.0-litre straight-six engine.

Read our full BMW Z4 review

Mercedes-AMG GT

The best way to describe the Mercedes-AMG GT is to call it a ‘Mercedes 911’. It’s not quite as focused as Porsche's 911, and with the engine at the front it’s a very different proposition. Nonetheless, it offers a similarly immersive driving experience. All models are powered by different versions of a spectacular hand-built 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, which makes all the right noises and delivers thrilling performance. Coupe, Roadster and even a 4-Door Coupe models are available, all offering the kind of unhinged performance we’d expect from the AMG division.

Read our full Mercedes-AMG GT review

Nissan GT-R

In automotive terms, the Nissan GT-R is ready to draw its pension. Launched in 2009, the supercar slayer is beginning to look out of place at the top of Nissan’s increasingly electrified range, but its staying power speaks volumes about its, ahem, electrifying performance. It’s a sports car you can use every day, yet it offers the performance and handling to rival a six- or even seven-figure supercar. Even in standard guise, its 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V6 produces a mighty 570PS, while the Nismo delivers a massive 600PS. There’s a sense that the GT-R is part of a dying breed, so catch one while you can.

Read our full Nissan GT-R review

Are sports cars expensive to run?

While it’s true that a sports car is likely to be more expensive to run than a family hatchback, it might be more affordable than you think. Take the Alpine A110, which could deliver 44mpg if you’re not having too much fun. The same is true of the 1.5-litre version of the Mazda MX-5, which offers 44.8mpg in official tests. Just remember that insurance is likely to be more expensive for a sports car, while parts, servicing and maintenance can also be costly.

Does a sports car need to be rear-wheel drive?

Purists say that a sports car must send its power to the rear wheels, but this isn’t necessarily true. The tiny Fiat Barchetta proved that front-wheel-drive sports cars can be fun, while some modern sports cars offer the reassurance of four-wheel drive. The latter is ideal for anyone thinking of running their sports car through the winter. However, on a racetrack, where there’s room to go sideways in safety, nothing beats the feel of a rear-driven sports car.

Will sports cars survive the ban on new petrol and diesel cars?

The brilliance of the electric Porsche Taycan proves the sports car will survive the death of petrol and diesel engines. The challenge for manufacturers is to balance the weight of a battery pack with the precision and lightness required to make a great sports car. If the Taycan is anything to go by, the future is bright, but the affordable electric sports car might be a little way off. For now, just enjoy the rapid acceleration of even the most basic electric vehicle.

Ask HJ

What sports car can carry golf clubs?

I am looking for a sports car that is capable of carrying golf clubs. Any recommendations?
How about the Jaguar F-Type Coupe? It's got a surprisingly practical boot but is fun to drive. Also consider the Audi TT or, if budget allows, the latest Porsche 911.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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