For those looking for a fun, sporty and engaging driving experience, an entry-level sports car could be just the ticket. Cars in this class can offer a higher handling and appearance than a hot hatch for about the same money. Drivers get almost the same driving experience and feelings as more expensive sports cars. Given their cheaper price tags, these cars also make great everyday drivers. While practicality may not be a particularly strong point, they can be enjoyed as there is no need to worry about putting miles on these cars unlike their more expensive counterparts. This reduced fear extends to the entire ownership experience, they can be left in parking garages without too much worry, and service and maintenance are more affordable.
In recent years, the more advanced technologies found in the more expensive sports cars have made their way to these entry-level models. That’s why they now offer excellent value for money with very little compromise and great reliability† Let’s take a look at some of the best entry-level models sports cars of 2022†
10 Mazda MX-5 Miata
The Mazda Mx-5 Miata has long been considered a valuable product and great handling sports car. The current model is the fourth generation of the car and arguably the best yet. First introduced in 1989, the car has gone through many changes and improvements to keep up with the times, but stay true to the original ethos.
The car starts at $28,665, making it affordable for many. The fastest model in the lineup is the 187 horsepower 2.0-liter GT Sport Tech. In this version, 0-60 mph takes 6.5 seconds and the car accelerates to a top speed of 136 mph. It helps the car achieve its great handling through the near-perfect 50:50 weight distribution.
9 Porsche 718 Cayman
Although the 718 Cayman is an “entry-level” model, it is still a Porsche vehicle. This means that it is still a premium product and has undergone rigorous testing and development. Porsche wouldn’t jeopardize their highly regarded reputation to make a quick buck from an inferior product.
The 718 Cayman starts at $61,850, and for this buyers get a 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four that develops 300 horsepower. If you spend a little more, the Cayman S gets a larger turbocharged 2.5-liter flat-four that develops an increased 350 horsepower. Like all Porsche models, the interior quality is top notch and arguably the best on this list. A six-speed manual transmission offers maximum driver involvement and comes as standard, of course a seven-speed PDK automatic is also available for those who wish.
8 Ford Mustang Eco Boost
Despite being strongly associated with V8 muscle, the Mustang is now offered with a downsized 2.3-liter four-cylinder. This engine called “Ecoboost” is originally from the Ford Focus and produces a decent 330 hp. A large turbo ensures that power delivery is fairly linear across the rev range by minimizing lag.
The car represents excellent value for money, with the Fastback or Coupe as one might think selling for $28,000 and the Convertible a little more for $33,000. The engine is about 200 lbs lighter than the V8, and the weight reduction makes the Ecoboost more agile and improves handling significantly.
7 Toyota Supra
The Supra is perhaps Toyota’s most famous sports car. The original version was released in 1978 and was known as the Celica Supra. Now in its fifth incarnation, and co-developed with BMW, the Supra is available for just over $43,000. The car is now available with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 254 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque
6 Audi TT Coupe
Perhaps one of the most recognizable sports cars ever produced, the Audi TT is something of a style icon. First released in 1998 and now in its third generation, the TT has been a big seller for Audi.
Despite its age, having last been refurbished in 2014, the car is still a sought-after entry-level sports car. The 40 TFSI engine is a great option, providing good performance while remaining relatively economical. The 2.0-litre engine develops 197 horsepower and can keep up with most entry-level hot hatches and other sports cars, as it can go from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.6 seconds.
5 Lotus Emira
The Lotus Emira is the first new Lotus in about 10 years. The car is available with a V6, but also with a comparable AMG-derived 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine, the same engine as under the hood of the Mercedes AMG A45. With an output of approximately 360 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, the Emira is projected to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and then to a top speed of 170 mph
Lotus has invested heavily in interior comfort and refinement, unlike some of their old cars. Modern features such as parking sensors, smartphone integration and cruise control make this car much easier to deal with in everyday life.
4 Toyota GR86
The all-new 2022 Toyota GR86 is an exceptionally good value offer. At just $29,000, this second-generation car has a lot to offer the car enthusiast, from a rear-wheel drive setup to great handling.
The car is equipped with a 228 hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder boxer engine. This unit delivers a 0-60 mph time of 6.3 seconds when the six-speed manual is selected, so a decent pace for most.
3 Alpine A110
The Alpine A110 was reinvented in 2017 by the French manufacturer Alpine. The original had been in production from 1963 to 1977 and was a popular and successful rally car. Marketed for the equivalent of $57,000, the A110 is disappointingly unavailable for the North American market.
The car shows excellent driving characteristics, mainly due to its mid-engine configuration and even weight distribution. The GT version of the car is powered by a 288 hp 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder. The car goes from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds. To help the budget-conscious, the engine is fairly economical, delivering 32.6mpg.
2 Chevrolet Camaro
The bargain Chevrolet Camaro is one of the cheapest options on our list, retailing for just $26,395. While the car comes with some compromises, such as limited visibility and quite cramped rear seats, its looks make up for it somewhat. Blatantly sporting a muscle car style, the car is sure to appeal to certain buyers and offer an alternative to the Mustang Ecoboost.
The base engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder 275 hp. In combination with a six-speed manual transmission, this engine provides an exciting drive.
1 BMW Z4
Now in its third generation, the BMW Z4 is very closely related to the Toyota Supra, which is also on our list. The previous generation car was available with a folding metal hardtop, but this has now been dropped in favor of a more traditional cloth version.
The entry-level sports car is equipped with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, the sDrive30i. This motor develops 255 horsepower and shoots from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds, very respectable for an entry-level bike. For those concerned about running costs, the Z4 delivers excellent fuel economy figures, 25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway according to EPA ratings.