There is no doubt: in general, modern sports cars now drive better than ever. An assortment of electronic tricks is now standard on most new sports cars, keeping the driver firmly on the tarmac even if his skills don’t quite match his confidence. Not only that, but with decades of experience refining things like chassis settings and weight distribution, the leading manufacturers can design their cars more precisely than ever to really refine them in a way that wasn’t possible twenty or thirty years ago.
Of course, anyone wanting to enjoy the absolute pinnacle of current sports car technology will spend as much as most people would on a home, but not every sports car needs to break the bank. A $150,000 budget is more than enough to buy a car that drives excellently, and in some cases they cost significantly less than that. Japanese, European and American manufacturers all offer their own versions of what they believe should be a top-class sports car, so there’s plenty to choose from. But to handle alone, this one 2022 sports cars just unbeatable.
10 Nissan GTR
The 2022 Nissan GTR may not be the great value bargain it once was, but it still offers supercar-level performance for significantly less money than most of its rivals will sell. Acceleration is still amazing and the AWD system and sticky tires mean there’s always plenty of grip.
It’s just as at home on the road as it is on the track, and it’s also surprisingly easy to ride on a daily basis. Despite staying essentially the same since its 2009 debut, the GTR remains one of the best handling sports cars on the market in its price range.
9 Aston Martin Vantage
The new Aston Martin V8 Vantage just about squeezes under $150k, while the base-level car costs about $145k without options. It’s certainly one of the best looking cars in its price range, and it’s great to drive too, with 503 horsepower from the twin-turbo V8 engine.
With the new model year, Aston has adapted the car for sharper performance on the track, although it is still satisfied enough to lighten the tires at any time if the driver so desires. For a trackday toy that doubles as a long-haul tourer, it doesn’t get much better than this.
8 Jaguar F-Type
After a few years of stagnating sales, it looks like Jaguar finally has the right formula for the F-Type. They dropped the disappointing four-cylinder engine and mid-spec six-cylinder from the lineup, leaving a 5.0L supercharged V8 engine as the only option.
That makes it more fun than ever on the road, and its refined yet engaging ride will make long-distance riding a blast. It’s a more GT-oriented car than many of its rivals, and it’s not the sharpest on the track. But on back roads and highways, the F-Type really shines, and it’s among the best in its price range.
7 Mazda MX-5 Miata
By far the cheapest car listed here is the Mazda MX-5 Miata, which for any self-respecting gearbox needs no further introduction. It’s one of the best-selling sports cars of all time, and for good reason.
Its lightweight construction and smooth handling make it one of the most enjoyable sports cars to drive, period. It’s certainly not the fastest or the most glamorous, but it’s still an excellent affordable sports car. In terms of sheer driving pleasure, the Miata can compete with cars that cost three times the asking price and more.
6 Porsche 911
The Porsche 911 is about as close to a definitive sports car if it is possible to get. For decades, it has remained the industry benchmark that competitors have tried to beat, and some have succeeded, but many have failed.
The base spec Carrera starts at a fraction of over $100,000, it’s worth splashing out and opting for the $137,000 Carrera GTS, especially since it offers a seven-speed manual transmission. Whether on the track, on the highway or even in the city, the 911 is one of the most versatile sports cars on the market, and few rivals can match it.
5 BMW M4
When the latest generation of the BMW M4 was unveiled, most of the attention was paid to its divisive looks. That’s a shame, because it’s a better driver’s car than ever, an improvement on the already brilliant formula for which the previous generation M3 and M4 garnered so much praise.
Like many of the cars featured here, the M4’s selling point is that it can be used as a daily driver or a track day toy, and it’s just as capable in both situations. Prices start at about $73,000 for a base model.
4 Toyota GR Supra
After years of teasers and speculation, the new Toyota Supra is finally here, and it’s predictably great. It’s caused a lot of controversy because of its BMW roots, but that shouldn’t matter to anyone whose number one priority is getting a top-tier car.
It is fast, accurate and yet it is still a pleasure to drive. And, best of all, it starts under $50,000, although most buyers will probably want to pay a little more for the more powerful 3.0L version rather than the base spec 2.0L.
3 BMW Z4
The BMW Z4, the brother of the BMW-badged Supra, is an equally great car to drive, and a serious step forward from the previous-generation Z4. It’s not as sharp as a Supra, with a more refined, smoother ride, but it will still light up the tires when you put your foot down.
The top-spec M40i comes with a 382-hp twin-turbo inline-six engine and propels the Z4 from 0-100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds. That’s a seriously impressive figure, but even with the extra power, the Z4 doesn’t compromise on comfort or handling.
2 Chevrolet Corvette
The C8 Corvette is nothing less than a revelation, the first mid-engined Corvette, a world away from the previous-generation C7. It also rides a lot better than its predecessor, no doubt thanks in part to the revised engine placement.
The upcoming Z06 model should be the most track-ready variant, but even in its base-spec 1LT form, the Corvette is still a thrill to drive. It is also one of the most affordable sports cars on the market, with performance on par with cars costing twice as much.
1 Porsche 718 Cayman
Despite being somewhat overshadowed by its bigger brother, the 911, the 718 Cayman has evolved into one of the best sports cars on the market in terms of handling. It’s a delight both on the track and on the road, with just the right balance of grip and power.
The GTS 4.0 is a particular highlight in the range, but any variant of the Cayman will be just as thrilling at speed. While there’s no doubt that the 911 remains the more prestigious of the two, there’s an argument that the Cayman outperforms its brother in handling and maybe even value for money.
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