Ranking of the best budget sports cars, according to Doug DeMuro

2018 Ford Mustang GT

Sports cars may not be as popular as a decade or so ago, but enthusiasts still covet them. There are many true car enthusiasts on the internet, but one of the most respectable is Doug DeMuro.

DeMuro started review cars for fun and put the videos on youtube – collect a decent number of followers. In the eight years that he has been in business, he has amassed nearly 4.5 million subscribers and a total of more than 1.5 billion views on the media platform. He also started an auction website for enthusiasts, called Cars & Bids, where everyone can list and sell their cars. With such an achievement and love for cars, his opinions are highly valued. Fortunately, he also makes videos about the automotive world, outlining which cars he thinks will increase in value, which cars he thinks enthusiasts should buy if they are affordable, and generally which cars he likes the most.

So, whether it’s a thoroughbred sports coupe, a snappy convertible, a big V8-powered coupe or a hot hatchback, here are 10 of the best budget sports cars according to Doug DeMuro, ranked.

10 BMW M3 E46

The BMW E46 M3 is considered by many to be the last true M3 model, as it was the last version with a naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine. While this statement is up for debate, it is an excellent sports car that has grown in value and popularity in recent years.

In 2021, Doug DeMuro made a video on YouTube detailing which cars he thinks would become quite profitable, with the E46 M3 at the top of the list. While there are still some examples to be found for a relatively good price, most of the E46 M3s for sale are either the automatic version or the less desirable convertible. Still, for only $15,000the E46 M3 is a bargain enthusiast sports car.

Related: What to Look for When Buying a Used BMW E46 M3?

9 Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG Black Series

DeMuro tested the Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG Black Series relatively early in his YouTube career and didn’t expect much from it. He stated that the CLK was mostly driven by older people who listened to Classic FM and enjoyed the comfort of the ride.

He then raced the Black Series and his mind changed completely. Where the normal CLK63 was comfortable and sedate, the Black was learned and hard – like a race car. He commented on the great handling and side-facing chassis tuning. The CLK63 AMG Black Series is definitely one of the best AMG models ever made.

8 Chevrolet C6 Corvette

The C6 Corvette isn’t usually the ‘Vette to go for when you look at American V8 sports cars, but it’s an excellent option. From the lower base model to the ridiculous ZR1 with its supercharged 6.2 literthe C6 Corvette is a great car.

DeMuro also notes that thanks to an overlook when looking for sports cars, the C6 is relatively inexpensive and offers a lot of performance for the money. The best version to get on a budget is the manual in coupe or convertible form – which offers a great driving experience.

Related: 8 Reasons Every Gear Shift Should Be Driving a Chevy Corvette C6

7 Honda S2000

The Honda S2000 is one of the biggest small roadsters on the market – just behind the Mazda MX-5. The S2000 had much more power and revved much higher than the MX-5, adding to the desire and driving experience. The S2000 was also only available with a six-speed manual transmission.

With Honda currently concentrating on turbocharged hot hatchbacks, the S2000 has risen in value on the pre-owned market and any potential buyer is almost guaranteed to make a profit if they decide to sell it. The S2000 is a great sports carhowever, it has become increasingly difficult to find an unmodified one.

6 Mazda MX-5

The Mazda MX-5, also known as the Miata, is the ideal compact sports roadster and offers great value for money. The MX-5 is currently in its 4th generationwith the 5th on the way, and is praised by almost everyone who rides it.

The MX-5 may have a little less power, but thanks to its light weight, the car can easily be driven to the limit. The car’s set-up allows everyone to enjoy agility and handling on almost any type of road – from a main road to a winding mountain pass. The MX-5 is truly a great little car and one of the last of its kind.

Related: Evolution of the Mazda MX-5 Miata

5 Porsche Boxster

The Porsche Boxster may be called the ‘baby Porsche’, but there’s nothing stupid about it. DeMuro actually worked at Porsche USA for several years, and he said he always thought of the Boxster as a bit of a cheap alternative to the 911.

It was only when he one like a company car that he realized how wrong he was† The Boxster is a great roadster with great handling, willing engines and one of the best transmissions on the market – manual or automatic. It’s not just a poor man’s 911.

4 Subaru WRX

The Subaru WRX has a storied rallying history and an almost countless number of awards and accolades. Although the WRX isn’t quite the STi. isit still has enough performance to be exciting, and with the manual transmission, it also has an adequate level of driver involvement.

One of the most beloved Japanese cars around, the WRX was part of the legendary battle against the Mitsubishi Lancer. Unfortunately, the Lancer is no longer there and the STi version of the WRX has been discontinued. It’s only a matter of time before the WRX goes electric or worse, a crossover.

3 Ford Mustang GT350R

The Ford Mustang GT350 was the first of the sports/muscle cars to show the world that American cars can corner just as well as their European counterparts. The GT350R, with all the track oriented upgrades, was the top of the line version of the car and had some pretty awesome features including carbon fiber wheels and a bigger spoiler.

The GT350 had a unique engine sound not heard before in an American car. The 5.2 liter Voodoo V8 had a flat-plane crankshaft like in a European supercar, unlike all other American V8s that were cross-plane. DeMuro stated that he wasn’t too keen on reviewing the GT350Rbut after that he couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Related: Here’s Why Ford Discontinued the Mustang GT350R

2 Dodge Challenger SRT-8

The Dodge Challenger SRT-8 was the top-performing version of the model before the Hellcat hit the market in 2015. The SRT-8 – when Chrysler still used the name – had a naturally aspirated 6.1 liter. HEMI V8, mated to a 4 or 5 speed automatic transmission.

The Challenger is a relatively inexpensive way to get a lot of performance with the compromise of build quality and features. Many can be recharged to result in quite impressive power figures. The Dodge Challenger SRT-8 is a brilliant value for money muscle car

1 Ford Mustang GT S550

The current Ford Mustang S550 is the best so far. Ford recently introduced the new S650 generation, teasing that the new model will still have a manual transmission. Currently, the only way to get a manual transmission in the S550 is to buy the Mach-1 – the EcoBoost and GT models only have a 10-speed automatic.

Doug DeMuro has stated that he was real impressed by the driving dynamics of the current generation Mustang and that the combination of the natural aspiration Coyote V8 and a manual gearbox make for an excellent sports car – the best of the American ‘Big Three’ in fact. A decent statement.