Best sports cars 2023
If you want ultimate driving thrills, a sports car should be at the top of your shortlist, but the best can do more than simply go fast...
What makes a great sports car? Well, first and foremost, it needs to be fun to drive, whether you're commuting around town or taking in a countryside B-road.
Performance is key here, and that usually means a powerful, lively engine and a 0-62mph time that's worth bragging about to your friends and family. Combine that with keen handling that makes you feel involved in the driving process, and a great sports car should have no trouble putting a big smile on your face.
While we expect performance cars to be practical and comfy enough to take your family along for the ride, sports models aren't hampered by those constraints. In other words, we're willing to sacrifice everyday practicality on the altar of thrills.
Here, we count down our top 10 buys – and reveal the one sports car to avoid. If any of the models on the list take your fancy, click on the relevant link to read our full review, then use our free New Car Buying service to find out what discounts are available off the list price.
Aston Martin DBS
Some cars with 700bhp+ available make you feel like you're simply along for the ride, while others make you feel in control. The DBS is in the second camp, thanks to the weight and accuracy of its steering. And while its V12 petrol engine has enough power to launch you into the stratosphere, it's delivered so well that it's never frightening. In fact, we think this is the most usable Aston Martin sports car we've ever driven.
- Epic performance
- Amazing traction makes it usable and fun
- Perfect blend of handling poise and ride comfort
- Obviously it’s pricey
- Limited practicality
- Interior quality could be improved in places
Audi TT Roadster
Proving that a great sports car doesn't have to cost the Earth, the TT Roadster is one of the cheapest cars here – but don't think that comes at the expense of driving fun. Our recommended 40 TFSI version features a 197bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine, which pulls hard from low down in the rev range and offers peppy performance. Add a comfy ride, accurate steering and lots of grip, and this open-top TT can put a smile on your face come rain or shine.
- Brilliant to drive
- Fast-acting hood
- Sumptuous cabin
- Poor over-the-shoulder visibility with the roof up
- Some essential kit is optional
- Small boot and no rear seats
The MX-5 is the only car on this list that's even more affordable than the TT. It might not offer the blood and thunder acceleration of some of the more expensive machines in the sports car class, but with its free-revving engines, sweet gearbox and nimble handling, it’s well worth considering.
- Good ride and handling balance
- Performance suited to UK roads
- Low running costs
- Not much head room for tall drivers
- Limited storage
- Driving position would benefit from greater range of adjustment
Some sports cars only make you smile when you're going fast, but the McLaren 720S is a hoot at any speed. That's thanks to hugely accessible performance from its V8 petrol engine, and the fact that it's no harder to drive than cars that are much lower down the performance food chain. It even offers good visibility and a comfy ride, meaning this really is a sports car you can use every day.
- Stunning handling
- Superb visibility
- Surprisingly comfortable ride
- Hugely expensive
- Distracting touchscreen
Even in the world of sports cars, few models will turn as many heads as the Huracan, but there's more to it than just outrageous looks. You can have it with four-wheel drive, but we recommend the rear-wheel drive version because it offers a more raw driving experience, even though it has less power (602bhp, against the four-wheel drive's 631bhp).
- General sense of flamboyance
- Features a sharper version of the the R8’s V10 engine
- Surprisingly easy to drive
- Slightly blunt handling
- Pricey next to an Audi R8
- RWD is a bit snappy on the limit
Ask 100 people to picture a sports car in their head, and we reckon most of them will think of the 911. It's a true motoring icon, and even in entry-level Carrera form, it offers 380bhp from its 3.0-litre flat-six petrol engine – enough for a 0-62mph sprint time of just 4.2sec. The interior offers excellent visibility, and the rear seats are tolerable over short distances. Want something a little spicier? We reckon the Carrera GTS is the best high-end sports car out there.
- Seriously rapid
- Great to drive on any road
- Practical for a sports car
- Lots of road noise
- Expensive options
- Cheaper Cayman is even better to drive
The Audi R8 does everything a proper supercar should and then some. It features one of the best engines in any supercar on sale. And the cherry on top is that the cheapest version is also the best – the rear-wheel drive RWD rides beautifully and is the sweetest-handling R8. It’s even surprisingly well-equipped, which is one reason we prefer it to the Porsche 911.
- Mighty V10 engine's pace and noise
- Well made and easy to live with interior
- Superb ride and high-speed refinement
- Still an expensive car to buy and run
- Less practical than a 911
- Fractionally less focused handling than more expensive rivals
If you think this looks like a modern take on a sleek Fifties sports car, you're bang on the money: the original Alpine A110 was just that. This latest version keeps its predecessor's ethos of offering punchy performance in a small, lightweight package, and executes it brilliantly. In fact, we think it's one of the most entertaining and rewarding sports cars you can buy at any price.
- Truly involving and entertaining handling
- Comfortable ride for a sports car
- Rapid performance with surprisingly good economy
- Pretty poor luggage space
- Terrible infotainment system
- Not exactly cheap to buy
Porsche 718 Boxster
Want a two-seat sports car that's not just for posing? Step right this way, and into the driver's seat of the 718 Boxster. In our recommended GTS form, there's a 395bhp six-cylinder motor under the bonnet, which sounds great and provides noticeably more punch than the entry-level car's 296bhp four-cylinder engine. There's more to the Boxster than just straight-line pace, though – it also handles better than most rivals, and even has a comfortable ride.
- Brilliant handling
- Surprisingly comfortable ride
- Classy interior
- Four-cylinder engines sounds gruff
- Terrible reliability record
- You'll want to add lots of options
Porsche 718 Cayman
The 718 Cayman just pips its excellent soft-top sibling, the 718 Boxster – in fact, it's our reigning Sports Car of the Year in GTS form. That's largely thanks to the thunderous 4.0-litre engine, which provides plenty of pace plus one of the best soundtracks of any car. The Cayman's light weight helps it to run rings around rivals, while its driving position is one of the best in this class.
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- Brilliant handling
- High quality
- Wonderful six-cylinder GTS engine
- Stingy standard equipment
- Lack of safety equipment
- Disappointing sound of the smaller four-cylinder engines
The Z4 is a comfortable and relatively practical convertible. However, if you're looking for something that's fun and exciting to drive, both the Audi TT Roadster and Porsche Boxster outshine it considerably. Read our review
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