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Top 10 used sports cars

A great sports car nails its driving experience, from acceleration to handling, and should be great fun. Our top 10 used buys are all great value, too...

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by
Oliver Young
Published14 October 2023

top 10 best used sports cars

A sports car is very much a purchase of the heart. Whether you're intrigued by the thought of style, performance or an exciting drive, you want something that'll make you grin from ear to ear – a car that'll make you feel like it's Christmas every time you hop in the driver's seat. 

Satisfying these cravings can cost a lot of money, though, so buying your sports car used makes a lot of sense. Price is just one of the factors that we take into account when judging which sports cars are the best, though; they need to be thrilling, of course, plus none that we recommend will be a burden to live with. 

Take your pick of these 10. All are great to drive, sometimes for different reasons. 

Strengths

  • Fabulous interior
  • Crisp handling
  • Efficient engines

Weaknesses

  • Stingy equipment
  • Some wind noise at speed
  • Not the cheapest convertible

At number one, we have the Audi TT Roadster. It's an easily recommendable sports car, because it strikes an ideal balance between the silly and sensible. On one hand, it's sharp and nimble to drive, plus its engine line-up is strong, ranging from a modest 178bhp unit to a potent 395bhp one (in the TT RS). On the other, the TT is comfortable and a class leader for interior quality, not to mention there's a decent amount of space on offer. And the cherry on top: used prices are reasonable across the board.

We found: 2019 Audi TT 2.0 TFSI S line, 44,580 miles, £21,980

Find a used Audi TT Roadster for sale here

 

Our pick: 4.0 GTS 2dr

0-62mph: 4.5 sec
MPG/range: 25.9mpg
CO2 emissions: 247g/km
Seats: 2
Boot: 270 litres
Insurance group: 46E

Strengths

  • Excellent performance
  • Wonderful handling
  • Posh interior feel

Weaknesses

  • Not over-equipped as standard
  • Spare parts will be pricey

You might be wondering why the Cayman coupé ranks above the Boxster convertible in our books. Well, both are fantastic to an almost equal extent, but the Cayman offers a slightly superior driving experience by being lighter and having a stiffer structure (for even better handling), yet also more comfortable. The Cayman is slightly more practical than the Boxster, too. Like the Boxster, it offers beautifully balanced and engaging handling, precise steering and, in this generation, glorious flat-six engines.  

We found: 2016 Porsche Cayman S, 59,300 miles, £32,950

Find a used Porsche Cayman for sale here

 

Strengths

  • Brilliant handling
  • Surprisingly comfortable ride
  • Classy interior

Weaknesses

  • Not as well equipped as some
  • Fuel consumption heavy

Wait: surely the Porsche 911's smaller, less powerful drop-top sibling can't rank higher than it? Well, it does in our eyes – and not just because it's available for less money and will be better on fuel. The Boxster also drives just as well, if not even better. It feels light and agile, not to mention its 3.4-litre flat-six engine produces a healthy 311bhp (in S guise) and is great fun to take all the way up to the redline. That being said, even entry-level cars with the 261bhp 2.7-litre engine are a joy to drive. 

We found: 2016 Porsche Boxster S, 34,284 miles, £43,999

Find a used Porsche Boxster for sale here

 

Our pick: 1.5 [132] Exclusive-Line 2dr

0-62mph: 8.3 sec
MPG/range: 45.6mpg
CO2 emissions: 140g/km
Seats: 2
Boot: 130 litres
Insurance group: 27E

Strengths

  • Outstanding ride and handling balance
  • Performance suited to UK roads
  • Low running costs

Weaknesses

  • Wind noise at speed
  • Limited storage
  • Driving position lacks adjustment

Ever since the first version was introduced in 1989, the Mazda MX-5 has been putting smiles on the faces of drivers – without bank-breaking buying and running costs. Now in its fourth generation, the model remains true to the original formula; it's a back-to-basics machine that embodies lightness, compactness and playfulness. Sure, its largest engine (a 2.0-litre four-cylinder) in its most powerful form produces only 181bhp, but that's more than enough to explore the car's capabilities. That means you can have a lot of fun at even modest speeds, turning any favourite road into a playground. 

We found:  2018 Mazda MX-5 2.0 [184] GT Sport Nav+, 46,000 miles, £12,995

Find a used Mazda MX-5 for sale here

Our pick: 1.8L Turbo 2dr DCT

0-62mph: 4.5 sec
MPG/range: 42.2mpg
CO2 emissions: 152g/km
Seats: 2
Boot: 196 litres
Insurance group: 47E

Strengths

  • Truly involving and entertaining handling
  • Comfortable ride for a sports car
  • Rapid performance and surprisingly good economy

Weaknesses

  • Pretty poor luggage space
  • There isn't an abundance of A110s on the used market...
  • ... and prices can't match the rival Cayman

If you want rapid performance, truly entertaining and involving handling and a comfortable ride thrown into a neat-looking sports car that won't break the bank to run the A110 is the car for you. It's definitely the car for us. It offers proper pace in a small, lightweight package, and executes it brilliantly. In fact, we think it's one of the most entertaining and rewarding used sports cars you can buy at any price. 

We found: 2021 Alpine A110 1.8 Turbo DCT, 15,000 miles, £41,000

Find a used Alpine A110 for sale here

 

Our pick: 5.2 FSI [570] V10 Performance 2dr S Tronic RWD

0-62mph: 3.7 sec
MPG/range: 22.4mpg
CO2 emissions: 285g/km
Seats: 2
Boot: 112 litres
Insurance group: 50E

Strengths

  • Addictive V10 engine
  • Fluid handling
  • Refined cruising manners

Weaknesses

  • Not as playful on the limit as some rivals
  • Very thirsty when driven hard
  • Still not exactly cheap to buy

The Audi R8 combines old and new school in a magnificent way. Its 5.2-litre V10 engine isn't turbocharged like most modern competitors, but with 602bhp (in pre-facelift Plus form) and Audi's sophisticated quattro four-wheel drive system, the R8 can take off like a rocket while making it easy to put that power to good use on twisty roads, even when the weather could be better. What's more, because of its luxurious interior and well-judged ride, this supercar is remarkably easy to live with. 

We found: 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus, 48,000 miles, £70,945

Find a used Audi R8 for sale here

 

Our pick: 2dr PDK

0-62mph: 4.2 sec
MPG/range: 27.4mpg
CO2 emissions: 233g/km
Seats: 4
Boot: 264 litres
Insurance group: 50E

Strengths

  • Rapid performance
  • Wonderful handling
  • Beautifully finished interior

Weaknesses

  • Road noise
  • Still expensive, even used
  • Stingy kit

You can't have a top 10 sports car list without a Porsche 911; you'll be hard-pressed to find a single version that isn't brilliant. For under £60,000, you can pick up an excellent 2016 Carrera S model. This generation is the last to feature some non-turbocharged engines in the 'regular' models, and, in Carrera S form, that means a 394bhp 3.8-litre flat six with a super-smooth power delivery and an amazing noise to accompany it. It's a polished, high-quality, surprisingly practical sports car that's intoxicating to drive. 

We found: 2016 Porsche 911 Carrera S, 45,684 miles, £54,995

Find a used Porsche 911 for sale here

 

Strengths

  • Good performance
  • Attractive styling
  • Lots of fun to drive

Weaknesses

  • Tiny boot
  • Fiddly infotainment
  • Not cheap to run

The F-Type has a muscle-car-like quality about it. This is especially prevalent in any of its lairy V8 guises, although we actually prefer the more tameable – and generally cheaper – V6. Its 3.0-litre engine is still a riot, with 335bhp in standard form and 375bhp for the V6 S version. All V6 and V8 F-Types are supercharged and provide an engaging soundtrack to accompany their entertaining handling. Used prices aren't ridiculously high, either.

We found: 2017 Jaguar F-Type V6 S, 50,962 miles, £25,990

Find a used Jaguar F-Type Convertible for sale here

Strengths

  • Huge performance
  • Entertaining handling
  • Wonderful noise

Weaknesses

  • Restricted visibility
  • Some rivals are better to drive
  • Expensive to buy and run

Following up the legendary Mercedes-AMG SLS was no easy feat, but the Mercedes-AMG GT did exactly that – and did it very successfully. In S guise, its twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine produces 515bhp for scintillating performance. Throw in involving handling, sleek looks and a sonorous exhaust note and the GT makes quite a lasting impression – even if it does without the dramatic gullwing doors of its predecessor. It's an expensive way to have a good time, but you're unlikely to regret your expenditure.

We found: 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S, 73,272 miles, £53,950

Find a used Mercedes-AMG GT S for sale here

Strengths

  • Unique driving experience
  • Low running costs
  • Amazing styling

Weaknesses

  • Steering could be better
  • Cramped rear seats
  • Tiny boot

The plug-in hybrid BMW i8 is fast, great fun to drive and very capable. Its 228bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine drives the rear wheels, and a 129bhp electric motor drives those at the front. This contributes to a rapid 0-60mph time of 4.2sec, yet it can run on electricity alone when needed. It's an easy car to live with day to day, thanks to its impressively low running costs, handy rear seats and decent practicality. It's likely to be a sound investment as well, especially if you buy an earlier, cheaper example, because now that it's off sale, used prices are only likely to go up.

We found: 2016 BMW i8, 55,000 miles, £39,995

Find a used BMW i8 for sale here