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Top 10 used sports cars
A great sports car nails its driving experience, from acceleration to handling. The very best are the most fun – and here they are for you to get acquainted with...
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 ear to ear. A car that'll make you feel like its 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; you can save some serious money on some seriously awesome machines. Price is but one factor that we take into account when judging which sports cars are the best; 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 sublime to drive, sometimes for different reasons.
Any Z4 is a striking, suave, plush sports car inside and out, but we highly recommend going for the M40i over its lesser variants – the 20i and 30i – if you can. With its 335bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine, it's the version that best delivers the performance and driving thrills you want from such a car. It would rank higher in this list if rivals weren't more polished and engaging.
We found: 2019 BMW Z4 M40i, 12,000 miles, £40,950
Find a used BMW Z4 for sale here
- Strong six-cylinder M40i
- Luxurious interior
- Four-cylinders are lacklustre
- Subpar sports car handling
- Inconsistent brake feel
Following up the legendary SLS is 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 the lasting impression – even if it does without the dramatic gull-wing doors of its predecessor. It's an expensive way to have a good time, but you're unlikely to regret your expenditure.
We found: 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT S, 30,831 miles, £79,199
Find a used Mercedes-AMG GT S for sale here
- Huge performance
- Entertaining handling
- Wonderful noise
- Restricted visibility
- Some rivals are better to drive
- Expensive to buy and run
The F-Type has a muscle-car-esque quality about it. This is especially prevalent in its lairy V8 guise, 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 variants of F-Type, bar a turbocharged four-cylinder, are supercharged and provide an engaging soundtrack to accompany their entertaining while handling. Used prices aren't ridiculously high, either.
We found: 2017 Jaguar F-Type V6 S, 14,000 miles, £42,950
Find a used Jaguar F-Type Convertible for sale here
- Good performance
- Attractive styling
- Lots of fun to drive
- Tiny boot
- Fiddly infotainment
- Not cheap to run
The TT Roadster is a chic small sports car that has a very smart interior, as well as efficient engines and sharp handling. It's an incredibly well-rounded package, despite only possessing two seats. If you choose of the more powerful engines offered, such as the 227bhp 2.0-litre petrol, it's quick, too. And the cherry on top: reasonable used prices across the board. What more could you want?
We found: 2018 Audi TT Black Edition 2.0 TFSI, 23,117 miles, £27,500
Find a used Audi TT Roadster for sale here
- Fabulous interior
- Crisp handling
- Efficient engines
- Stingy equipment
- Some wind noise at speed
- Not the cheapest convertible
You can't have a top 10 sports car list without a Porsche 911. All of them are simply brilliant. For around £60,000, you can pick up an excellent 2014 Carrera S model. This generation is the last to feature flat-six engines without turbos in all models and, in Carrera S form, that means a 394bhp 3.8-litre unit with super smooth power delivery and an amazing noise to accompany it. If you have a bit more money to spend, one of the later turbocharged cars becomes available – either way, you're getting a fantastically accomplished, upmarket sports car that drives like a dream.
We found: 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK, 37,888 miles, £64,990
Find a used Porsche 911 for sale here
- Rapid performance
- Wonderful handling
- Beautifully finished interior
- Road noise
- Still expensive, even used
- Stingy kit
The Audi R8 is 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 all-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 remarkably easy to live with.
We found: 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus, 26,000 miles, £87,990
Find a used Audi R8 for sale here
- Addictive V10 engine
- Fluid handling
- Refined cruising manners
- Not as playful on the limit as some rivals
- Very thirsty when driven hard
- Still not exactly cheap to buy
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. No, the Boxster also drives just as amazingly, if not even better. It feels light, agile and quick on its feet, 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 standard cars with the 261bhp 2.7-litre engine are a joy to drive.
We found: 2016 Porsche Boxster S, 10,408 miles, £47,900
Find a used Porsche Boxster for sale here
- Brilliant handling
- Surprisingly comfortable ride
- Classy interior
- Not as well equipped as some
- Fuel consumption heavy
Ever since the first version was introduced in 1989, the Mazda MX-5 has been putting many smiles on the faces of many drivers – and without breaking the bank when it comes to buying and running costs. Now in its fourth generation, the model remains true to the original formula; it's very much 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 only produces 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  GT Sport Nav+, 17,294 miles, £20,999
Find a used Mazda MX-5 for sale here
- Outstanding ride and handling balance
- Performance suited to UK roads
- Low running costs
- Wind noise at speed
- Limited storage
- Driving position lacks adjustment
Why does the coupé Cayman rank above the convertible Boxster? Well, both are fantastic to an almost equal extent, but the Cayman offers a slightly superior drive by being lighter and more rigid, yet also more comfortable. The Cayman is more spacious than the Boxster, too, and has a larger rear boot. With that said, you should know it comes with all the Boxster's amazing features we raved about above, such as its precise, balanced, engaging handling and glorious flat-six engines.
We found: 2016 Porsche Cayman S, 32,202 miles, £45,975
Find a used Porsche Cayman for sale here
- Excellent performance
- Wonderful handling
- Posh interior feel
- Not over-equipped as standard
- Spare parts will be pricey
The BMW i8 redefines what a sports car can be. It's fast, fun to drive and capable, but it goes about everything in very forward-thinking ways. For example, while its 228bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine drives the rear wheels, a 129bhp electric motor drives those at the front. This contributes towards a rapid 0-60mph time of 4.2 seconds and, despite the electrification, it's light, too. From behind the wheel, the model feels agile, sharp and precise.
Additionally, even though we said the driving experience is our main focal point, aspects such as impressively low running costs, rear seats, decent practicality and space-age design – features that make it a joy to live with day-to-day – help its cause. It's our favourite used sports car.
We found: 2016 BMW i8, 20,561 miles, £55,079
Find a used BMW i8 for sale here
- Unique driving experience
- Low running costs
- Amazing styling
- Steering could be better
- Cramped rear seats
- Tiny boot
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