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Used Car of the Year Awards 2021: Sports cars

With demand for used cars on the rise, you’ll want to know which are the best buys. That’s where our annual Used Car Awards come in. These are our favourite sports cars...

Used Sports Car of the Year
(and best buy less than £35,000)

Porsche Cayman (2013-2016)

Used Car Awards 2021 logo

Every so often, a car comes along that is so far ahead of the competition that you’re left wondering how long it will take for other brands to catch up. In the case of the previous-generation Porsche Cayman, we’re still waiting. 

With its playful handling, sonorous six-cylinder engine and snickity six-speed manual gearbox (a brilliant automatic is also available), the ‘981’ Cayman still delivers a driving experience that makes you wonder why you’d ever need to step up to a 911. It may not be as quick point to point as the newer, current Cayman, but the 2.7-litre flat six sounds much sweeter than the new model’s rather rough four-cylinder engine. 

Used Porsche Cayman 2013-2016 interior

At this price point, a 2015 Cayman not only holds more appeal than its successor but also sees off newer contenders such as the Audi TT, BMW Z4 and Mercedes SLC, because it’s so much more rewarding to drive. 

And, as was the case last year, it’s an obvious overall winner in this category, given that it’s more dynamically adept than the Mazda MX-5 and more grin-inducing than the BMW i8.

Used Mazda MX-5 long-term front 3/4 cornering

Best buy less than £20,000

The MX-5 serves as a reminder that small dimensions and low weight benefit a car in almost every area, from agility to fuel economy. For this budget, you could have a 2016-2017 Subaru BRZ or Toyota GT86, but a 2.0-litre MX-5 will be newer (just a year old) and more sophisticated.

Read our full used Mazda MX-5 review >>

Find used Mazda MX-5 for sale >>

BMW i8 (2014-2020) 

BMW i8

Best buy less than £50,000

Concept car looks, performance to rival a Porsche 911, the fuel economy of a small hatchback… and all for less than £50,000. That’s why we’d take a 2016 example of BMW’s daring plug-in hybrid sports car over a newer Alpine A110, and even in preference to an older version of said 911.

Read our full used BMW i8 review >>

Find used BMW i8 for sale >>

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Read about more Used Car of the Year 2021 winners >>