Who doesn’t love to drive fast? Sports cars are one of the best ways you can accomplish that. There was a time just a few decades ago when certain sports cars were cheap and fast. Nowadays, the market has changed and as technology advances, sports cars more expensive. Purchasing a sports car is more than just a mid-life crisis. You might be single with no children and you want to enjoy your commute. Or you have a family, but on the weekend you’d like to hit the open road with. There are many reasons drivers go for a sports car, but the most common is speed.
Choosing a sports car is a very different decision then it used to be. Modern sports cars have gone way up in price. Whether you are looking at a Nissan GT-R or a Toyota Supra, you are going to be paying a pretty penny. But are sports cars worth it? Many sports cars just can’t justify the high price tag. Remember at the end of the day a sports car is supposed to be fast and fun without having to break the bank. You can find many enjoyable sports cars for a fraction of the cost of overpriced models. Read on below as we take a look at 30 sports cars that fail to justify the high price tag via CarMax.
30: 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO
While the Ferrari 288 GTO was ahead of its time in terms of technology, the actual driving experience was dated from the jump. The performance of the car was lackluster at best and maintenance costs were lofty. Then you had the fact that the design of the car was fairly dated and hasn’t aged well. Few Ferrari models have been as avoidable as the 288 GTO, which has not aged well in the last decade especially.
The double-wishbone suspension was supposed to give the car ample performance but instead, it caused a lot of confusion. You’d think that the driving characteristics of a Ferrari would be better, but in the 288 GTO, drivers are getting an average ride. The car has managed to climb its way up the collectible latter but the prices are still much higher than the car is worth. You can do so much better for the price and get a more enjoyable driving experience.
The Porsche brand name is synonymous with quality and racing heritage, and as such the 959 was supposed to be the ultimate road car. Unfortunately, the car was lost in transition and the actual driving experience fell far short of expectations. The 959 was designed as a legitimate racing car, which didn’t bode well for comfort. You can’t just drive a race car to the grocery store and a lot of owners figured this out. The suspension and the overall build quality of the car were questionable when you’d drive it hard.
Likewise, there was no V8 powerplant, instead, there was a flat-six engine. Not lacking in power but the refinement wasn’t there either. The 959 is not going to win any races in the current condition that you’ll find most of them in. Your hard-earned money could be spent on something better that would offer more.
If you mistook this for a Lambo or Ferrari, you probably aren’t the first person to do so. The BMW M1 is a complete carbon clone of the Lamborghini models that were available at the time. What made this one unique was the fact that it had a powerful engine and a semi-futuristic design. Which at the time didn’t help the car to win any popularity tests. The 3.5-liter straight-six was an advanced engine at the time, although it didn’t compare to other supercars that were on the market.
Likewise, if you already had a BMW then the performance wasn’t anything amazing. The reliability was questionable at best and a lot of owners were frustrated with the high cost of the maintenance. The M1 is a notable sports car in a lot of ways, but sadly, it just couldn’t justify its cost.
Lotus has always been a company that you equate with fast driving and excitement. The Esprit Turbo was notable for its 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine. Most in the automotive press turned their nose up at the Esprit because of this. The four-cylinder was also a tough engine to work on and that caused a lot of frustration with buyers. The Lotus Esprit had a wedge design that didn’t resonate with everyone’s taste, although the car was in line with the styling at the time. The wide stance of the car didn’t help in the twists and turns on the road.
Nevertheless, the car managed to sell quite well for the company. But if you are in the market for a used exotic, this is probably one that you should avoid. This particular exotic car is missing a lot of the aspects that make a sports car notable. The high cost of maintenance and the fairly limited scope of replacement parts only hampers the deal.
You probably think of Aston Martin as your local doctor’s ride, but these cars have been around for a while. There was a point in time where Aston Martin and Maserati had become fairly obscure, and the birth child of that is the 1989 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato. Take one look at the car and you don’t know if you are looking at a DeLorean or something else. There are lines all over the car and it further complicated what could have been a smooth design. The V8 engine was plagued with reliability problems from the gate.
If you could get the car to drive correctly, you were in for a decent experience. But these cars are seldom seen on the road anymore and the price can be outrageous. There are much better exotic cars that you can get in this price range that will last a lot longer. The Vantage Zagato has a lot of potentials if you can find one for an affordable price, but at the inflated prices nowadays it is worth avoiding altogether.
The Countach was the Lamborghini that introduced us to the radical designs that we still see today. Performance-wise the Countach was an excellent concept, the elongated body and the powerful engine could have gone together to be a great mixture. One of the worst features of the Countach was the obscene oversized spoiler. This coupled with the sharp lines made the car stand out like a monstrosity. The Lamborghini Countach did have a lot of potentials but the wild styling turned a lot of people off.
The valuations on these have skyrocketed to astronomical highs and you just can’t justify the cost. You could find a used Gallardo for a lot less and get a modern car with a lot more amenities. Likewise, finding parts for the Countach is not an easy task and repairs can be quite difficult.
Excellent road cars are few and far between and it takes a lot to find that one car that handles amazingly. The F40 was the ultimate road car in a lot of aspects with an elongated design and a powerful engine. The main problem with the F40 was the lack of quality in the design and the massive spoiler that was attached to the back. It would appear that the styling was more reminiscent of an F1 racer rather than a road car. Nevertheless, the F40 is probably not worth considering if you want a pricey sports car.
There are so many other options on the road that are both fun to drive and interesting to own. Ferrari has made many memorable models that are worth considering, but the F40 isn’t going to be one of them. If you are an avid collector, then the F40 might be worth picking up but otherwise, this particular sports car just isn’t worth the price.
You probably don’t hear about this brand all too often. De Tomaso was in the business for a brief spell and the Pantera GT5 was one of the most popular models. The problem was with the design of the car itself which was very basic at a time when exotic cars were advancing. Even the domestic Corvette offered more refinement than this model, and that isn’t a compliment. If you were to scoop up a Pantera GT5 you can look forward to spending a lot of money on repairs. Parts are hard to come by as well, which frustrates most owners to no end.
The car did have some interesting features like the grates along the sides and the front, but other than that it was a dud. When it comes down to straight performance numbers the De Tomaso Pantera didn’t impress all that much. You can find comparable exotic cars that will provide a lot more in terms of performance and quality.
We’ve all seen or been in love with the Testarossa at one point or another. The styling of the car is a quintessential ’90s design. Pretty much every celebrity has owned one of these at one point or another and it has been featured in dozens of movies. The problem is that the price has skyrocketed to extreme amounts, and thus the Testarossa is valued at a lot more than the car is worth at the moment. Sure, you get that quintessential styling that makes the car stand out but do you want to spend that kind of money?
There are much better choices on the road that will provide ample performance and even cost less to repair. We don’t think that the Testarossa is a bad car, but there are better cars that are a lot more fun to drive. You can’t go wrong with the overall look of the Testarossa but that is about all that it has going for it.
The Corvette of the 1980s was sort of a mixed bag when it came to performance and quality. It wasn’t the fastest car on the road and it didn’t offer a lot of refinement. But the pure Corvette enthusiasts were still happy with it nonetheless. The 1988 Callaway Sledgehammer ZR1 Corvette is a remixed version of the car that added some extreme styling and a ground effects kit. The 898 horsepower engine is the pinnacle of what the car has to offer, but for the price that these are going for you should avoid it.
You can get a barebones model and do most of the upgrades yourself, including adding an aftermarket ground effects kit. The Corvette is a car that doesn’t need a lot of modifications to make it stand out from the crowd. Good hard work will get the car to the next level with a very minimal effort.
The Toyota Supra was relaunched for the 2020 model year. With the new Supra came a whole plethora of new features. Critics were quick to point out the design flaws of the car compared to previous models. The overall stylistic touches were universally panned as a failed rendition of a classic. Performance-wise, the Supra isn’t anything to sneeze at, but it’s also in a very high price bracket -the same type of price that you’d pay on a high-dollar luxury coupe. Design-wise the Supra was engineered to provide the same type of performance as previous generations.
There have also been complaints from owners that the 2020 Supra has an alignment problem straight from the factory. The Toyota Supra will long be one of the most coveted sports cars around. But the current version seems to be a mere shadow of its former self. Because of the car’s nostalgic value and history, dealers have been upselling the early models. It might not be a good time to buy the already pricey Supra because you could potentially pay thousands over sticker price.
A lot has happened around the Challenger in the last decade, and the model continues to sell well. But let’s face the facts, the Challenger is a bit long in the tooth. The Challenger has seen minimal upgrades at best over its first generation. Meanwhile, the Mustang and the Camaro have both experienced major redesigns. Dodge is attempting to keep the model fresh by adding packages such as the Demon. But the Challenger is very outdated when you compare it to its competitors.
The car that was originally panned for being too heavy has gained a loyal following. Sales go up every year. But the Challenger is very outdated and you can buy a used model and save thousands. The price of the new Challenger just isn’t justifiable when you are being faced with a decade-old car. Sure, the sheet metal looks new and improved, but you can’t put lipstick on a pig.
Kia is a brand that has come a long way in a short amount of time. When the company debuted in 1994, the only model was the tiny Sephia. The car didn’t offer much of anything except for a cheap price tag. Take a look at Kia now and you are sure to see a top-end car that you could see yourself driving in. The Stinger is Kia’s attempt to corner the sport sedan market. The Stinger offers a bold styling and a roomy interior that’s complete with racing seats and everything. Most of what the car has to offer is exceptional, except for one thing. The price tag.
The Stinger is priced at $33,000 just to start, and that’s getting into premium car territory. That’s not to say that the Stinger is a bad car by any means. But Kia hasn’t justified itself as a premium car brand yet, and to command those kinds of prices there needs to be some sort of a reputation behind it. The Stinger is a beautiful car, but let’s have a few years go by and see how the Stinger’s reputation has come along.
The Veloster is that one car that you know about but never really cared about. It’s been on the market for a while now. And while it originally generated buzz, there is none now. The Veloster is downright weird-looking, and Hyundai isn’t sure how to market the thing. Original models were plagued with reliability issues and there was a swarm of unhappy customers. After these issues were ironed out the car has never really recovered. It’s pretty cool to look at but for the price tag, there are more appealing cars on the road. The Veloster is a hatchback and was only available in a few configurations.
Like most halo cars, the Veloster is more of a talking point then anything. The Veloster offered the right amount of features for most drivers. But the price tends to scare people away, as do the original reports of reliability issues. The Veloster just isn’t a justifiable purchase for most people who want a fun-to-drive car. You’re better off finding a used Hyundai Genesis coupe, which came with the optional V8 engine.
The I8 is probably the oddity in this list because it does stand out from the crowd in terms of styling. But the electric I8 is more of a halo car than anything. BMW had worked hard to create sports cars that people want to drive. The I8 looks like something out of a movie with its gulf wing doors and futuristic-looking headlights. The overall design of the I8 is carefully crafted to create an upscale-looking car. There is also a convertible version which makes for a pretty cool lineup. But when you compare the exorbitant price of the I8 to other sports cars on the market, you’ll see the discrepancy.
For what it offers, you can get a reasonably equipped Porsche Boxster or Audi TT and get an equally exciting amount of performance for less. Then you have the option of the Acura NSX which is also an exotic car with this type of styling. The I8 is going to be discontinued this year and it’s probably for the better. BMW might have another supercar under its sleeve with more comparable performance and features of the price. The I8 at the moment is more of a status symbol than an actual enthusiast car.
Jaguar has long been the whipping boy of the automotive industry. The brand has almost gone under more times than we can count, yet they continue to release new offerings. There was a time in history where Jaguar was the driver’s car. The original Jaguars provided spirited performance and elegant features that made them a staple of the upper class. The F-Type is an example of what the company is still doing wrong to this day. For the massively expensive price of $126,000 for a fully loaded model, the F-Type is nothing more than a fancy roadster. Sure, you get a supercharged V8 engine, but when you look at it on paper there are better performers.
The Chevrolet Corvette, for example, is a considerably lower price point and offers better performance off the line. Sure the two cars are in a completely different class, but when you are forking over that kind of money you want results. The F-Type has had the same styling for the last seven years, and the car doesn’t look to be getting an upgrade. Jaguar is slowly moving into the electric car business, and thus the F-Type will probably ride off into the proverbial sunset.
When the Nissan GT-R appeared on American soil as an all-new design, there was much fanfare. This was the car that enthusiasts have spent thousands of imports over the years, and it could then be purchased legally. At first, the GT-R was an impressive supercar when compared to what else was on the market. Plus, it was just plain cool. But that original new car smell has worn off and the GT-R is one of the most aged vehicles on the market. Nissan hasn’t upgraded much on the GT-R, similar to how the company has done the 370Z.
From a design standpoint, the GT-R has become outclassed. Much of the interior is what you’d see in a much older vehicle. There are also more powerful options such as the Demon and the GT500 Shelby. While the GT-R has a distinct niche market the car is still extremely expensive. You are paying supercar prices for what is essentially an outdated design. There have been talks about Nissan updating the GT-R, but this is the same company that has kept the original Frontier on the road since 2005.
Lotus is a brand that never really gets too much attention, but you know it’s there. These are cars that people enjoy driving and that’s why there is such a loyal following. But the Evora has been around in its current form since 2009. That is a long time by automotive terms and there have been many sports cars that came after it. The Evora at one point packed one of the most powerful engines in its class, and the lightweight design was extremely fun. So much so that Tesla-based their original roadster off of the same design. The Evora is long in the tooth and it has gone on without a major redesign for some time now.
Lotus has made no bones about the outdated design and the company stands by the Evora. Automotive enthusiasts are quick to point out the car’s flaws, and the high price tag doesn’t help things out at all. You can expect to pay a pretty penny to get into an Evora whether you own it or lease it. The Evora does have some positive attributes but they are outweighed by the negatives such as the price tag.
With a design that originates from 2003, the 370Z has worn out its welcome. Not only is the sportscar extremely expensive but it’s also outdated. The design is cramped, and while it is still fun to drive, the 370Z is just not practical for today’s consumers. The outdated interior makes living in the 370Z a difficult thing to do. Then you have the naturally aspirated engine, which hasn’t changed much over time.
The 370Z holds to the car’s heritage of being a lightweight and quick-witted sports car. But when you look at the price tag and the outdated design, there are better options on the market. Design-wise, the 370Z has been around the block more than once, and now it’s time to retire. There are far better choices for a sports car that will cost you less and offer more bang for the buck. It’s time Nissan goes back to the drawing board.
The first Lexus sports car that was released during the 90s broke boundaries. The SC400 and the SC300 were superb sports cars that offered functional interiors and groundbreaking performance. To this day, the SC400 remains a very popular used car with outstanding reliability and features. The Lexus LC, on the other hand, is a bit of an outdated offering that is still stuck in 2010. The car has a whopping price tag which makes it stand out already. For that high price tag, you’d expect to get a car that handles like it. But the LC is not what you’d expect from a Lexus.
The car is quite cumbersome to drive and it can’t tell whether it wants to be a luxury sedan or a sports car. The LC is a big car by sports car standards and Lexus has packed so many electronics into the thing that there’s no denying how heavy it is. The LC might have the Lexus seal of quality behind it, but there are far better sports cars that you can get your hands on. For most automotive enthusiasts the LC is better left avoided. Car shoppers expect a little bit more from Lexus because of the company’s rep for high-quality vehicles.
The Audi TT has some memories that were good, and others were bad. By today’s standards, the TT is severely outdated. The car just doesn’t have anything new to offer. Even the exterior design has remained the same for 20 years. At one point, the TT was considered to be at the forefront of automotive technology. But nowadays, it’s just another outdated German sports car. The TT does offer a backseat which is a usable feature, but overall the car still performs like you’d think it was 2008. Audi is working on an electric version of the TT, so we’ll see what the future holds.
Like the 370Z, the TT is one of the last holdouts from the past automotive generation. If you want a bit of nostalgia or you want to relive the 90s, the TT might be a great option. You still get the bulletproof Audi driving experience which is still a plus in itself. The German-built TT offers a good deal of driving satisfaction, but in terms of an updated design for the price, the car is just lacking.
Maserati itself is a brand that has been around for decades, but the recent cars to bare a Maserati badge have been less than exciting. The GranTurismo has been in its current form since about 2009 and the car has seen minimal upgrades. You’d expect a car that is in this price caliber to be updated but overall the GranTurismo is lacking. The overall design is very much focused on speed, which is fine but the rest of the car is outdated. The seats and the interior have seen very little change over the past couple of years. Boasting a Ferrari-derived engine is enough to make the car fun to drive.
But for the price tag, there are many more updated sports cars on the market. Maserati has focused attention on the growing SUV market, which is fine. But this has left the GranTurismo without a major upgrade in quite a long period. Take one look at the car and it’s quite beautiful, but the lacking features for the price make the GranTurismo best left avoided. Maserati as a brand seems to get content when a certain model is selling well, but the company will need to start innovating to remain competitive.
The Morgan Roadster is a rather unique-looking sports car that doesn’t get a lot of attention. And while the unique looks of the car make it a modern-day antique, there has been a lack of updates as well. The car is utilizing an outdated Ford engine, which is very similar to what Chrysler did with the Prowler. When you have a car in this price range, you expect there to be some kind of modern updates every so often. You don’t want to pay a premium for the same car that you could get on the used market for a lot less. Still, the Morgan Roadster is cool to look at and offers a rather unique design.
Time will tell if the Morgan Roadster is upgraded. Enthusiasts have been interested to see if the car will get some sort of a V8 powerplant at some point. The consensus of the roadster makes it a prime candidate for this kind of tuning. For a unique, one-of-a-kind vehicle, the Morgan Roadster stands out from the crowd with its classic design, but it’s time for an upgrade.
The Alfa Romeo brand came back to a crowded marketplace. Carving out a niche was not going to be easy. The 4C is a sports coupe that looks to build on the sports car heritage of the Alfa Romeo brand. When you think of Alfa Romeo, you think of fast little Italian sports cars that are fun to drive and cheap to own. The 4C looks beautiful from an exterior point of view, the car is very reminiscent of a Lotus in terms of design. But when you get into the interior, you’ll see that the car is quite outdated compared to other models on the road. Compared to other sports cars the 4C has been on the market for some time now.
There is nothing to report that is amazing in terms of performance. The car is just a naturally aspirated sports car with a high price tag. There are comparable cars on the market that cost a lot less. The 4C offers a good amount of pep off the line, but the lackluster interior makes the car a pain to live with. There are better choices in this price range than the 4C for someone who wants a lightweight sports car.
The Porsche 911 in its current form has been on the market for a while now. In that time, there have been several new Porsche models that hit the road. While the 911 holds to its general demeanor that has made the car famous, its price tag and the features that you get for that price tag are way out of proportion. The Carrera has always been a blazing sports car thanks to the legendary Porsche design. When you compare the Carrera to other sports cars within this price range the 911 is a tad bit overpriced for what you get. What drivers are paying for is the prestige of driving a Porsche.
That’s not to say that the 911 Carrera is a boring car by any means. It still provides a serious amount of fun and performance. Yet there are better sports cars that you can get to tackle the track or the weekly commute. Porsche itself has a couple of other models that rival the 911 in-terms of fun attributes.
What began its life as the last Scion sports car has morphed into a Toyota. Sadly, the 86 hasn’t seen a real update in years. The only Toyota sportscar to share its sheet metal with a Subaru, the 86 left enthusiasts with high expectations. The car is satisfying to drive and it offers exceptional rear-wheel-drive performance. Designwise, though, the 86 is showing its age, with not much being changed from the Scion version of the car. The interior is cramped like you’d expect and the infotainment center is outdated as many of the current Toyota models.
The 86 commands a premium price tag for something that is quickly becoming outclassed. Toyota has not announced a redesign of the 86 yet as the Supra has already been on the market. Likewise, the Supra has been critically panned as well. Still, if you must have a Toyota sports car, the 86 will have a loyal fanbase of Toyota enthusiasts.
The M3 sits high on the hog like many BMW sports coupes, with a loyal following that enjoys driving the legendary “beamers”. Sadly, though, the M3 needs an update just like much of the BMW lineup. The current M3 has been in one form or another since 2006, although the body has been updated from time to time. The performance of the M3 is still fun, but it falls short of exhilarating. To justify the high price tag BMW builds a lot on the reputation of the brand, but the M3 leaves a lot to be desired.
Fast and fun German cars are getting more scarce as the industry turns toward crossover vehicles. The M3 is one of the last holdouts. But the car needs a redesign quite badly. In terms of driving characteristics and the overall experience, the M3 is falling behind the competition. For the high price tag, there are comparable vehicles on the road.
A BRZ is a lot like the Toyota that it shares its sheet metal with. The design has become outdated in the last couple of years. Minimal updates have made the car more of an enthusiast thing above all else. The benefit of the BRZ over the 86 is that you get the AWD powertrain whereas the Toyota is RWD. BRZ owners are treated to the usual Subaru interior treatment. BRZ is targeting a different audience than say an Outback, but the car is still nicely appointed. Yet the price tag is still high for what you get, and the engine is outdated at best.
The BRZ was a great concept since Subaru hasn’t had its own sports car since the 90s. But with a lack of serious updates, the BRZ is not in-line with the current crop of sports cars. Features are everything in today’s well-appointed vehicles and the BRZ needs an upgrade. The car has lost a lot of its initial buzz.
The MX-5 Miata has been on the market for a long time, and in its current form for almost a decade now. Mazdas philosophy with the MX-5 is if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Mazda had a hit on its hands when the company originally launched the Miata. The car was fun to drive and lightweight, offering a pleasant mixture of features for the price. There has been a constant flow of enthusiasts who have followed every generation of the Miata. But the current model has become dated and in need of an upgrade. Granted, the Miata is one of the few cars like it in the class, there are more updated options on the road now.
The marketplace for these lightweight roadsters is very slim, which might be why the Miata hasn’t seen an update in a good period. Still, the car could use a refresh as more buyers are coming to the forefront and looking for fun to drive cars. The MX-5 will continue to be a historical part of the automotive community, but a redesign is to help keep the car competitive.
The GTI has followed pretty much the same formula for success as it did some 30 years ago when the car was launched. Offering a pleasant mixture of turbocharged power and lightweight design, the coolest thing about the GTI has always been that it was a hatchback. In-terms of unique design the GTI stands alone and that’s okay. But Volkswagen has left the GTI largely untouched for the last couple of years. A refresh is due for the compact hot-hatch so that it can remain competitive. Volkswagen relies a lot on the reputation of the GTI line, but in reality, the car needs to be updated as well.
The interior has aged and there are other aspects to the car that make it worth an update. Although there are a lot of fun automobiles on the market, the GTI is one of the most original. But without a major overhaul, the vehicle is going to continue to become an aged feeling. There have been talks that Volkswagen is working on an all-electric version of the GTI, and we have to wonder how well it would perform.