The E36 needs no introduction, as it is the most recognizable M3 around. The engineering that went into the E36 alone makes it an important catch. You don’t have to plunk down a ton of cash on an actual M3 model. The E36 came in various trim levels, and the performance was naturally aspirated. The resale value for the E36 is almost zero and you can find one for almost nothing. This is because there is a lot of maintenance that goes into keeping the E36 on the road (via A Better BMW).
If you are willing to put the work in the E36, it can be one of the most rewarding cars you’ll ever drive. The E36 has many modern luxury features that you’d expect in today’s vehicles. There’s no doubt that BMW was ahead of the curve, and that’s why the E36 was so popular. You can find one of these cars for a low price and the performance is gratifying.
Surprisingly enough, the Volvo brand has had its fair share of performance cars over the years. One of the most notable Volvo performance cars among enthusiasts is the T-5R. Known affectionately as the “brick”, the 850 T-5R is a turbocharged fun fare. The box-shaped Volvo had an inline five-cylinder engine that was turbocharged (via Reviewary).
On top of being one of the most fun-to-drive Volvo models, the T-5R is also the rarest. The off-the-line acceleration is unlike anything else in a Volvo. The interior is luxurious, and an optional five-speed is worth seeking out. The boxy exterior shape isn’t the most attractive, but the Volvo 850 T-5R is highly desirable.
The BMW 850 CSI is a notable sports car that has recently come back into favor. Late rapper Easy E had a pearl white model. The performance of the 5.6 L S70 V12 is still unmatched to this day. There are very few cars that can compete with the 850 CSi on a naturally aspirated performance. The resale value on these BMWs has deteriorated due to various electrical problems (via Motor Trend).
If you’re willing to put up with some maintenance issues, the BMW 8-Series is an excellent choice. The car has styling that still looks good today, not to mention it is rare. There are very few BMW cars that have the reputation that the 850 CSi does. This is a true driver’s car if there ever was one.
Honda gets the credit for creating the hot hatch craze with the CRX, but the Golf VR6 took it to the next level. What happens when you take Audi engineering and cram it into a compact package? Well, you get the Golf VR6, a unique blend of performance and handling. Volkswagen knows how to market a compact, and the Golf has a lot going for it (via Which Car).
The MK3 is sort of the forgotten generation of the Golf. This was during the time when Volkswagen was in deep financial trouble. The brand had to rebound somehow, and that rebound would happen later on with the New Beetle. But in the meantime, the Golf VR6 was a welcomed addition to the lineup, and it offered a lot.
Based on the wonderful Z3 sports car, the M Coupe is an evolution. The hatchback design and the short wheelbase made it drive amazingly. The 3.2 liter DOHC Inline 6 has been among the best of any BMW engine in the past. The M coupe was released in low production numbers, and most of the car is similar to the Z3 (via Auto Trader).
The unique hatchback style is unlike any other BMW you’ve ever seen. The resale value on the M Coupe isn’t too high, which is a good thing. You can seldom find one with low mileage that was taken care of. The ride is quintessential BMW, and there is an abundant aftermarket community for the M Coupe.
The Porsche Boxster was released during the 1990s Renaissance for the Porsche brand. The modern styling and lightweight design made it a smash hit. The Boxster uses a 2.5 L flat-6, which is one of the best engines to come out from Porsche. The overall design of the entire car is still among the best to this day. There are ample amounts of modifications that you can do to the Boxster to make it modern (via Motor Trend).
The prices have depreciated so much that you can get a used Boxster for next to nothing. You will have to put up with the usual Porsche repair issues, but that’s a small price to pay for an excellent sports car. The Boxster is one of the most iconic Porsche models of the last decade.
The SN-95 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra is one of the most affordable Cobra models you can get. The styling leaves a lot to be desired, but this is indeed a fixed Mustang. The performance is far above anything you can get in this price range. The replacement parts are abundant for this Mustang model, which is a good thing. The Mustang has evolved a lot over the past few decades into a modern sports car (via Mustang Specs).
When it comes to a modern interior, the SN-95 was the first modern Mustang. The curvaceous exterior and interior were a departure for Ford. The styling for the Mustang from this era isn’t as extreme as the GM F-Body cars from the same period. The SVT Cobra is a memorable Mustang model that offers a lot of bang for the buck.
The Lexus SC400 was the first V8-powered sports car with a Lexus badge. The build quality of the Lexus SC400 is above the rest when it comes to quality. The interior materials were top-notch, and riding in the SC400 still feels like a million bucks today. The V8 engine that came with this car was bulletproof, and the quality was at the top of its class (via Lextreme).
The V8 engine performs well, and repairs are minimal, to say the least. Lexus cars are always known for their high-quality design. The SC400 is based on the Toyota Supra, so it’s only natural that the car drives well for its age. There are a few notable sports cars from this era, and the SC400 is one of them.
The Nissan 300ZX is the twin-turbo-powered Nissan sports car of the 1990s. The design was fairly straightforward at the time. The styling won’t win any contests, but the 300ZX is a handsome car nonetheless. Available in a T-Top or convertible, the 300ZX has performances that rival the Toyota Supra. The interior is luxurious with leather seating and a plethora of options (via Car Gurus).
The off-the-line performance of the twin-turbo engine is still exhilarating today. The cost of a 300 ZX is much cheaper than a comparable Supra. The convertible version is rare and pleasant to say the least. The 300 ZX is sure to be a collector’s item as time goes on, so there has never been a better chance to snag one.
Perhaps one of the most iconic sports cars to grace the world, the C4 Corvette is vastly underrated. The design of the C4 influenced the Corvette for many generations after. The LT1 V8 engine performs exceptionally to this day. The classic design of the C4 is attractive and the car is lightweight. There are many resources available for the LT1 V8 engine. Many replacement parts are compatible with other Chevy’s (via Auto List).
A Corvette C4 with low mileage won’t set you back more than $10,000, a stellar deal when you consider the C4 a supercar. The interior is nothing striking, but the rest of the car more than makes up for the shortcoming. There are a few cars that perform like a C4 Corvette in this price range.
The Mitsubishi 3000GT is one of the best sports cars in the decade. The twin-turbo-powered beast of a car offers stellar performance. Perhaps the best thing about the 3000GT is the price. You can find one of these for a very low price. The fairly unknown car has a great deal of comfort and convenience built right in. There was even a rare convertible model of the 3000GT that is seldom witnessed (via Cars.com).
The 3000GT had a lot going for it, and as a used sports car it is a lot. You can’t find twin-turbo power for this kind of price tag. With a little work, the 3000GT can be transformed into a loyal and capable sports car. The beautiful and unique exterior styling is something you’ll seldom find.
Volkswagen is a brand with its share of unique vehicles. But when it comes to performance, Volkswagen isn’t a brand that comes directly to mind. That changed with the Corrado, which was a rear-wheel drive sports car. The performance of the Corrado was unmatched for the time period. But Volkswagen was in serious financial straights, and the Corrado didn’t resonate with buyers (via Honest John).
Nowadays, you can find a Corrado for a reasonable price tag. The design of the car appeals to many buyer types. The Corrado has a lot of potential thanks to its unique design and German engineering. With the hatchback design, the Corrado isn’t your average sports car by any stretch of the word.
The Honda Prelude was a popular model in the Honda lineup for decades. The design hasn’t changed much over time. But for the price, you can’t beat a car like the Prelude. The naturally aspirated motor propels the Prelude with ease. The unique design of the car still has a roomy interior, which is different from a sports car (via Car & Driver).
The design of the Prelude was inimitable and much different than many other cars from this era. The reliability and engineering that went into the Prelude made the car stand out from the crowd. To this day, the Prelude is incomparable, and you can find one for a reasonable price tag. With a little work, the Prelude can be one of the best driving used cars on the road.
Surprisingly enough Dodge had a winner on their hands in the 1990s. The Dodge Stealth R/T was based on the Mitsubishi 3000GT. The twin-turbo-powered performance was a tremendous change from ordinary Chrysler products. Because the Stealth is a relatively unknown performance car, resale prices are also lower. Almost all the parts are interchangeable with the 3000GT, which makes repairs straightforward (via Car & Driver).
In many ways, the Dodge Stealth R/T is a better-looking car than the Mitsubishi variant. It has that signature Dodge Gril and Chrysler styling. The Stealth R/T performs well, and for the price you can’t beat the amount of power you get. Few cars have been as iconic as the Dodge Stealth R/T.
The SN-95 Mustang is probably one of the most underrated sports cars of the 1990s. The styling wasn’t as well-received as you’d expect, but the SN-95 is indeed a Foxbody Mustang. With all the perks that come with a fixed Mustang. The 5.0 V8 is exceptional, and the interior is enormous (via Mustang Specs).
You can find an SN-95 Mustang for far less than a lot of other Mustang generations. The remarkable thing about the car is the vast amount of parts readily available to turn the SN-95 into a modern drag car. The design will never be replicated, and the car stands out from the crowd.
There were only 24,000 Subaru SVX models ever built. The unusual sports car is one of the rarest on the road. The performance is unmatched for the time period, and the unique styling is something that you seldom see. But the cheap price that you can find an SVX for makes it an appealing project car (via Curbside Classic).
There was a lot to be liked about the SVX, from the power plant to the styling. There aren’t many sports cars that look as extreme as this one. But you can have a unique sports car that will be more unique than anything else on the road. There are also many enthusiast groups dedicated to the SVX.
The early 2000s Mercury Cougar was sort of a last-ditch effort for Ford to revitalize the Mercury brand. The car had everything going for it, including the styling. But it lacked in the performance department, which let a lot of buyers down. The styling was also on the feminine side, which was done on purpose by Ford (via Cars.com).
The problem is that the original buyers of the Cougar were alienated and the car stopped selling. The new age Cougar went on for a few years before cutting the car off altogether. Eventually, the Mercury brand was disbanded, and the Cougar is now a thing of the past. But you can still find one for a low price and enjoy its nostalgia.
Much like the Porsche Boxster, the 968 was also an icon of the 1990s. The styling of the 968 is unlike almost anything you’ll encounter on the road. The style and the feeling of the car are unlike any other Porsche on the market. The hatchback design and the V8 engine both make the 968 a welcomed addition to the Porsche heritage (via Edmunds).
Another remarkable thing about the 968 is, of course, the price tag too. You can find one of these for a low number. With the optional V8 engine, the 968 is a stand out sports car with a lot of potential. At the end of the day, you have to remember that the 968 is indeed a Porsche inside and out.
The idea behind the Ford Probe is that it would replace the Ford Mustang. The reality was far from that, and the Probe became a distant memory. But for the price, you can’t go wrong with the 24V version. Especially in the final years of the Probes life cycle, the design was modern, and there was a lot going for it (via Repair Pal).
There are few sports cars that will perform and drive like the Ford Probe. Weird name aside, the Probe is far different than many other sports cars on the market. The interior is cheap but does the job, and the Probe definitely has that ’90s Ford feeling to it. For the price, you can turn the Probe into a decent sports car.
The Acura Integra is one of the best used sports cars you can buy. For the price, you get a high-revving four cylinder engine and an honest driving characteristic that can’t be beaten. The Integra doesn’t look like anything else on the market. The design is unique, and the performance is more than adequate for daily driving (via Motor Trend).
The Integra is one of the most stolen cars in the country, but if you invest in an alarm, it will be fine. Honda put some of the best research and development into the Integra, and it became an iconic model. With naturally aspirated performance and legendary reliability, the Integra is still a good sports car.
The Scion TC was released after Toyota had stopped selling the Celica sports car. The design was youthful and modern simultaneously. The four-cylinder engine is high revving and does the job well. From a design perspective, the interior for the Scion TC is still relaxed to this day. The rear seating has more than enough space for passengers or kids to jump in for a quick ride (via Car and Driver).
There is an abundance of aftermarket upgrades that you can buy for the TC. All of this combines to make a very attractive sports car that you can get for next to nothing. The Scion TC competes well against the Honda Civic SI and you can save a lot of money with the Scion TC.