The market has lately shifted from producing fun cars that drivers can appreciate to a desire for efficiency and, ironically, a huge demand for SUVs. This means the car brands that used to design performance vehicles are evolving to build family cars and grocery haulers. With a quick check of used car listings, it’s still possible to find excellent, affordable sports cars that can put some excitement back into life. Buying a used car also means more budget-friendly options can put luxury within reach.
After a long day at the office, nothing can beat the excitement that the speed and handling of a sports car provides. There are plenty of choices under $20,000 with less than 100,000 miles to pick from, so with the proper selection, feeling like a million bucks doesn’t mean having to spend that much. To get started, here are 8 luxury sports cars that prove it’s possible.
8 2014 Jaguar F-Type ($19,999)
Jaguar is known for making legendary cars. The E-type is widely considered one of the most beautiful and desirable cars ever built, and Jaguar has made quite a few cars worth remembering. After a dark period, it was reborn and began to regain its reputation for elegance and athleticism. From this was born the F-Type,
Introduced through a marketing campaign as the bad boy (everyone loves a bad boy), the F-type is an excellent car that will make the driver feel like a hero. A variety of engines plus coupe and convertible versions ensure there’s an F-Type for anyone. While there are upper-level models, a used version can be found for a reasonable price considering what you get for your money.
7 2013 BMW Z4 sDrive28i ($19,995)
BMW’s first “Z” car, the Z1, was introduced in 1989. Notable for its vertically sliding door, it disappeared after just two years. The Z3 debuted for 1996, gaining notoriety as the car driven by James Bond in GoldenEye and quickly becoming the poster child for the classic modern roadster. The Z4 started production in 2002, with the new-for-2009 generation being the first with a retractable hardtop. This Z4 has become something of a sleeper due to the popularity of other German roadsters from Audi, Mercedes, and Porsche. This is good news for the used car market because it makes it easier to find an excellent Z4 at a lower price.
The BMW sDrive28i has a solid 2.0L turbocharged engine making 240hp, which is plenty to shoot a car of its size from 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds. As expected from BMW, there are many luxury features available, and for price, you get your money’s worth. This car will ensure the driver gets the maximum fun and comfort from their driving experience. It may no longer be the choice for James Bond, but it still has a license to thrill.
6 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL 550 ($19,900)
The Mercedes SL was once a toy only available to the wealthy, but now an SL can be fun for everyone. A used SL might be the best example of what an affordable luxury sports car should be. Known for its high-end materials and bulletproof build quality, this hard-top convertible certainly meets those expectations.
Available with V6, V8, and even an AMG engine, there is no lack of options to choose from. Originally priced at just under $100,000, being able to buy one for such a low price is a great opportunity. With the wind in your hair, there’s no doubt the SL can put a smile on your face.
5 2018 Porsche Cayman ($18,500)
When the Porsche Boxster debuted, it got everyone’s attention. Unfortunately, once driven, it started to get attention for the wrong reasons. Never a car that lived up to the Porsche name, things began to change with the introduction of the Cayman. Over the years, more and more time and money have been put into developing these models, and the Cayman and Boxster went from an afterthought, to a poor man’s 911, and finally, with the 718 versions, into the beasts they are today.
A company known for engineering some of the best sports cars ever, the Cayman is full of features that let you know its pedigree. While there are more expensive S, GTS, GT3, and GT4 models, the base version is nothing to sneeze at and can put similar cars to shame. It has a 2.0L engine that produces 300 horsepower and drives like a dream. The good news is buying a newer model isn’t a dream. Like any Porsche, it’s for real.
4 2005 Cadillac XLR ($19,999)
Largely forgotten, the XLR was built in the same Bowling Green, Kentucky factory as the C5 Corvette. The XLR was initially designed to compete with cars from the Lexus, Jaguar, Mercedes, and Porsche. The folding hard-top convertible sports car deserved more attention when it came out, but there are plenty of reasons to take a second look now.
It has Magnetic Ride Control and near 50/50 weight distribution that optimizes the driving experience. The real selling point is the a 4.6L V8 Northstar engine that produces 320hp and a 0-60 time of fewer than 5 seconds. No one will confuse the XLR with any other sports car, which makes you, and it, unique, with the bonus of it being a potential collector’s car. For now, though, it is an ideal luxury sports car for an excellent price
3 2017 Lexus RC 200t RWD ($17,000)
The Lexus RC (Radical Coupe) was first produced in 2014 as a 4-door version of the IS sports coupe. It’s powered by the Toyota sourced 8AR-FTS 2.0T engine that makes 241hp. While not overly tuned up, the RC has plenty of power, plus sharp handling, and a luxurious ride.
The RC was designed with a look that lets everyone know you’re serious and full of common sense. The interior may not look as exciting as the outside, but it is spacious with plenty of standard features. Other sports cars may be more extreme, but the RC is content to put safety and reliability first, something to consider when buying a used car.
2 2013 Audi TT ($15,000)
Who doesn’t remember the first time they saw the Audi TT? It had a style all its own from a company known for its Vorsprung Durch Technik. It has evolved over the years, but still has the style people expect.
Packing an inline 4-cylinder engine producing 211hp and with Audi’s Quattro AWD, the 2013 TT has the right combination to be an excellent car for the weekend warrior while looking great in the driveway the rest of the week. If you choose to make it your daily driver, it provides excellent gas mileage and so much fun that you may even take the long way home.
1 2011 BMW M235i ($18,000)
The M235i is a great intro to world renowned M cars while being one ofthe sportier cars BMW makes. It has everything you expect from Stuttgart with a more reasonable price tag. You could upgrade to the M2 (or even the M3), but the price of the M235i makes it just as desirable for a different reason.
With a 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 160mph, the 321hp straight-6 has plenty of capability to keep up with the more expensive models. You still get an M-badge while paying less for a quality used version. You may feel like you’re going faster in an M3, but you’ll feel smarter when you get home.
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