How we define a sports car might be a point of contention for some. Some argue that it’s nothing more than aesthetic choices like red paint jobs, convertible roofs, or fancy rims, however, the most basic definition is a car that’s performance-driven, speedy, and offers a great driving experience.
If this sounds like your cup of tea, and you’re looking to switch up from the same car you’ve been driving for years, then this list of the best cheap sports cars is for you.
Ready? Let’s start those engines!
Mini Cooper Clubman JCW Sport (MY21)
We’re starting off this list strong with the Mini Cooper Clubman JCW Sport (MY21)! This is the most powerful Mini Cooper on the market, and it shows. It’s a powerful low-riding machine that will have you zooming down the freeway in style.
While this model is compact, it features a twin-charge 4-cylinder engine that’s 2.0-litres. What does that get you? It gets 450Nm torque and 225kW. So if you’ve got speed, you’ll be satisfied. If you’re also all about being heard as much as you’re seen on the road, then get ready for the twin-pipe sports exhaust.
What we love most about the Mini Cooper Clubman JCW Sport (MY21):
- 2.0-litres 4-cylinder engine
- Its got an impressive 302 hp @ 6250 rpm under the hood
- Excellent handling
Compared to some of the other models on this list, the starting price of the Nissan 370z is a bit more expensive. However, it’s a two-seat sports coupe with rear-wheel-drive, and the price makes sense when you see what’s under the hood. This sports car features a six-cylinder engine that’s 3.7 litres which is the perfect engine to compliment the car’s legendary design.
This model is on the lighter side, so with the powerful engine’s 363 Nm torque and 245kW under the hood, you will fly down highways and freeways.
What we love most about the Nissan 370z:
- V6, 3.7L
- 9-star safety rating
- Powerful six-cylinder, 3.7 litres engine
If you want a slice of what it’s like to have a high-powered grand touring vehicle, the Kia Stinger might just be for you! This powerful sports car comes with a twin-turbo V6 engine which throws an insane 374kW power and 510 Nm torque into the rear wheels.
Kia as a car manufacturer has always been about value for money and there are only a few cars on the market that could come close to this value. You’ve got impressive parts, design, and interior, all for a fair price. If you want a comfortable sports car to use with the whole family but don’t want to sacrifice the parts that make it a solid sports car, the Kia Stinger’s for you!
What we love most about the Kia Stinger:
- 60L fuel tank
- Twin-turbo V6 engine
- Great overall design
Toyota GR Yaris
No list of great sports cars would be complete without mentioning the GR Yaris! This is Toyota’s rally-bred specialised road machine which is powered by the most powerful three-cylinder engine in the world. But Toyota didn’t stop there. They added in a turbocharger to bring the power up to 225kW and a torque of 385Nm.
This car is as close as you’ll get to a pure-bred race car on a budget. But, of course, this is all thanks to Toyota’s additional features like an adjustable all-wheel drive platform, fire-breathing engine, and upgraded brakes. So if this sounds like something you want to own, be decisive because you might be waiting a while to get your hands on your own.
What we love most about the Toyota GR Yaris:
- Turbocharged three-cylinder engine
- All-wheel drive platform
- Fire-breathing engine
- Upgraded brakes
Hyundai i30 N
Since its launch, the i30 N by Hyundai has become a fan favourite—and for good reason. It’s an impressive model with excellent performance, and boatloads of personality felt with every drive. This 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder is great for daily driving enthusiasts who want just that little bit more power.
The engine produces 206kW of power and 392 Nm torque, throwing all this into the front wheels. You’ve got a choice between DCT automatic or manual transmission. Considering it’s a front-wheel drive, it handles phenomenally. Most drivers don’t need this much juice, but it’s more fun!
What we love most about the Hyundai i30 N:
- A 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine
- 50-litre engine
- Sleek, sporty design
Let’s take it back to the 90s and bask in the glow of the WRX, which was when the first iteration of the WRX was launched. This six-speed manual has been iconic for the Japanese car manufacturer, and they’ve always kept it capped at a reasonable price of around $40,000 to ensure many buyers can afford a high-performance vehicle.
So what’s under the hood of this iconic vehicle? Well, hidden below the stunning exterior design lies a powerful turbocharged 4-cylinder engine which includes a symmetrical all-wheel drive platform. So what does this mean? You’ve got a with not only supreme handling but one that can cop severe punishment from the road when the sealed part ends. You’ve also got 197kW of juice and 350Nm torque, so hold onto your seats when you put the pedal to the metal.
What we love most about the Subaru WRX:
- 2.0-litre turbocharged engine
- 6-speed manual
Mazda’s an iconic name in the world of sports cars. Mazda has perfected its recipe for making both premium and affordable sports cars for decades. For the MX-5 series, that formula is simple. The car has a naturally-aspirated engine on a lightweight and low-slung platform that sits perfectly over its chassis. It’s also designed to be housed in a well-crafted sports car body with the weight distribution a near-perfect 50/50. The small, two-door body design means its reliable handling is not something to mess with and it is probably one of the most fun cars to drive on this list.
What we love most about the Mazda MX-5:
- Manual or automatic transmission
- Beautiful two-door design
- 1.5 L Skyactiv-G (P5-VPS) DOHC I4 engine
Subaru makes the list again, and it’s all thanks to the BRZ. This impressive model features a four-cylinder with 173kW and 250 Nm torque. It's rear-wheel drive, so you’ll feel the car thrusting you forward like it’s driving you and not the other way around.
Similar to the WRX, the BRZ model is all about keeping prices relatively low—you won’t find a new car of this quality for this price anywhere else—at $35,270 it feels like it’s on sale! It’s perfect if you want to be a sports car owner but aren’t willing to put all your money into a higher-end model. With Subaru and their BRZ range, you’re still getting an incredible sports car that’s extremely affordable.
What we love most about the Subaru BRZ:
- Timeless, slender design
- Four-cylinder engine
- Automatic and six-speed manual transmission
Toyota surprised everyone over ten years ago when they released the GT86. This car takes a similar approach to Mazda’s MX-5 by packaging a powerful aspirated engine into a lightweight car with a rear-wheel platform. This bold choice was a resounding success, making it one of Toyota's most loved and fun vehicles to drive on the market.
But now, they’re now bringing you their latest version of the GR range with the GR86. With a 2.4-litre flat-four engine, you’re sending 173kW power and 250 Nm torque to the rear, thanks to your manual gearbox. So what does this all mean? A phenomenal sports car that you can’t go wrong with at this starting price!
What we love most about the Toyota GR86:
- Naturally aspirated engine and lightweight body
- 2.4-litre flat-four engine
- Manual transmission
Volkswagen Golf GTI
If you’ve never heard of Volkswagen’s Golf GTI range, where’ve you been living? This is one of the most popular sports car models in the world and the latest generation is no exception. It’s also the most affordable of the bunch, making it that much more enticing to those looking for slightly cheaper options.
This car isn’t just popular because it’s the cheapest option but also because it performs incredibly well. Under the hood, you’ve got a turbocharged four-cylinder and a front-wheel drive package to take on massive amounts of power. Newer models also have stylish keyless entry, many engine options and sophisticated suspension so you can drive like a pro!
What we love most about the Volkswagen Golf GTI:
- 2.0 TSI Engine 180 kW
- DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission and manual options
- Electronic differential lock XDS+
What cheap sports cars are AWD?
When looking for a cheap sports car that’s AWD, you’re looking at models like the Kia Stinger GT, Audi TT, Honda Civic SI, Ford Focus RS, Mazdaspeed 6, and various others.
What sports cars are cheap to maintain?
There are many sports cars that are considered to be some of the cheapest to maintain. This could be because parts are easier to come by as opposed to more specialised models. Some of the models include the Mazda MX-5 Miata, Nissan 370z, Porsche 911, various BMW models and Ford Mustang, among many others.
How much do sports cars cost?
The pricing for sports cars is all over the place and dependent on how much you choose to spend on one. You can get a sports car for $20,000, or you can get one in the millions. What you can get depends on your price range. The models mentioned in this list are of great value, but they’re not the best of the best. Another thing to consider when owning any type of vehicle in Australia is things like insurance and on-road costs, which can vary a lot.
What is the most affordable sports car?
Unsurprisingly, the cheapest sports car on the market goes to Volkswagen with their Golf GTI. This car is extremely fun to drive and popular for a reason, and it shows.
If you’d like to obtain car finance to pay for your new dream ride be sure to check our easy-to-use car loan calculator to figure out how much you can borrow and estimated monthly repayments.
So knowing all of this means you now have choices when considering some of the greatest affordable sports cars on the market. Of course, everyone wants to feel the wind in their hair and the rush of driving down the road like you’re driving the Le Mans.
Now, with some of these amazing options, you’ve got the chance to do just that!