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If you’re looking for a fun and stout sports car on the used market, it’s a good idea to check out some European makes. Although European sports cars are not known for their reliability, they are among the best when it comes to overall build quality, performance, and driving dynamics. If you’re unsure which European sports cars to check out and are on a strict budget, start with these five examples.

1. 2000 Porsche Boxster S — $18,000

2000 Porsche Boxster
2000 Porsche Boxster | Getty Images

The Porsche Boxster is the brand’s entry-level model that was released in the late 90s. Although it is the smallest car that Porsche makes, it comes exclusively with flat-six engines – the most powerful of which is found in the Boxster S. If you can track down a 2000 Boxster S, you’ll be treated to 250 hp and a manual transmission that transmits the power to the rear wheels. Best of all, most Boxster S models of this vintage only cost around $18,000.

2. 2009 Audi TT-RS — $14,000

Audi TT-RS
Audi TT-RS | Getty Images

The 2009 Audi TT-RS was like a baby version of the larger and more venerable R8. That might sound like a stretch for some, but considering it produced 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, we would say that the nickname is fitting. Also, the Audi TT-RS featured similarly sharp looks to its older R8 brother, in addition to a manual transmission and a Quattro AWD system.

3. 2017 Fiat 124 Spider — $18,970

Fiat 124 Spider
Fiat 124 Spider | Getty Images

Also known as the “Fiata,” the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is essentially a Mazda MX-5 Miata in Italian clothing. It shares many parts with the popular roadster, but its differences lie in the interior and exterior styling and engine bay. Instead of the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter engine in the Miata, the 124 Spider is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter that can also be found in the 500 Abarth. Nonetheless, the Fiat 124 Spider is a blast to drive and costs less than $20,000.

4. 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI — $13,950

2015 Volkswagen GTI
2015 Volkswagen GTI | Getty Images

The Volkswagen GTI has long been considered the king of the hot hatchbacks. According to Hot Cars, “It is fast, powerful, practical, economical, makes a great sound, and is easy to live with on a daily basis.” That all said, we can see why many enthusiasts hold the GTI in such high regard. Of course, a 240-hp engine and a quick-shifting DSG transmission help too.

5. 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35iS — $18,000

BMW Z4 | Getty Images

Those looking for lots of power should look into finding a 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35iS. The top trim model is propelled by a turbocharged engine that produces 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque (similar to the 2020 Toyota Supra) and is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Hot Cars notes that the car also has an over-boost function, which is activated at full throttle and provides the full amount of torque. Fortunately, you can pick one of these really fun cars up for less than $20,000.

Best European sports cars for under $20,000

Anyone looking for a stout sports car with excellent build quality and power should look into a European model. There are plenty to choose from, but the five used models noted here are great options to start with.