6 Cheap Sports Cars That Give You Exotic Car Thrills (Without the Stress)

Exotic cars are the pinnacle of engineering, performance, and design in many enthusiasts’ eyes. However, supercars are extremely expensive, which means that not many will be able to ever sit in one. Luckily, there is some cheaper sports car in the current market that can provide similar driving thrill at a fraction of the cost. As an added plus, the following sports cars don’t come with the stress of owning a fancy supercar either.

1. Toyota GR86 – $27,900

2023 Toyota GR86 front head-on shot
2023 Toyota GR86 | Toyota

The Toyota GR86 has been one of the most popular sports cars in recent years. Much like a supercar, the GR86’s stunning looks attract both enthusiasts and non-car people, and its price point makes it affordable for almost anyone. Value and aesthetics aside, the Toyota GR86 is quite the performer.

Under its hood is a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine that puts out 228 hp and revs up to 7,000 rpm. We have driven the GR86 and enjoyed its high-revving engine, spry handling characteristics, and relatively comfortable interior. Although it’s not as fast as a supercar, the GR86 is fun to drive, easy to live with, and attracts a lot of attention from onlookers.

2. Ford Mustang EcoBoost – $27,470

The most American-made vehicle isn't a Ford Mustang anymore
A Ford Mustang on display | Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

Although the Ford Mustang EcoBoost might not be the fastest or most powerful model in the lineup, it still gives a lot of driving thrills. Under its hood is a turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine that puts out 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Those power figures are enough to get the entry-level Mustang up to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds, reports Hot Cars. That may not be as fast as a supercar, but for around $28,000, we’ll take that type of performance any day.

3. Honda Civic Type R – $42,895

2023 Civic Type R in white
2023 Civic Type R | Honda

The Honda Civic Type R is one of the most powerful front-wheel-drive cars you can buy. With over 300 hp being generated from a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, it’s hard not to admit that the Civic Type R is one of the most fun-to-drive cars in the market. We tested the 2020 model and enjoyed its athletic driving dynamics, visceral power, and comfortable interior. For the money, it’s hard to beat the venerable Honda Civic Type R.

4. Subaru WRX – $29,065

2022 Subaru WRX in blue
2022 Subaru WRX | Subaru

The Subaru WRX is a sporty sedan that gives drivers a nice boost while driving thanks to a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine. This little powerhouse puts out 271 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, which can bring the WRX up to a top speed of 155 mph. Sure, it may not be 200 mph, but who really needs to go that fast anyway? With the WRX, you can still get your driving excitement without having to break the bank or the 200-mph mark.

5. Dodge Challenger Scat Pack – $53,235

2022 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody, shown here in TorRed
2022 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody | Stellantis

We recently enjoyed the 2022 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack and everything it had to offer. The Challenger has a spacious interior with large comfortable seats that hold you tight. It also has good handling characteristics despite its hefty weight. But best of all, there’s a large 485-hp, 6.4-liter V8 engine sitting under the hood that’s ready to catapult you to illegal speeds in no time – just like a supercar, only cheaper.

6. BMW 230i Coupe – $36,350

Two 2022 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe models
2022 BMW 2 Series Coupe | BMW
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There’s a lot to love about the BMW 230i Coupe. We tested it earlier this year and came away impressed with its refined interior, tight handling, and powerful engine. That engine churns out 255 hp and 294 lb-ft of torque, which can rocket the car up to 60 mph from a standstill in only 5.5 seconds, according to Edmunds. In addition to that performance and comfort, the 230i Coupe looks great while going down the road or your favorite canyon backroad. You know, just like a supercar.

Cheap sports cars with supercar thrills

Although none of these cars are as fast as your typical exotic car, they can all give you a lot of driving excitement when you’re behind the wheel. What’s even better is that you won’t have to worry about astronomical insurance costs, crazy expensive maintenance, or picking up a few door dings like you would normally stress about when driving an exotic car.