- The 2022 Honda Civic Si is a great Type R replacement for less
- A Volkswagen GTI is the obvious choice under $40,000
- Buy an E46 BMW M3 and make money
Let’s play a game. Say you’ve got $40,000 to spend on a sports car (or hot hatch) that you’ve got to drive every day. The Honda Civic Type R is clearly the answer, right? Truthfully, the Type R’s looks and vibe may not be for everyone, and the 2023 model’s more subtle looks aren’t available to purchase. So, what do you buy?
Is the Volkswagen GTI better than a Honda Civic Type R?
Forget “Miata is always the answer.” If you need a hatchback that isn’t a Honda Civic Type R for under $40k, you’re spoiled for choice with a new or used Volkswagen GTI. Honestly, your best bet is to go out and buy the nicest one you can, then use the leftover cash to find the best snow tires you can. Oh, and pair the 220+ hp four-pot with a manual transmission for maximum fun.
The 2022 Honda Civic Si is a cheap Type R that’s almost as good
However, if German sports cars and hot hatches aren’t your thing, the 2022 Honda Civic Si might be. The most recent iteration of the Civic Si might actually be better than the Type R for $10,000 less. Not only does it fit our imaginary $40,000 budget, but the Si is also a new car with a warranty. Trust us, 200 hp is more than enough to dice up your favorite back road, especially when you’ve got the Si’s phenomenal stick shift in your hand.
A used Audi S4 is a great AWD sports car bargain
The Honda Civic Type R is many things, but a luxury car it is not. Thankfully, $40,000 buys you a whole lot of used Audi S4. Plus, Audi made the S4 with a stick all the way up until 2016. With any luck, you’ll be able to get this AWD German sports saloon CPO and laugh all the way home when you don’t need to pay for the repairs. If not, well, just make sure you know how to turn a wrench. Hey, it’s worth it for 300+ hp and AWD.
The Hyundai Veloster N isn’t better than a Civic Type R
Objectively, the 2022 Hyundai Veloster N isn’t as good a driver’s car as the Civic Type R. That said, it’s the only one on the list that matches the energy of the Type R for less than 40 large ones. Loud styling and an even louder exhaust define this hot hatch, and we love the Veloster N for it. Just beware of a flinty ride and jealous glances from passersby.
The E46 BMW M3 is a good investment
Finally, the “investment car.” If you can afford to spend $40K on a second car, buy the nicest E46 BMW M3 you can. Not only is it a sports car you can drive every day, but it’s an appreciating asset (as long as you’re careful with the mileage). This thing won’t beat the stock market, but you’ll be smiling more than anyone on r/wallstreetbets. Happy hunting.