Skip to main content

Whether you’re a driving enthusiast or not, there’s almost nothing better than slipping behind the wheel of a sports car and tearing up some canyon roads. Carving through the twists and turns like a snowboarder through fresh powder creates a feeling of being alive. But driving a sports car and shopping for one are two different experiences. Here is a definitive guide to help you buy a sports car and 10 key factors to consider.

What is a sports car?

A rear view of the 2024 Acura Integra Type S
2024 Acura Integra Type S | Acura

A sports car is typically a small, two-door coupe or convertible designed for performance driving. Sports cars emphasize straight-line speed and razor-sharp handling over comfort and fuel efficiency. Of course, that may only sometimes be the case.

Some sedans can be classified as sports cars. For example, vehicles like the 2024 Acura Integra Type S and the Porsche Panamera are considered sports sedans. They are both quick and handle well, but they also exude practicality with their rear seats and relative ride comfort.

Owning a sports car has its advantages

There are obvious advantages to owning a sports car:

  • A sports car is attractive and stands out on the road
  • A sports car is fun to drive, and the experience can be reserved for the weekend or felt every day
  • If you own a two-seat sports car, you won’t be obligated to give people rides or carry much cargo
  • A four-door sports car can be practical. Some examples include a Volkswagen GTI, a Subaru WRX, and a Honda Civic Type R. Muscle cars like the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger also have relatively useable back seats.

There are disadvantages to owning a sports car

A view of the front interior portion of the 2024 Toyota GR Corolla
2024 Toyota GR Corolla | Toyota

However, with every positive, there’s a negative. Check out these disadvantages to sports car ownership.

  • Most sports cars lack practicality, especially if the car only has two seats
  • Sports cars are not very fuel-efficient
  • Sports cars can be expensive, depending on your choice
  • Insurance and repair costs can be expensive
  • Maintenance can get pricey, depending on the sports car you choose

10 key factors to consider when buying a sports car

A Dark Highland Green 2020 Ford Mustang Bullitt drives through a tunnel.
2020 Ford Mustang Bullitt | Ford

If you decide that having a sports car in your life is right, here are 10 factors to consider before buying one. After all, buying a car is never a simple “yes or no” affair, and buying a sports car takes a little more consideration.

  1. Price: Price is an important factor when shopping for a sports car. You can determine your budget depending on the car’s overall price while considering the monthly payment amount and terms if you plan to finance it. Check out Autotrader’s Car Loan Payment calculator to determine your budget and what you can afford.
  2. Horsepower: A sports car’s performance is one of the main reasons to buy it. As such, it’s essential to consider the car’s horsepower and torque ratings, performance specs, and power-to-weight ratio.
  3. Fuel Economy: Although fuel efficiency may not be at the forefront of your mind when shopping for a sports car, it’s still a key factor. Sports cars like the Mazda MX-5, Toyota GR86, and the Ford Mustang can get over 30 mpg, which could be important for some shoppers.
  4. Cargo room: Like fuel efficiency, cargo room may not be the most critical factor when shopping for a sports car. However, it’s important to know how many cubic feet of cargo room a car has before buying it if you need extra space.
  5. Aesthetics: Some sports cars are super flashy, while others look a little more subdued. Which one do you like?
  6. Maintenance: Some European sports cars are known for having high maintenance costs, while others do not. For example, an oil change on an Audi R8 will cost a lot more than one on a Honda Civic Type R. That said, remember to factor maintenance costs into the equation.
  7. Body style: As stated before, a sports car can come in various body styles, including a coupe, convertible, hatchback, or sedan. Pick which one best suits your everyday needs.
  8. Transmission: Can you drive a manual transmission? If not, you’re lucky because many sports cars in today’s market have quick-shifting automatic transmissions. Either way, it’s important to decide which transmission suits you best.
  9. Seats: Do you need a car with back seats? If so, how big of a back seat do you need?
  10. Handling: Most, if not all, sports cars handle well in tight cornering situations, but they are not equal. It’s important to pay attention to how the sports car you plan to buy handles.

It’s important to consider your needs when shopping for a sports car

2023 Toyota GR Supra Blue
2023 Toyota GR Supra | Toyota

Shopping for a sports car is much like shopping for any other type of vehicle. However, considering the certain restrictions, like practicality and fuel efficiency, that some sports cars may have, it’s essential to assess your needs first.

These 10 factors should point you in the right direction. If you need assistance in the used market, here are some tips on buying a used sports car on a budget.