Skip to main content

Sports cars are all about having fun, and you shouldn’t have to pay a lot of money. If you’ve got $10,000 stashed away, you can choose from a wide variety of cars with plenty of power, comfort, and great performance. These are some of the best sports cars under $10,000 you can find on Auto Tempest. We found each of these with a manual transmission and rear-wheel-drive, though there are many criteria to consider when shopping for a sports car. As long as it’s a car designed for high-performance applications like taking corners with tuned suspension, it qualifies. 

2006 Pontiac Solstice: unusual looks in a great package

Pontiac Solstice drifting in Las Vegas
Pontiac Solstice drifting in Las Vegas | David Allio/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images

The Pontiac Solstice was that short-lived, obscure sports car from General Motors. For all intents and purposes, it made for a great sports car. The Solstice made 177 horsepower from a 2.4-liter inline-four in base trim, with an open-slip differential powering the rear wheels. It later got an upgrade in the form of the GXP trim, consisting of a 2-liter turbocharged inline-four producing 260 horsepower, a limited-slip differential, and all-new suspension. Some dealers sold a tune that gave the car 290 horsepower. With its 3,000-pound curb weight, the GXP was plenty quick.

First Generation Porsche Boxster was quintessential

1997 Porsche Boxter by the harbour
1997 Porsche Boxter by the harbour | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The first-generation Porsche Boxster is a fantastic choice if you want a properly balanced sports car with superb handling and surprising comfort. Models from 2003 are powered by a 225-hp 2.7-liter flat-six and just 2,811 pounds. It’s not the most powerful car, but it bends around corners without defiance from the rear tires, and each gearshift feels guided and determined. The 2006 Porsche Boxster S is the better option, with 280 horsepower from a 3.2-liter flat-six.

2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec: heavy but classy

Hyundai Genesis Coupe driving on a street
Hyundai Genesis Coupe | Hyundai/MCT/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Hyundai Genesis is what you want for a luxury sports car under $10,000. It’s a bit heavy at 3,315 pounds curb-weight. The R-Spec has 210 horsepower from a turbocharged 2-liter inline-four, rear-wheel drive, and a manual transmission. Edmunds praises the Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec for its sharp handling and livable ride quality. If you can find the V6 for the same or similar price, you’d be looking at 350 horsepower on tap. 

BMW Z3: lots of variety

BMW Z3 driving on a road
BMW Z3 | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The BMW Z3 only lasted for a few short years but made a lasting impression. With looks you could pick out of a lineup and several unique powertrains, the Z3 provided excellent handling and a solid gearbox. You can stay within the $10,000 range if you opt for the 3-liter inline-six, which offers 225 horsepower. If you prefer a hard-top car, you can go with the M Coupe, which offers similar if not better performance, but is harder to find. 

2001 Pontiac Firebird: V8 muscle car power

Pontiac Firebird at LHRA in Illinois
Pontiac Firebird at LHRA in Illinois | Michael Allio/Getty Images

Do you want Chevrolet Corvette power in something just a bit less conspicuous? Right now, you can find early 2000s LS1 V8-equipped Pontiac Firebirds selling for $10,000 or less. It doesn’t have quite as much power as the Corvette, but it’s a sports coupe with an all-aluminum 5.7-liter V8 sending over 330 horsepower to the rear wheels. It also has a 6-speed manual transmission. 

Close your eyes and point to any of them

If you’re looking for a sports car under $10,000, you can’t go wrong with any of these cars. They all provide a great sports car experience. While some might cater slightly more toward luxury-oriented audiences, the raw performance is still there. All have fairly reliable power and drivetrains, though you should probably keep an intact savings account for the Porsche and BMW.


What Is Your Country’s Favorite Sports Car?