sports cars are unique in that they can eschew some of the restraints that are placed on some of the more pedestrian segments of the automotive industry. They need not necessarily be practical or extremely affordable, but they should be quick (but not necessarily fast) and handle well. They usually have a lightweight design, a decently powerful engine, two doors and two seats (or token rear seats that aren’t really usable by anyone other than children). If you’re looking for something along those lines, the expert editorial team at Autobytel has narrowed down the field to the 10 best amazing sports cars for the 2017 model year, which we’ll cover over the next few pages.
Porsche 911 Turbo
The regular 911 is unique with its rear-mounted engine (and confusingly, even regular 911s come with turbocharged engines now), but the Turbo takes it to a whole new level with a 540-horsepower flat-6. All-wheel drive is standard, and a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission is the only option. The result is a 0 to 60 mile per hour sprint that takes only 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 198 miles per hour, numbers that make the 911 Turbo S a shoe-in for a spot near the top of our list of 10 amazing sports cars. The Turbo S is even quicker to 60 and has a top speed of 205 mph thanks to its 580-horsepower engine, but is also significantly more expensive.
Ford Shelby GT350R
While the normal Mustang might be a pretty good pony car, the GT350R is a full-on sports car. What makes the GT350R one of our 10 amazing sports cars is the attention to detail, such as the magnetic suspension, carbon fiber wheels and the bespoke naturally aspirated V8 engine that generates 526 horsepower (over 100 horsepower per liter), uses a flat-plane crank for quicker response and revs to 8,250 RPM, all while making an awesome sound. Only available with a 6-speed manual transmission, the run to 60 miles per hour takes approximately four seconds and top speed is around 170 mph. The normal GT350 is more affordable but does without some of the trick parts found on the R, such as the carbon fiber wheels.
Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe
The Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe is an affordable (at least compared to other cars from the same area) Italian sports car, with a starting price of just over $55,000. Sure, you get a small 237-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder instead of a screaming V12, but it is mid-mounted, and thanks to the judicious use of carbon fiber, the 4C weighs in at under 2,500 lbs. That means that 60 miles per hour arrives in just a tick over four seconds and top speed is 160 mph. That light weight also helps the Alfa in the corners, where it’s a joy to drive. The 4C makes our list of 10 amazing sports cars because of this combination of Italian style, relative affordability and fun.
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 currently sits at the top of the Camaro range, and its extra performance transforms it from a fun pony car into a screaming beast. Power comes from a 650-horsepower supercharged V8 and is sent to the rear wheels by either a 10-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission. The run from 0 to 60 miles per hour should take around three and a half seconds, and top speed is around (or above) 200 mph. Sure, it doesn’t handle quite as well as the Z/28 did, but extra power can make up for that and the ZL1 makes our list of 10 amazing sports cars because it has a chassis that can handle all that power.
Jaguar F-Type S Coupe
What makes the Jaguar F-Type S amazing is the way that it tingles all of your senses, from the sight of its exterior, the smell of its leather interior, the feel of the road through its steering wheel, to the incredible sounds that come from its exhaust. The supercharged V6 engine makes 380 horsepower that are sent to the rear wheels through either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. The automatic is the quicker of the two, hitting 60 miles per hour in under five seconds before reaching a top speed of 171 mph. While more powerful V8 models are available, the V6 emits a glorious sound and seems to handle better because of the slightly less weight on the nose.
The BMW i8 is a plug-in hybrid sports car powered by both a tiny mid-mounted 228-horsepower turbocharged 3-cylinder engine and a 129-horsepower electric motor. While that might initially sound boring, the i8 makes it onto our list of amazing sports cars because of its lightweight (for a hybrid) aluminum and carbon fiber design as well as the way its 357-horsepower hybrid system is tuned. All-electric range is rated at 15 miles, but when the juice runs out, fuel economy drops to 28 miles per gallon combined. At full bore, the i8 can hit 60 miles per hour in 4.2 seconds and hit a top speed of 155 mph. The i8 also handles like no other hybrid on the road, devouring corners with ease.
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
The Chevrolet Corvette earns a spot on our list of 10 amazing sports cars thanks to its great performance-to-money ratio. Just over $55,000 gets you a car with an aluminum spaceframe, carbon fiber and fiberglass body parts and a 460-horsepower V8 backed by either a rear-mounted 7-speed manual or 8-speed automatic. The stiff chassis and suspension tuning mean that the Corvette can carve the corners, while a relatively low curb weight helps the Stingray get to 60 miles per hour in just over three and a half seconds and on to a top speed of around 195 mph. If that’s not enough for you, the Corvette Z06 is available with a supercharged V8 that makes 650 horsepower.
Unlike the other models in the Mercedes-AMG lineup, the beautiful aluminum-bodied GT isn’t based on a regular Mercedes-Benz model. Also unlike some of the other AMG models, the GT offers precise handling and great steering feel, and its combination of style, luxury and performance earn it a spot on our list of 10 amazing sports cars. Power comes from a 456-horsepower turbocharged V8 that sends power to a rear-mounted 7-speed dual-clutch transaxle that helps the GT run to 60 miles per hour in under four seconds and on to a top speed of around 190 mph. While a more powerful GT S version is also available, the regular GT offers more than enough performance for most people.
Audi R8 V10 Coupe
The new 2017 Audi R8 makes its way onto our list of amazing sports cars because it shares many components with the Lamborghini Huracan, but at a huge savings. Power comes from a 5.2-liter V10 that revs to 8,700 RPM and makes 540 horsepower that are sent to all four wheels, helping the R8 reach 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 199 mph. Gone is the manual transmission, leaving a 7-speed dual-clutch unit as the only choice. The suspension strikes a great balance between ride and handling, with little sign of the understeer that plagues some Audi models. A more powerful Audi R8 V10 Plus is also available, but edges you significantly closer to Lamborghini-type money.
When the McLaren 12C first came out, most people assumed that its performance was mainly due to its carbon fiber body and advanced hydraulic suspension system, but the “entry-level” 570S is on our list of amazing sports cars because it makes do with an aluminum body (though it still uses a carbon fiber tub) and a traditional suspension, yet hardly seems the worse for wear. Power comes from McLaren’s mid-mounted turbocharged V8, which makes 562 horsepower in this application and sends power to the rear wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The sprint to 60 miles per hour takes just over three seconds, and top speed is 204 mph.