Best sports cars 2024 | CAR Magazine

Best sports cars 2024

Published: 22 May 2024 Updated: 19 June 2024

► What are the best sports cars?
► Porsche’s 911 takes on the world
► CAR’s definitive list

There are plenty of everyday machines that are in with a shout of tackling the best cars on sale. But what if you want something a little more specialised? What, for instance, is the best sports car on sale?

First, that depends on what you class as a sports car, and where the murky line between supercar and sports car begins. Also, it really depends on your budget too. For that question at least we have a separate list; if you don’t fancy spending over £50k on a car, take a look at our best cheap sports cars article.

The best sports cars at a glance:

To keep things simple, this list contains sports cars which feature a winning combination of performance and driver engagement. And most significantly that’s performance you can tap into on the road without necessarily approaching motorsport-speeds. For that list, you’ll want to check our pick of the best supercars.

With that in mind, these are the best sports cars on sale in 2024 – and that means they’re some of the best cars on sale, period.

Best sports cars on sale in the UK in 2024

Porsche 911

Best for those seeking a well-rounded, do-it-all sports car

Porsche 911 best sports cars

Pros: High build-quality and performance
Cons: Expensive with options

Well, it had to be here, didn’t it? We reserve the GT and RS models for the supercar list but feel the ‘standard’ Porker has a claim here. The Carrera 2 (992) is powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged flat-six engine, producing 380bhp and 332lb ft of torque, accelerating from 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds and reaching a top speed of 182mph. When combined with impressive handling and quick steering, it’s plenty enough for a B-road. 

However, there’s comfort here too: the interior features high-quality materials, a 10.9-inch touchscreen and the Porsche’s ride is smooth when it needs to be. The new turbocharged 911 may not have the pure engine note of old, but compared to rivals like the Mercedes-AMG GT, it remains a versatile and desirable sports car.

To find out more, read our full Porsche 911 review

Toyota GR86

Best for those who like to drift and don’t care about cabin quality so much

Toyota GR86

Pros: Cheap, more powerful than before, drift king
Cons: Limited availability

The outgoing GT86 was a great drivers’ car, but the GR86 moves things on with a bit more of everything. Now there’s a 2.4-litre flat-four engine under the hood, generating 231bhp and 184lb ft of torque, and it gets from 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds. That doesn’t seem super-fast on paper, but this car isn’t about straight-line performance. 

The GR86 gets a stiffer bodyshell, improved handling thanks to better rubber, and a sporty, driver-focused interior with analogue switchgear. The steering is still as precise as the GT86’s and compared to rivals like the Mazda MX-5, the GR86 stands out for its affordability and practicality. Don’t expect too much of a premium vibe from in the cabin, though.

To find out more read our full Toyota GR86 review

Ariel Atom 4R

Best for track enthusiasts seeking extreme driving experiences

Atom 4R best sports cars

Pros: Exceptional performance and handling
Cons: High cost with options

The best track cars can make a great sports cars – if you’re okay with the obvious compromises; the Ariel Atom 4R is good example of that.  Priced from £77,940 it features a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing some 400bhp and 369lb ft of torque. That’s a lot, but when combined with a featherlight weight of just 700kg, it accelerates from 0-62mph in 2.7 seconds.

The Atom is a thoroughbred track car, so it includes advanced features like a six-speed sequential gearbox, adjustable ABS, and significant aerodynamic enhancements. The driving experience is unlike anything even on this list, but there’s a surprising level of usability despite its track-focused nature. Even compared to rivals like the Caterham 620 and Radical SR10, the Atom 4R is extreme. 

To find out more read our full Atom 4R review


Best for those who missed the old M2 but want more of everything 

BMW M2 best sports car

Pros: Engaging and refined driving experience
Cons: Heavier and costlier than before

The 2023 BMW M2 might give you more car than the outgoing model but that doesn’t mean it’s less fun. The BMW uses a chunky 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six engine producing 454bhp and 406lb ft of torque, good for 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds. And that’s despite it weighing some 1700kg now. 

You get advanced features like a six-speed manual transmission, adaptive dampers, and a highly configurable M Drive system for your money, and the result is engaging but also refined when it needs to be. The BMW is still a punchy option compared rivals like the Audi RS3 and Mercedes-AMG CLA45.

To find out more, read our full review of the BMW M2

Porsche Cayman

Best for mid-engined fun, Stuttgart-style

Porsche Cayman sports car 2024

Pros: Even better than a 911? 
Cons: Engine lacks the sound of a flat-six.

Porsche’s junior sports car is arguably its best, and we’ve picked it in the lightweight T version for this list. In T guise the Cayman features a 2.0-litre turbocharged flat-four engine producing 297bhp and 280lb ft of torque, with 0-62mph arriving in just in 5.1 seconds. Top speed is 170mph.

The Cayman T is for purists, and boasts a mechanical rear differential, lowered suspension, and fabric door pulls among other weight-saving or performance-improving trinkets. Compared to rivals inside and outside the Cayman line, it offers a unique blend of performance and simplicity. And what it lacks in raw power compared to some competitors, it makes up for in handling and driving feel.

Read the full review of the Porsche Macan T here

Lotus Emira

Best for those who want something different, but still well-rounded

Lotus Emira best sports cars

Pros: Lives up to the badge, strong performance and handling
Cons: Automatic gearbox is subpar

How do you follow up the Elise? If you’re Lotus you make Emira, available with a 3.5-litre V6 or a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and offering 394bhp and 355bhp respectively. The V6 model offers the most bang for your buck, reaching 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 180mph. But both variants feature exceptional handling, steering with a nice dose of feedback, and a surprisingly premium interior. 

The Emira might be from the new era of Lotus, but it still excels in driving dynamics and provides a balanced, engaging experience – just as Chapman intended.  It’s competitive when compared to the Porsche 718 Cayman and Alpine A110, but the Emira sets itself apart in design – and the fact it’s a little less obvious. The auto gearbox could be better, though.

Read the full review of the Lotus Emira here

Alpine A110

Best for agility and pure, back-to-basics fun 

alpine a110 best sports car

Pros: Unusual, ultra lightweight 
Cons: Basic interior quality

Cars are getting heavier all the time – just look at some of the sports cars on this list – but the Alpine A110 goes against the grain. First, it borrows the Renault Megane RS’ 1.8-litre turbocharged engine and crams it behind the driver. Then it produces a sensible 249bhp and 236lb ft of torque which is good enough for 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds. 

But the Alpine does most of its work on the scales: at just 1103kg it’s barely there – thanks to a bonded aluminium chassis. Alongside that there’s a double-wishbone suspension, and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Put that all together and you get exceptional feel behind the wheel, with grippy go-kart handling and a comfortable ride. Compared to rivals like the Porsche 718 Cayman and Lotus Emira, the A110 is simply lighter and more agile. You get more power with the A110S, but really the standard car is all you need.

Read the full review of the Alpine A110 here

Mazda MX-5

Best for those who want a modern version of the classic British sports car

Mazda MX-5 best sports car

Pros: Pure, engaging driving experience
Cons: Not a huge amount of space

The Mazda MX-5 remains a standout roadster and in many ways the definition of a good sports car. Sure, its 2.0-litre engine looks conservative on paper, producing a relatively measly 181bhp and 151lb ft of torque, and hitting 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds – but it’s far from dull in practice.

Lightweight and nimble, the Mazda offers a pure driving experience a responsive six-speed manual gearbox – which you’ll almost certainly want over the auto. It’s been honed over the years and now includes improved engine components and reach-adjustable steering to make things a little more comfortable. When compared to rivals like the Lotus Emira or BMW Z4, the Mazda packs in far more fun than it should at this price. Still a bargain. 

Read the full Mazda MX-5 review here

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's Digital Editor, F1 and sim-racing enthusiast. Partial to clever tech and sports bikes