Sports cars offer a level of driving enjoyment that truly ignites the passion of enthusiasts. In this realm, traditional considerations like fuel economy, cargo space, and rear seats often take a backseat to the sheer thrill of being behind the wheel, experiencing heart-pounding acceleration, and handling that puts a smile on your face.
Sports cars come in a wide spectrum of excitement, ranging from the lightweight and less powerful Mazda MX-5 Miata to the high-performance yet expensive Porsche 911 Turbo. Despite their differences, these two sports cars, much like the rest of the vehicles in this category, share a common theme: driver satisfaction.
To create a clear distinction, we categorize sport compacts such as the Honda Civic Type R and Hyundai Elantra N into their respective hatchback and small car segments.
The presence of the MX-5 Miata on our Editor’s Choice list for this category highlights that a great sports car is not solely about raw horsepower. The ideal sports car requires a balance that combines on-road comfort and track-worthy performance.
While there is no one-size-fits-all formula for the perfect sports car, our meticulous testing on the track helps us identify models that strike the right balance between driving pleasure and everyday practicality.
The sports cars on our 2023 Editor’s Choice list embody more than just fun; they possess the fundamental qualities that set great cars apart from the merely good ones.
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 effortlessly straddles the line between everyday practicality and racetrack performance. It builds upon the foundation of the standard Camaro, transforming the robust 455-horsepower Camaro LT1 and SS trims into mere gusts of wind in comparison.
The credit goes to the ZL1’s exclusive 650-horsepower supercharged V-8 engine and its ultra-grippy Goodyear F1 SuperCar tires. An optional 1LE performance package elevates it further, equipping the ZL1 with wider tires, adjustable camber plates at each corner, and Multimatic’s Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve dampers. Consider the Camaro ZL1 as a NASCAR Cup Series racer tailored for the streets.
Chevrolet Corvette The 2023 Chevrolet Corvette combines supercar performance, affordability, and striking aesthetics while introducing a mid-engine layout to the iconic model. This move places the naturally aspirated V-8 engine behind the passenger compartment, elevating the Corvette into the realm of exotic sports cars.
Its precise handling and exhilarating acceleration rival sports cars with significantly higher price tags, all while offering a comfortable and refined driving experience suitable for long journeys. The Corvette is available as both a convertible and a coupe, with the hardtop model featuring a removable roof panel for an open-air experience.
Inside, the cabin is cozy and comfortable, and there’s adequate trunk space for groceries or luggage, making it a practical sports car for daily use. The Corvette remains a perennial winner of the 10Best award and is sure to captivate any driving enthusiast.
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 The 2023 Chevy Corvette Z06 brings the legendary nameplate into the realm of exotics occupied by brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini. With the engine now positioned behind the driver, it sports a distinctive appearance compared to the standard Corvette Stingray, featuring broader air intakes and a unique rear wing.
Equipped with a flat-plane crankshaft, the Z06’s naturally aspirated 5.5-liter V-8 engine delivers a distinctive sound and accelerates the car from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 2.6 seconds. While inheriting the best technology and amenities from the Stingray, the Z06 focuses on enhancing performance and handling.
Chevy’s switch to a mid-engine layout with the C8 Corvette makes it a supercar that’s more accessible to a wider audience, and the 2023 Corvette Z06 promises to outperform many pricier supercars on the racetrack. The Z06 earns its place on our 2023 10Best cars list alongside the Stingray.
Ford Mustang For over five decades, the Ford Mustang has continually evolved into a more refined and sophisticated sports car. The base model comes with a 310-horsepower turbocharged inline-four EcoBoost engine paired with a six-speed manual transmission.
However, the more conventional choice is the Mustang GT, boasting a 450-horsepower V-8 engine. Both the four-cylinder and V-8 engines can be mated to either a manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic. The Mustang is available as a hard-shell coupe or a convertible, with all models featuring rear-wheel drive.
While a High-Performance 330-horsepower EcoBoost engine is available for the four-cylinder model, the Mustang truly shines with the roaring V-8. Compared to its muscular rival, the Chevy Camaro, the Mustang offers a more spacious rear seat and superior outward visibility, making it a more practical choice for daily driving.
Mazda MX-5 Miata The 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata is nothing short of an automotive icon. This compact drop-top sports car redefined its segment when it first appeared in 1989, and it has only improved since then.
Mazda has fine-tuned its performance and handling over the years, making the MX-5 one of the most exhilarating vehicles on the road. While it competes with the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR 86, the MX-5 stands out by offering both a cloth-top convertible and a retractable hard-top Targa called RF.
All models are powered by a spirited 181-horsepower four-cylinder engine, and a standard six-speed manual gearbox adds to the nostalgic appeal. While an automatic transmission is available, the manual enhances the driving experience of this lightweight two-seater.
The MX-5 may not be the ideal choice for daily commuting or long road trips, and taller drivers may find the cabin slightly cramped. However, it offers essential features and boasts a chassis tuned for maximum fun.
McLaren Artura McLaren takes a bold step into the future of high-performance vehicles with the 2023 Artura supercar. This mid-engine two-seater rides on a lightweight platform and combines a twin-turbo V-6 engine with a battery-electric powertrain, creating a plug-in hybrid model.
The combination delivers a combined 671 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque, resulting in a zero-to-60-mph time of 2.6 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph. The Artura’s bodywork showcases the distinct McLaren design, complete with prominent air vents and scissor-style doors.
In addition to a more spacious and luxurious interior compared to the 720S, the 2023 Artura offers various convenience and driver-assistance features.
Porsche 718 Boxster The 2023 718 Boxster, despite being Porsche’s entry-level model, delivers a thrilling driving experience with its powerful turbocharged engines and perfectly tuned steering. This model, along with its coupe sibling, the 718 Cayman, exemplifies what a sports car should be.
The mid-engine configuration provides a balanced and agile feel on the road, allowing you to enjoy the aggressive exhaust note and the warmth of the sun with the top down. While it may not be perfect, with limited cargo space, two seats, and the most powerful flat-six engine reserved for the expensive GTS trim, the 718 Box