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Best cars

Best Sports Cars for 2017

By Martin Pratt

Article 12 of 14

The best sports cars are agile performance models that are a joy to drive and won't let you down.They might not be that practical, but they’ll put a smile on your face.

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Sports cars focus less on practicality, and instead concentrate on desirability and driving performance, with sleek styling, impressive acceleration and unrivalled cornering prowess.

The class includes everything from affordable sports cars, such as the Audi TT and Toyota GT86, to high-end models including the BMW M4 and Porsche 911. 

But to be classified by us as one of the best sports cars, a car needs more than just looks or outright speed. 

Comfort, safety and driving experience, as well as emissions, will all impact a car's Which? test score. We've found sports car with emissions so high that you'll end up paying a fortune in tax, and models that are too unsafe to ever recommend.

Below are the best new and used sports cars you can buy, as revealed by our uniquely rigorous lab and road tests. Scroll down to see the sports car we recommend you avoid.

Which? members can log in to see the sports cars we recommend. If you're not already a member, take out a £1 trial to unlock this table and all our reviews, including our expert used and new car reviews.

Best new sports cars

BMW M4 Coupe (2014-)
Typical price £55,173
Brand score 80%
Reviewed Jun 2014
Best Buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This car isn't short on performance with a plus-400 bhp engine but it's easily capable of day-to-day driving too.

Best used sports cars

BMW M3 Coupe (2007-2013)
Typical price £15,633
Brand score 75%
Reviewed Sep 2007
Best Buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This model is a pure sports car: dramatically quick, sharp-handling and satisfying to drive. It's a car to enjoy driving to the max, with the caveat that the ride is pretty firm. It's surprisingly practical on an everyday basis, too. Inside, it's roomy and comfortable with well-shaped and supportive seats, good headroom and decent rear legroom.

Mazda RX-8 (2003-2010)
Typical price £1,819
Brand score 72%
Reviewed Aug 2003
Best Buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This sports car is exceptional and curious in many ways, but it's not for the fainthearted, not least due to its fuel thirst. However, its numerous strengths include good build quality, entertaining handling and a comfortable driving environment, as well as striking styling.

Not found the car for you? Browse all our sports car reviews

And here are three sports cars to avoid

We put more of an emphasis on driving appeal and performance when we test sports cars. But that doesn't mean a sports car can get away with having sky-high emissions and rubbish fuel-economy.

Some sports cars we've tested emit more than enough CO2 to put them firmly in the highest tax bracket, which means a £2,000 bill in your first year, on top of the high price you paid for the car. 

Economy isn't anyone's first concern when buying a sports car, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't consider it. You could get an excellent, fast, beautiful sports cars that manages more than 40 miles to the gallon, while others barely make it over 20.

The worst sin of all is sports cars that aren't fun to drive. Even small problems, such as suspension that's slightly too stiff, or handling that's too firm, is enough to spoil the enjoyment. When you're spending upwards of £50,000, you expect the drive to be nigh on perfect.

We drive each car we test for 900 miles, analysing every facet of how it feels and handles. So you know that when we warn you off a car because of how dull it is to drive, we are talking from experience.

These are the sports cars that failed to impress on the road and in our lab.

Sports cars to avoid

Ford Mustang (2015-)
Typical price £33,645
Brand score 38%
Reviewed Feb 2017
Don't buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 5
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 5
Seat space:
2 out of 5
Number of seats:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

It may boast the performance and soundtrack of a full-fat sports car, but it's also uncomfortable, terrible for rear passengers and lacks safety equipment. It's Euro NCAP safety rating is also woefully poor.

We test cars more thoroughly than anyone else

Our tests go further than those carried out by other organisations, and because Which? is independent and doesn't accept advertising or freebies, you can trust our reviews to give you the full, honest and impartial truth about every car we test.

Every car we review is subjected to more than 100 individual tests in a lab, on a test track, and on real roads – and we really clock up the miles, driving around 900 miles in every car we test.

Testing in controlled lab conditions means the results we collect are directly comparable between different cars, helping us determine exactly which models are better and why, and helping you find the perfect car for your needs

And so you know which cars are likely to prove reliable for years to come, we also gather feedback from thousands of UK car owners through the Which? Car Survey, using it to generate detailed reliability ratings for the cars we test.

To take the guesswork out of choosing your next car, take a Which? trial for £1 and you'll receive access to all our expert reviews and advice, plus Which? magazine itself.

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