Top 10 Sports Cars in the USA
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UPDATED: Jul 23, 2019
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According to U.S. News and World Report’s 2011 rankings, sports car buyers will not be forced to sacrifice interior comfort for performance this year.
Three well-balanced sports cars all tied for first place in the U.S. News rankings, each earning an overall score of 9.1 out of 10. Read on the learn more about the top 10 most luxurious and highest-performing sports cars available in America today.
Top 10 Sports Cars in America
#1: 2011 Porsche Boxster
It’s no surprise that a Porsche tops the list of best sports cars, but the 2011 Porsche Boxster did surprise reviewers by delivering even more exceptional handling and power than they expected.
Boxter drivers can choose between the 255 horsepower base-model Boxter, the 310 horsepower Boxter S or the new 320 horsepower Boxter Spyder, which is the most powerful Boxter ever.
This vehicle will get you from 0 to 60 in 4.9 seconds, and it will do so with what the Detroit News calls “scalpel-exact” steering. Autoweek describes the clutch engagement as “perfectly smooth,” and the car’s “nearly perfect” weight balance makes it “wonderfully agile,” according to the Washington Post.
#1: 2011 Porsche Cayman
The 2011 Porsche Cayman tied with the Boxster in terms of performance with a score of 9.3. However, it beat out its cousin in the exterior category, earning a score of 8.1 for what Auto.com described as its “elegant lines.”
The base-model Cayman outperforms the base-model Boxter with 265 horsepower, but it is also more expensive, with a base price of $51,400.
By comparison, the Boxter starts at $47,600. The Cayman comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission, but this can be upgraded to a Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission for an additional $3,420.
#1: 2011 Chevrolet Corvette
The last sports car to rank “#1″ on the list is the 2011 Chevrolet Corvette, which bests both Porsche models in terms of raw power, but still received a slightly lower overall performance score of 9.2.
Its 430 horsepower V8 engine takes the vehicle from 0 to 60 mph in just over four seconds, but this sports car’s handling does not earn quite the same raves that the Porsches do.
It also falls a bit short in the interior design category. Reviewers complain that getting into and out of the driver’s seat is awkward, and Edmunds describes the interior controls and trim pieces as “disappointing.”
Consumer Guide complains that the car’s interior is cramped, and reviewers have generally panned the interior as being “sporty” as opposed to “upscale.” Despite this deficiency, the car’s powerful engine makes it a top pick in the luxury sports car category.
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#4: 2010 Lotus Elise
When it comes to sheer performance, the 2010 Lotus Elise is the highest-ranking car on the list, with a score of 9.4.
Edmunds describes the Elise as providing an “unfiltered driving experience,” and reviewers generally agree that it is one of the few in the pedestrian luxury sports car class that can provide a driving experience comparable to those offered by exotics like Ferrari and Lamborghini.
However, this thrill ride comes with a price.
Edmunds compares the Elise to a high-maintenance girlfriend: beautiful and impractical, but “worth the trouble.” This car is simply not comfortable for everyday driving, with its stripped-down interior and cramped cabin.
#5: 2010 Lotus Exige
Like the Lotus Elise, the Lotus Exige is explosively powerful, but it is hampered by the fact that it lacks any interior luxury, and the handling is too stiff to make it appropriate for street driving. According to Car and Driver, only a “masochist” would drive this car on a daily basis. However, this is the price you pay to go from 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds.
Another point in the Lotus Exige’s favor it is its attractive exterior, which received an excellent rating of 9.2, second only to the Chevrolet Corvette.
You won’t be driving this car to work, but if you prize function over comfort, this car could be a solid choice for you.
#6: 2010 Mercedes Benz SLK
The 2010 Mercedes Benz SLK won’t hold a candle to the Porsches, Corvettes and Lotuses of the world when it comes to performance. However, it offers a great deal more interior comfort and more generous amenities than either Lotus model, and with a score of 7.7, it offers just a bit less luxury than the Porsche models.
This makes sense, given the Mercedes’ slightly lower entry-level price tag. Like other sports cars, seating is cramped, and some reviewers are disappointed that this vehicle does not come with a manual transmission option.
Drivers will also be interested to note that the SLK was one of just a few cars on the list with enough data available to rank its reliability, and it received a respectable score of 8.0 in this category.
#7: 2011 BMW Z4
Like the Mercedes Benz SLK, the 2011 BMW Z4 leans a bit more toward luxury than performance. This car can race from 0 to 60 mph in between 4.8 and 5.6 seconds, depending on the engine type that you choose, and there is no doubting its sports car credentials.
However, some reviewers were less than pleased with the car’s handling, citing less steering feedback than expected from a BMW.
#8: 2010 Audi TT
As with the BMW Z4, some reviewers also questioned the steering responsiveness of the 2010 Audi TT, resulting in a slightly lower performance score despite a turbocharged 2.0 liter I4 engine that packs 265 horsepower and boasts a top speed of 155 mph.
The Audi TT receives high marks for exterior styling, and its 4-seat interior is slightly more spacious than those of its competitors. Unlike the Lotus or the Porsche, the Audi TT is a sports car that is more suited to everyday driving.
#9: 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Although the Mazda MX-5 Miata is technically a member of the “affordable sports car” category, its sporty handing gives it a feel comparable to the Mercedes SKL or the Boxter, minus the luxurious interior.
With a 167 horsepower engine, this is not the fastest car on the market, but Car and Driver and Edmunds both commend its smooth, responsive handling.
#10: 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Also a member of the “affordable sports car” category, the 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe features slightly more interior comfort than the MX-5 Miata, but it does not quite match the Miata’s sports handling performance. Nonetheless, this powerful sports car was a contender for Motor Trend’s “Car of the Year” award.
Which Luxury Sports Car is Right for You?
When selecting a sports car, the biggest question is practicality. If you just want a luxury sports car for weekend thrill rides, a Corvette, a Lotus or a Porsche will get the job done.
However, if you need to get your kids to soccer practice really fast, you’ll need a vehicle with a bit more space and better road manners than the Lotus Elise or Exige can offer.
If this describes your situation, and you really do want a sports car for everyday use, the Mercedes Benz SLK, the BMW Z4 and the Audi TT are all excellent options.
If price is a factor for you, though, there are some very solid sports cars available at more affordable prices, as well. Among the luxury cars, the Audi TT and the BMW Z4 have the lowest entry-level prices at $37,800 and $46,500, respectively.
Starting at $23,110 and $22,250, respectively, the Hyundai Genesis and the Miata MX-5 also offer the sports car experience with a much more affordable price tag.