The five best affordable sportscars to buy in 2024

10th January 2024
James King

Finding the balance of affordability and fun in your car is a pretty difficult task these days. The market for cars with high entertainment levels and low price tags saw a rise in popularity over the last few years. People started to realise that life is fleeting, and they should have fun where they can. Despite the market inflating a fair bit there are still affordable options in the sportscar genre.

So, if you’ve been sitting on the fence as to whether it’s the right time to buy the car that’ll make every weekend a pleasant one, maybe our list of five affordable sportscars will make your mind up for you.


1. Nissan 350Z

If there was ever a car that demonstrates the increase in prices over the Covid-19 period, it’s the Nissan 350Z. Even though they've crept into 'just out of my budget' territory' they're still a car that I’d consider affordable, especially considering the bang for your buck.

The 350Z has the largest engine on the list – a 3.5-litre V6 – and it's a belter. It's fairly powerful with 312PS (229kW) but tractable with power available from down in the revs.

A few years ago, you could pick one of these up, even in the more sought-after GT spec, for less than £5,000. However, in order to obtain a relatively low-miles manual gearbox example today, you’re going to be writing a cheque closer to the £7,500 mark, but this is still fantastic value for money. The parts market for the Nissan 350Z is also very cheap, making them exceptionally easy to maintain. You can get that VQ engine trumpeting nicely with an aftermarket exhaust, too.


2. Toyota MR2 Mk3

If you’re looking for something that won’t break the bank and will provide all the thrills you’ll ever need over a sunny weekend, then the Toyota MR2 Mk3 is the perfect solution. Many cars took shots at the Mazda MX-5’s crown as the best budget two-seater convertible but only the Toyota MR2 actually got close. It’s arguably a better car than the MX-5, it just didn’t have the commercial lift-off it deserved.

The prices are a little bit more than the average MX-5 NB but we think it’s a justifiable difference given it's widely known these little Toyotas are Lotuses in all but badge. There are plenty of examples for under the £3,000 mark and if you manage to find one with a hardtop, you have a reliable fun car for 365 days of the year.

The revvy 1.8-litre VVTi provides more than enough power for the lightweight body and the nimble handling make it an utter joy to drive. If you can stretch your budget to near the £5,000 mark, you’ll have a very low mileage, more reliable facelift example.


3. Audi TT 225

When the Audi TT concept first appeared at the 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show, it was a huge success, but as with most concepts, the audience expected vast changes to the production car. Audi surprised us all by basically putting the concept design straight into production as is, resulting in a beautiful, simple and futuristic little sportscar.

The Mk1 did come with the option of the lusty 3.2-litre VR6 engine with a DSG gearbox but the 225PS (165kW) 1.8-litre model is the more affordable option. The 225PS version had a larger turbocharger and an additional intercooler than the 180PS (132kW) version, which makes all the difference. Somehow the design still looks contemporary 27 years later and prices are now at the perfect level to take a punt on one. You can find a great example with a manual gearbox for under £4,000.


4. Porsche Boxster

The early Porsche Boxsters were quite often ridiculed for being a "hairdresser's car", but that’s just a short-sighted dismissal of what is a very good car. If you can stretch to the 3.2-litre engine that’s what we’d recommend but if we stay true to the affordability theme, the 2.7-litre Boxster can provide decent bang for fewer bucks.

With the similar fried egg lights of the 911 996, the looks are ageing quite well and the driving experience is still as exciting now as it was 20 years ago. We would recommend keeping a bit of that budget to cover some inevitable maintenance costs but that’s the price you’ll have to pay to be able to tell everyone that’ll listen that you own a Porsche. 


5. Alfa Romeo GT V6

This one might be a bit left field as they’re pretty rare, but if you manage to find the right one, you’ve just bought yourself the coolest car you possibly can for the budget. The Alfa Romeo GT is a gorgeous car and sounds as good as it looks when it’s paired with the 3.2-litre V6 Busso engine. No, Alfa Romeos are not known for their reliability and we wouldn’t recommend daily driving this car but a manual gearbox, 3.2-litre Busso and those looks are a combination that you won’t be able to replicate with anything else under £10,000.

We’d avoid dipping below the £6,000 mark if you’re looking for one that’s ready to go but the listings we found online consistently were £10,000 regardless of mileage. It’s one of those cars that’ll be £30,000 in a few years and we’ll all be gutted we didn’t take the plunge at this level.

Do any of our suggestions take your fancy? What’s your choice for an affordable sportscar?

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