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The 7 best sports cars under $50k: Get an amazing ride without breaking the bank

These seven cars prove that you don’t have to be a millionaire to get a fun sports car 

2023 Nissan Z

Everyone thinks they must win the lottery to get into a sports car, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sports cars come in all shapes and sizes. As long as you’re willing to compromise on performance and size, you can purchase some of the best sports cars under $50k and add them to your collection. 

Sure, most sports cars that cost less than $50,000 aren’t nearly as powerful as those with six-figure price tags, but that doesn’t make them any worse or unworthy of consideration. Plus, there’s nothing like pushing a small, underpowered car to its limits. In many instances, it certainly beats trying to stay in control of a high-powered machine. So, if you’re looking for cheap sports cars on a budget of $50,000, here are our top seven choices.

2022 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 front end driving on a race track with clouds in the back ground.
Toyota / Toyota

Toyota GR Supra 2.0 – $45,540

The 6-cylinder Toyota GR Supra may get all of the praise, but the 4-cylinder version of the sports car is mighty impressive. The turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder delivers 255 horsepower. That may not sound like a lot, but the GR Supra 2.0 can still reach 60 mph in roughly 5.0 seconds, which is mega quick. Plus, it feels nearly as fast around corners with just as sharp handling. The GR Supra 2.0s specs prove that more power doesn’t necessarily result in a substantially better sports car.

2022 Toyota GR86 Premium front end angle driving on a race track with green trees in the back.

Toyota GR86 Premium MT/Subaru BRZ Limited – $31,325/$31,325

This is a two-for-one deal. The Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ are twins that are so closely related you’ll need a microscope to tell the difference between the models. If it were up to us, we would choose the GR86. It’s slightly more affordable in our recommended trim (Premium) and has ever-so-slightly more enjoyable handling.

Ultimately, these two sports cars remain some of the most driver-focused cars on the market. They deliver direct steering, easy tail-out antics, and buttoned-down chassis that love being pushed. Compared to the previous generation, the new models come with a 2.4-liter flat-four that makes 228 horsepower. Fast? No. Fast enough? Yes — and incredibly fun to drive.

2022 Dodge Challenger R:T Scat Pack Wide Body front end angle overhead shot of the car parked on a salt flat.

Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack – $55,000

Having driven the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat on many occasions, I can tell you that over 700 horsepower wears out much quicker than you think. It’s cool to tell your buddies how fast your car is and scare them a few times when taking a turn around the track, but it’s just too much at the end of the day.

The R/T Scat Pack is a much better choice for regular use and one of the best sports cars under $50k. It comes with a “meager” 6.4-liter V8 that produces 485 horsepower. Consumers still get a zero-to-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds and an ungodly V8 rumble. With that kind of performance, you can still race every car you want at a set of lights, do burnouts, and pull off some smoky donuts. You can live out all of your muscle car dreams without breaking the bank. It’s a clear-cut win-win.

2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata front end angle from driver's side with top down parked in front of a city skyline.

Mazda MX-5 Miata Club – $34,980

Oh, the Mazda MX-5 Miata. If there were one car I would write a love letter to, it would be the Miata. In a world of overpowered, flamboyant, look-at-me sports cars, the Miata shines as a beacon of light for precisely what you need and nothing more.

The Miata loves to make the driver happy, just like a puppy wanting to be adopted. It’s playful, easy to drive, another of the best sports cars under $50k, and loves to always be pushed hard. Unlike most sports cars on the market, the Miata lets you know exactly what’s happening at all times.

With a 181-horsepower engine that needs to be revved out, rear-wheel drive, and a 6-speed manual transmission, the Miata will make you a better driver while allowing you to enjoy your driving experiences.

2023 Nissan Z overhead shot of front end angle in front of a sunset with mountains in the back.

Nissan Z Sport – $42,000

Most sports cars on this list come with a 4-cylinder engine, but that’s not the case with the Nissan Z Sport. This sports car has a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine with a 400-horsepower rating. This powerful engine helps the Z reach 60 mph from a standstill in 4.9 seconds. There’s also plenty of grip on hand to have fun around corners, and the Z is more than comfortable enough for the daily commute or a road trip.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE front end angle from driver's side parked on a race track with mountains in the back.

Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE – $49,270

The Chevrolet Camaro remains one of the most affordable V8-powered sports cars on the market. While the Camaro may have an iconic history as a muscle car, make no mistake: The current Camaro is a bona fide sports car.

The best Camaro at the $50,000 price point is the 1SS with the 1LE package. For drivers that yearn for a sharp sports car, the 1LE package is a must.

It adds Recaro sport seats, a dual-mode exhaust system, enhanced cooling, more powerful brakes, a limited-slip differential, and upgraded suspension. The result of these attractive features is a V8-powered sports car with 455 horsepower at home on the track or on your favorite backroad.

The 2023 Honda Type R.

Honda Civic Type R – $44,890

If you’re looking for a compact sports car worth its price, you must check out the Civic Type R. This hatchback model is the perfect amalgamation of the 11-generation Civics that came before it. Not only has it been redesigned externally, but internally it features an impressive range of attractive features sports car lovers will enjoy.

Under the hood, the Type R has a turbocharged 4-cylinder 2.0-liter engine with a horsepower rating of 315 and 310 pounds-foot of torque. It’s also effortless to drive daily on and off the track thanks to its 6-speed manual transmission, upgraded handling, power increase, and improved brake cooling. This brake cooling allows you to punish the track without worrying about your sports car failing when you need it most.

It also has a nifty onboard data logger with performance instrumentation that can be accessed via a 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen. Nice right?!

Joel Patel
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Joel Patel is a former contributor for The Manual. His work has also been featured on Autoweek, Digital Trends, Autoblog…
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