When it comes to picking a car, there are a lot of factors to consider. But if you’re looking for speed and handling, then there’s no better option than a sports car. What are the best sports cars under 100K? There are many options depending on the type of car you want. But if you’re looking for a reliable, stylish car with a lot of horsepower on tap, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are our top picks for the best sports cars under 100K.
In the previous few weeks, we explored the new, used, and classic car markets in search of the best sports cars one could get in different price ranges.
The entry-level sports car market has changed a lot in the past few years, but $10,000 still can buy a cool, fun car. Next, most affordable cars have since moved to other price categories, so we tried curating some of the best sports cars under $30,000 and $50,000. But what happens when you double up and browse through high five-figure sums?
The $100,000 price range opens a lot of doors in an expansive world of new and used sports cars and vintage classics. If you browse through the ads, you’ll come across several automotive icons, import exotics, and top-tier sports cars with a dash of ultra-low mileage cars you’d otherwise find for half the price.
Without further ado, here’s what we think are the best sports cars under 100K:
- Jaguar E-Type
- Chevrolet Corvette
- Acura NSX
- Ferrari F355
- Audi R8
- Dodge Viper GTS
- Nissan GT-R R35
- Porsche 911
- Shelby GT350R (GT500)
- BMW M4 Competition Coupe
Lets look at each of our best sports cars under 100K with more detail:
1. Jaguar E-Type
The first pick on our best sports cars under 100K list is definitely not the quickest or best-performing one, but it’s the most iconic. Jaguar’s beloved E-Type turns 60 this year, and ever since it debuted in Geneva, it has captured the world as one of the most beautiful cars ever created. It’s not just the beauty that made the E-Type a legend, as driving it is still a sensation today.
With the E-Type or the XKE for US-bound clientele, it all comes down to overall condition and service history, meaning that it’s equally possible to find either Series I, II, or III under $100,000. However, pristine Series I cars, especially fixed head coupés and 3.8-liter ones will go beyond $100,000 more easily than the others.
2. Chevrolet Corvette
Arguably the best American sports car, the Corvette spans across all price ranges, starting from affordable modern classics all the way to multi-million collector examples. For between $50,000 and $100,000, the choice is still extensive, spanning from pristine historic collectibles all the way to the first mid-engined Corvette, the polarizing C8.
Starting from the assumption you’d prefer a traditional Corvette experience in a modern guise, high five-figure sums will buy you a supercharged LT4-powered 650-horsepower Z06 or a toned-down yet still quite potent 460-horsepower Grand Sport. If you, however, want a vintage ‘Vette, you have plenty of cars to choose from, including the earliest C1 ones, the only Corvettes ever fitted with a straight-six.
3. Acura NSX
Honda’s legendary NSX is a supercar done the Japanese way, and when it debuted in 1990, it set a high benchmark in performance thanks to firsthand inputs of none other than Ayrton Senna himself. Such credentials were more than enough to make the NSX a legend, and the fact that it outshined almost all direct competitors and many exotic sports cars just cemented its cult status.
Today, low mileage examples could be bought from around $70,000 upwards, and the market favors 6-speed cars that came hand in hand with a bigger, 3.2-liter V6 starting from 1997. Being such an influential car, the NSX is bound to shoot up in value even more, so if you’re in search of one, make sure to get it soon, as pristine examples will change hands for more as time passes by.
4. Ferrari F355
There’s no simple way to answer the sub-100k Ferrari sports car dilemma as there are still numerous options on the market spawning all the way from the 1980s 308 to the last Colombo V8, the 360 Modena. Included within the price range is an overlooked gem, the 348 and the Bertone-designed Dino 308. Finally, there’s also our definitive pick, the F355.
Safe for ultra low mileage examples, the prices linger between $80,000 and $100,000, and you’ll find them in both coupé, Spider and GTS t-top guise. The F355 can be bought in this price range both with the early paddle-shifting 6-speed F1 automated gearbox and traditional 6-speed stick shift. If you’re in the market for these lovely sports cars from Maranello, what you’ll probably be after are ones with three pedals in the footwell and that beautiful gated housing with Ferrari’s trademark chrome ball.
5. Audi R8
Audi’s flagship sports car can only be described as a mature supercar known for its restrained design and phenomenal performance. Gallardo’s suited up sibling debuted in 2006 and is now in its second generation, acting as a stylistic counterbalance to the Huracán too.
Prices of decent examples start from around the $80,000 mark for well-cared early models powered by Audi’s well-proven 4.2-liter V8, but as you go up, you’ll also find the V10 variants in both coupe and convertible body styles. At present, $100,000 buys a late 1st-gen model, and it’s only up to you to find your preferred variant of this sublime car. Finally, a majority of R8s come equipped with R-Tronic or S-Tronic transmissions making for a great daily driver. Still, if you prefer a traditional driving experience, you can dig up an example with a gated 6-speed manual transmission too.
6. Dodge Viper GTS
Since the Viper was conceived as a then-modern interpretation of a Shelby Cobra, it was initially envisioned as a roadster and the GTS coupé followed in its second generation dubbed SR II. The market for used Dodge Vipers has a pretty wide price range, but for cars valued up to $100,000, our vote goes to the SR II GTS hardtop coupé.
The GTS wasn’t just known for its double-bubble roof but a significant power upgrade and other performance-enhancing tweaks. That being said, the infamous 8.0-liter V10 engine got a bump from 415 to 450 ponies, making it more potent than its roofless counterpart, at least until Dodge upgraded the SRT-10 too. Today, the Viper GTS is a highly desirable modern classic, and you can expect to pay north of $70,000 for a well-sorted example.
7. Nissan GT-R R35
In broad terms, Nissan has two families of exquisite sports cars: the Z-cars and the GT-Rs. Our previous series has covered more affordable Z-cars you should definitely consider buying, but when the limit is set at $100,000, it’s time for some heavy hitters. The R35 GT-R made a departure from the Skyline range into a separate flagship sports car, and as its predecessors did, it soon gained a reputation for being a supercar killer.
Given that it has been in production since late 2007, the second-hand R35 GT-R market offers a lot of options for this 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6-powered technological marvel. Earlier examples with 480 horsepower in stock form could be snatched for sums much closer to $50,000, but if you want to touch the upper price limit, you should be after the 2017 model with power bumped to 565 horsepower that still comes with the six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
This vehicle has a top speed of 196mph, making it one of the fastest cars featured on our list. Finally, a good midrange option is to look for a post-2011 facelifted GT-R with 545 horsepower.
8. Porsche 911
The current 911 Carrera starts from a base price of $101,200, so the sub-100k category Porsche 911s are limited for sale in the second-hand market. That still doesn’t mean cars on offer are any less fun, as high five-figure sums can get you both established classics and sound investment opportunities along with being a great daily driver.
If you want to play it safe, go for an air-cooled one, as there are still plenty of those to choose from. If you’re feeling like taking some risks, you can get a 996 generation Turbo, Turbo S, or even a GT3, but a safer bet is to go for the 997 as these cars will yield some gains in the near future too. In some cases, a great 911 can be a sub-$50,000 car as well, so you should consult our other list to see which one we’ve chosen as the best buy.
9. Shelby Mustang GT350R (GT500)
Modern American muscle leaves more than a few options within the price range, most notably the 797-horsepower Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye, but our choice still goes to the Shelby Mustang muscle car. The choice between two ultimate modern Shelbies comes down to the GT500 and the GT350R, and with the latter being an honest track-focused car, we’re going for that one.
Shelby GT350R has the same rev-happy 526hp 5.2-liter Voodoo V8, but it owes its bettered performance to aerodynamic enhancements, carbon fiber wheels, and grippier tires. In addition to shedding weight by installing lighter wheels, the GT350R could further be slimmed down by deleting unnecessary features like carpeting, A/C, or rear seats, among other things, leaving the GT350R ready for track action. Shelby Mustang GT350R is a sub-$100,000 car making it ideal for our best sports cars under 100K. That said, we believe prices might change in the near future.
10. BMW M4 Competition Coupe
A lot could be said for the most talked-about BMW M vehicle ever created, both good and bad, but one can’t deny its sports car DNA. Powered by a twin-turbo S straight-six, the G82 BMW M4 serves 473 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque, sending them to the rear wheels via a 6-speed ZF manual. The M4 Competition, on the other hand, offers 503 thoroughbred horses, albeit with 8-speed ZF 8HP as the only transmission option, while all-wheel drive will come in 2022 as a $4,100 extra.
A new vehicle M4 starts from $71,800, while the Competition Coupé will set you back at least $74,700. These starting prices leave options for improvements, so even with opting for features like $8,150 M Carbon Ceramic Brakes or $3,800 lightweight M Bucket Seats and $2,500 M Driver’s package, you can fine tailor your M4 and still stay in the five-figure category.
Despite initially only be offered with rear wheel drive, BMW will offer the 2022 M4 with a rear-wheel biased all wheel drive system.
With that realm of possibilities, picking the ten best sports cars to own, drive or invest in was a challenge, so we’d like to hear from you: do you agree with our choices for the best sports cars under 100k and if so, which car would you take home? Comment below.
[Feature image courtesy of RM Sotheby’s]