Sports cars can be immensely pleasurable to drive and own – there’s a reason why they’re the symbol of luxury and power.
Before you commit to a new sports car, there’s some things you should keep in mind. Afterall, owning a sports car can be quite an investment. Taking the time to do your research can help you make an investment that’s worth it.
Check out our top tips for buying a sports car below.
Type of sports car
There are many different types of sports cars on the market. Understanding the differences between them can help you pick the one that suits your lifestyle best.
Coupés are low-slung roadsters with two doors, two seats and a fixed roof. They have a sleek appearance and are ideal for two passengers and a small amount of cargo.
Convertibles like the Mazda MX-5 can be driven without a roof or with the roof pulled over. The roof can either be a ‘soft-top’ which is made of a textile material, or a ‘hard-top’ made from steel or carbon fibre.
Sports sedans typically have four doors, boot space for luggage and more seating for extra passengers. Compared to traditional sedans, sports sedans have more power and excitement – and a higher price tag.
High performance hatchbacks are small to medium sized cars with a flip up tailgate. Seating capacity varies from model to model, though both two door and four door options are common.
Seating and accessibility
Most sports cars will have seating for two people, although some of the sports sedans and hatchbacks have rear seats. Because of the sleek design, most low-slung sports cars, especially roadsters, can be challenging to get in and out of.
Hatchbacks and sedans are typically more roomy, but there are usually compromises on the design and door size meaning they’re still less accessible than family sedans and hatchbacks.
Cargo space is limited in most sports cars. You may have some boot space for small day-to-day loads but if you’re looking for a capable transport vehicle for road trips or carting equipment around, it’s simply not the car for the job.
Again, sports hatchbacks and sedans tend to have a bit more luggage space than the roadster models.
Handling and manoeuvrability
Most sports cars are designed to have quick steering response and minimal lean, making them a pleasure to drive. If you’ve never driven a sports car before it can take some getting used to.
To get a feel for the handling and manoeuvrability of a particular sports car, make sure you take it for a decent test drive, not just around the block. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to the driving feel, so it’s important to try out a number of models before settling on one.
Engine and performance
Sports cars are known for their powerful performance and that’s what makes them so desirable. Four cylinder models, V6s and V8s are all common, depending on how much power you’re after.
Keep in mind that bigger engines tend to be noisier, which may be an issue if you live in a quiet suburban area.
Sports cars with smaller engines tend to have better fuel economy whereas the most powerful V8s can burn through fuel quite fast. Most sports cars take premium fuel, which you should factor into the overall costs.
Many sports cars have manual transmission, which is ideal for drivers who like to feel involved and in control. Automatic sports cars are also available which may be better suited to drivers who spend a lot of time in traffic.
Many modern automatic models will have a sports mode which allows you to choose gears manually if you desire. Some automatic models have dual clutch transmission which allows for faster acceleration, better fuel economy than manual counterparts and a more connected feel.
When purchasing a sports car, make sure it is equipped with safety features like forward collision warning, blind spot detection and automatic emergency braking.
Keep in mind some of the more advanced safety systems are optional when buying a new car. Understanding what they are can help you make more informed decisions when shopping.
Sports cars are typically rear wheel drive, although front wheel drive options are also common. Many newer models are all wheel drive, just keep in mind you may need to change your tyres to suit the season for the all wheel drive technology to be effective.
When purchasing a sports car, it’s important to keep in mind the overall cost of maintaining the vehicle, not just the purchase price.
Insurance premiums tend to be higher for sports cars and most of them take premium fuel, which can increase the week to week running expenses.
Replacement parts and servicing costs also tend to run higher. If buying a used car, keep in mind that there may be significant maintenance costs if the car has not been well looked after.
New vs used
Buying a new sports car has its advantages – you can be confident it’s in perfect condition, you’ll be covered by warranty and you’ll get the latest technology. Plus, you’ll get to choose the colour, trim and add ons you want, which means you can get the exact car you’re after.
The downside to buying new is that new cars depreciate in value very quickly. Getting a loan to finance a new car can also have drawbacks, especially if your down payment is small.
Buying a secondhand sports car can be much more affordable. Looking for cars that are only two or three years old means you’re likely to still get most of the modern technologies and safety features.
Taking into account that many sports cars are driven hard, you should carefully inspect any used sports car before deciding to purchase it. Especially take note of the condition of the tyres, clutch and brakes. Having a professional inspection is a smart move and could save you from a bad decision.
Sports cars that have been modified, for example, with bolt-on turbochargers to increase the engine performance, may no longer be under warranty with the manufacturer and may cause you problems down the line. It’s better to go with an unmodified model, even if you plan on customising it yourself later.
Finding your ideal drive
There’s a lot you’ve got to keep in mind when shopping for a sports car. When you do your research and understand the risks you’re more likely to get a model that you love. Enjoy the hunt for your ideal drive!