You have decided to buy a sports car, as you know the new ones are very expensive, so better to go with buying a used car with stunning performances. This is actually a good choice because for less than $10,000; there are a lot of sports used cars that can still put a smile on your face. Power, handling and design are definitely just some of the things you will get. Obviously, you cannot expect cars manufactured in the last 6-7 years, but those that are older than 10 years can be bought without a problem. We will reveal 20 best affordable sports cars for less than $10,000 you should take into consideration.
1. 2000 Corvette $9,900
Corvette you definitely should buy is C5 model, produced between 1997 and 2004. It still looks amazing, and chances are high this will become a future classic, so in the near future, you can sell it and still make a profit. In the world of best used cars under $10,000; Corvette C5 is a car that offers a perfect combination of handling and power. The engine produces 345 HP, 350 lb-ft of torque and it achieves 0-60 mph in less than 5 seconds. If you wonder, it is a V8.
The mentioned power output is for first models, but we will recommend you to get Z06 from 2001. It has 385 HP, 40 HP more, which can make a huge difference. Spare parts are constantly available, and cars with low mileage are easy to find because this isn’t everyday car! Top tip: Make sure there is no blue smoke on the exhaust, or it means that piston rings will have to be replaced, which requires engine rebuilt!
2. 2005 Audi S4 (B6) $9,800
This car has been in production between 2003 and 2005. Yes, it looks completely different than the Corvette we mentioned, but this is actually a sports car! The best part is that it is a sedan, so you can use it every day, but when you want, you can take it on a track. S4 has been constantly ranked as one of the best sports cars brand new or used, thanks to the mighty Quattro AWD. Even today, this is one of the most appreciated 4 wheel drive ever made and it draws its roots from the original Quattro rally car from the 80s.
S4 is powered by a 4.2L, V8 power plant. It produces 339 HP, which are sufficient for the car of this size. The fuel economy is 16/22 mpg, which isn’t especially good! Keep in mind that you will spend a lot of time on petrol stations.
3. 1999 BMW M3 E36 $9,500
BMW is the name that stands for performance and for a superb ride. M models, however, are even better. The model here, M3 from 1999 is one of the best used sport cars under $10,000 today and it will stay in this position till the end of time! Reasons are simple. Engine at the front, 6 cylinders, 5-speed transmission, 240HP and rear wheel drive. Maybe this doesn’t sound impressive, but of all affordable sports cars on the list, E36 has the best chassis. It will allow you to perform amazing stunts and to enjoy a ride.
Tuning this car is extremely simple. First of all, you already have a powerful engine, which can be tuned up to 350 HP and you have a body that is easy to improve with spoilers and bumpers. A fully restored M3 can cost you around $30,000, but it isn’t impossible to find a decent one for less than $10,000. Addition: Avoid convertible models because the roof will probably have to be replaced.
4. 2003 Ford Mustang $9,400
Yes, it is possible to buy a Mustang for this money! The model you will get is Mach 1 produced in 2003. The power is the main element of this car, so you can expect between 305 and 390HP, depending on the version. Avoid convertibles, because they are usually powered with less powerful engines and the prices are higher! First models have 5 gear transmission, but the later ones have 6 gears. It is almost irrelevant which version you will choose, because the engine is V8 with 320 lb-ft of torque, so it will speed up in any gear.
Ford Mustang is one of affordable sports cars that offers a lot of power for the money, so it this is the main factor for you, it is definitely the number one choice. Don’t forget that handling isn’t as good as Corvette nor BMW offer.
5. 2002 BMW 540i $9,400
When we associate words “sports car and BMW”, the result is M5, but it is very expensive (all versions are). What if you can get similar performances for a lot less money? The answer is BMW 540i. Although, the name suggests it should have 4.0L engine, in fact, it is 4.4L, V8, producing 300HP. It even comes with an M-trim, so it looks better than most cheap used cars.
The engine in this model is incredibly reliable, so as the powertrain. The design isn’t obsolete nor will it be anytime soon, so in essence, you can get a great car for less than ten grand. For $9,000 you can buy a model with less than 80,000 miles!
6. 2002 Chevy Camaro (Z28) $9,300
Camaro Z28 comes as one of the most interesting cars here. First of all, we have the looks. It is extraordinary and ‘’tough’’. Then we have a massive 5.7 V8 engine, designed purely to defeat Corvette Z06! Surprisingly, the mpg is 19/28, which isn’t bad. The power is almost 350HP and it is sent to the rear wheels through 6-speed manual. Drifting and sporty ride are both possible.
Earlier models were uncomfortable and handling was poor, but the model here is the first one with improved comfort and with handling more suitable for sports cars. It may be difficult to find one at this price, but it will probably have around 50,000 miles on the clock.
7. 2001 Porsche Boxster $9,300
Porsche can be bought for less than $10,000 and it isn’t even a very old model. Porsche Boxster produced in 2000 and 2001 is your choice, but we advise you to get the 2001 model because it has 2.7L engine (2000 model has 2.5L) flat six. The power is 217HP and the top speed is 155mph. Thanks to 192 lb-ft of torque, acceleration to 60 mph is under 7 seconds.
Boxster is one of cheap sports cars that is always a wise decision. Porsche never makes huge modifications to new models, so your Boxster from 2001 actually looks similar to the 2015 model! When it comes the time to sell it, this will be a positive factor.
8. 2000 Honda S2000 $9,300
Since the day it was launched, back in 2000, Honda S2000 has been a synonym for a fun drive. This is possible thanks to a revy 2.0L engine, located behind the front axle, meaning that handling is superb. Add the fact the engine produces 240HP and a very low weight, and we get one of the best affordable sports cars. The power-to-weight ratio is identical to Ferrari F355 and several others, much more expensive cars.
Of course, the S2000 is available only as a convertible, so there are no a lot of options here. On the other hand, we have a design that cannot become obsolete, ever. Important: The engine is complicated to maintain and repair due to VTEC feature. Make sure it is in perfect condition.
9. 2005 Toyota MR2 Spyder $9,300
Toyota MR2 Spyder was produced as a mid-engine sports roadster. Today, it is still a desirable vehicle all drivers appreciate. Although the engine is only 1.8L, producing 138 HP, the chassis and suspension are impressive, no less, meaning that this car corners better than more powerful ones! Expect to be among the fastest drivers on any track where you decide to test the MR2. Obviously, you should go with 5-speed manual transmission.
The design of this car is everlasting, making it a potential future classic, so it may be an even investment. Improving the looks, with wheels, spoilers and different mods is affordable as well, so all drivers who like to personalize their vehicles will enjoy in MR2.
10. 2003 Nissan 350Z $9,300
Nissan 350Z is highly appreciated small, sports car. All versions are powered by a 3.5L, V6 and all of these engines are impressive, nevertheless. The power is 221HP, which doesn’t sound much, but remember that it is a lightweight vehicle. It has been in production between 2002 and 2009, but for less than $10,000 you can expect to find an early model.
The 6-speed manual is a better option, compared to 5 gears automatic. The rear wheel drive allows you to experience racing capabilities. There are 5 different trim options, including performance, enthusiast, and track. The performance package adds more power and cool features, so it should be the first choice. 350Z can be driven on a track without huge modifications. In addition, this car is closely related to Nissan Skyline!
11. 2002 BMW Z3 $9,200
Although, BMW Z3 has been in production since 1995 and it was designed in 1992 by Joji Nagashima it has an everlasting design! A small car like this that appeared in one of James Bond movies has to be a future classic. For the amount of money in question you cannot afford Z4, which has a much better performance, but Z3, with decent mileage and in good order shouldn’t be hard to find.
This model came with a variety of engines, starting from 1.8L and reaching 3.2L. Ideally, you will get a 3.2L, with more than 240HP, but a 3.0L engine should be sufficient. Transmissions available are automatic and manual, with 5 gears. The gearbox that received a lot of positive comments was GM 5L40-E Manumatic, due to steptronic feature. The weight of Z3 is 2,550 pounds (1,160kg), making it similar to drive to Honda S2000, which is an advantage.
12. 2007 Volkswagen GTI $9,200
2007 Volkswagen GTI is a hot hatchback, with 2.0L, new generation engine. Thanks to it, the power output is 200HP. Gearbox is 6-speed manual and the power is sent to the front wheels. All of this makes this Golf an interesting car to drive. It can be used as a city car, as a sports car or like a track-day vehicle.
Reliability of these cars is much appreciated and highly rated. Just make sure you find one with a low mileage. Maybe it is difficult, but it is possible if you look carefully. It is one of the most affordable sports cars made in Germany.
13. 1998 Mercedes C43 AMG $9,000
If you love the AMG cars, now you can buy one for less than $10,000. C43 AMG was a beast when launched back in 1998, due to 4.3L, V8 engine, producing 300HP. Rear-wheel drive, manual gearbox and 0-60 mph time in less than 6 seconds are just some of the benefits you will get. Inside, luxury, a lot of cool features and gadgets are present, despite the fact this is an old car.
The main problem is finding one with a low mileage. Most of these cars have been driven every day, so those with 50,000 miles are hard to get. On the other hand, finding a cheaper one, with a decent engine is possible.
14. 2004 Mazda MX5 MazdaSpeed Version $9,000
It is already known fact that Mazda MX 5 is a great little sports car. They are reliable, affordable and there are a lot of possible modifications to add. Here, we are talking about the improved version, Mazda Speed model! It is one of the affordable sports cars tuned by the factory, allowing you to have a much better ride. The first thing to notice is the engine. Now, it produces 178HP, almost 40 HP more than the standard version.
Besides the engine, sports wheels, better transmission (6-speed manual) and clutch developed for races originally are also available. Performances are at least 30% better than the stock MX5, making this one of the best sports cars you can buy today. Let’s not forget to mention that this is a turbo-powered car which brings a lot of useful additions.
15. 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX $8,900
Subaru Impreza WRX was launched in Asia in 1992, but it became available in the rest of the world in 1994. Obviously, those models are obsolete. The one you should consider, simply because it is one of the top-rated affordable sports cars is 2002 variant. This Subaru is powered by a 2.0L, flat 4 engine, with a massive turbo. It will reach 60 mph in less than 6 seconds and the top speed of 145mph!
All-wheel drive, available in WRX isn’t something you can get on other cars. It was developed for rallying and it is capable of providing the best performances on any terrain! Handling and steering share the same passion, so you will get a rally car that can be used in cities around the world. As all other cars made by Subaru, WRX is extremely reliable and durable. After all, this is a proper rally car.
16. 2005 Dodge Neon SRT4 $8,500
Dodge Neon was an average car, but Neon SRT4 is a completely different story. Not only is it one of the most affordable sports cars money can buy, it is also one of rare ones tuned by the factory (special division) as well. Originally known as Performance Vehicle Operations (PVO), this division got a new name in 2004. SRT stands for Street and Racing Technology, and it is responsible for some of the best cars ever made.
Neon SRT 4 may be powered by a 2.4L engine, with 4 cylinders only, but it has a turbo so it produces 245HP. The transmission is 5 gears manual, which is forgiving and reliable at the same time. The best part are the mods available. SRT4 was an interesting car to upgrade, so there are a lot of additional mods that can boost the power and the handling.
17. 1996 Nissan 300ZX $8,500
Nissan 300ZX, the Z32 model, also known as Fairlady is one of the classic affordable sports cars you can buy today, for less than the amount of money we are discussing here. Maybe it is old, but it is a real sports car with impressive performance. The engine in this car is 3.0L, V6, producing 280HP. However, a turbocharged version with 300HP is available. 4 speed automatic is available, but not recommended. A much better choice would be 5 speed manual.
The previous model, Z31 is much cheaper, but there are a lot of differences between these two cars, so it shouldn’t be taken into account. Interesting: 300ZX was produced till 1996 in the US, but in Japan production lasted till 2000.
18. 2007 Lexus IS 350 $8,400
Some drivers will tell you that IS350 is just an ordinary sedan, but it is much more than that. The 3.5L engine, producing slightly more than 300HP is a masterpiece. The handling is the biggest virtue of this car and it is the main reason why you should take it into account. 2006 models may be bought for $7,000; but we recommend 2007 ones. IS300 is also a possible choice, but only if you cannot find the 350 version.
Lexus IS350 was a very expensive car, so you get a lot of features, luxurious interior and a lot of useful additions. Nowadays, it is an affordable sports cars with 4 doors and enough room inside for 5 people. On working days it can be used as a family car, but on weekends, it becomes a racing monster!
19. 2008 Mazda RX-8 $8,200
Powered by a Wankel rotary engine, RX8 shares the same engine layout as RX7. This model has an only 1.3L engine, which at the first sight, sounds like an engine needed for city cars, but it produces 232HP and it revs up to 9,000RPM! In the world of drivers, this is a huge benefit. Transmission available are manual and automatic, with 5 or 6 gears. Manual is definitely a desirable option here.
Mazda RX8 is one of the affordable sports cars that should be bought with care, precisely due to the engine we mentioned it has. It must be properly maintained. Even then, the fuel economy is 16mpg!
20. 2007 Saturn Sky Redline $8,000
This car is produced by General Motors in the 2000s. The engine is 2.0L 4 cylinder unit, producing 260HP. It is paired with limited slip differential and 6 gears transmission. Newer models can cost above the $10,000 mark, but the early ones are definitely affordable sports cars. A convertible with this price and with these specifications almost always means a lot of fun to drive and Sky Redline shares this advantage. One of the additional facts we should mention in the suspension. It is stiff, so rough driving is even preferable, precisely what a sports car must provide. Important: Most of these cars were used as city cars. Make sure there are no a lot of dents and damages on the body and suspension.