Top 10 best sports cars 2023

Open gallery Close News by James Disdale 14 mins read 17 February 2023 Share

If driving thrills are what you’re after, look no further than the sports car.

A genre that’s almost as old as the car itself, as the name suggests these machines were first developed to bring some of the speed and excitement of early motorsport machines to the everyday driver on the road. Over the decades, these cars have matured into more talented all-rounders, abandoning their direct links to racing but retaining the same remit to place the driver squarely at the centre of the action.

Of course, the passage of time has meant that the definition of the sports car has been stretched in all directions, with everything from hot hatchbacks to scalpel-sharp track cars being grouped under the banner. However, for this list we’re going to limit those that qualify to the sort of full-sized and sophisticated machines that deliver deep-chested acceleration and uplifting handling but are as home on the road as the track. And while having more than two seats isn’t a disqualification from consideration, we’re keenest on those that place more of an emphasis on performance. Their grown-up status is cemented by pricing that falls between £60,000 and £120,000.

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However, that’s not to say there isn’t room for variety, which is why front, rear and mid-engined contenders make the cut, while two and four-wheel-drive options make an appearance. The same goes for engine layout and cylinder count (the more the merrier in the latter’s case). So read on as we run the rule of the best sports cars currently on sale.

1. Porsche 911

The derivative range of Porsche’s latest-generation 911 (the 992) has filled out quite a bit since its introduction in 2019. The car is now available in 380bhp Carrera and Carrera T guises, as well as 444bhp Carrera S and 473bhp Carrera GTS forms, all powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged flat-six engine; in coupé, cloth-top Cabriolet and folding fixed head Targa bodystyles; with rear or four-wheel drive; and with eight-speed dual-clutch PDK automatic and seven-speed manual gearboxes. There are also the extra-rapid Turbo, Turbo S, GT3 and GT3 RS versions of the car higher up the range, which we deal elsewhere with in our super sports car top 10 chart.

We’ve tested most versions of the 911 and not found much to dislike in any of them. Although the 911 has certainly become a better and more refined and sophisticated luxury operator than it ever used to be, the 992 iteration of this rear-engined sporting hero is every inch as great a driver’s car as the 991 it replaced – and, if anything, stands ready to take the game further away from its rivals. 

However, for our money the newly introduced Carrera T takes a lot of beating, its blend of pace, poise and usability making it closest in spirit to the original. It’s particulary pleasing with the manual gearbox (the first time the three-pedal layout has been made available with the ‘entry-level’ 380bhp Carerra engine), but Porsche’s dual-clutcher effortlessly mixes precise control with ease of use.


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The 911 has grown longer and slightly wider, all versions of the the 992 using what used to be called the 911’s ‘widebody’ shell (which has been lightened by more extensive use of aluminium in its construction), while four-wheel steering is now an option even on non-GT-level cars and mixed-width wheels and tyres come as standard.

Although there’s as much reason as ever for the keenest of drivers to stick with the purer rear-driven mechanical layout, the 992’s wider front axle track and quickened steering ratio seem to have sharpened its handling very effectively. Its turbocharged engine may not have the textural qualities of Porsche’s old atmospheric units, but it makes for very serious real-world performance – and, overall, for a car that remains without equal among direct contemporary rivals for usability, for rounded sporting credibility and especially for the accessible, everyday-use, any-occasion brilliance of its driver appeal.

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2. Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 / 718 Boxster GTS 4.0

Yes, it’s a Porsche one-two at the top of the charts. The German firm really knows what it’s doing when it comes to screwing together a sensational sports car. No more so than when Zuffenhausen took the decision to answer the critics and return an atmospheric flat six back into this car in 2019, creating series-production 718 derivatives with prices well above £60,000 before you put a single option on them. So while the more affordable four-cylinder, sub-£50,000 derivatives of the 718 continue to present themselves to buyers with less to spend (and are ranked in our affordable sports car top 10), the higher-end 718s have absolutely progressed in among the bigger fish of the sports car class.

Not that they struggle in such treacherous water. Porsche’s latest naturally aspirated six-cylinder boxer engine is an utter joy, offering as much outright performance as any road-going sports car really needs but also wonderful smoothness and response and an 8000rpm operating range. Unusually long-feeling gearing makes the six-speed manual versions slightly less appealing to drive, in some ways, than the seven-speed paddle-shift automatics – although for pure driver interaction, the three-pedal versions are hard to beat.

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