For many years, household family-friendly brands such as Chevrolet, Honda and Nissan have understood the importance of producing statement sports cars and performance cars. These cars can serve as one of their most powerful marketing tools - they generate excitement for the brand, attract new customers, and showcase technological prowess.
There is also a segment which occupies the space between the mainstream automakers and the exotic car companies. Commonly referred to as ‘luxury brands’, this space is traditionally dominated by those of a German persuasion; Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz being amongst the major players who are bringing the prestige of European performance cars to the mass market, at an affordable price.
All of these automakers have become very impressive at blurring the lines between themselves and the exotic brands, particularly when considering the performance credentials of their flagship models. While we might never see the day when a Toyota and a Ferrari are judged as equals, it has become increasingly difficult to dispute the value of such cars, given the performance they have on tap.
Cars like the Nissan GT-R, still go toe-to-toe with many exotics and supercars which cost at least twice as much. Benefitting from Nissan's expansive R&D resources - especially in the areas of mass-production and quality-control - they are also reliable and relatively inexpensive to maintain.
The M and AMG range of cars - from BMW and Mercedes-Benz respectively - offer proven performance at a fraction of the cost of an entry-level exotic car. Backed by international reputations and well-stocked war chests, these automakers are able to build a comprehensive roster of high-performance models every year. This allows them to appeal to a wide-range of demographics and not be restricted to niche markets.
We’ve listed all the cars you can buy today which fall under these categories and have a conventional bias towards sportiness (i.e. mostly coupes, convertibles, or customary sports car configurations). In a separate list, we’ll focus on the more utilitarian and luxury-oriented Performance Sports Saloons.
This list will continue to be updated with more makes/models as they become available.