Best New Sports & Performance Cars ($100K – $200K USD)
The best in the bracket (based on starting MSRP)
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re curious about how much more expensive your dream car is in 2022, or you have a 100k – 200k budget at your disposal and just started looking around.
Unfortunately, the current prices in the new car market landscape have skyrocketed to where it seems to get out of control. In addition, as the sports cars market is becoming more and more competitive, the options you could get your hands on perhaps stray a bit from supercar territory.
Still, a $100,000 – $200,000 budget gives one plenty of breathing room when selecting an exciting new sport or performance car.
With so many sports and performance cars available, determining which ones are the definitive best is not easy. However, this list we put together for you can be a starting point for deciding which of these cars to pull the trigger on.
2023 Audi R8 Performance Spyder
Base price $171,000 USD
Audi’s Quattro is a household name that you can find in pretty much the entire Audi lineup. It is also a system that allows for some pretty spectacular performance cars to come from the German company, but some there are some very special models that eschew AWD in favor of RWD, such as the 2023 Audi R8 Performance Spyder.
The R8 Spyder uses the legendary 5.2L V10 that has been the beating heart of both the Audi R8 and the Lamborghini Huracan for the past five years, but tuned to now put out 602 HP with a naturally aspirated howl up to 8,700 RPM. Putting that power down to just the rear wheels, the Spyder will catapult itself down the road to 60 in a hair under 3.4 seconds. The only option for a transmission is a 7-speed dual clutch “S-Tronic” gearbox that a can be run as fully automatic or semi-automatic with commanded shifts using paddles behind the steering wheel.
Of course, being a German car and a Spyder at that, the roof can be operated at speeds of up to 37 MPH, and will take no more than 20 seconds to raise or lower. With the roof down, the R8 Spyder has a top speed of 203 MPH, and features massive 14.4 inch front carbon ceramic brakes with 8-piston calipers, and 14 inch rear carbon ceramic brakes with 4 piston calipers to bring it to a stop in a right hurry.
All said, the 2023 Audi R8 Performance Spyder is one of the fastest, most powerful convertibles you can get for less than $200,000.
2023 Nissan GT-R Premium
Base price $117,935 USD
The acclaimed Japanese sports car continues with a successful formula that dates to 2008, showing that all the work by Japanese engineers has been a genuine success because the Nissan GT-R car never ceases to amaze us.
Nissan defied convention at every step in the development of the Nissan GT-R. Instead of a big, heavy engine that requires a lot of fuel, the GT-R gets its power from a perfectly sized 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine, which produces an astonishing 565 horsepower and 467 lb.-ft. torque paired with a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The engine it’s made with great strength, from the closed base monobloc to the ladder frame for added support. And since assembly is just as crucial for the GT-R, its engines are hand-assembled by a master craftsman, whose signature you’ll find on a small but prominent plate.
The Nissan GT-R’s Premium Midship platform places the engine rearward in the chassis to improve handling. This unique design also mounts the transmission with the transfer case at the car’s rear, creating an independent rear transaxle on an all-wheel-drive vehicle.
The GT-R can launch itself from zero to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 199 mph.
2023 Lotus Emira First Edition
Base price $105,400 USD
The 2023 Lotus Emira First Edition is the last combustion engine car that the legendary marque will produce, going fully EV before the year 2030. As such, the Emira is the culmination of over 70 years of research, development, legendary race and road cars, and being at the cutting edge of automotive innovation.
At the moment, the only build option is with a supercharged 3.5L Toyota 2GR-FE V6 that is pushing out 400 HP. If that engine code sounds familiar, it is because it is the same V6 engine that was fitted to the Evora and Exige Sport models in the latter half of the 2010s, and has the distinction of being “notoriously reliable,” which is a nice change in a high-end sports car. Later on in 2023, a turbocharged 2.0L Mercedes AMG M139 inline-four will also be available, which will provide 360 HP but more torque. With either engine, the Emira is expected to reach 60 MPH from a standstill in about 4.3 seconds.
However, one does not buy a Lotus for straight line speed, and that is where all the previous decades of experience have been brought to razor focus in the Emira. From the outset, this low, long, sleek mid-engine beast was meant to absolutely destroy corners, be it on the track or down your favorite twisty road. Early reviews of the Emira have almost everyone agreeing that it maintains the nearly telepathic steering that Lotus Cars is famous for, as well as it being remarkably comfortable for a car with quite stiff suspension to give that steering feel.
No matter where you drive it, the Emira is about as perfect a swan song for Lotus and the internal combustion engine as possible. It takes the fun of an Elise, the power of an Exige, the comfort of an Evora, and the history of a company built on racing, lightness, and handling, and gives it all to you in a package that just tips over $100,000.
2023 Porsche 911 GT3
Base price $182,900 USD
Porsche is regarded as an automaker that produces some of the best sports cars globally for their excellent balance, agility, and qualities that matter in demanding driving conditions on tracks or on the road.
We all know that the Porsche 911 has perfected the recipe for subtle evolution, with a car that still has the essence of its first generation intact, although entirely different in capabilities and dimensions.
With the GT3, it is no different, but with a straightforward visual and aerodynamic approach to getting the best possible time on the track.
Under the bonnet of the 2023 Type 992 Porsche 911 GT3 lies a 4.0-liter naturally aspirated six-cylinder boxer engine (B6). Still, now it pumps out 510 hp and 346 lb-ft of torque.
And despite having more filters in the exhaust because of the stringent environmental standards in Europe, it maintains the spectacular sound of its engine. However, to get all the juice out of the engine, you must take it to 8,400 RPM.
Porsche claims the car can go from 0 to 60 in just 3.3 seconds and reach 124 mph in 10.8 seconds for variants with a 7-speed PDK gearbox. While the 6-speed manual GT3s will achieve those speeds in 3.9 seconds and 11.9 seconds, respectively.
2023 Corvette C8 Z06
Base price $105,300 USD
As we have witnessed throughout its development, the new Corvette C8 Z06 looks surprisingly menacing and athletic, and it promises to become GM’s nemesis of European supercars.
This latest iteration of the Z06 comes with a more muscular stance thanks to more aggressive bumpers, like those of the competition Corvette C8.R. Some of the design highlights of this new Corvette include the large front splitter, large air intakes, and sportier skirts.
Still, after its various appearances, we can all agree that the glorious star of the new 2023 Corvette Z06 is its engine. Unlike the base C8, the Z06 comes with a naturally aspirated 5.5-liter LT6 V8 with a flat crankshaft and DOHC based on the new Corvette C8.R.
Aside from the technicalities, this V8 configuration means we can enjoy an intense and sharp melody at around 9,000 rpm that we can hear in different official videos of the American supercar. This sound accompanies the Corvette’s 679 horses and 470 pound-feet of torque.
In addition, the all-aluminum engine features a competition-style dry-sump lubrication system that makes it clear that the new Corvette C8 Z06 is ready for anything.
2023 Tesla Model S Plaid
Base price $148,990 USD
The new Tesla Model S solves whether other proposals such as the Porsche Taycan or the Lucid Air could snatch the throne of the faster and more efficient electric sedan by taking the title of the quickest acceleration of any production vehicle.
In addition, the updated battery architecture for all Model S trims enables consecutive rides without performance degradation. However, like in previous architectures, if you are wanting to use the maximum power and hardest acceleration of the Model S Plaid in Ludicrous Speed mode, you will need to wait for the battery to warm up. This is the only true downside to the performance of the car, as a Porsche Taycan Turbo is at full power the moment it is switched on and put into Sport Plus mode, no battery warming required (except in winter).
The technology that allows the Tesla Model S to be the fastest electric four-door sedan you can buy includes a set of three electric motors and all-wheel drive with torque vectoring. As a result, this car can develop 1,020 horsepower and reach 60 mph in just 2.1 seconds. Additionally, the Model S Plaid covers the quarter-mile in just 9.23 seconds at a top speed of 175 mph.
Model S platforms bring together powertrain and battery technologies for unmatched performance, range, and efficiency. In addition, the new module and pack thermal architecture enables faster charging and gives you more power and endurance in all conditions.
2023 Type 992 Porsche 911 Turbo
Base Price $197,200 USD
While the Type 992 Porsche 911 GT3 earlier in this list is a superb sports car, it does come with relatively stiff suspension, not the most comfortable seats for long drives, and it is a bit more of a raw driving experience than some want. For those that are looking for performance but with a more comfortable twist to it, the Type 992 Porsche 911 Turbo is the answer. To be honest, any of the Type 992 cars could have made this list, from the “normal” Carrera 4 to the feature-laden Carrera GTS, but the Turbo is just that little more premium than any of them.
Considering that the GT3 is designed with the track in mind, the Turbo is designed with the bumps, cracks, obstacles, and the like of the real world. For example, the Turbo has enough ground clearance to ride over a speed bump without worrying about scraping the front splitter. As well, the engine is set up so that the maximum torque is available between 2,250 and 4,500 RPM, which in sixth or seventh gear, depending on which transmission you select, is freeway cruising RPMs.
Speaking of that power, the 3.8L twin-turbo flat-six is an absolute engineering masterpiece. Then again, Porsche has been perfecting the flat-six boxer engine since the mid-1970s, so to have one of the best of the best in the Turbo is not a farfetched idea. It includes all of the latest and greatest developments, such as variable-vane impellor blades in the twin turbines to spin up quicker at any RPM, as well as per-cylinder combustion sensors so that the ECU can adjust the engine in real-time to get the best fuel economy possible.
The cabin is also a very comfortable place to be, with much more plush, but still sporty, seats than a GT3, as well as more creature comforts, real leather and premium soft-touch surfaces, a big 11 inch touchscreen infotainment and sat nav system, and all the features you’d want in a nearly-$200,000 sports car. What makes the Turbo that much more premium than almost any other car, however, is that it is designed for use on the road, instead of just being a big accumulation of impressive numbers.
2023 Audi RS e-tron GT
Base price $143,900 USD
The Audi e-Tron GT translates Audi-specific design into the language of the electric age. It has an aerodynamic coupé exterior design that underlines its sporty appearance, expressive lines that enhance the silhouette on the sides, and aero-acoustics that help reduce external noise towards the passenger compartment.
For 2023, and in keeping in line with their other platforms, Audi has brought forth an RS model, the 2023 RS e-Tron GT. The biggest difference between the two models is that power has been bumped from nominal 476 HP and peak 522 HP in the e-Tron GT to a nominal 590 HP and peak 637 HP in the RS.
Consequently, 0 to 60 is dealt with in 3.1 seconds, and the top speed has been bumped to 155 MPH instead of 152 MPH. The battery has stayed the same size at 93.4 kWh, which gives the RS an estimated 232 miles of range using mixed driving conditions. Of course, as with all EVs, if you drive it economically and not permanently in boost mode, in the most literal sense “your mileage may vary.”
As well, being an Audi, Quattro all-wheel-drive is present, handled by the dual synchronous electric motors that drive the front and rear axles. Torque vectoring is included via e-Torque Plus on the rear axle.
2023 Mercedes Benz AMG E63 S
Base price $112,800 USD
I can’t think of a more fascinating four-door sporty model in today’s market than the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Sedan. This car offers an exciting construction with space for the whole family, but each component is designed to obtain shorter lap times on the track.
On the outside, the first thing that catches your eye is the more aggressive aerodynamic kit, which is accompanied by a new set of 20-inch wheels, while the interior is sporty and luxurious.
But since we’re talking about an AMG model, the most prominent aspect of the car is its mechanicals. And this E 63 S Sedan knows how to stand out with its 4.0-liter V8 twin-turbocharged engine with 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque, coupled to a 9-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifters that send power to all four wheels with the 4Matic system.
Of course, the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Sedan’s handling is distinct from the regular production model, as they are vehicles with different purposes.
This car asserts its status as a super sedan supported by the Air Body Control sports suspension to deliver a firm, exact handling sensation, perfect for taking curves at high speeds, although uncomfortable to use as a daily vehicle.
2024 BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe
Base price $ 136,800 USD
To put it simply, the BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe is the sportiest BMW model you can buy. The Gran Coupe gets the nod here because while it has coupe styling, it is secretly a high performance four-door car with actually useable rear seats. Practicality does enter into the equation, even if just mildly.
Also consider that the M8 as a whole is not just any model; we are talking about the most complete coupe offered by the Bavarian automaker, both in equipment and sportiness, especially in the Competition variant. It gets the fastest transmission you can get on an M-car, as well as performance exhausts that sing out the howl of the engine as it soars up past 6,000 RPM, where it is putting out 617 HP and 553 lbs-ft of torque.
That engine is a 4.4L twin-turbo V8 monster that attaches to an 8-speed M-Sport semi-automatic, and will propel the big car to 60 MPH from a standstill in just 3.0 seconds. It even comes equipped with launch control!
However, what many are looking for with a M-car is not only performance, but luxury, and when you drive the M8 Competition Gran Coupe calmly, it settles down into being a proper BMW. Civilized, luxurious, even quiet, it can even have the engine power dialed down and has valves in the exhaust that can close to add more muffling. But always present on the steering wheel is that little M button, and you can rest assured that you’re in for one hell of a sports “coupe” when you press it!
2023 Aston Martin Vantage
Base price $147,000 USD
The new Aston Martin Vantage isn’t a sports car for bashful drivers, mainly because of its thunderous V8 and showstopping styling. The Vantage is the first Aston Martin to rely on a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 sourced from Mercedes-AMG, but the good news is that the German inheritance didn’t spoil this true British classic.
With 503 horsepower and 505 lb.-ft. of torque at your disposal, you can reach 60 mph from rest in 3.4 seconds with this entry-level Aston. That is supercar territory.
The Vantage’s mighty engine is mated to a manual or automatic transmission, but unfortunately, the former is only available on the regular coupe. Nevertheless, it’s worth highlighting that the precise steering and handling let you make the most of the Vantage’s sporty suspension on twisty back roads.
Still, you can tame the whole car with a simple button and make it a comfortable long-distance cruiser when you want civil driving. Although the vehicle is wide, the steering is light around town, so it’s reasonably easy to maneuver.
The Aston Martin Vantage is an excellent everyday sports car, but more importantly, it’s a proper Aston Martin that was made possible with a bit of help from German engineering.
2023 Lexus LC500 Convertible
Base price $103,650 USD
The Lexus LC500 is a luxury coupe that knows how to hold the interest of a mature sports car enthusiast, but it’s a grand tourer foremost.
Buyers can choose between two engines. A hefty 467 hp V8 unit powers the LC 500 with the help of a 10-speed automatic transmission. The most refined and efficient alternative is the LC 500h, a hybrid model that combines a 295 hp 3.5-liter V6 petrol engine with an electric motor for 354 hp.
The LC is a more communicative and engaging car to drive than many competitors in its three available spec levels. Still, more enthusiastic drivers will want the Sport+ version, which really breathes new life into the car.
With this trim and hooked up to the V8 engine, the LC is a hell of a car.
However, it’s not quite as balanced in the corners as a pedigree sports car, with the steering being exceptionally light and disappointingly short of feeling. It is more or less intended to be a sporty luxury convertible, in the same sense of a Bentley or BMW 3 series convertible.
As for the rear-wheel steering system, it adds stability at high speeds and increases agility by helping to turn the car around corners at lower speeds. The standard spec is still a lot of fun to drive, but, inevitably, it’s not as well-tethered in the corners.
2023 Morgan Plus Six
Base price $104,000 USD
Despite having industry-leading technology and engineering encompassed beneath its recognizable exterior, the new Morgan Plus Six doesn’t look much different on the surface. Still, a series of subtle upgrades have made a big difference overall.
For instance, the all-new CX-Generation aluminum bonded platform that underpins the Plus Six features a 100% increase in torsional rigidity over the previous aluminum platform used by Morgan.
And although it remains expensive at $104,000, it still feels every inch like a faithful Morgan, but with a more comfortable interior, sharper dynamics, and a stirring soundtrack.
Thanks to Morgan’s successful two-decade partnership with BMW, the Plus Six had access to the latest BMW Turbo six-cylinder inline engine. This engine delivers 335 bhp, 369 lb.-ft. of torque and is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission that sends the power to the rear wheels and allows the Plus Six to reach 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. This performance makes the Morgan Plus Six a true alternative to the sports car norm.
In addition, BMW’s latest powertrain technology delivers a more exhilarating, high-sports car performance and provides better fuel efficiency. As a result, the Morgan Plus Six is, hands down, the most dynamically capable Morgan ever produced.
2023 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS
Base price $143,000 USD
The Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS is possibly one of the best versions of the 718 model series, especially in 2023. In it, competition technology was applied for the first time to a street model with a central engine, and it has been matched in power to the most high-performance 911.
Starting with aerodynamics, the GT4 RS generates 25% more downforce than the 718 Cayman GT4. It achieves this thanks to an aerodynamic package made up of completely faired bottoms, in which we find two NACA air intakes on the underside of the car that are not visible.
Therefore, we are talking about a competition engine, a prodigy of technique brought to streetcars despite the restrictions and environmental regulations that make this adventure more complicated every day.
It is a naturally aspirated six-cylinder boxer engine with a displacement of 4.0 liters, making the new 718 Cayman GT4 RS the most powerful mid-engine sports car in Porsche history (not counting supercars).
It delivers 500 hp (10 less than the GT3 to maintain respect) at 8,400 RPM and 331 lb.-ft. of torque at 6,750 RPM. Thanks to these specifications, the Cayman GT4 RS does 0 to 60 in 3.4 seconds and reaches a top speed of 196 mph.