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If you're looking to buy a sports car, you're going to want something that's great fun to drive, whether that's down to speed, the way it goes around corners, or a combination of both.

That may mean you have to make some sacrifices – like having two seats instead of four, and not having a boot that’ll fit much more than a few small shopping bags – but you don’t have to compromise on everything. The best sports cars provide plenty in the way of comfort, luxury equipment and everyday usability, and with many, even reasonable running costs aren’t out of the question.

Tempted? You should be, so here’s our guide to the best of what’s available.

Our selection:
Mazda MX-5
Winner of Most Loved Car in the Auto Trader New car Awards 2019. Has sold over a million globally, making it the world’s most popular two-seat sports car. Available as a fabric convertible or with a folding hardtop, badged the RF, and with a 2.0-litre or 1.5-litre engine in the newest version. Very comfy, very nimble, very entertaining.

Read the full review.
Alpine A110
Astounded all the critics when it was launched, with its blend of light and perfectly distributed weight, meaning that you can feel the car pivot around your hips when skipping from corner to corner. The revival of a great badge with exemplary racing heritage and engineering know-how.

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Porsche 718 Boxster
One of the best-loved German sports cars ever gets the “718” badge in its latest iteration. Less power than the 911 but with the engine in the middle, it will dance beautifully to the tune of your right foot. Some miss the replaced six-cylinder engine, but the remaining four cylinder do a very nice job. The Cayman, a hard-top version of the Boxster, is equally desirable.

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Jaguar F-Type
Often overlooked, and we know not why. The recent facelift has made this possibly the best looking sports car out there right now, and Jaguar has a very nice history of making fantastic sports cars. For hardcore thrills verging on supercar territory, go for the flagship R version if your budget stretches to six figures, with its stonking 5.0-litre V8 engine and incredible noise.

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BMW Z4
Sleek, sharp and fast. Don’t bother with the 3.0-litre, six-cylinder engine - save your money and stick with the entry-level 2.0-litre job for an airy, eager throttle response that suits the small, light nature of this svelte sports car. Rear-wheel-drive BMW handling equals satisfaction in spades.

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Toyota Supra
See above, because BMW and Toyota teamed up for the Supra/Z4. Toyota has taken the straight-six engine, and a large amount of stuff under the skin of the Z4, and put it into a slightly more spacious package in the Supra, with some crazy Japanese styling. Plus you get that badge, which is so embedded in Japanese car culture.

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Caterham 310
Caterham does a staggering eight models now, but we consider the 310 to be the best value for money. The 0-60mph sprint is ticked off in 4.9 seconds but it feels way, way quicker than that, thanks to your backside sitting about an inch above the tarmac. Small boys everywhere will wave and smile, which says it all.

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Audi TT RS
The latest design has hardened the edges and pinched the lights, to give this a more aggrieve air on the road. Rightly so; the RS version of the popular two-seater is essentially a baby R8, with nearly 400 horsepower and a huge dose of torque. Grown-up thrills guaranteed.

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Lotus Exige
This is really a trackday car for the road, with few creature comforts on board, but a class-leading engineering set-up, brought to you all the way from shiny Norfolk. It rattles, scuttles, pops and bangs along the road, but put your foot down and you’ll be in tomorrow before you kiss goodbye to today.

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