Porsche 911 GT3 revealed as first GT version of new 911

Driving.co.uk’s guide to the best sports cars to buy in 2023

Do you like to drive? Really drive?

In a world of humdrum hybrid hatchbacks and increasingly weighty electric SUVs, it’s good to know that there are still cars out there designed specifically to thrill.

It’s true that there are many fewer sports cars on the market than there used to be and they really do feel like a dying breed, especially at the less expensive end of the market. That said, buyers still have some choice when it comes to cars designed not for mere mobility, but to put a smile on a driver’s face and to look good doing it.

Here are some of the best sports cars on sale in the UK today.

Alpine A110 R

From £89,990

The most hard-edged, performance-focused version of what was already one of the best drivers’ cars on sale today, the Alpine A110 R is a featherweight, clocking in at just 1,082kg. That makes it a real antidote to the likes of the BMW M4 which, awesome though it is, feels really rather heavy.

The 296bhp 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the middle of the Alpine isn’t the most exotic or mellifluous power unit, and isn’t any more powerful than the one found in the A110 S, but with so little mass to propel thanks to the extensive use of carbon-fibre and a borderline ascetic level of dedication to weight-saving, it’s more than adequate to really exploit the A110 R’s outstanding chassis on both road and track.

There’s one big fly in the ointment with the A110 R though — its price. At £89,990, it’s a significant jump beyond the asking price for the £61,990 A110 S. The Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 starts at £81,700 and, with an extra 118bhp on tap, it might seem mad to opt for the Alpine instead.

But while not a heifer by any stretch of the imagination, the Porsche is a lot heavier than the featherwight Alpine. The French car is also likely to be more exclusive, and the carbon fibre wheels must cost around £10,000 a set on their own, so the A110 R is capable of justifying its lofty price tag.

Mazda MX-5

From £25,800

Think of some of the great cheap classic sports cars, such as the MGB, Triumph Spitfire and Fiat 124 Spider. They weren’t especially quick even in their own time, but they looked great and offered relatively accessible driving fun and wind-in-the-hair motoring to the ordinary man or woman in the street. There aren’t many cars left like that, but the Mazda MX-5 is one of them.

The current-generation MX-5 is getting on a bit now (it was launched in 2014), but with so few real rivals left, it’s just as compelling a prospect as ever. The 1.5-litre engine is perky enough to be fun in such a small, lightweight car (it only weights around a ton), though the 2-litre unit that was introduced in 2016 adds some welcome performance.

The MX-5 looks just as good now as it did when it was launched, and a starting price of £25,800 for the classic rear-wheel-drive roadster experience makes it a very tempting buy.

BMW M4 Competition

From £58,235

Any qualms about the BMW M4 Competition’s looks rapidly disappear when you mash your right foot into the carpet and feel the sheer power of its 503bhp twin-turbocharged straight-six engine.

On the road, the M4 is a comfortable, refined and well-appointed cruiser capable of effortlessly soaking up the miles.

When really pushing on, on a track or twisty road, the M4’s 1,800kg weight and size are apparent, and it can feel a little unwieldy. Its optional all-wheel drive, meaty brakes, array of electronic stability and traction control systems, plus the ability to judiciously use that reservoir of power, mean that a driver can still have a lot of fun. The M4 remains stable and forgiving even when the person behind the wheel gets a little too enthusiastic.

Caterham Seven

From £28,990

With the possible exception of the Alpine A110 R, all of the other cars on this list could be used as a person’s daily driver without much in the way of compromise or discomfort. It’d take a lot of bravery and dedication to commute to work on a cold, wet winter’s morning in a Caterham Seven, though. This is a machine more for weekend use by true enthusiasts.

Little has changed in the Seven since it first wore a Lotus badge back in the 1960s and, now as then, it’s a car for people who care about driving pleasure more than anything else.

The Caterham is not especially comfortable, it’s not at all practical and it’s probably not very safe. What it is, though, is pure undiluted fun, and we love it.

With prices starting from a fairly reasonable £28,990 for one of the 84bhp 660cc three-cylinder turbocharged models, and reaching upwards of £64,990 raw, visceral, windscreenless experience of the 310bhp supercharged 620 R, the Seven is available for drivers of varying levels of skill (and nerve) but all versions are guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Porsche 911 GT3

From £135,700

Constant road and track development means that the 911 GT3 is arguably the ultimate track-focused road car. It may well indeed be the default choice for those looking for a track day car that’s not also terribly uncomfortable on the drive to work.

Pin-sharp steering and a crisp-shifting six-speed manual gearbox — or the even faster seven-speed PDK auto — connect you with everything that’s going on around you, so you can enjoy the 503bhp flat-six all the way to its 9,000rpm redline.

We awarded it five stars out of five after driving it on track at Anglesey and named it our sports car of the year at the 2021 Sunday Times Motor Awards.

Related articles

Latest articles