If you’re all about handling, speed, acceleration and turning heads wherever you go, then nothing but a sports car will do. Whether you’re in the market for a brand-new 2024 model or a beloved classic from years past, there’s no shortage of automakers hoping to trade you horsepower, cornering, maneuverability and style for a big chunk of your savings account.
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But before you drive home with a high-priced, high-powered bundle of buyer’s remorse, make sure you know which models to avoid.
GOBankingRates spoke with auto industry insiders who cautioned against buying the following sports cars because they cost too much, are unreliable, lack features or have comparable rivals that offer more for less.
Nearly every automotive expert GOBankingRates consulted put the same $174,000 vehicle at the top of the list of sports cars to avoid.
Among them was Erin Kemp, a consumer advocate with Bumper.
“The Maserati GranTurismo is a car that consumers should think twice about before purchasing,” she said. “The GranTurismo catches the eye of many drivers for being stylish and having a compelling performance profile, but owners often have trouble with its reliability.
“Many have reported problems related to its engine and electrical system. When things do go wrong, the repairs are very costly, too. Cars like this aren’t meant to have a bunch of miles on them, so you can run into expensive problems if you use them for everyday driving.”
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No one is saying that the Lotus Evora — produced for a little more than a decade ending in 2021 — isn’t an extraordinary machine. In fact, in a bon voyage tribute during its final production year, The Drive called it “the perfectly imperfect sports car.”
It’s just that with a $100,000 starting price, a little less imperfection would be nice.
“The Evora boasts a raw driving experience, but it’s been criticized for reliability issues over the years,” said Joe Giranda, director of sales and marketing for CFR Classic, which specializes in international car shipping and relocation. “Plus, its interior lacks the polish and comfort features found in other sports cars at its price point.”
Jaguar has long been synonymous with power, performance and style, but the British luxury brand also has developed a reputation for frequent breakdowns. Earned or not, that reputation has followed its lineage to the F-Type.
“The Jaguar F-Type is a beautiful car with a potent engine lineup, but it has been criticized for its reliability,” said 30-year auto industry veteran Frank De Mulder, founder of Classic Car Maintenance. “Some owners have reported electronic and powertrain issues, which can be costly to repair out of warranty.”
With a starting price of $78,000, the last thing drivers need is frequent trips to the shop — plus, several rivals make a more compelling case.
“A Porsche 911 or Chevrolet Corvette might offer similar performance with a better reliability track record,” said De Mulder.
Alfa Romeo discontinued the 4C in 2020; and, while it’s still a popular sports car with plenty of loyalists, De Mulder thinks they could do better.
“The Alfa Romeo 4C is a pure driver’s car but comes with significant sacrifices in terms of comfort and convenience,” he said. “It lacks power steering, and its cabin is quite sparse. While it’s a blast on the track, those looking for a sports car to enjoy on all occasions might prefer the Porsche Cayman, which offers thrilling performance without compromising on comfort.”
Like the Alfa Romeo 4C, 2020 was the final production year for the BMW i8, and similarly, De Mulder thinks some of its competitors make a more convincing case for your dollars.
“The BMW i8 is a plug-in hybrid that offers a glimpse into the future with its futuristic design,” De Mulder said. “However, its performance doesn’t quite live up to its supercar looks, and for the price, there are several other options that offer better performance and a more engaging driving experience, such as the Acura NSX.”
With 565 horsepower, the Nissan GT-R has the power to match its $120,990 starting MSRP. But at least one industry veteran thinks the lineup has gotten stale.
“The Nissan GT-R, which was once a significant challenge to modern supercars, now feels like one of the most clichéd sports cars on the road,” said Steve May, an automotive expert who founded NumberPlates4You after 25 years in the automotive industry. “I believe that since Nissan stopped updating the R35 GT-R, the aftermarket scene took over its evolution.”
Car and Driver backs that up with this summation, “R35 generation dates to 2009, interior lacks refinement, seems crude and rude by today’s standards.”
“If I were looking for more bang for my buck,” May said, “I might consider some Porsche models or even yield to a whim and go for a Corvette.”
Like nearly all auto enthusiasts, May appreciates the power, beauty and performance of the Porsche Carrera GT, but he thinks its safety features are insufficient enough to disqualify it from your shortlist.
“In my years in the auto industry, the Porsche Carrera GT stands out as one of the riskiest cars from the brand,” he said. “While its 5.7-liter engine is incredibly powerful, I feel like driving this car feels raw, especially with its mighty V10. The Carrera GT might not be the best choice for beginners since it misses out on essential safety features like traction control and ABS. I believe that with such a tight margin for error, even skilled drivers would find this car challenging.”
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