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How To Choose Your First Sports Car

Written By: Jerry Reynolds | Mar 21, 2024 10:12:00 AM

We baby boomers often find ourselves wanting that very first true sports car. The kids are gone, we are financially secure, so why not indulge in that special car we always wanted but wasn’t practical. The bug bit me when I saw the new 2014 Corvette for the first time, then had to have the Z06 when it came out two years later. 

How To Choose Your First Sports Car

To make your selection, a few basics need to be determined.

Set Your Budget

First and foremost, set your budget. Figure out the upper most amount you want to spend, and that will make narrowing the list much easier. If you are going to get something brand new, a large auto show is worth going to even if it is a good way away, it will save you time overall.


Coupe vs Convertible

Next decision is whether a convertible is right for you. As fun as they are, you lose a good amount of back seat room and often their trunks are small, especially if it is a retractable hardtop convertible. The benefit of those is a more pleasant ride and drive, and less wind noise than a conventional ragtop.

Performance vs Looks

Next, do you want performance or just sporty looks? Performance cars will set you back a lot more money, and you may opt for just a hot-looking coupe or roadster. Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, and Chevy Camaro are good examples. You can get a six cylinder in all three, still have over 300-horses, and get more than 30-miles per gallon. You can also step up to the big V8s that give you the feel and the sound of a 1970s-era muscle car.


Be aware of the drive system you prefer. Many of us still prefer the traditional rear-wheel drive, while others are used to front-wheel drive. Generally, people really like one or the other, seldom both. A good hybrid for some is all-wheel drive, which distributes the power between all four wheels and is a favorite of people who really want that special handling. 

V8 vs TurboCharger

You should decide too, what you want your sports car to feel like, and there is no right or wrong answer, it is a personal decision. Do you like the feel and sound of a big, throaty V8, or do you prefer a more quiet, quick acceleration like many of the import sports cars with turbochargers/superchargers offer? The difference in the feel when you are behind the wheel is pretty drastic. 

Manual vs Automatic

While there are fewer manual transmissions available these days, it's still alive and well.  Case in point, Ford is keeping the manual around for the all-new redesigned 2024 Mustang and Toyota just brought one back to the 2023 GR Supra due to demand from driver enthusiasts.  You'll also find a seven-speed manual transmission standard in the new 2023 Porsche Carrera T variant.

image-1-1200x628-12023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium MT. Read review →


As you'd imagine, like your engine choice, a manual transmission gives a decidedly different feel to a sports car, enhancing dynamics and giving it an even more engaging ride,  one many driving enthusiasts prefer.  But they are typically not as fast as automatics when it comes to acceleration.   For instance, Toyota cites a zero to 60 time of 4.2 seconds for the 2023 GR Supra MT compared to the automatic variant's 3.9 seconds.   

Daily Driver vs Weekend Cruiser

Finally, will your sports car be a daily driver, or just a weekend cruiser? Many sports cars do not make good daily drivers. Often, they are hard to get in and out of, visibility can be poor, and often they have a harsher ride. One mistake people often make is getting caught up in the looks and performance of a sports car, not thinking about driving it daily. Case in point, my Corvette would never work for me daily, but is excellent for weekend use. 


Other Considerations

Other considerations are to check insurance rates, usually sports cars are more to insure. Depending on your final choice, maintenance costs can be pricey on some of the more exotic sports cars and choose your color wisely. Should you need to sell your new baby for some reason, the really wild colors will limit potential buyers. 


Final Tip

One last tip: don’t be impulsive. Take your time, drive the car you are considering for a good half hour over different road surfaces, or better yet, rent the car you think you want to buy before signing on the dotted line.