Sports car owners are one of two people; they are either car connoisseurs or fun fanatics. No matter which you are, you’re obviously going to want the most bang for your buck. You’re going to want speed, style, and more speed. Here are few things about sports cars that differ from model to model, which may aid you in your selection process.
Sports cars are not known for being outrageously large. You basically have your choice of coupe or sedan. Coupes are going to be two-door cars that seat two comfortably and, at times, four, but not all that comfortably. If you want comfortable seating for four, you’re going to want to kick up to the sports sedans. These are four-door cars that pack just as much wallop, if not more, than their smaller siblings. Either of these models could come available as a convertible if you shop around, and most of them can be considered luxury with vast amounts of options.
There is no more diverse powertrain offerings than in the sports car genre. Engines can range from smaller four-cylinders, such as in the, all the way to the 16-cylinder W16 engine in the Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4, and everything in between. Horsepowers can range from 140 hp all the way up to 1,184 ponies. Transmission choices are manual, automatic, and automatic with manual paddle shifters, and a variety of different speed options. Sports cars can be front-wheel, rear-wheel, or all-wheel drive, and typically feature some form of turbo or supercharging for the engines.
There’s no doubt that all-wheel drive is a highly-recommended feature for a sports car. Not only does it provide better handling, it also allows for more rapid acceleration as power is dispersed to all four wheels at once, as opposed to sending all power to just two wheels and burning a quarter of an inch of rubber off your tires in the process. Most sports car shoppers are “bigger is better” kinds of shoppers, so engine size is going to be a fairly easy choice as well. It’s transmission choice that could pose the biggest dilemma. If you’re an experienced driver who enjoys the thrill of a sports car, a manual transmission can not only make your car faster, it can make it more fun. However, an automatic provides the convenience of being able to play with all your interior gadgets and keep both hands on the wheel during those hard corners. If you’re inexperienced with a manual transmission, a sports car is probably not going to be where you want to learn your stick skills. Clutches can be very touchy and tricky in these cars, and replacing them can become quite expensive.
Aside from powertrain, this is the biggest choice you’ll need to make. Do you want old-school classic muscle? Or do you want sleek styling and a high-pitched whine carrying you up to a max speed of over 200 mph (definitely not recommended on roads with speed limits)? Each nationality of sports car comes with its own type of style and reputation. American sports cars are known for being heavy machines with growling engines and beefy bodies. Many of today’s American sports cars are throwbacks, resembling their siblings from the 1960s and ‘70s. Some of these include the, , and the Chevy Camaro (though the Camaro’s looks are drastically changed from that time period).
Italian sports cars are known for their high-pitched engines and bullet-like frames. They are the true speed demons of the sports car industry and are priced as such, with many of them costing six figures and more. Some of these manufacturers include Ferrari, Fiat, Lamborghini, and Alfa Romeo.
Other European sports cars are a mix of style and speed. Porsche, a German manufacturer, offers speedy coupes that provide some of the most capable handling of any vehicles being made. The Jaguar XJ220, manufactured from 1992-1994, held the title of fastest sports car in the world before another British manufacturer, McLaren, introduced the F1 in 1994. Today, that title is held by the Bugatti Veyron.
Asian sports cars are typically smaller coupes that utilize turbocharged or souped-up four-cylinder engines. Most are hardtop hatchbacks, yet some are available in convertible. The Asian market is actually one of the smallest in the sports car industry.
Sports cars are going to range in price from around $23K all the way to some astronomical seven-figure number that only the truly rich could ever afford. At present, the 2009 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Coupe starts at $1,705,769. We don’t even want to guess what it would cost to insure one. No matter what your preference, sports cars are not cheap. They do, however, offer a particular brand of luxury, fun, and excitement that can only be seen in this particular line of vehicle.