10 Cheap Sports Cars That Are More Reliable Than A Porsche 911

To be clear, the quest for the best budget alternative to a Porsche 911 is an impossible quest, no matter the angle you come from. Whether you want a cheaper sports car more reliable than a Porsche 911 or a cheaper sports car better than a Porsche 911, you may have to look forever.

In October last year, Porsche proudly announced that the 911 got ranked the Most Dependable Vehicle by J.D. Power. In other words, the Porsche 911 is the highest-ranking model for trouble-free ownership in the 2022 J.D. Power US Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), making it the second year in a row the iconic sports car ranked that high for reliability and the third time in the recent four years. The J.D. Power study also saw the Cayenne take the first position for reliability in its Upper Midsize SUV segment.

So, the painful truth is that the Porsche 911 is a dream car you’d have to save up to buy because anything else will feel like a compromise, leaving you dissatisfied and short of coins. Ian Davies, Director of Australian luxury auto dealership Prestige Connex, said, “I think there are some fantastic sports car alternatives across a lot of prestige brands for a lot less money… However, the 911 is the pick of the bunch; the ultimate all-rounder – in my opinion!”

This article isn’t about better alternatives, but reliable cheap sports cars you can buy other than the Porsche 911.

Related: 10 Sports Cars To Consider Instead Of The Porsche 911

10 2023 Porsche 718 Cayman/Boxster – $66,950

2023 Porsche 718 Cayman

Before venturing out of Porsche territory, let’s start with the Cayman/Boxster? Both Cayman/Boxster variants are basically the same, with the 718 Boxster using a cabriolet body style.

Some circles rightly consider the 718 Cayman/Boxster the poor man’s Porsche, in the sense that the Cayman is the perfect 911 for people without the budget for the rear-engined 911. You could say that Porsche created the 718 Cayman/Boxster to rein in more customers, equipping it with the same 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-six engine, mid-ship this time.

9 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR – $65,995

2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR

Not very long ago, the F-Type SVR reigned supreme as the most powerful Jaguar. That honor now goes to the 600-hp Jaguar XE SV (Project 8) equipped with a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine, making it the most powerful street-legal Jaguar ever built.

With the XE SV toting a nearly $200,000 price tag, the next best Jaguar to rival the Porsche 911 is the F-Type SVR, rocking the same 5.0-liter supercharged V8 producing a massive 575 horses. It launched with a $126,945 price tag for the coupe (or $129,795 for the convertible) but now costs around $66,000 on the used car market, according to TrueCar.

8 2014-2017 BMW i8 – $60,799

White BMW i8
Mecum Auctions

Its stunning design is the BMW i8’s biggest advantage over the Porsche 911. After all, the Porsche 911 looks the same as the average Joe on the street. Most of the time, only enthusiasts can tell the difference. But cosmetic superiority aside, the 2014-2017 BMW i8 was born to deliver impressive fuel economy and a pure electric driving experience with a generous dollop of sports car handling.

As such, the i8 is best described as half sports car, half plug-in hybrid. It doesn’t match the 911’s handling or driving dynamics, but it does seem smarter in some ways, like the ability to start and drive for roughly 20 miles in pure electric mode. Again, the heavily carbon fiber-bodied i8 looks far prettier and more futuristic than the 911, and they now cost more than half their original MSRP on the used car market.

7 2012 Aston Martin Vantage V8 – $15,867

Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Aston Martin Media 

Both the V8 Vantage and V12 S are the perfect answer, particularly for those unimpressed by the ringtone of Porsche’s new turbocharged flat-sixes powering the likes of the Porsche 911. The Aston Martin Vantage V12 S is a cheaper and incredibly capable sports car in its own right; even better is the 4.3-liter V8 Vantage that now costs way cheaper than a new or used Porsche 911 and has an amazing sound.

The appraisal value of a used 2012 Aston Martin Vantage V8 is $15,867-$40,855, according to Edmunds. This car begins to make more sense as an alternative to the Porsche, when you remember Aston Martin released the new model in 2005 with the 911 specifically in its crosshairs. It’s no wonder that the Vantage V8 is probably the only sports car on this list that can match the 911’s luxury and prestige.

6 2023 Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 – $28,595

Blue 2023 Subaru BRZ

In your hunt for a great sports car that you can get for cheap other than the Porsche 911, there’s no reason not to look to Japan, that is, if you don’t mind taking a step down to lighter RWD sports cars like the Miata or Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ. US News described the 2023 Subaru BRZ as “an excellent sports car.”

It packs a peppy flat four-cylinder engine mated to a choice of a six-speed manual transmission with close ratios and a standard short-throw shifter or a quick-shifting six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and downshift rev-matching. This combination of a peppy powertrain and light curb weight sends the sporty coupe barreling to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds.

Related: 17 Surprising Details About The Porsche 911

5 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club – $31,550

Red 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata

The MX-5’s cult-like following and global popularity makes it an obvious choice for people hunting for the most thrilling sports cars, despite slotting way far from the Porsche 911’s territory. The MX-5 shines with its amazing handling and weight distribution, and on top of all that, it’s an incredibly reliable little sports car.

Perhaps, the 911 Targa has always been the object of your desires; you can meet that with the MX-5 RF (Retractable Fastback) variant, offering a similar experience at a fraction of the 911’s price. Like the RF, the MX-5 Club Edition is sportier and features Recaro sport bucket seats, Bilstein dampers for a sportier drive, and 17-inch lightweight BBS Dark Finish forged alloys.

4 2010 BMW E92 M3 – $20,999

BMW M3 2010

The E92 BMW M3 – why not? Like Porsche, it’s German, a driver’s car, and rocks a vociferous V8 that might just make an excellent substitute for the 911’s flat-six. The E92 M3 has its faults like every other car you know, but the overall reliability is among the best in the motoring world.

If you’re ready to handle the somewhat high maintenance cost and few common faults associated with this model year, it should make a satisfying alternative to the high and mighty Porsche 911. Prices for a used 2010 E92 M3 currently range from $20,999 to $42,370 on TrueCar.

3 1999-2001 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra – $21,995

2001 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Front View In silver

The 1999–2001 Mustang SVT Cobra was among the Ford models that pioneered the New Edge modular platform, highlighted by a new design direction. However, the SVT Cobra had more than just the New Edge facelift going for it. Fans remember its intoxicating performance and overall strength and reliability.

The SVT Cobra’s 4.6-liter modular V8 engine made 320 horsepower, 20 horses more than the 2001 Porsche 911’s 300 horsepower. Today, prices for the same model-year 911 range from $18,995 to $79,995, whereas a used 2001 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra only asks for roughly $21,999, according to TrueCar.

2 1990-1996 Chevrolet Corvette C4 – $2,807

1996 Chevrolet Corvette C4 Convertible
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The Corvette’s fourth generation ran from 1983 until 1996, but it wasn’t until 1990 that the Corvette, complete with pop-up headlights, regained its performance mojo once again. The Corvette’s 5.7-liter LT5 V8 engine cranked out up to 375 horses until 1992 through ’95 when the fourth-gen Corvette’s power output rose to 405 horsepower.

Then came 1996 when the Corvette got the LT4 small-block producing 330 horsepower and mated to a manual transmission. Meanwhile, there lived an LT5 version of the small-block engine, enabling the 1992–1996 Corvettes with 300 horsepower. Here’s the kicker – all fourth-gen ‘Vettes between 1990 and 1996 match the Porsche 911’s performance, with some even outperforming the Porsche. In any case, all the ‘90-‘96 ‘Vettes are cheaper, both then and on today’s used car market.

1 1996 Nissan 300ZX Turbo (Z32) – $22,557

1996 Nissan 300ZX Turbo (Z32)
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Let’s return to Japan. Nissan quit the 300ZX from the North American market in 1996, some four to five years before the model finally wrapped up production in Japan. Before getting the ax in North America, the Nissan 300ZX was the company’s third Z car in its four generations (counting the R31 300ZX).

It got motivation from either a free-breathing or twin-turbocharged VG30DETT V6 mills. Naturally, the R32 Nissan 300ZX was the variant with comparable performance to the Porsche 911. The Garrett turbochargers and dual intercoolers allowed Nissan to wring 300 horses from the V6, just 16 horses short of the 996-series water-cooled Porsche 911’s performance.

Sources: JD Power, TrueCar, Edmunds