In addition to speed and the all-important driver engagement, some sports cars are also built to stand the test of time. Thanks to man’s insatiable appetite for speed and power, the sports car segment is one of the most desirable in the industry. However, the desire to decorate your driveway with one of these babies comes with a relatively high price tag. And since they are not all created equal, they offer different levels of driving fun.
Most importantly, they also differ in terms of reliability. That is why it is essential to also consider the build quality when choosing a sports car. Although many sports cars are plagued with serious build quality issues, there are some whose sturdy construction allows them to endure years of hard driving. In a market where there is no shortage of unreliable sports cars, these models have proven to be virtually indestructible.
10 Chevrolet Corvette C4
Although the Corvette was a sales disappointment when it debuted in 1953, it has become one of the most popular sports cars. It entered the C4 generation in 1983, riding the Y-body platform with a new chassis. The C4 Corvette had ultra-modern styling and body panels made from a sheet molding composite. It also gave birth to the legendary ZR-1.
This generation marked a huge technological step forward for the Corvette and came with a very simple V8 engine. Apart from being easy to work on, these engines were built to last.
9 Toyota Celica GT-Four
The Celica GT-Four was a homologation special built across three generations from 1986 to 1999. Unlike the Celica Supra, which was more luxury-oriented, the GT-Four was a high-performance model toughened up for the WRC.
To excel on the track for which it was created, it ran on a turbocharged engine and a full-time AWD system. In addition to its racing successes, it also boasts the high reliability that Toyota is known for. It is a dependable race machine that can take whatever is thrown at it on the track or on the road.
8 Porsche 911
Introduced in 1963, the legendary Porsche 911 has thrilled generations of sports car fans with its fun-to-drive characteristics. Although it has been refined over the years, the basic concept has remained mostly unchanged. It is powered by a rear-mounted flat-6 engine and has been offered in countless variants.
In all its guises, the Porsche 911 is a powerful sports car that is equally at home on the street as it is on track. Furthermore, it is one of the most reliable European sports cars – an epitome of excellent German craftsmanship.
7 Nissan Skyline R32 GTR
Designed to dominate Group A class racing, the Nissan Skyline R32 GTR was introduced in 1989 after a long break. Boasting superior technology and performance, it dominated the tracks and earned itself the nickname “Godzilla.”
Under the hood, it hid a 2.6-liter twin-turbocharged I-6 engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox and an AWD system. In stock form, it made 280 hp and was good for a 0-62 mph time of 4.7 seconds. However, in the hands of tuners, the RB26DETT I-6 mill can churn out more than 1000 ponies.
6 Mercedes-Benz SLK 32 AMG
Introduced in 2001, the SLK 32 AMG was produced to compete with the Porsche Boxster S and BMW M roadster. It ran on a 3.2-liter supercharged V6 power mill rated at 349 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. Hooked to a then-new ‘SpeedShift’ 5G-Tronic (automatic) transmission, it sends the sleek roadster to 62 mph in 5.2 seconds.
Although some criticize its lack of a manual transmission, the SLK32 AMG delivers confident handling and blistering performance. Moreover, its build quality speaks volumes about Mercedes’ craftsmen and engineers who stopped at nothing to build a solid and dependable sports car.
5 Toyota Supra MK4
The fourth-generation Toyota Supra debuted in the 1993 model year, sharing a platform with the luxurious Lexus SC. To make the Mk 4 Supra a more serious high-performance car, it was given two new 3-liter I-6 power options. It is thanks to the twin-turbo version rated at 320 hp and 315 lb-ft that the Mk 4 Supra became a legend.
With it, 60 mph happened in just 4.6 seconds, while the quarter mile flashes by in 13.1 seconds at 109 mph. The Mk 4’s engine was so sturdy that it could be tuned to send out a whopping 1000 hp.
4 Audi TT
The Audi TT has been around since 1998, when it first hit dealerships. Starting with the A4 (PQ34), it has been built on successive generations of the Volkswagen Group A platform. Featuring head-turning good looks and plenty of tech, the Audi TT was a hit with sports car enthusiasts.
Like most German cars, it also boasts a bulletproof build quality in addition to agile handling and strong performance. Zero to 60 mph in the current generation cars happens in 4.2 seconds. All it takes to keep the Audi TT running in top form is regular servicing and maintenance.
3 Lexus RC F
Unveiled in 2014 at the North American International Auto Show, the RC-F is the high-performance version of the Lexus RC. Its lineup of good qualities includes impeccable craftsmanship, comfortable ride quality, superb handling, and insanely solid build quality.
Power is supplied by a 5-liter V8 power mill that sends 467 hp and 389 lb-ft of twist to the wheels. The RC F needs little more than regular maintenance to deliver a lifetime of thrilling rides to the owner. The lesser-priced standard RC is equally reliable for those who find the price tag a little too rich.
2 Mazda Miata
The Mazda Miata has made a name for itself as the best-selling roadster and one of the most reliable. Debuting in 1989 for the first generation, it was inspired by British sports cars of past years. Currently in the fourth generation, it is still as dependable as ever.
Compared with other sports roadsters, it is still affordable, cheap to maintain, and easy to work on. Furthermore, it also impresses with joyful handling, a 5.7-second sprint to 60 mph, and a long array of infotainment/driver assist features.
1 Honda S2000
Built across two generations from 1999 to 2009, the S2000 remains one of the best sports roadsters ever. Launched to celebrate Honda’s 50th anniversary, it was powered by a high-revving 2-liter naturally-aspirated I-4 engine rated at an insane 237 hp. Paired with a 6-speed manual transmission, it sent power to the rear wheels for blistering performance.
Thanks to a perfect 50:50 front/rear weight distribution, it was exceptionally balanced and could hold its own around corners. Subject to Honda’s bulletproof engineering, the S2000 will last a lifetime if it is properly cared for and maintained.