Modern performance cars are built to do many things and compete with many cars – sometimes even ones outside their own class. As such, automakers have to make sure that their cars are reliable and dependable when an inevitable head-to-head occurs.
Modern cars are all almost the same in the sense that they offer mostly the same practicality and reliability. They need to, otherwise, the cars will simply be ignored, and the company would stop making them. There are certain cars that are so well-thought-out and built, that they do not need much maintenance outside the recommended amount – like most Lexus products. Then there are others that were possibly rushed to production or those that use substandard parts or techniques, resulting in more trips to the dealer workshop than anyone cares to count – like certain Chrysler models.
So, while many cars are pretty well-built and could last for a long time, there are certain ones that simply require extra maintenance – often resulting in expensive bills. With that, here are five modern performance cars which almost never break down and five that we wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.
10 Very Reliable – Mazda MX-5 Miata
The Mazda MX-5 is one of the best sports cars currently on sale. It is relatively fast and has some quick acceleration, but its main positive attribute is the fact that it is fun to drive – whether on a twisty back road or a long and straight highway.
In addition to being a joy to drive around, the MX-5 is a pretty reliable sports car, thanks to its relatively basic design and engineering. The car has a naturally aspirated inline-4 and some technology in the cabin, but that’s about it. The standard transmission is even a manual!
9 Not So Reliable – Maserati Ghibli
The Maserati Ghibli is not a terrible car, but it is not one which we would choose – not when the Quattroporte exists. Besides, the Ghibli and Quattroporte’s styling is almost exactly alike, with minor tweaks and a slightly shorter body in the Ghibli.
In addition to the slightly drab styling, the Ghibli also suffers from typical Italian reliability, meaning it has some fit and finish issues, as well as transmission problems. Strangely, the brakes also have problems, even though the same brakes on the Quattroporte are usually fine.
8 Very Reliable – Ford Mustang GT S550
The Ford Mustang is one of the staples of the motor industry, so it needs to be as reliable as can be. This is apparent with the S550 Mustang, which follows the Mazda MX-5 approach to the sports car – to be relatively simple.
The Mustang GT with the 5.0-liter Coyote V8 is the more reliable of the range, featuring a naturally aspirated engine that sends the power to the rear. The current Mustang GT is only available with a 10-speed automatic, but a manual is available in the Mach 1. Overall, the Mustang is a pretty dependable vehicle.
7 Not So Reliable – Fiat 124 Spider
The Fiat 124 Spider may be based on the Mazda MX-5’s platform, but the Italians made quite a few changes to the chassis to fit a new engine and their own systems. As a result, the 124 Spider is a bit less reliable than the standard MX-5.
The engine is a 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4 from the 500 Abarth, which produces slightly more power and more torque than the naturally aspirated units. The automatic folding roof mechanism may also get issues and the whole car’s electrics can become faulty in true Italian style.
6 Very Reliable – Nissan 370Z
The Nissan 370Z is one of the best budget Japanese sports cars to buy, along with its 350Z predecessor. The 370Z was fitted with a 3.7-liter naturally aspirated V6, powering the rear wheels only via a manual transmission. The 370Z also has many aftermarket parts which could make the car even better.
As with most cars, if the recommended maintenance schedule is adhered to, the car will last for quite a long time. This is the same with the 370Z, which will continue to provide the owner with pleasure and fun for as long as the car lasts.
5 Not So Reliable – Porsche Cayman
Surprisingly, the Porsche Cayman has some reliability issues. While many owners have been driving their Caymans since new without any issues, there have been cases where the vehicles have had complete rebuilds.
The problems are mostly engine and electrics related, with some turbocharger sputter and faulty electrics causing issues. This is not a new Porsche thing as the 928 was notorious for its electrical gremlins which usually all gave way at the same time in spectacular fashion.
4 Very Reliable – Chevrolet Corvette C8
The Chevrolet Corvette C8 has only been out since 2020, but so far it is shaping up to be quite a dependable sports car that can easily take on Ferraris and Porsches alike. The C8 Corvette did suffer from some build quality issues when the first few left the factory, but this has mostly been sorted.
Some owners have also complained about the transmission not working correctly, however, GM has addressed this and is continuing to fix the initial problems – with them promising a better product when the Z06 is officially launched. As an afterthought, the C8 Corvette also gets pretty good fuel economy for a naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8.
3 Not So Reliable – Nissan GT-R R35
The Nissan GT-R R35 is, overall, a pretty reliable car. The main issue with it is that it requires almost constant maintenance to be able to keep its dependability. The multitude of computers and other such systems to keep the car working properly is truly astounding, and they need to be maintained properly.
Thanks to the brutality of the performance, some parts can wear out quite quickly. The maintenance costs are also quite a bit higher than normal cars or other cars in its class, with parts being expensive and relatively difficult to get – even though it is a spectacular piece of Japanese engineering.
2 Very Reliable – Lexus GS F
Probably one of the most reliable performance-orientated vehicles out there is the Lexus GS F. Lexus is almost always at the top of the reliability surveys done each year, and they have held the ‘most reliable car’ title now for at least two years with their GX – the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado-based SUV.
The GS F may have been a bit old-fashioned when it was in production, lacking newer technology, but it was an excellent car, nonetheless. The glorious Yamaha-tuned 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 made all the right noises, and the build quality and refinement were impeccable. It makes one wonder why Lexus doesn’t make another one.
1 Not So Reliable – Ford Focus RS
The Ford Focus RS ranks high on most people’s favorite hot hatchback lists – up there alongside the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG and Audi RS3. The last Focus RS was fitted with a special 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-4, sending power to all four wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission. It also had a ‘drift mode’ for some cheeky sideways fun.
Unfortunately, the RS’s engine likes to blow its own head gasket, resulting in a plume of smoke and an expensive repair bill. The engine block also developed cracks, leading to further problems – and this on cars that covered less than 3,000 miles! The worst part about this was that Ford was aware of the issues and did nothing to fix it. They replaced the ruined engines under warranty, but when that expires, the owners had to deal with the problem themselves. The Focus RS is really cool, but this is the reason we wouldn’t go anywhere near a car like this.