Sports cars represent the pinnacle of driving pleasure. Practicality is for crossovers and sedans; driver assistance technology is for commuter cars; sports cars arrange a passionate love affair between man and machine.
There are subcategories within every vehicle segment, but no more so than among sports cars. The design, performance, and usability spectrum is vast, with each automaker tailoring their halo models to a well-defined buyer group. For this reason, it’s difficult to say one sports car is better than every other. Instead, we’ve decided to pick our favorites among five categories, with five unique consumer personas.
Why should you buy this: It’s the everyday supercar
Who’s it for: Those who want high performance without sacrificing comfort
How much will it cost: $189,900
Why we picked the Audi R8 V10 Plus
The 2017 Audi R8 is an anomaly. Audi has built a car that’s as refined as a luxury two-door with the power of a hypercar.
The low-slung coupe uses sharp creases, carbon-fiber accents, and a mid-engine layout to distinguish itself from lesser sports cars, but it doesn’t command attention in the same way as rivals. Its 5.2-liter V10 delivers 610 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Acceleration is blistering: 0 to 60 mph takes less than 3.0 seconds and top speed is a towering 205 mph.
Within the cabin, occupants are treated to a magnificent engine wail and class-leading convenience features. Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit display gives drivers access too every vehicle function and reduces clutter. Audi Drive Select adjusts suspension damping to transform ride quality from mellow to aggressive in an instant.
At the sub-$200K price point, the Audi R8 V10 Plus invites challenges from McLaren’s 570S, Porsche’s 911 Turbo S, Acura’s NSX, Aston Martin V12 Vantage S, and Mercedes-AMG GT R. Each vehicle is astoundingly quick, attractive, and desirable, but the R8 is the only supercar that’s as thrilling to pummel on a track as it is to dawdle through a neighborhood.