- In a world of SUVs, some with three rows of seats, the two-seater sports car is a vanishing breed.
- But it hasn’t vanished quite yet: there are more than a dozen currently on sale, ranging from less than $US30,000 to well over $US300,000.
- Here’s a rundown of 15 favourites, from Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, McLaren, BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and others.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Fast. Flashy. Fun.
And completely impractical.
That’s the story of sports cars. And sure, you can get one with a back seat.
But for the purists, a sports car is a two-seater, whether it be a peppy roadster or an asphalt-immolating supercar.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have a serious soft spot for 2-plus-none cars – there’s something about slipping into a proper dual-seater and hitting the road with the understanding that it’s just you, a companion, and not much space for luggage. The joy is in the journey.
Here are my 15 favourite two-seaters currently on sale:
The Ferrari 812 Superfast. My test car was a cool $US474,000.
The cockpit is fantastically luxurious. A handbuilt, 6.5-litre V12 makes an astounding 789 horsepower, with peak torque of 530 pound-feet and a redline to 8,900 rpm. Top speed is 211 mph.
Trunk space isn’t exactly considerable — but with just two people in the car and a weekend run to some chic retreat on the agenda, it doesn’t need to be.
Trunk space isn’t exactly considerable – but with just two people in the car and a weekend run to some chic retreat on the agenda, it doesn’t need to be.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata. My tester was about $US31,000, but the base version is a few grand less.
The interior has been steadily upgraded over the years, since the first Miata hit the road in 1989. The MX-5 has a 155-horsepower 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder engine, located right up front under the hood.
The cloth convertible top is a masterpiece of simplicity and function. Throw a single latch inside the car and flip the folding mechanism back (No motors to fail!).
The Mazda MX-5 RF. I reviewed a $US34,310 example, in Grand Touring trim.
The 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine is no beast, generating just 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. But it revs high, and you can get into all those ponies.
The big difference from the regular Miata is that the RF features a fastback coupe shape with an automated folding hardtop.
The Porsche 718 Boxster. The base Boxster starts at about $US57,000, while the Boxster S starts at over $US68,000. Our option-laden S-variant test car left the showroom at $US89,690.
The base Boxster gets a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine with 300 horsepower, while the S variant gets a 2.5-litre unit with 350 ponies. Both turbo fours come standard with an old-fashioned six-speed manual; the seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) manumatic transmission is available as an option.
The Boxster is all about having fun. And behind the wheel, it’s a point that the Porsche makes abundantly clear.
The Mercedes-AMG GTC that I tested was $US168,000.
The interior is rendered in saddle-brown-and-black Nappa leather, along with a fair amount of carbon-fibre trim. Gorgeous.
Up front, a 4.0-litre V8 rocks twin turbochargers, making 550 horsepower with 502 pound-feet of torque. In back, no seats, but a decent amount of cargo space.
The BMW Z4 I reviewed tipped the cost scales at $US64,000. Base is $US50,000. The 2.0-litre, twin-turbo four-cylinder in our sDrive30i trim level makes 255 horsepower and an impressive 295 pound-feet of torque. That grunt from the small motor had us fooled that we might be driving the 3.0-litre inline six that’s also in the lineup. It makes 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.
The Z-Series roadsters date to the late 1980s for the Bavarian automaker, but the model that really defined the two-seater for BMW was the original Z3 of 1996.
The seat-back roll bars are a valuable safety feature, in the unlikely event that the Z4 encounters physics that overcome its low centre of gravity.
The 2020 GR Toyota Supra I tested arrived in a “Renaissance Red” paint job and with an as-tested price of $US56,220, a bit of a premium over the $US49,990 base model.
Read the review.
A BMW-sourced, three-litre, turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine makes 335 horsepower with 365 pound-feet of torque.
Compared to the four-cylinder Z4 and its 255-horsepower four-pot, the Supra’s much beefier six makes all the difference.
The Corvette ZR1 — the most powerful Vette in history. The one I tested was $US137,000.
Read the review.
Vettes have been two-seaters ever since the legend’s debut in the 1950s.
The 6.2-litre pushrod LT5 V8 in the ZR1 makes 755 horsepower with 715 pound-feet of torque.
The all-new Corvette C8 moves the engine amidships, away from the front end where it has always lived on Vettes.
Corvettes have never made accommodations for space: the front seats are snug and amply bolstered.
The all-new 6.2L LT2 V8 engine makes 495 horsepower in the Stingray version of the car.
The Ford GT I reviewed was priced at $US400,000, but some customers paid upwards of $US500,000.
That’s Joey Hand, the Ford driver who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016 at the wheel of the race-car version of the GT. Good thing the GT has two seats so that his helmet can ride shotgun.
The GT has a 647-horsepower, 3.5-litre twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 engine. The cockpit is extremely narrow — driver and passenger are shoulder-to-shoulder.
The McLaren 720S is an insane, $US300,000 supercar.
As with all McLaren cockpits, there’s little in the way of luxury.
At the heart of the 720S is a new 710-horsepower, 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine.
The Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, I decided, was the most insane supercar money can buy. Price? $US610,000.
Two seats. Mostly red. And not optimised for comfort.
The cruel heart of the Aventador SVJ is a 6.5-litre V12. It produces 770 horsepower and 720 pound-feet of torque, with a redline at 8,700 rpm.
If the Aventador is too much, then how about a $US320,000 Lamborghini Huracán Performante?
Compared with the Aventador, the Huracán’s interior is plush.
The 5.2-litre, 631-horsepower V10 engine has no supercharger nor turbochargers. Just old-school power, produced by displacement. Torque? That’s 443 pound-feet of push.
At $US46,000, the Nissan 370Z Nismo Tech I tested represents an incredible value for the money in sports cars.
That said, the 1990s called and they want their interior back.
My tester had a Nismo-ized, 350-horsepower, 3.7-litre V6, tuned up from a 332-horsepower base-trim motor. I’ve tested several 370Z cars, and for my money, the relatively large cargo area makes up for no back seat.
The Audi R8 Spyder, at $US200,000, was one among several of the “Iron Man” supercars we’ve tested.
Where else are you going to find a beautiful mid-engined, V10 exotic drop top you’d gladly take on a 500-mile road trip?
The Audi R8 V10 Spyder is powered by a 540-horsepower, 5.2-litre, naturally aspirated, V10 engine.
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