5. Nissan 370Z

When talking about affordable sports cars, we can’t forget the Nissan Z line. It has been an integral part of the automotive scene for some time, and the 2015 370Z proves why that is. It offers a strong V6 engine capable of tearing down the road, but it also offers decent fuel economy (26 MPG on the highway and 18 in town). Priced at $29,808, it just squeaks into the price range. Of course, you can pay up to $47,000 for the highest end version, but all trim levels deliver the experience you’re after. Athletic performance and powerful acceleration are the rules here.


4. Ford Mustang

Yes, the Mustang is responsible for kicking off the American muscle car renaissance we’ve seen in recent years, and Ford has managed to keep the Mustang not only relevant, but ahead of the pack in many areas. The 2015 model puts out 300 HP from a 3.7-liter V6 engine, and rides on alloy wheels. The 6-speed manual transmission is also a joy to operate. Priced at just $23,800, it’s an extremely affordable way to get into the sports car segment, too. Upgrade to the performance package if you want a little more oomph (and the larger wheels).

3. Mazda MX-5 Miata

If you’re more about amazing handling than pure power, then the Miata might be the car for you. A true roadster, it manages to provide decent power with some of the best handling in the automotive industry. It starts at just $23,970, letting you feel the wind through your hair and hug hairpin turns for less. The engine puts out almost 170 HP, and is mated to a 5-speed transmission capable of 140 lb.-ft. of torque for excellent times off the mark. However, cornering is really where the Miata excels.

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