Alfa Romeo 4C

To be clear, the Alfa Romeo 4C isn’t one of the best sports cars for casual automotive fans. This is a hardcore performance model, with air conditioning only available as an option. You won’t be enjoying some plush, comfortable ride. There’s also no real cargo area, so taking this car to the grocery store would be stupid. But, what you are getting is a relatively affordable, exotic, and downright amazing Italian sports car.

It all starts with a carbon fiber monocoque chassis. It weighs less than steel and is stronger. That’s good for handling and acceleration; the mid-mounted 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine helps here, too. You get to hear it singing a melody right behind your head that most wouldn’t associate with a four-banger. The turbo combines with a pulse converter exhaust manifold for improved torque and greater responsiveness. Peak output is impressive at 237 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. While it’s not as fun as a stick, the six-speed twin clutch transmission is precise and quick. Of course, the 4C uses rear-wheel drive.


Driving the Alfa Romeo 4C is great fun, but one of the perks of owning one is the amazing design. It doesn’t look like anything else on the road today, and that’s great. The large triangular grille does make it clear to people in the know that it’s an Alfa Romeo, but more others might mistake this for a Ferrari. You can get the car as a Spider convertible. Dual center-mounted exhaust pipes add to the exotic flavor of the vehicle.

To be fair, the interior is Spartan. You won’t find super comfortable seats or large cupholders. The air vents look as if they were added later in the design process. Road noise is going to be high because Alfa Romeo left out anything extra as a way to save on weight. The result is a small car with a small engine that can blast from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. It handles as if it’s glued to the road, so suffering a little to experience that can be totally worth it. Just don’t make this your everyday driver.

Dodge SRT Viper

Yes, the Viper is dead, but if you can pick up a gently used one, it’s a worthwhile investment. The Corvette may be America’s Sports Car, but the Viper is America’s answer to Ferrari. It may not have all the panache of the Italians, but it certainly can match the ferocity.

Every Dodge Viper was made by hand. That means a level of craftsmanship you don’t get with other American models. This explains why the Viper was so expensive, and is probably why it didn’t sell as well as the more affordable Corvette.

The final generation of the Dodge Viper thumped hard with an 8.4-liter V-10 engine. It squeezed out 645 horsepower without any forced induction, which was a sky-high figure when the car first debuted. Torque peaked at 600 lb.-ft. Even better, you had to drive stick, because a manual six-speed was the only transmission offered.

Perhaps the greatest Viper ever was the 2016 ACR. I know I’m making enemies saying that, because people get quite emotional about the many Viper models produced over the past few decades. Anyway, the ultimate ACR put into play big aero and suspension upgrades that really made a difference at high speeds. It was street legal, but unabashedly made for track use first and foremost. To keep the car in check while it set many, many track records, the Viper ACR used carbon ceramic brake discs and six-piston calipers. If you really wanted to get crazy, Dodge offered the ACR Extreme Aero Package, which kept the car grounded with almost one ton of peak downforce. The Viper ACR could pull 1.5 g in turns, which easily makes it one of the best sports cars.

Even as the Viper fades into automotive history, its legacy as one of the best American sports cars ever made will live on.

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