Since everyone’s idea of the 10 best good-looking sports cars will vary, we might as well have some fun with the notion and make our own claims. What follows are the cars that have somehow stirred our passions, turned our heads and made us wonder how we could afford one. As for that last bit, some cars are more accessible than others. But the unobtainable is always attractive.
Looks are important in sports cars. They don’t necessarily have to be beautiful, but they need to pack a visual impact just as they pack plenty of horsepower. For this list, though, we’ve still taken aesthetics into account. And we’ve taken accounts into account. Many of these choices are relatively affordable.
2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider
Take away the badges and the 4C Spider would still look Italian. Incidentally, Spider (or Spyder) is how our European friends refer to convertible cars. The 4C has several classic elements of Alfa Romeo designs, such as the shield-shaped grille, plus a low-slung body featuring flowing lines along the flanks.
The 4C has the looks to make people rejoice at the fact that companies are still making sports cars even while they’re churning out crossovers. Its small, mid-mounted turbocharged engine makes 237 hp, but that’s enhanced by a lightweight carbon fiber body and a complete lack of power steering. It isn’t just the optics where the 4C succeeds, it has the tactile side conquered as well.
2019 Aston Martin Vantage
Because every time an Aston Martin goes by, pupils dilate. The Vantage is the company’s entry level car, priced from a mere $153,000, and this model is the second generation. It makes 503 hp from a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 (sourced from Mercedes-Benz). It will sprint from standstill to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds before hitting a top speed of 195 mph.
But all these numbers, impressive as they are, turn into background noise once one’s eyesight is tickled, seduced, arrested, or captured by the vision of the Vantage. Aston Martins have always had an aesthetic edge, but the Vantage turns that edge into a finely sharpened machete and brings the house style bang up to date.
2020 Audi R8
Some sports cars don’t divulge their good points all at once. It’s a smart idea to walk around, see how the shapes and proportions work as a whole. And sometimes it’s what the designer leaves out that has a bearing. For example, the 2020 R8, doesn’t go in for extravagant, voluptuous lines.
Instead, there’s a control and restraint to every curve that becomes more fascinating with each successive glance. The implication is that the R8 has tremendous control when driving through curves. Which is absolutely the case.
The R8’s styling has been tweaked for 2020. A revision to the grille and front air intakes, nothing too drastic. Its status as perhaps the least flamboyant supercar remains unchanged.
2019 BMW Z4
The Z4 is back and this time its looks are more successful. The previous Z4, which was discontinued a few years ago, had a retractable hard top. Nice idea, but creating a space to stow the panels and all the electric motors rather upset the roadster’s proportions. And it made the car heavier than an enthusiast would like.
The second-generation Z4 that debuted for 2019 is a soft-top, still with power operation, but it’s definitely what was needed. This model looks wider and sleeker. And the proportions are better balanced. As is the car’s weight, making it a fun way to exercise 255 hp. There’s a 382-hp M40i version coming for the 2020 model year.
2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8
A no-brainer for a list of 10 best good-looking sports cars, the newest Corvette answers to both descriptions: one of the best and one of the prettiest. Admittedly, calling it one of the best is a stretch since it hasn’t gone on sale yet. But it’s an evolution of the current seventh generation, which is awesome.
One remarkable difference is the location of the engine. It’s now mid-mounted, just like most other exotics. This will have a beneficial impact on handling, but it also gave the C8 Corvette’s designers an exciting new layout.
The ’Vette has shaken off any last vestiges of “mid-life crisis purchase” to take its place in the supercar pantheon. And an American supercar at that.
2020 Jaguar F-Type
Funny how different kinds of looks come from different countries. We’ve had the quintessentially Italian Alfa Romeo and the restrained Audi R8 from Germany. And then there’s the United Kingdom coming up with the Aston Martin and the not-dissimilar Jaguar F-Type. If nothing else, it shows that the Brits do not just consist of posh royals (who are originally German) and lovable chimney sweeps (see Mary Poppins).
The best-looking British sports cars have always had a certain kind of class about them, but there’s an underlying passion and, dare we say it, sensuality as well. The F-Type embodies these traits right down to its LED taillights. It also helps that it’s an absolute blast to drive.
2020 Lamborghini Huracán
If there’s one thing that Lamborghini isn’t good at, it’s understatement. We can forgive a single foible.
Drive a Huracán through a residential area (sensibly) and pedestrians will applaud (we did, they did), kids will shout “Wow” and drivers at intersections will wait for you to pass just so they can look at it for longer. Owning a Lamborghini and using it on highways is really a public service, bringing a beautiful vision and a thrilling exhaust note into everyone’s lives.
The Huracán is low, sharp, kind of intimidating yet completely alluring. The air around it seems to crackle and buzz. It’s powerful, with 630 hp. And expensive, from $261,274 for the 2020 Evo Coupe. It’s exactly everything a sports car should be.
2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata
We don’t care if the MX-5 is on anyone else’s list of 10 best good-looking sports cars. This generation is perhaps the most visually interesting since the first model with the flip-up headlights. And when a car is this much fun, learning to love it is easy.
The long nose, swept-back windshield and two seats placed so that the seat of the driver’s pants is located right near the rear axle is the classic sports car look. Being so close to the back wheels means understanding and appreciating to a greater degree just how well the MX-5 handles.
And the RF (retractable fastback) version doesn’t look wrong. We can always rely on Mazda to make something attractive.
2020 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door
To be considered good-looking, something (or someone) doesn’t necessarily have to appear (or be) conventional. Exhibit A: the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door. It’s still unarguably a sports car, with a choice of powerful engines that includes a 630-hp turbocharged V8, plus a sport suspension and a limited-slip differential.
Yet it also has accommodation for four occupants, which definitely contradicts the usual sports-car playbook. However, that’s partly why it seems so fascinating. If any car can pull off the marketing conceit of a “4-door Coupe” it’s this.
The unimaginative might wonder who would buy this car. The answer is anyone who appreciates performance and ability, but relishes the idea that templates are sometimes meant to be broken.
2019 Porsche 718 Boxster/718 Cayman
We include these mid-engined siblings in our lineup of 10 best good-looking sports cars because they have an unmistakeable Porsche air about them. And that should be good enough for anyone.
Just in case someone has spent the last 20 years in their parents’ basement playing video games, the Boxster is the Convertible and the Cayman is the one with the fixed metal roof. There’s no wrong choice.
Sure, they’re kind of pricey. The 2019 718 Cayman starts at $58,150. But they’re virtually perfect, provide a gateway to the joys of Porsche ownership and cost a lot less than a Lamborghini. But not receiving Lambo-like levels of attention while enjoying a Porsche can often be a good thing.