Best sports cars under £5000

Flashy, fast motors are not known for being cheap, so we've put together a list of the best sports cars you can get for under £5000 to prove that there's plenty of options out there for the smaller budget. All of our picks will still give you that irresistible driving experience that leaves you wanting more – just without breaking the bank. Sure, you might not get the latest model, but there's a lot of fun to be had from a quality used sports car. Our list covers all the bases, from sporty roadsters and style icons right through to more modern hot hatches.

Red Audi tt

1. Audi TT

The TTs iconic design took the car world by storm when it was launched in 1998, and it’s held up incredibly well over the years. Being so popular, there are lots of affordable used models on the market. We’d look for one with four-wheel-drive and a 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine to get the maximum performance and drivability. It’s as cool-looking now as it was when it first launched, and you have the choice of a coupe or convertible in the range. There’s a decent amount of practical space inside too, plus the quality interior you’d expect from Audi.

Blue Mazda MX5

2. Mazda MX5

One of the most affordable sports cars on the market today is the MX5. A real modern classic, it’s reliable, affordable and fun to drive. If you’ve got up to £5k to spend, go for the third-generation models (2005-2015) as you’ll get a stiffer bodyshell than its predecessor, which gives you improved handling. The rear-wheel-drive engines come in 1.8-litre or 2.0-litre petrol guises and pack a good punch, helped by the car’s low weight. When viewing used models, watch out for early signs of corrosion as repairs can be expensive. If you’re looking for some serious style on the road, the MX5 is one of the best sports cars under £5000 you’ll find on the UK market.

Red Toyota MR2

3. Toyota MR2

Lightweight and with rear-wheel drive, the Toyota MR2 is an incredibly fun little motor. Its sharp and agile handling gives you all you want in a sports car. The third generation (1999-2007) offers the best value for money – in fact, you’ll likely find decent models way under the £5k budget. Just keep a look out for rust and signs of dampness in the interior on earlier examples. It’s got barely any storage so won’t be the most practical choice, but that’ll be the last thing on your mind when taking it out for a spin.

Blue Subaru Impreza WRX

4. Subaru Impreza WRX

Guaranteed to leave you grinning from ear to ear, the Impreza WRX has legendary status in the world of rallying. With turbo power and four-wheel drive, its roaring engine can handle all terrains and reach 60 mph in less than six seconds. Available in either saloon or estate format, it’s got serious speed for an affordable sports car and promises a thrilling drive. Be sure to check out its service history when buying an older model, as it has been known to have issues with leaking oil.

Red Porsche Boxster

5. Porsche Boxster

You might be surprised to learn that you can own a Porsche for less than £5k, but it’s true – take a look at the Boxster 986. You’ll get the authentic Porsche experience all neatly packaged in a two-seater roadster. Offered in either a hard-top or soft-top convertible and three engines, it handles incredibly well and has the agility to grip winding roads with ease. Sitting low to the ground just enhances the sports car feeling. Look for an S model if you’re a speed demon, as it’s got a souped-up 3.2-litre engine that’ll give you 252 bhp.

Blue Alfa Romeo Spider

6. Alfa Romeo Spider

This attractive and sporty little two-seater has bags of character and promises lots of thrills on the open road. While the classic rear-wheel-drive versions may be a little out of your budget, the front-wheel versions made between 1995-2006 will make for a superb buy. Available with either a four-cylinder Twin Spark or a punchy V6, it has a satisfying roar that’s best appreciated with the roof down. The Spider is more reliable than most Alfa Romeos, but be sure to check that any recalls from 2007 models have been taken care of. As you’d expect, the boot space is small, so you’ll be packing light if going for a longer journey.

Black bmw 130i

7. BMW 130i

First-generation 1-Series were incredibly popular in their heyday and have held their value well due to constant demand. It’s not the most obvious sports car choice but delivers highly on agility and performance, making it a great purchase if you have a smaller budget. Go for an early model (2004-2011) of the top-of-the-range 130i to get a 3.0-litre petrol engine with 260 bhp that can do 0-60 mph in six seconds. A lightweight chassis and 50:50 weight distribution make it a strong contender on our list. Another plus is its versatility for everyday driving, with four seats and a big boot.

Silver BMW Z4

8. BMW Z4

The second BMW on our list is the first generation Z4 (2003-2009). Offered as a Roadster and Coupe, it can be found with a range of great six-cylinder petrol engines that offer aggressive torque and fantastic acceleration. Its got a great seating position and a quality interior – as you’d expect from a premium manufacturer like BMW. An ultra-stiff suspension won’t be to everyone’s liking, but the Z4 hugs the road nicely, giving you excellent control and ticking all the boxes for an exhilarating drive.

Renault Clio182

9. Renaultsport Clio 182

If a hot hatch is more your style, you can’t go far wrong with the Renaultsport Clio. It’s incredibly nimble and has a sportier chassis, reworked suspension and communicative steering to make it a completely different beast to the traditional Clio. The 2.0-litre engine delivers 177 bhp to give you plenty of low down power, meaning you can reach higher speeds with ease. Remember to take a look at the service history and assess the suspension, bushings and gearbox mounts before you buy. You should find decent examples under budget that will give you plenty of get-up-and-go.

Orange Triumph Spitfire

10. Triumph Spitfire

It can be difficult to find a true classic British sports car within a tighter budget, but the Spitfire is a popular choice for that very reason. We’d go for the 1500 model that was in production from the mid-’70s as it’s got a punchy 1493cc engine. It also boasts the same suave good looks as the MkIV from 1970-1974, and the extra power will give you a bit of an edge on modern roads. It’s a no-frills sports car that’s easy to maintain; parts such as replacement soft-top roofs are affordable, so don’t be put off if you’ve found one that needs a little attention.

Achieving your dream of buying a sports car doesn’t have to break the bank. From British classics to modern German marvels, there are plenty of options on the market for less than £5k that deliver the unbeatable feel of a proper sports car. To find out more, check out or in-depth reviews or head straight to our listings.

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