The 2010s might not seem like too distant of a memory for some people, but it’s worth remembering that back in 2010, Tesla was still a niche EV startup and semi-autonomous cars were still the realm of science-fiction. There’s been a huge advance in both automotive technology and performance since then, and some cars from earlier in the decade are now rapidly approaching the bottom of their depreciation curves. That means there are some bargains to be had for the budget-conscious buyer, although it won’t stay that way forever.
There’s a surprisingly wide-ranging selection of 2010s performance cars on the market right now that could well be smart investments. The rapid rate of change from traditional gasoline engines to electric powertrains has led to many positive changes for the sports car market. But, as these traditional setups become more obsolete, nostalgia for them will only grow, and their asking prices are likely to shoot up accordingly. It’s worth taking a closer look at the following sports cars to see if now is the right time to buy one while they’re still affordable.
8 Nissan 370Z
Nissan recently unveiled the new Z sports car, the latest in their legendary lineup and possibly the last gasoline-powered Z ever. Up until that point, the 370Z had been carrying the torch.
While it’s true that the car could have probably been retired a few years earlier than it was, early examples of the 370Z represent great value for used buyers. The cheapest cars can be picked up for less than half of their original retail price, but if the recent price spike of the ’90s and ’00s JDM cars is anything to go by, they won’t stay that way forever.
7 BMW M3 E92
The original E30 M3 has seen its value skyrocket over the past few years, to the point where pristine examples will comfortably sell for over $100,000. The second-generation E36 has yet to see those price increases, although it’s been hotly tipped for a few years now. The E46 is another model that’s likely to increase in value, but it’s too old to be included on this list.
This brings us to the fourth-gen E92. Looking at depreciation curves for older M3s, it’s likely that the E92 might see a further decrease in value in the short term, but long term it may well rise significantly. It’s already become a favorite among modders and project car builders, so mint condition examples are getting harder to find. If anyone can buy one now and keep it for ten or twenty years, they’ll probably see a very healthy return on their investment.
6 Jaguar XK
They’re no longer top of the tree when it comes to making performance cars, but it’s easy to forget that Jaguar has made some cracking sporty GTs over the years. The XK is one of their best in recent memory, with a winning combination of brawny power and traditional British luxury.
It’ll cost around $25,000 for a used example, although they can be found for less. What’s even better is that much of that used stock is in very good condition, making the XK an easy way to buy a plush British performance car without having to shell out the cash for a new F-Type.
5 Maserati GranTurismo
First things first: maintenance and running costs on a Maserati GranTurismo will be expensive. The same is true for almost any Maserati, but fans of the brand will already be well aware of this.
What’s also true is that the GranTurismo is currently sitting at a very attractive price on the used market considering how well it’s aged. Prices start around $26,000, yet it still looks every bit as head-turning as it did when it rolled out the factory ten or so years ago.
4 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
The Turbo S might look like a run-of-the-mill Porsche SUV, but it’s a more serious performance car than many buyers would expect. It comes with a twin-turbo V8 making 500 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, letting it hit 0-60 in just 4.9 seconds.
It also comes with the practicality of five seats and a decent cargo space, yet prices start from just $18,000 on the used market. It won’t look quite as cool as driving a Maserati or a BMW M3, but for a cheap sleeper with some serious grunt under the hood, it’s worth considering.
3 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
As AMG owners will be well aware, the brand’s cars are some of the most rapidly depreciating on the market. A 2010 C63 AMG can now be bought for as little as $22,000, although examples that cheap will have high mileage and likely require some costly maintenance.
Still, buying a ten or twelve-year-old example is a great way to experience the fun of AMG ownership without having to shoulder the cost of buying one new. Being able to work on the car yourself will also help keep costs down to a minimum, although servicing at a main dealership is the best way to hold the car’s value long term.
2 Subaru BRZ
Even when new, BRZs are some of the best value performance cars on the market, so it’s no surprise that buying one used is an equally great idea. They’ve proven themselves to be reliable daily drivers as well as fun weekend cars, giving the BRZ more versatility than many of the other cars on this list.
A well-used BRZ will start around the $12,000 mark, and even with higher mileage, they tend to be fairly hassle-free to own. There’s also the option to buy the BRZ’s twin, the Toyota GT86, as it’s virtually identical and is just as fun both as a daily and a racing car.
1 Lotus Elise
With Lotus announcing that the recently-launched Emira would be their last traditional gasoline-powered car, it seems fitting to take a look at the model that saved Lotus from bankruptcy over twenty years ago: the Elise. Combining the brand’s lightweight ethos with an excellently handling setup was a winning formula, and the Elise didn’t really change much throughout its two decades on sale.
Examples from the early 2010s will still cost over $40,000, making them the most expensive cars on this list, but since the average price for a regular passenger car now stands at $45,000 they’re still cheap for what buyers are getting. A quick look at sales graphs on sites like Bring a Trailer show that the Elise is already rapidly increasing in value, so for Lotus fans it’s crucial to get in now while prices for the Elise are still reasonable.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on a sports car. For under $30,000, these 15 used models will leave most sports cars in the dust.
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