Best Luxury Sports Cars

Rachel Smith
February 25, 2011
Best Luxury Sports Cars

If you’re in the market for a luxury sports car, you have a lot of options. Luxury sports cars generally excel at offering great performance, but if you’re looking for something that’s more practical as a daily driver, or more comfortable for an extended cruise, you can find a luxury sports car that will do that as well.  

Best Performers

A lot of people lust after V8 engines but some of the best performing luxury sports cars do just fine with something smaller – the Lotus Elise and the Porsche Boxster have four and six-cylinder engines, respectively. The Elise has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 134 horsepower and 118 pounds-feet of torque and its maximum speed is 127 mph. These specifications are considerably less than the 255 horsepower and 214 pounds-feet of torque the base Boxster’s 2.9-liter V6 engine produces, but reviewers find that Lotus’s light weight and phenomenal chassis help it hang with the Porsche. For more power, upgrade to the Elise SC, which produces 217 horsepower.

One area where the Boxster surpasses the Elise is daily driving. While the Elise’s stiff suspension enhances handling, it’s not suited for romping around town. Shoppers who admire the Elise’s hard-core, sporty attitude will like the Porsche Boxster Spyder. To set the Boxster Spyder apart, Porsche omitted the radio, air conditioning and sport bucket seats from the standard features list.  That makes it lighter and faster. With these changes, the Spyder can reach 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. Test drivers say it’s one of the best-performing sports cars you can buy.

If you must have a V8 engine, check out the Chevrolet Corvette. Its base 6.2-liter engine produces 430 horsepower, but if you upgrade to the higher performance Z06 or ZR1 trims, you’ll net 505 or 638 horsepower, respectively. These models are significantly more expensive – the Z06 starts at about $74,300 and the ZR1 starts at about $111,000 – but if you can afford one, you’ll find that these models are up there with high-end exotic sports cars.

Most Comfortable

While the Lotus Elise is one of best performers in the class, its tiny dimensions make it uncomfortable. If you’re looking to mesh performance and daily drivability, check out the BMW Z4, which seats two people. For 2011, BMW increased the Z4’s interior dimensions, making it large enough for someone over six feet tall to not feel cramped. The standard tilt and telescopic steering wheel and comfortable seats also make the Z4 suitable for longer trips.  

The Audi TT is another comfortable sports car.  It’s not as powerful as the competition, but it’s zippy enough for daily life and its front row seats have plenty of room. The TT also has two backseats which aren’t very comfortable, but they fold down, which extends cargo area. And though the extra space isn’t useful for seating, it’s a great place to stash a purse or briefcase, making the front two seats feel even roomier.

Most Utilitarian

Luxury sports cars don’t prioritize utility, but most buyers will want something with enough trunk space for a weekend getaway. After all, why get a sports car if you can’t tear down backcountry roads once in a while? The Chevrolet Corvette has a lot of cargo space for the class– 22.4 cubic feet in the coupe model. That’s enough for at least two golf bags. Inside the cabin, you’ll find a few cubby holes for cell phones and other small items in addition to the center console and glove compartment.

Considering its size, the Porsche Cayman has a decent amount of trunk space, but it’s distributed between the front and back trunks. The Cayman offers a total of 14.5 cubic feet.  Each trunk has enough space for two carry-on bags.  And, though it’s tricky, you can fit a golf bag in the Cayman.

If you need more comfort or practicality, look for models that are more luxury touring cars than hardcore sports cars. Two of the best are the Mercedes-Benz CL and the BMW 650i. Their performance isn’t best in the class, but their cabins are exceptional and come with high tech features like surround sound systems and power tilt and telescopic steering wheels. Neither of these models have more than 14 cubic feet of trunk space, but the passenger cabins are extremely livable.  

Best Luxury Sports Cars


Porsche Boxster

Mercedes-Benz CL550

BMW 650i

Chevrolet Corvette


$ 48,100.00




Cargo (cubic feet)

5.3 (front)/4.6 (rear)





Cruise control, heated front seats, paddle shifters, Bluetooth, Navigation

Wood trim, leather seats, COMMAND System, Bluetooth, HD Radio, iPod interface, 6-CD/DVD changer, heated and ventilated front seats

Push-button start, iDrive system, navigation, Bluetooth, leather wrapped steering wheel with controls

Onstar, XM Radio, push-button start, heated and power adjustable mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control



2.9L, V6

4.6L, V8

4.8L, V8

6.2L, V8











0-60 mph (seconds)





Max. speed

163 mph

130 mph

150 mph

190 mph