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Top Sports Cars for Summer Driving

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2014 Ford Mustang

author photo by Doug DeMuro

With summer here, many drivers want an exciting sports car to enjoy on a sunny day while cruising down a beautiful back road. So we've created a list of some our favorite sports cars for summer fun. We've focused on models that offer both coupe and convertible variants -- and those that will be fun to enjoy in nearly any setting, whether it's at the track, on a good road or just driving to an evening meal.

BMW Z4

The BMW Z4 is a 2-seat roadster with a retractable hardtop. That makes it perfect for summer driving, since shoppers can choose between an open roof when they're heading out for a drive or a coupe on a cool summer evening. It's also available in three versions, letting drivers choose the one that's right for them. Base-level sDrive28i models use a 240-horsepower 4-cylinder, while the mid-priced sDrive35i offers a 300-hp 6-cylinder. Topping the range is the 335-hp sDrive35is. While Z4 pricing can be high -- even the base-level sDrive28i starts just under $50,000 -- BMW usually offers great lease deals to make the sports car more affordable.

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Chevrolet Camaro

The Chevrolet Camaro is offered as a soft-top convertible or a handsome, fixed-roof coupe. Four versions are available: V6-powered LS and LT models, or V8-powered SS and ZL1 trims. Even drivers who choose a V6 get a muscular 323 hp, which is more than adequate for most situations. But we'd have a hard time blaming you if you chose the 426-hp SS or the 580-hp ZL1. Best of all, the Camaro really can seat four people -- so you can bring along family or friends as you head to the beach or cruise your favorite back roads. Pricing starts around $24,000 for a base-level Camaro LS or $33,000 for an SS.

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FIAT 500 Abarth

The FIAT 500 Abarth may not seem like a sports car, since it looks suspiciously like a small hatchback. But take our word for it: With a performance-tuned suspension, a turbocharged 160-hp engine and an exciting sport exhaust system, the 500 Abarth is fun to drive. Best of all, the 500 Abarth is surprisingly well priced, with a base manufacturer's suggested retail price of less than $23,000. It even offers top-down capabilities thanks to a convertible model with fixed roof rails.

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Ford Mustang

The retro-themed Ford Mustang combines coupe or convertible body styles with practical seating for four. Most Mustang models use a 3.7-liter V6 that's good for just over 300 hp. We like that engine, but enthusiasts will opt for the Mustang GT. That model boasts a 420-hp 5.0-liter V8. Hotter versions, including the Boss Mustang and the Shelby GT500, offer as much as 662 hp. But you'll be getting a good deal no matter which Mustang you choose. Pricing starts around $23,000 with shipping for a V6 or around $31,500 for a V8 -- and all Mustangs boast alloy wheels, xenon headlights, air conditioning and remote keyless entry.

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MINI Cooper S Coupe

The 2-seat MINI Cooper S Coupe is some of the most fun you can have for around $25,000. One reason is its engine: While 181 hp may not seem much, the MINI's turbocharged power delivery gives an excellent sensation of speed. We also like its go-kart handling, which trumps nearly all other vehicles at its price point. The MINI's cornering abilities are especially impressive because of front-wheel drive. Best of all, the MINI offers a summer choice for nearly any lifestyle: the 4-seat Hardtop and Convertible, or the 2-seat Coupe and Roadster. If you're choosing a summer car, it's hard to go wrong with the MINI.

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Porsche Boxster

The newly redesigned Porsche Boxster is a mid-engined sports car with two seats and a soft top. Porsche also offers the similar Cayman for drivers who want a coupe, but we highly recommend the Boxster, since it's one of the few models where a convertible is less expensive than its coupe counterpart. While power may not seem like much -- base models only make 265 hp -- the Boxster is a hoot to drive. Our only drawback is the $51,000 base price tag, which quickly increases with options.

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Scion FR-S

The Scion FR-S (and its Subaru BRZ twin) boasts sports-car handling and an affordable base price. Indeed, the sporty coupe starts around $25,000 with shipping -- and it drives like some expensive performance cars that cost much more. While its 4-cylinder engine only makes 200 hp, the FR-S feels fast thanks to its lightweight design and low center of gravity. The only drawback: The FR-S is the only car on our list that doesn't offer a convertible body style.

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What it means to you: Some of today's top sports cars will make this summer one to remember.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
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Top Sports Cars for Summer Driving