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Best Used Sports Cars on a $30,000 Budget


If the thrill of the open road is calling your name, the speed, freedom, and joy of clipping apexes can be yours for less than you think — perhaps a lot less now that the used car market has started to cool from its overheated peak. Whether you’re looking for a high-power beast, a lightweight corner carver, or something in between, this list has something for you. Here are 10 of the best used sports cars under $30,000.

1. 2017 BMW 4 Series

2017 BMW 4 Series in light blue

The 2017 BMW 4 Series coupe family wraps around a world-class chassis and BMW’s outstanding reputation for tuning the handling and performance; in 320-horsepower 440i form, it’s one of BMW’s most entertaining coupes, and it’s available with all-wheel drive (AWD). See 2017 BMW 4 Series models for sale 

2. 2013 BMW M3

2013 BMW M3 in royal blue.

Even sharper and more potent than the 4 Series above, despite being half a decade older, the 2013 BMW M3 pairs a legendary platform with an epic high-revving 414-hp V8 engine, remarkable handling, and a choice of 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch transmissions. See 2013 BMW M3 models for sale

3. 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS

2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS in silver.

Another of the used-to-be-a-muscle-car crowd, the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS is as agile as its European counterparts while still packing 455 hp and 6.2 liters of American V8 under the hood. See 2017 Chevrolet Camaro models for sale

4. 2013 Chevrolet Corvette

2013 Chevrolet Corvette in grey.

Long, low, and undeniably fast, the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette deserves its place in the Corvette heritage, with a 430-hp V8 motivating its compact form, phenomenal grip and handling, and a slick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission. See 2013 Chevrolet Corvette models for sale

5. 2018 Ford Mustang GT

2018 Ford Mustang GT in silver.

It might seem even more old-school — and perhaps not much of a sports car, but the Ford Mustang has far outgrown its muscle car roots. The 2018 Mustang GT’s 460-hp V8 is fun, and be sure to look for Performance Package models, which get larger brakes, upgraded suspension tuning, and more. See 2018 Ford Mustang models for sale

6. 2019 Hyundai Veloster N

2019 Hyundai Veloster N in baby blue.

Do you want your sports car to be practical? The Hyundai Veloster N is as aggressive (or even more so) as most performance coupes, yet it offers the daily practicality of a hatchback body style, complete with actual cargo space and a third door for rear-seat passengers. See 2019 Hyundai Veloster models for sale

7. 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata in dark grey.

No list of great sports cars is complete without a Miata, and the 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata is an excellent example of the legendary label. Whether you choose the retractable hardtop RF or the soft-top roadster, you get one of the lightest, nimblest, most fun-to-drive cars on the market at any price. See 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata models for sale

8. 2018 Nissan 370Z

2018 Nissan 370z in mustard yellow.

Modern conveniences meet old-school driving thrills in the Nissan 370Z, making the most of its rear-drive layout and balanced chassis, as well as its torquey 332-hp V6 engine and standard 6-speed manual transmission. See 2018 Nissan 370Z models for sale

9. 2010 Porsche Cayman

2010 Porsche Cayman in red.

The oldest car on this list by a few years, the 2010 Porsche Cayman justifies its age. With ageless style, outstanding chassis balance and handling, and engaging driving experience, the base Cayman and loaded Cayman S with Sport Chrono deliver. See 2010 Porsche Cayman models for sale

10. 2019 Toyota 86

2019 Toyota 86 in black.

At the other end of the sports car spectrum sits the 2019 Toyota 86. Eschewing power for lightness, the Toyota 86 comes from a more classical line of sports cars and promises the unadulterated joys of a finely balanced chassis. See 2019 Toyota 86 models for sale

Best Used Sports Cars on a $30,000 Budget

  1. 2017 BMW 4 Series
  2. 2013 BMW M3
  3. 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS
  4. 2013 Chevrolet Corvette
  5. 2018 Ford Mustang GT
  6. 2019 Hyundai Veloster N
  7. 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  8. 2018 Nissan 370Z
  9. 2010 Porsche Cayman 
  10. 2019 Toyota 86

Nelson Ireson
Nelson Ireson
Nelson Ireson is an automotive writer and enthusiast whose 15-plus years of experience have seen him travel the globe, driving as many new cars as possible. His work has appeared throughout the print and online automotive world, including Car and Driver, Autoblog, and Motor Authority, among others. He writes for Autotrader from Long Beach, California.

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3 COMMENTS
  1. I’m currently looking for a corvette, but will have to wait, everyone is asking $
    3000-5000 higher priced than they should be.

    It is the best value though.

  2. I’ve been watching Corvette’s for over a year now looking for that “right” one. I’ve yet to find a 2010 ‘Vette for under $30k unless it was a base model and had over 100k miles on.
    It seems Corvette owners think their’s is worth anywhere from $3k – $10k more than Edmunds, Kelly, NADA, Hagerty, etc. indicate they are.
    So far in the last year, I’ve found one that met my requirements at a fair price and that was a 2004 model from a private seller in my state of MI. The several others that met my needs were priced far above their real value.
    Your article may be correct with the other vehicles listed, but I find it not so true when it comes to the Corvette.

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