The best sports cars for 2021

  • Looking for a car to have fun with?
  • We choose our favourite sports cars
  • Coupes and convertibles on the shortlist 

Anyone who enjoys driving is likely to have owned a sports car at some point in their life. Whether it was when they were young, free and single, or maybe later in life when their kids had flown the nest, sports cars are status symbols for those who are carefree and enjoy having fun.

What is a sports car?

Car enthusiasts can - and do - debate the essence of sports cars for hours on end, so we've taken a rather traditional view, so there are no hot hatchbacks, sports saloon or performance SUVs.

For our compilation of the best sports cars in the UK, we've only considered cars that have been primarily created to be fun to drive. All are either convertibles or coupes with two or three doors, and while most on the list are two-seaters, a few have a pair of small rear seats designed to be used by kids.

Are sports cars still popular?

No, not as much as they once were, with more buyers switching to SUVs instead. Car manufacturers are happy to oblige in building them as they're often easier to produce and more profitable to sell than traditional sports cars.

In fact, in many instances, car companies have stopped making sports cars altogether, giving factory space over to SUVs.

Scroll down to read our top sports car choices. You can click on the links below to jump to your favourite, or click further down to read the comprehensive Parkers reviews of each one.

Best sports cars for 2021

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Mazda MX-5 

Red 2021 Mazda MX-5 RF and grey 2021 Mazda MX-5 roadster

No two-seater roadster has sold in greater numbers than Mazda's MX-5. Now in its fourth generation, the MX-5 is one of the most affordable sports cars on sale, blending wonderfully engaging handling with compact dimensions, ensuring it remains undaunting to drive in city centres.

In addition to the regular soft-top version, Mazda also sells the MX-5 RF complete with a folding hard-top roof. It adds weight, is a bit ungainly to our eyes, but offers greater protection against the elements through the colder months.

A pair of zesty petrol engines offer decent, rather than exhilarating performance, but part of the MX-5's attraction is that it can be enjoyed at more modest speeds.

Price new: from £24,050
Lease this car: from £308 per month
Search for a used Mazda MX-5 on Parkers: price range £6,885-£20,995

Alpine A110 

Grey 2021 Alpine A110S

Renault's sports car offshoot, Alpine, only had a very small following in the UK before the A110's arrival, so there was only one thing to do in order to give it instant appeal: make it brilliant to drive.

With a raspy 252hp engine mounted just behind the two-seater cabin, the Alpine has beautifully balanced handling and an impressively comfortable ride quality. Yet, when you press on, it's engaging and seriously good fun.

Add in that sleek, retro-inspired bodywork that's distinctive enough not to be confused with anything else on the road and you have one of the most desirable sports coupes on sale. 

Price new: from £48,990
Search for a used Alpine A110 on Parkers: price range £33,175-£57,405

Porsche 718 

Red 2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS

When Porsche's entry-level models were facelifted and renamed as the 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster, there was a cry from enthusiasts the world over. Out went the old six-cylinder engines, and in came a far less characterful four-cylinder. Faster and more efficient, yes, but with less soul.

Their other virtues remained intact, though, not least the beautifully judged handling and the imperious build quality - these really are sports cars you can enjoy for the long-term.

While the 718 Boxster still provides roof-down driving thrills, the 718 Cayman offers a little more practicality and greater comfort in wintery months.

Plus, if you really must have a six-cylinder version, the sublime 718 Cayman GT4 - our Thrillseeker of the Year for 2021 - is still available.

Price new: from £44,790
Search for a used Porsche 718 on Parkers: price range £24,930-£98,455

Lotus Elise 

Blue 2021 Lotus Elise Sport 240 Final Edition

Okay, so the Elise might have had more facelifts than Cher over the past 25 years, but just like the singer born Cherilyn Sarkisian, the Lotus is still capable of a beltingly memorable performance.

No other sports car possesses such a finessed ride and handling balance, but the price you pay for greatness is that it's not the most practical of sports cars. It would take less time to get a boxer dog into a wetsuit than to attach the Elise's fabric roof, for instance.

You'll have to be quick if you want to indulge in the Elise's pure-bred charm, though; along with its sister car, the Lotus Exige, production will finally come to an end during 2021.

Truly one of the greatest - if compromised - sports cars of all time.

Price new: from £45,500
Search for a used Lotus Elise on Parkers: price range £5,025-£49,615

Caterham Seven 

Red 2021 Caterham Seven

There's back to basics and there's the iconic Caterham Seven. Looking barely more substantial than an old-school strap-on roller skate, the Seven delivers a truly analogue driving experience that's like fortified catnip to driving enthusiasts.

Creature comforts and few and far between, of course - what are loosely described as doors are little more than flappy bits of plastic covering an opening in the Caterham's flanks - but pampering you isn't what the Seven's about.

Delivering an undiluted driving experience, with ever-more outrageous power outputs from its tuned engines is the Seven's forte.

It may well be a relic from a bygone era in many respects, but for driving thrills, this is pure, unadulterated fun.

Price new: from £27,490

Audi TT 

Orange 2021 Audi TT Coupe

There's little arguing that Audi's third-generation TT is a strikingly distinctive sports car, unlikely to be confused with anything else. Sharp creases lend the TT a purposeful demeanour, in spite of its compact dimensions.

As well as the more popular three-door TT Coupe, complete with a pair of dinky rear seats, there's the glamorous two-seater TT Roadster, complete with a snug soft-top.

A wide variety of engines ensure there are models to suit a variety of budgets, but the more engaging versions carry TTS and TT RS badging.

Factor in a sumptuously finished interior and you have a very appealing sports car.

Price new: from £36,780
Lease this car: from £389 per month
Search for a used Audi TT on Parkers: price range £9,880-£58,535

Toyota GR Supra 

Red 2021 Toyota GR Supra

So slender are the profit margins in sports cars these days that even an industrial giant like Toyota has to buddy-up with another company to recreate one of its iconic model lines. Consequently, while the styling of the GR Supra - the GR stands for Gazoo Racing, the Japanese firm's motorsport wing - is all Toyota's handiwork, the mechanical components are shared with BMW, with the Z4 Roadster being its close cousin.

It's a rorty and deceptively compact coupe, with more engaging handling than you'll experience in most of the Z4 line-up.

Initially only available with a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder engine, the line-up was expanded at the less-expensive end of the range with a 2.0-litre option for 2021, essentially taking the place of the excellent - but discontinued - GT86 in Toyota showrooms.

Price new: from £45,995
Lease this car: from £640 per month
Search for a used Toyota GR Supra on Parkers: price range £34,075-£49,730

Ford Mustang 

Green 2018 Ford Mustang Fastback

Superficially, the Mustang is a brash 21st Century interpretation of the American muscle car, but in truth it's far more sophisticated than that.

Sure, it works best with the 5.0-litre V8 engine and to drive it feels far heavier than most European and Japanese sports cars, but this is a car with an in-built fun factor, that go well beyond the Line Lock feature that makes it easy for you to turn your rear tyres into billowing, black smoke doughnuts.

Two bodystyles are available - the Fastback coupe and the soft-top Convertible - both with a pair of small rear seats and a useful boot. It's not all about the show either as despite its heft, it's still nimble and enjoyable on B-roads.

Okay, it's far from the last word in quality, but in terms of making a sports car statement without breaking the bank, the Mustang is hard to beat.

Price new: from £44,185
Lease this car: from £530 per month
Search for a used Ford Mustang on Parkers: price range £16,590-£53,490

Jaguar F-Type 

Grey 2021 Jaguar F-Type Coupe

Beautiful to look at, sensational to drive and goose pimple-inducing to hear in V8 guise - Jaguar's F-Type is a properly engaging sports car.

Whether you opt for the elegance of the F-Type Coupe or the classic roadster-style F-Type Convertible, you're in for a treat.

It's a pity that the 3.0-litre V6 engine is no more, but whether you choose the compact 2.0-litre or the throbbing V8 you won't be short of power.

A facelift in 2020 introduced a more aggressive nose design with horizontally aligned headlights, while the interior received some welcome upgrades too.

Will we see its like again? Maybe not now that Jaguar has confirmed it will only produce electric cars from 2025. Indulge yourself while you still can. 

Price new: from £54,510
Lease this car: from £755 per month
Search for a used Jaguar F-Type on Parkers: price range £17,080-£88,590

Porsche 911 

Red 2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe and white 2021 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet

What kind of sports car top ten would this be if it didn't include the best of the best, Porsche's legendary 911.

Greatness doesn't come cheaply of course, but forget your Turbo this and GT3 that - we reckon the very best 911s are those at the lower end of the range wearing Carrera badges.

Performance, handling, build quality, and various other facets of the 911 are all astonishingly brilliant. One of the few criticisms that can be levelled against the Porsche is that for the money it's not generously equipped and optional extras are eye-wateringly dear.

Still, you'll largely forget about that the more you drive it - and it's so well-made it will last you a lifetime if you wanted it to.

Whether you plump for the 911 Coupe or the soft-top 911 Cabriolet, you are in for one hell of a good time. 

Price new: from £82,795
Search for a used Porsche 911 on Parkers: price range £67,360-£157,300

Further reading:

>> Best hybrid cars 2021

>> Best electric SUVs 2021

>> Best convertibles 2021