Most Popular Sports Cars on MSN
The sports cars that shoppers on MSN are researching most.
The words performance, handling and fun go hand-in-hand when talking sports cars. Many would argue these speedsters should seat only two passengers and sport rear-wheel drive, but automotive thrills can arrive in many forms. While the affordable Ford Mustang has been top of mind with visitors to MSN Autos for many months, in the third quarter of 2008 it was unseated by another American icon — the Chevrolet Corvette.
For nearly two years the 'Vette held the second spot on the list of top 10 sports cars, but the introduction of the new ZR1 helped pop it into the top spot, pushing the Mustang to second position. This list of popular sports cars is based on customer visits to vehicle research pages on MSN Autos, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the MSN Autos editorial team.
A newcomer to this list of popular sports cars is the much-anticipated Nissan GT-R. Streaking straight out of video games and onto the street, the GT-R seems to defy the laws of physics with incredible acceleration, enormous amounts of grip and impressive brakes — all in an easy-to-drive package.
The remaining seven vehicles in the list represent a wide range of cars, from the sporty Mazda MX-5 (Miata) to the modern-day muscle of the Dodge Challenger, which slots just behind the Mustang. Venerable entries such as the Porsche 911, Nissan 350Z and the powerful BMW M3 continue to be favorites of shoppers on MSN Autos.
The list of the 10 most popular sports cars on MSN Autos is based on visits to the site's vehicle research pages during months July through September, 2008:
Long an American icon, the current Corvette is also a world-class, high-performance sports car. And for 2009 the 'Vette moves into exotic car territory with the all-new ZR1. Powered by a 638-horse supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, the Corvette ZR1 is capable of 205 mph on the track. The standard Corvette is no slouch either, with its 430-horsepower V8 and impressive fuel economy numbers of 16 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.
2. Ford Mustang
When the latest Mustang debuted in 2005, its flashback styling tapped into a deep well of American automotive lust. Its retro design — plainly displayed via round headlights, triangular windows, three-element taillights, and galloping-pony grille — only added appeal to one of the last affordable American sports cars. Available as a coupe or convertible, the Mustang continues to be one of the most popular cars in the Ford lineup, offering a variety of performance options, including a 300-horsepower V8 engine in the GT.
After a 35-year hiatus, Dodge brought back this classic muscle car in thoroughly modern form. Anticipation has been growing for this HEMI-powered blast from the past ever since it debuted in 2006 as a concept vehicle in Detroit. Available in three different trims, the flagship SRT8 boasts a 6.1-liter V8 engine pumping 425 horses to the rear wheels via a 5-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission. And unlike that original model from decades ago, this new Challenger is available with such high-tech features as the MyGIG music storage system, satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, Keyless Go and remote start.
4. BMW M3
The M3 is the high-performance version of the BMW 3-Series and was completely new for 2008, powered for the first time by a V8 engine. Offered in coupe, sedan and convertible versions, the M3 is even more aggressive than its predecessor with a power dome in the middle of the aluminum hood, a rear diffuser, and gills in the front fenders that include the blue/purple/red M3 logo. The 4.0-liter V8 puts out 414 horsepower at a high-revving 8300 rpm, and is teamed with a 6-speed manual transmission or a new 7-speed M Double-Clutch transmission with Drivelogic, specifically designed for the M3's engine.
5. Porsche 911
The legendary rear-engine sports car, the 911 has managed to retain its trademark silhouette since its inception over 40 years ago. A number of different versions are available, with the range-topping 911 Turbo cranking out 480 horsepower from its twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter flat six. With a high-tech all-wheel-drive system, the Turbo can lunge to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds and hit 100 mph in 8.4 seconds using the standard 6-speed manual transmission. Opt for the 5-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and acceleration times improve to 3.4 and 7.8 seconds. A revised 911 will debut later this year as a 2009 model.
The Eclipse is Mitsubishi's sporty coupe and convertible that received updated styling for 2009 to tie it closer to the look of its high-performance sibling, the Lancer Evolution. Since its introduction almost 20 years ago, the Eclipse has changed its shape and style several times. The current version is available as an ES or GT, the latter getting the benefit of a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 265 horsepower to drive the front wheels.
The Gallardo is a two-seat mid-engine V10-powered sports car that joined the Lamborghini line as a 2004 model, and in just two years became the carmaker's top-selling model of all time. Sales should continue to grow as a higher-performance Gallardo comes out for 2009. Called the LP560-4, the new name says it all. The 5.2-liter V10 engine is positioned longitudinally (Longitudinale Positore) and produces an impressive 560 horses. The 4 in the name refers to the Viscous Traction all-wheel-drive system (first introduced on the Diablo VT in 1993), which relies on a viscous coupling in the transmission to distribute torque between the front and rear axles.
8. Nissan 350Z
Nissan brought back the legendary Z car in 2003 after the iconic sports car spent seven years cooling its wheels. Available in coupe or convertible, the Z is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that delivers 306-horsepower. For the hard-core enthusiast, Nissan also offers the NISMO 350Z, which features a more aerodynamic look, a specially tuned suspension, Brembo brakes and lightweight forged-alloy wheels. NISMO is Nissan's performance products division. Later this fall look for a new Z car to arrive with a larger motor and more power.
Introduced in the summer of 1989 as a 1990 model, the MX-5's quick steering, go-kart-like handling and sporty styling have helped the roadster land a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling two-seat sports car in the world. Following the trend of retractable hardtop convertibles, Mazda has added one to the MX-5 lineup. The retractable top adds only 75 pounds without reducing cargo room. Prices start around $21,000 for a 2008 Miata.
10. Nissan GT-R
The GT-R is Nissan's legendary high-performance all-wheel-drive coupe, and the all-new fifth-generation 2009 model is the first GT-R ever offered for sale in the U.S. Powered by a 480-horsepower 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 producing 430 lb-ft of torque while meeting ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) standards, the GT-R has a top speed of almost 200 mph. All this power is channeled to the pavement via the electronically controlled ATTESA E-TS all-wheel-drive system. The 6-speed, dual-clutch rear transaxle bangs off shifts incredibly quickly and helps the GT-R reach 60 mph in a mere 3.5 seconds.
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I just purchased a 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spider,WOW,what a car,it's handling is great,was a little afraid of the small back window;but the visibility is good,was better than I thought it'd be.
Was told it wouldn't do well in snow and ice,Wrong, it handles as well as,if not better than my 2011 Chevy Malibu,over all the car is fun to drive,pleaseant to ride in and I just love it!