Sports cars have a proud place in American tradition. They have long been romanticized and glorified, from movies like “Grease” and “Bullit,” to sports like NASCAR to racing video games. The simple fact is, if you like cars, then you probably love sports cars. And for good reason: sports cars are just normal cars specifically designed with the intention of maximizing fun. What’s not to like? However, there are a few things that you need to know about sports cars if you’re just getting into them. Here’s a guide to sports cars for beginners.
Some people have a misconception that a sports car has to have a manual transmission, though that doesn’t have to be the case. Most sports car enthusiasts simply choose manual transmissions because they are a ton of fun and they allow the driver to maximize the potential of a vehicle. If you’re concerned about performance, a manual transmission is the way to go, because you can time your shifts and anticipate your changes in speed. Manual transmission vehicles also get better gas mileage.
An important part of any sports car is its drivetrain. Cars come in three standard drivetrains: front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive (commonly referred to as four-wheel drive). There is no definition for drivetrain in a sports car, so technically it can have any of the three. Ideally though, you want a sports car with rear-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive only comes on entry-level vehicles, and simply does not afford the same handling capabilities as a rear-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle. If you want maximum handling, you want your rear-wheels to help control the vehicle. All-wheel drive is fantastic, but is generally much heavier than rear-wheel drive. One general guideline of sports cars is that lighter better, so rear-wheel drive is ideal.
Coupe or Sedan
While the definition of “sports car” is debatable and constantly in flux, most people agree that sports cars are coupes (two-doors) not sedans (four-doors). However, there are many vehicles on the market — the BMW M5 is the benchmark — that offers sports car performance in a sedan body.
Types of Sports Cars
There are three main types of sports cars at the entry level: tuners, European, and muscle cars. Tuners are low-performance cars that offer owners the opportunity to modify them over time. They allow you to buy a practical car for an affordable price, and slowly build it into a sports car at your wallet’s own pace. A great starting sports car for someone looking for a tuner is the Volkswagen Golf. Despite the name, European ports cars are not all European. The Japanese, for instance, also have a corner on the entry-level European sports car market. But European here refers to smaller, lightweight vehicles that handle exceptionally well, even though they do not have a lot of power. The best example of this is the Mazda Miata, a car with a very small amount of power, but which is so small and lightweight that it flies around turns and even race tracks, making it a great sports car, at a very affordable price. Muscle cars are usually American, and are known for having ample power. Muscle cars — such as the Ford Mustang — are loud and proud, and are wildly fast thanks to their significant amounts of horsepower and torque.
This article was provided by Taylor Morford, classic car enthusiast and racecar driver in-training. If you’re a business or car dealer looking to service your customers the best that you can, Taylor recommends CRM dealer software.