This article may contain affiliate links. That means Acceleramota could receive a small payout after visiting certain links on this page and, in some cases, after doing so and then making a purchase. Our automotive coverage is independently produced by our editorial team and is not influenced by our affiliate partners. Any opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s).
Buying GuidesFeatures

10 lightweight sports cars you can buy today

Hankering to simplify and add lightness? Check out these lighter menu items.

Ariel Atom 4Image credit: Ariel Motor Company

Anyone looking for pure, svelte driver’s cars that are fun to whip around on weekend trips up and down PCH should look no further.  The beautiful idea of well-balanced power-to-weight ratios is usually best represented in lightweight sports cars. From 2+2s to roadsters, they provide a lightweight chassis, balanced handling, and a thrilling driving experience. Every day driving through crowded intersections, windy roads, or the track on weekends, the versatility of these modern machines offers a unique fun-to-drive factor. 

Nowadays, many lightweight sports cars provide approachable driving characteristics and price points that won’t absolutely break the bank. However, there are some that will push your driving skills and bank accounts to new limits. Anyone interested in the lightest sports cars that can be purchased this year should look no further. 

Mazda MX-5 Miata (ND)

Weight: 2,341 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Undoubtedly the most nimble drive on sale
  • Impressive fuel efficiency

What’s not?

  • A bit cramped for the average American
  • Can get expensive as you climb the trim ladder

The Mazda MX-5 Miata has spent decades maintaining its reputation for giving nothing less than a spirited driving experience. For those who can fit comfortably within its front mid-engine layout, there’s so much to appreciate with the classic yet modern feel. Top-down in the convertible option or closed in, there’s nothing like Mazda’s little roadster.

“ND2” variants and newer pack a 2.0-liter engine with about 181 horsepower and deliver a zippy yet smooth ride. The recently revealed ND3 adds updated tech and a retuned steering rack geared for improved precision and feel. Its manual or automatic transmission options ensure quick acceleration in approximately six seconds from 0 to 60 mph, although magazines have extracted even better test numbers from such a spritely car. Built for rear-wheel drive and agile handling, it promises overwhelmingly enjoyable driving.

Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86

Weight: 2,815 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Powerful engine for the price 
  • Awesome, track-capable handling 

What’s not?

  • Most hot hatches are quicker nowadays
  • Not the most practical entry-level performance car

Behold a fan favorite here at Acceleramota and one our editor has recently had the opportunity of road-tripping. The Toyota and Subaru collaboration has left the BRZ as the surviving and thriving of the two, at least in the wake of the GR86’s reportedly out-of-wack markups. Its agile handling, rear-wheel-drive dynamics, and precise steering are becoming just as recognizable as its boxer engine. The 86’s and BRZ’s balanced performance, affordability, and enthusiast-focused design captivate drivers seeking a truly engaging ride.

The second-gen Toyobaru platform continues its legacy with a 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated boxer engine, producing 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a choice of a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, it boasts rear-wheel drive, a lower center of gravity, improved handling, and a refined chassis for an exhilarating driving experience. 2024 BRZ models now launch with EyeSight safety assists and a hot new tS model, while GR86s gain their own suite of similar safety tech and an Initial D fanboy-spec Trueno model.

Honda CR-Z

Weight: 2,639 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Sporty look and handling 
  • Fantastic hybrid fuel economy 

What’s not?

  • Rear visibility is a bit poor
  • Tiny size means it’s not for hoarders or Ubers

Discontinued in 2016, the Honda CR-Z was a sporty hybrid coupe that blended efficiency with style.  Its innovative design featured a 1.5-liter engine paired with an electric motor, offering a modest 122 horsepower. The CR-Z is now appreciated in the used market for its unique hybrid concept and agile handling.

The 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine coupled with a hybrid electric motor generates a combined output of 122 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque (123 pound-feet in CVT cars). Inventive for its time, the Honda CR-Z was one of the rare hybrid sports cars to be equipped with a six-speed manual alongside its CVT transmission. They weren’t fast! But they were spritely enough. And to have a sporty, manual hybrid econobox that could zip to 60 in under ten seconds in the early 2010s was something to brag about. I guess. Maybe. Supercharged CR-Z HPD, anyone?

Alfa Romeo 4C

Weight: 2,487 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Efficient yet powerful engine 
  • Great mini-supercar handling 

What’s not?

  • Lacks good rear-view visibility and cargo room
  • What in the heck is that 2 Fast 2 Furious radio radio unit?

Lightweight design, turbocharged power, and exceptional agility make the Alfa Romeo 4C as legendary as it was divisive… Like, really divisive. Still cool, though! And still a featherweight worthy of this list. With striking aesthetics and racing DNA, it captivated enthusiasts. Offering a unique blend of performance, analog purity, and style, its departure leaves a void in the realm of iconic sports cars.

The Alfa Romeo 4C features a 1.7-liter turbocharged engine producing 237 horsepower, paired with a dual-clutch automatic transmission. With a carbon fiber monocoque chassis, it weighed merely 2,487 pounds. This mid-engine sports car could sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds, boasting impressive performance and agile handling, granted you can get to grips with that manual steering rack.

Lotus Exige

Weight: 2,593 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Top-tier sports car performance
  • Great fuel economy

What’s not?

  • May be difficult to get in and out of
  • The very definition of having a spartan interior

Discontinued in 2021, the final Lotus Exige epitomized automotive excellence. With its lightweight design, remarkable agility, and supercharged engine, the Exige offered an unmatched driving experience. Its aerodynamic finesse and track-focused precision made it a legendary icon among sports cars, capturing enthusiasts with its raw performance.

Before the end of its run, the final-generation Lotus Exige boasted impressive specs. It featured a supercharged Toyota-derived 3.5-liter V6 engine producing up to 345 horsepower. The Exige Cup 430 went even further, pushing roughly 430 horsepower. Weighing around 2,500 pounds, it sprinted from 0 to 60 mph in about 3.5 seconds, although earlier four-cylinder variants were even lighter than that, tipping in at a hair beneath one ton. Its aerodynamics, coupled with a six-speed manual gearbox, ensured exceptional handling and track performance.

Ariel Atom

Weight: 1,349 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Unique go-cart x Formula car design
  • Wicked fast and impossibly nimble, given its design

What’s not?

  • Not very practical for daily drivers… like, at all
  • Rare and expensive

The Ariel Atom’s thrill lies in its “no-frills” design, boasting crazy speed and handling. Its lightweight structure and powerful engine make it feel like driving a rocket. It’s an open-air, Formula 1-like experience, an adrenaline rush for anyone seeking pure, unadulterated driving joy or to show the Spec Miata club racers that it is not they who have been chosen to wield one of the UK’s finest.

Sourcing a Honda 2.0-liter i-VTEC or supercharged 2.4-liter mill, depending on the model, the Ariel Atom can hit 60 in under three seconds. However, should you yearn for more, the newly-minted Ariel Atom 4 sports a turbocharged Civic Type R motor, and yesteryear’s limited Ariel Atom 500 rocked a firebreathing 3.0-liter 500-horsepower V8. Other features include a six-speed gearbox and finely tuned suspension. Goggles or eyeglasses, not included, but you’ll need them.

McLaren 600LT

Weight: 3,099 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Blistering supercar speed
  • Agile handling

What’s not?

  • Questionable McLaren reliability 
  • Probably the most expensive car here

McLaren’s limited Longtail series production might have shifted focus recently, but the McLaren 600LT excels due to its potent 592-hp twin-turbo V8, track-focused Longtail design, and exceptional handling. Introduced in 2018, this model showcased McLaren’s racing heritage like no other in the form of a lighter, more ferocious iteration of its Sports Series 570S model.

The McLaren 600LT features a 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine producing 592 horsepower, enabling it to hit 60 mph in approximately 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 204 mph. Sporting a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, it flaunts a track-focused design with advanced aerodynamics, carbon fiber components, and precise handling.

Audi TT

Weight: 3,197 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Awesome, baby supercar design
  • Matches handling with true sports car acceleration

What’s not?

  • Back seats are pretty useless
  • Not as engaging as other cars in its class

Sleek style and turbocharged performance make the Audi TT an outstanding coupe. It’s a dandy little sports car with the look and handling of performance cars far more expensive. Baby R8, maybe? You’re right. Too far-fetched.

The 2024 Audi TT boasts a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, delivering around 228 horsepower. Its lightning-quick seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and all-wheel drive system offer superb handling. Hotted-up S variants turn up the wick further to 292 horsepower, while a 400-horsepower, turbo five-cylinder TT RS model sits atop the food chain as a bonafide baby supercar. 

Mini Cooper John Cooper Works

Weight: 2,892 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Punchy powertrain
  • Handling is top-tier

What’s not? 

  • Expensive for a hot hatch
  • Not so “mini” anymore

The 2024 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works epitomizes thrilling performance in a compact package. With its turbocharged engine, precise handling, and iconic design, this model offers an exhilarating driving experience. Its fusion of style, agility, and power makes it an outstanding choice for car enthusiasts seeking an extraordinary ride.

Boasting a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that produces around 228 horsepower, the Mini Cooper John Cooper Works is paired with a six-speed manual or optional automatic transmission. However, should you wish, older variants with a 1.6-liter supercharged four-banger deliver their own kind of raucous fun. The current model’s enhanced suspension, Brembo brakes, 18-inch wheels, and sport-tuned exhaust system ensure agile handling and a thrilling driving experience, granted you can live with the lofty price tag new Minis are capable of.

Porsche 911 S/T

Weight: 3,056 pounds

What’s hot?

  • Perhaps one of, if not the best, driver’s car on sale today
  • Delightfully premium interior 

What’s not?

  • Could still be too hardcore for some, despite its road-oriented bias
  • Forget what I said about the McLaren’s price. This will make the dreamers cry

The 2024 Porsche 911 S/T kills for many reasons, as the lightest model from the hallowed German company one can purchase today. Its sleek design, coupled with a robust twin-turbo engine, delivers unparalleled performance. Cutting-edge technology seamlessly integrates with luxurious comfort, making every drive an exhilarating experience, setting a new benchmark.

Based on the 911 GT3 and copying the homework of the acclaimed 911 R, the S/T boasts a naturally-aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six engine and pushes around 518 horsepower. It accelerates to 60 mph in approximately 3.5 seconds. Equipped with God’s gift, a wonderfully analog six-speed stick managing power to the rear wheels, it’s as pure as a modern sports car driving experience can be. Good luck getting your hands on one, even if you have the dough.

Author