We can't all afford to drive a McLaren or a Ferrari, but that doesn't mean we should drive something boring. There are plenty of cars out on the market today that are fun behind the wheel and easy (-ish) on the pocketbook. Here are nine of our editors' favorites.
The C7 Corvette already has exotic lines that make it look far pricier than it is, but the Grand Sport adds enough handling bits to make it easily able to embarrass far more expensive, and more exotic, machines.
The Grand Sport seats two beneath a removable roof, which sounds like a recipe for an amazing drive. Sure, it adds $4,000 to the bottom line, but there's nothing like cruising in a 'Vette with the wind in your hair.
It's a bit long in the tooth, but the beefy 332-horsepower V6 engine still feels very potent and puts its power to the rear wheels via a manual gearbox, just like God intended. And it starts under $30,000.
This generation Z-car has been around forever, so its architecture is fairly simple and the aftermarket for modification is very mature. Want a supercharger? Twin-turbos? Race-ready suspension and brakes? The sky is the limit.
The EcoBoost comes standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. An available performance pack includes a limited-slip rear differential, a larger radiator and rear sway bar, as well as beefier front springs.
The Mustang coupe is still very usable as a daily driver -- certainly more so than a Subaru BRZ or even a Chevy Camaro. Plus, lots of new tech including available Sync3 for MY18 makes it appealing to a wider range of shoppers
Starting at under $30,000, if there's more fun available per dollar in a new car, I haven't found it. Relatively modest power combined with a willing chassis and shifter mean that you can have huge fun at sane speeds, even while commuting.
New for 2018 are optional Recaro seats. The Mazda Connect system with a 7-inch screen controls the 9-speaker Bose audio setup, navigation, satellite radio and Bluetooth. Unfortunately, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren't available.
Sure, the Hellcat costs north of $67,000, but when I do the math, each of the 707 available horsepower only costs $96.17. Compare that to the $275.94 per horsepower for the Porsche 911 Carrera T or even the $171.90 per horsepower for the Mazda Miata, the the Hellcat is an indisputable bargain.
Like the Mazda MX-5, the BRZ offers one of the purest and most fun driving experiences available in a new car today, all for a starting price of $25,595. The 205-horsepower boxer four-cylinder, slick manual gearbox and eager chassis even makes regular drives around town quite entertaining without having to reach speeds that will draw unwanted attention.
If you want tighter handling dynamics, the BRZ is available with Performance Package that adds upgraded Sachs dampers and Brembo brakes. Or you can spring for a tS model, at $33,495, which is the most capable BRZ from the factory you can buy to date.
Andrew Krok's pick: Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack
If you want to spend more, even though you don't have to, you can kit the car out with a wild Shaker hood scoop that acts like a paint mixer gone awry. And if you're willing to wait, Scat Packs for 2019 will get an aluminum hood, launch control, line lock and an available widebody kit.