Sports cars are arguably every car enthusiast’s guilty pleasure and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. They’ve been helping ugly guys get laid since time immemorial – or is that alcohol?! Regardless, a sport car is still one of the easiest ways to get some attention and this time we’ll focus on some of the best 2021 sports cars that should be able to do just that.
On a more serious note, the sports cars market share has been dropping for years now. Although it’s never constituted a significant portion of the entire car market (regardless of a region), market share drops in recent years aren’t far away from being alarming. For instance, the sports cars market in 2019 makes as little as 0.8 percent of the entire European car market which is a slight drop from 0.9 percent in 2018. Things were even worse on a global scale where sports cars (both affordable and luxury ones) accounted for only 0.6 percent of entire sales in 2018.
The U.S. market, on the other hand, has always been a staunch defender of sports cars. Although things aren’t exactly rosy, revenue in the sports cars market in the U.S. so far in 2019 amounts to $16.7 million which is by far the most of any other single market. For instance, the same figure in Germany amounts to $5.3 million. Per capita picture is somewhat different, however, as Germany has around 83 million inhabitants and is roughly four times smaller market than the U.S. which has more than 272 million inhabitants.
Let’s finally take a closer look at some of the best sports cars 2021 will be bringing to market regardless of their price tag.
06. 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Ever since it first came out back in 1989, the Miata held its ground among the best 2-seat sports cars money can buy. The affordable Japanese two-seater might be deep in its fourth generation, but Mazda won’t rock the boat during MY 2021. Instead, the MX-5 should carry over mostly unchanged. After all, why shouldn’t it? Its combination of sublime handling capabilities, light frame, and Mazda’s award-winning styling are unparalleled in the segment.
Available either as a soft-top convertible or a retractable hard-top fastback, the MX-5 Miata offers plenty of versatility even for the most pickiest of convertible buyers. As mentioned above, nothing radical is expected to change going into 2021, so expect the affordable sports car to continue offering the same package as it does right now.
The same goes for its interior. The current Miata is a well-appointed sports car that offers just enough high-end trim pieces to elevate itself above the conventional affordable car disposition. However, none of the advanced safety features are available in the entry-level Sport trim. Blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alerts are standard with the Club trim, while the range-topping Grand Touring grade adds lane departure warning and automatic braking feature among other things.
There’s only one engine serving the Miata lineup regardless of chosen trim or model. A 2.0L Skyactiv 4-cylinder is good enough for 181 horses and 151 pound-feet of torque, and redlines at 7,500 rpm. It comes either with a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, or a corresponding 6-speed stick which is up to $1,350 cheaper in entry levels.
Speaking of prices, the soft-top Miata with a manual starts from just under $26,000, while the Grand Touring models cost almost $31,000. The MX-5 Miata RF continues from there by starting from around $32,500, but can cost more than $34,500 if ordered with an auto and additional equipment.
05. 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo
The 992-generation of arguably the most iconic sports car in automotive history arrived without too much fanfare during MY 2019. The Stuttgart-based manufacturer has been rather slow in introducing the most powerful models and the entry-level Carrera’s simply failed to generate much needed fuss. This is about to change during model year 2021 when the Porsche 911 Turbo models are expected to arrive. Not to mention the track-focused GT variants. What’s more, nothing radical has changed – at least as far as 911’s exterior is concerned.
Speaking of which, the all-new Porsche 911 carries over with a well-known Porsche design that’s been around since the sports car’s inauguration in the early sixties. However, the new car relies mostly on aluminum for body panels and gains almost two inches in width compared to its predecessor. Lighter and wider, the new 911 handles even better than the outgoing 991 Series models.
As the 992-generation’s halo model, the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo adopts the new interior design with a touch of aggressiveness coming from aluminum accents and stitching that screams performance. As far as the technological side of things is concerned, the 911 Turbo offers a full stack of advanced driver’s aids which is hardly surprising considering its high price tag.
The engine behind the most powerful of the next-gen 911’s will remain a twin-turbocharged 3.8L flat-six. This time, however, it’s expected to crank up as much as 600 horsepower instead of 540 ponies the outgoing models make. And that’s apparently just the base version. The even more powerful Porsche 911 Turbo S models could be making as much as 640 ponies. An 8-speed PDK transmission will remain the only choice and power will be routed to all four corners.
The all-new Porsche 911 Turbo should actually be ready in time for MY 2020 but the lineup probably won’t be completed prior to MY 2021 as convertibles are expected to arrive later. A starting price of around $200,000 for the Turbo S models shouldn’t come as a surprise. The base units, however, should start from around $170,000. Of course, the mentioned convertibles should add some $15,000 to mentioned stickers.
04. 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
After decades of rumors and speculation, the archetype American sports car finally switches to the mid-engine layout. This will initially mean an increase in production costs, but will also ultimately help the ‘Vette in reaching its full potential and finally becoming a car it probably should have become years ago. The most powerful models are still a few years away and we’ll have to remain content with the level of performance similar to that of the outgoing C7 generation.
Not only does it sport a radically different powertrain layout, but the eighth-generation Corvette also boast a number of structural differences in its platform which is understandable. Furthermore, the new car is much more angular in appearance which is another byproduct of its engine layout. However, we won’t hold any of the above stated against it as the C8 Corvette appears to be one of the best sports cars 2021 will have to offer.
Divided into three trim levels, the C8 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray offers everything from a premium Bose sound system, over heated and ventilated seats, to plenty of suede leather surfaces all over the cabin. However, every single one of them comes at extra cost. So does the $5,000 Z51 performance package which adds an electronically controlled limited-slip diff, beefier Brembos, Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, and a larger exhaust worthy of another 5 horsepower. Stiffer Z51 suspension setup with Magnetic Selective Ride Control feature costs another $1,895 atop of that.
The engine Chevy engineers decided to put behind the driver is nothing other than a 6.2L small-block V8 they like to call the LT2. It produces either 490 ponies or 495 horses with the above mentioned performance package. For now, it’s exclusively tied to a contemporary 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission but a proper stick might be introduced with high-end performance models later in ‘Vette’s life cycle.
The entry-level Corvette Stingray starts from $59,995 for MY 2020, but its prices soar quickly from there. Opt for all the extras and see its sticker easily surpassing the $80,000 mark. And that’s just the targa-top model. A retractable hard-top convertible costs even more to begin with, while the forthcoming high-performance models are expected to warrant much more than that. Finally, all 2021 models will likely see their base prices increased by at least $1,000 or $2,000.
03. 2021 Acura NSX Type R
Plenty of time has passed since Honda decided to resurrect the legendary nameplate. Meanwhile, the NSX has been more or less successful, but the hype is long gone for the modern Japanese sports car bordering on supercar performance. This is about to get changed as the ultimate performance Acura NSX Type R is about to make its debut at the Tokyo auto show.
Design-wise, the new ultimate NSX won’t differ much from the conventional lineup. Aside from the hallmark Type R red badge and corresponding striping, the new model is expected to adopt a more aggressive aero pack with larger air intakes, different front splitter and rear diffuser, and possibly a beefier spoiler as well.
A similar theme is expected to carry over inside the cars where red stitching and accents upon suede leather look like a safe bet. Whether the Japanese are thinking of implementing a new infotainment system or possibly even some new advanced electronic gear, is still unclear at this point. It’s evident that the new model could use them, though. Especially considering a huge price hike is also expected to take place.
The most powerful Acura NSX ever made will continue to utilize the intelligent 3.5L twin-turbo V6 setup flanked by a trio of electric motors. Instead of 573 horsepower it currently makes in regular models, the Type R badge should be able to squeeze as much as 650 ponies without too much fuss. The high-performance version of the NSX is expected to carry over with an all-wheel drive system and a 9-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
The 2021 Acura NSX Type R will make its official debut at the 2019 Tokyo motor show before reaching dealerships later during 2020. Initial price tags are expected to sit around the $200,000 mark, but there’s always room for improvement on that part. Whether that’s a fair price for one of the best 2021 sports cars, you be the judge.
02. 2021 Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ
Despite the fact that Toyota now once again has the iconic Supra in its portfolio, the Japanese can’t afford to let the smaller and more affordable Toyota 86 die on the vine. And neither can Subaru with whom they’ve developed the 2-door coupe in the first place. The second-generation Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ won’t be radically different than their predecessors, but a number of changes are expected to take place nonetheless.
The 2021 Toyota 86 and 2021 Subaru BRZ will again be co-developed by two Japanese companies. Again, Toyota will be the one to provide a platform, while Subaru is left to take care of the Boxer engine which is their specialty after all. It’s still unclear whether the next-gen “Toyobaru” will utilize the TNGA platform or an updated version of the current setup. We’ll have to remain patient for a while longer before the official prototype makes its debut.
More of the same can be expected inside. The new generation of the “Toyobaru” twins will, however, boast much more in terms of advanced safety goodies. Not only that, but more convenience features as well. Although neither are what’s traditionally important in sports cars, the recent car industry trends can’t be denied.
Subaru’s contribution to the affordable sports car collaboration will apparently be the new 2.4L turbocharged flat-four mill that first appeared in the Ascent SUV. The engine is good enough for 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of twist which represents a considerable improvement over the outgoing model’s 205 hp and 156 lb-ft. Rear-wheel drive is expected to remain the sole option, while both the manual and automatic transmissions should carry over as well.
The next-gen Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ are expected to be revealed sometime in 2020 while their arrival to dealerships should happen in 2021. Prices will likely remain in place with possibility of a slight increase. At the moment, the 86 starts from just north of $26,500, while the only non-all-wheel drive Subaru model costs almost $29,000 in its most affordable form.
01. 2021 Lotus Evija
Probably out of average Joe’s and plain Jane’s price range – the all-new Lotus Evija represents the pinnacle of automotive evolution. It’s both a statement of intent on Lotus’s part which recently got acquired by Geely, and a gauntlet thrown to other hypercar manufacturers out there. The Evija won’t be the only extravagantly expensive hypercar to appear in 2021 but it’s always nice to see a company as beloved as the British sports car manufacturer getting back on the right track.
The most ambitious Lotus product thus far boasts a single-piece carbon-fiber monocoque structure and a hypercar-worthy design riddled with air intakes and body twists all around. They actually represent the F1-styled Drag Reduction System which helps the Evija achieve its world-shattering acceleration figures. The all-electric hypercar weighs only 3,704 pounds in spite of the fact it employs no less than four rather large and powerful electric motors.
Interior is somewhat stingy on the extravagant but still futuristic and refined enough. The British have managed to find a fine line between offering a comfortable cabin and saving on weight. Apart from a set of supportive seats, the first thing that captures the imagination is a tiny hexagonal-shaped steering wheel riddled with controls.
The ludicrous powertrain consists of no less than four electric motors driving each wheel and producing a grand total of 1,972 horsepower and 1,254 pound-feet of rotational force. This is more than handful to propel the supercar from standstill to 60 mph in under 3 seconds on a way to the top speed which exceeds 200 mph. Meanwhile, the Evija’s 70-kWh battery pack provides up to 250 miles of total range (if caution is exercised, of course), and should be able to provide up to 80 percent charge in just 12 minutes with the optional 800 kW chargers.
The 2021 Lotus Evija is limited to only 130 extremely expensive units, all of which have already been spoken for. The price tag, if you wonder, was set around $2.1 million. Although it’s one of the best 2021 sports cars, the Evija is definitely in a class of its own.