Best SPORT GPL cars...

1. BMW i8

...Starting price: $136,500

EPA combined city and highway mileage: 78 mpg

Don't let the scissor doors fool you: this is every bit the fuel-sipping plug-in hybrid. That 357-horsepower, twin turbo engine on the front axle has only three cylinders and gets a whole lot of help from an electric motor on the rear axle. A combination of aluminum and carbon fiber lighten the frame enough to give the i8 a combined range of 330 miles and keep its gas-only fuel consumption down to a manageable 28 mpg combined. An 8.8-inch touchscreen display handles the navigation, telematics, concierge service, HD radio and satellite radio through voice commands, while a full-color heads-up display keeps all pertinent information at eye level. Combined with memory that restores your seat, climate, mirror, audio and light settings, all of the above gives the i8 supercar feel with more sensible mileage.

  • Sleek coupe looks
  • Unparalleled fuel efficiency
  • Calm all-electric running in town
  • Electric boost in Sport mode

2. 2015 Tesla Model S P85D

Starting price: $108,000

EPA combined city and highway mileage: 93 mpg

Yeah, we're not leaving this off the list. Beyond its 254-mile electric range, 259 horsepower up front motor and 503 hp in the rear, the Model S P85D tops out at 155 mph and has a ton of tech features controlled by its 17-inch touchscreen. Your radio, backup camera, phone, climate controls, calendar and navigation are all built in, but so are autopilot features that can take over when stop-and-go traffic won't let you open up the throttle and hit more open road.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held TK positions in the stocks mentioned.

Tesla's Model S P85D acts like a car built on the mantra “Waiting is for suckers.” This 691-hp battery-electric vehicle is for the impatient, the toe tappers, and the watch checkers. Tesla claims that the P85D is capable of reaching 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, shaving 1.4 seconds from the rear-drive P85 it replaces

3. 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder

Starting price: $847,975

EPA combined city and highway mileage: 67 mpge

When we say the following, keep in mind that we're talking about a hybrid: 887 horsepower, 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds, a top speed of 214 mph. The electric motors put out 286 horsepower on their own and, combined with a 601-horsepower, 4.6-liter V8, push this carbon-fiber dream car either through electric power alone, various hybrid modes or its red-button “hot lap” mode. At this price, a leather-and-brushed-aluminum interior is a given -- as are a rain-sensing windshield wiper, heated side mirrors, backup camera and Porsche Communication Management (with 3D navigation display, 7-inch touch screen, central high-resolution 8-inch TFT display, two USB ports, SD card, WiFi and Bluetooth, satellite radio, HD radio and a Burmester 11-speaker surround sound system). Yes, it's efficient... until you run out of electricity. Then, the mileage drops to a scant 22 mpg combined.

4. 2016 Honda CR-Z EX

Starting price: $21,990

EPA combined city and highway mileage: 37.5 mpg automatic, 34.5 mpg manual

We were going to go with the base model for slightly less, but the 130 horsepower on this light little tuner favorite made us think the leather steering wheel, aluminum pedals, ambient console lighting, seven-speaker sound system, optional navigation and fog lights might be fun little add-ons. Granted, if you're going to get this car street ready, you're likely going to make a whole lot of modifications after it leaves the dealership, but given the cost of the remaining cars on this list, it doesn't hurt to splurge.

5. 2016 Mazda .

Starting price: $16,945

EPA combined city and highway mileage: 35 mpg

The Mazda3 makes earns the “sporty” distinction thanks to a striking amount of power in an extremely small space. A 2-liter engine gives this little hatch 155 horsepower, which basically dusts most vehicles in its class while still putting up nearly 36 miles per gallon of fuel efficiency. Meanwhile, even this vehicle's lesser trims come with standard Bluetooth, six-speaker audio and the Mazda Connect system with 7-inch full color touchscreen, multi-function Commander control, voice command, HD Radio, Pandora, auto text and voice reply and E911 emergency notification. The 12 cubic feet of trunk space isn't great, but it works out just fine if you travel light.

  • Extra safety equipment
  • A number of small but worthy cabin improvements
  • G-Vectoring system seems to work
  • Remains one of the most fun small cars to drive

6. 2016 Mini Cooper Coupe

Starting price: $22,000

EPA combined city and highway mileage: 32 mpg

Small cars were once underpowered, cramped and inherently bad vehicles fit only for game show giveaways. As films like 2002's Austin Powers: Goldmember and 2003's The Italian Job showed U.S. audiences, however, a modernized take on the classic British Mini could not only be fuel-efficient, but fun and fast at the same time.

The Mini's toys, including Mini Connected entertainment center featuring a 6.5-inch high-definition display, Apple-designed Bluetooth interface and app for smartphone and iTunes connectivity and optional GPS all make this remarkably zippy 121 horsepower subcompact a fun ride. The Sirius satellite radio, Pandora and HD radio just provide the soundtrack.

7. 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Starting price: $24,915

EPA combined city and highway mileage: 31.5 mpg

It's been a retiree favorite for years, but this drop-top two-seater is also a favorite among gearheads for a few big reasons: it hugs turns like a rally car and puts out Porsche Boxster performance without the price. Redesigned this year with lower ground clearance than ever and with musclebound, stingray-style curves, the Miata is also 148 pounds lighter. That's great for its mileage and for the addition of perks like a Mazda Connect touchscreen and communications system, but it also helps that 2.0-liter, 155-horsepower engine seem a bit peppier.

The Miata is the most driving fun you can have at legal speeds. That’s the best thing about this car – you don’t need to be doing 90 miles per hour on a two-lane backroad to experience its true greatness. Throw it into a bend at 40 mph and the car feels like it rotates around you. Cruise down the freeway at 75 mph with the top down and you won’t need to go even a smidge faster to crack a smile. I’m a huge believer in the theory that it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than the inverse, and the Miata is tangible validation of that philosophy.

To expand on that point, all parts of the driving experience are an enthusiast’s dream. I love the engaging, short throws of the six-speed manual shifter. The steering wheel is thin, but light and communicative in action. The chassis flexes and rolls to the exact degree I want, to really feel what every single tire is doing as I move down the road. It’s honestly one of the most involving motoring experiences you can have today.

You can really notice and feel how every part of this car was designed around the driver. It’s not just in the driving experience, either. The tops of the seatbacks aren’t too huggy or plush, to allow for a better range of motion so you can raise and lower the soft top with one hand

8. 2016 Hyundai Veloster

Starting price: $18,000

EPA combined city and highway mileage: 31 mpg

Aimed toward the same drivers who loved the Mini's deceptive quickness, the Veloster's a light little speedster whose 1.6-liter engine and 132 horsepower are more than adequate for its needs -- but whose $3,600 201-hp turbo upgrade makes it deceptively quick. Unlike the Mini, however, the Veloster's sleek styling evokes more of a sports car than a retro subcompact. Given the frugal nature of today's car buyer, the Veloster's popularity is likely based more on its combined 31 miles per gallon and ten-year warranty than its alloy wheels, 7-inch touchscreen entertainment system with game console capability or Blue Link telematics and roadside assistance. Yet the fact that its driver's side has one door and the other has two gives it just enough character to make a case to bold-thinking bargain buyers.

"...My 2016 Veloster with the navigation and appearance packages now has over 16,000 miles on it, and, I still LOVE it . I put a Thule rack on it and carry a 16' Kevlar Canoe and a 14' kayak on it, with NO PROBLEM, although, I certainly get plenty of looks. I think it is a cool little car with a unique look.."

9. 2015 Fiat 500 Abarth

Starting price: $22,495

EPA combined city and highway mileage: 31 mpg

The cinquecento may be a tiny car, but it's now Dodge's Italian cousin and has a whole lot of brawn to live up to. The 500 measures a scant 144 inches long and 64 inches wide, gives parallel parkers a 30.6-inch turning radius for squeezing into tight spots and finds room for 9.5 cubic feet of trunk space -- nearly double that of the Mini. The retractable, pool-cover-style sunroof, power outlets, five cup holders, cruise control, power windows and 38 miles-per-gallon highway mileage are a whole lot cooler to the post-bailout buyer base than gas-guzzling reincarnations of the Dodge Charger and Challenger, but don't discount that 1.4-liter, 160-horsepower engine. Thanks to its performance suspension and electronic stability control, it can keep pace with some surprising competitors.

f you’re looking for something practical, affordable and efficient but not boring, the 2015 Fiat 500 subcompact is a viable

10. Tie: 2016 Subaru BRZ /2016 Scion FR-S

Starting price: $25,695/$26,100

EPA combined city and highway mileage: 29.5 mpg

They're the same car, save for a few superficial diffences. Jointly developed by both Toyota and Subaru and manufactured solely by Subaru, BRZ and FR-S are sold in Japan as the Toyota 86. The differences between the two come down to paint, body configurations and other trinkets, but that rear-wheel-drive and 2.0-liter 200-horsepower engine are what keep knowledgeable performance car enthusiasts coming back for more. No, it isn't going to blow anyone off the line, but it handles incredibly well in the turns and sounds loud and proud when you're redlining your way through the gearbox.


  • Simple, quality interior
  • Classic coupe styling
  • Nimble handling
  • Low price
  • Light weight