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Article: Our top 10 best [used] exotic sports cars for under $100k

Our top 10 best [used] exotic sports cars for under $100k

Our top 10 best [used] exotic sports cars for under $100k

So, you’re interested in owning an exotic sports car but can’t stomach the thought of spending a quarter of a million dollars on a brand-new vehicle? And if that cost is not enough to deter you, you quickly remind yourself that it will depreciate the second the dealer hands over the keys. Not to mention you would then be terrified to drive it, afraid you might get rock chips following too close on the freeway. Well, you are not alone. Many exotic car owners purchase their prized, albeit bucket list cars second hand. We are here to show you how obtainable some of your all-time favorite exotic are.

Now we must start by saying this list is highly subjective, and we tend to have a heavy bias towards Italian and German automakers. But with that said, we did our best to outline some of the best ‘bargains’ one may find if looking to get into the exotic car market. Keep in mind, despite some enticing purchase prices listed below, there are additional costs that should be considered such as above average insurance premiums, costly maintenance, and general access to qualified service technicians.

Additionally, the benefits and drawbacks of owning exotic cars can also be subjective however here are a few that apply to nearly all of the cars on our list…


Performance – All of these cars are at the top end of the performance spectrum. Meaning engine performance, handling, and top end speed are going to be key drivers in ones decision. Whether you want a naturally aspirated V8, twin turbo, or flat six, this list has something for everyone.

Styling – It should go without saying that exotic cars are among the most beautifully styled automobiles on the market. Sweeping lines, fine leather, and hand stitched detail are common among the cars on this list.

Exclusivity – Regardless of the car on this list, you will be hard pressed to find the same car in your neighbor’s garage. Unless you live in Southern California where Porsche’s and Ferrari’s are seen as often as Honda Accords. Nevertheless, all of the cars on this list are head turners and you will be welcomed with open arms at your local cars and coffee.


Maintenance – I am sure you can imagine that the up keep of an exotic car is going to be above average, but what does that mean exactly? Well…it means potentially spending tens of thousands (yes…we said tens) depending on the car and the type of work. Because of the configuration of various cars engine and transmission placement, often times the engine is required to be removed to replace belts, hoses, etc. Additionally, it isn’t just cost that can become an issue but also access to parts and qualified mechanics and technicians. Again, if you live in Southern California, or any other major city, there is most likely a Ferrari shop within a few miles. However, if you live in smaller communities, you may not be so fortunate. This may make an option like an Audi more appealing as shops are most likely more abundant. This doesn’t however mean parts are available. Sticking with the Ferrari example, the Italian manufacturer may (or may not) have parts available in Italy. If not, you may have to resort to scouring the internet. Or even worse, waiting for enough requests for the same part that the manufacturer is willing to produce it in a small production run.

Practicality – Let’s be honest, none of these cars are ‘practical’ but that is exactly why they are so appealing. We know they only have two seats (with the exception of some Porsche’s), we know the fuel mileage isn’t great, there is very little storage, and they are most likely uncomfortable. But who cares? Not us.

Depreciation – Of all of the drawbacks, this one really only applies to all cars, more so for new vehicles.  Of which none of the cars on our list are. But it is worth noting that most cars can (and will) depreciate. If you are one of the lucky ones, your car may reach collector car status or increase in demand in which it may begin to appreciate. This is hard to predict but if you are close enough to the car market you can start to see trends in vehicles popularity. Again, while depreciation is an obvious drawback of owning an exotic car, when it comes to our list this depreciation hit taken by the first owner actually bodes in our (or your) favor.

Now after all this, if you are still hell bent on getting into the exotic car market let’s get to the list. We scoured the internet to see just how obtainable various exotic cars are and here is what we found…

Ranked from least to most expensive…

1. Dodge Viper | Various Model Years | $30k - $90k USD
Top Gear's guilty pleasures: the original Dodge Viper | Top Gear
copyright BBC Top Gear
Now, the Dodge Viper may not be the first car that comes to mind when you think exotic cars, but we would be safe to bet that you probably cannot remember the last time you saw one. For this reason, and because of the price tag, we believe this is an incredible buy. Depending on how far back you want to go, the early models can be snagged for a mere mid $30,000 USD. Also, the body style has not changed drastically over the years, and the sweeping, more round body of the early models is actually aging quite well. The early models interior leaves a bit to be desired, so that would be a potential drawback, but again, exclusivity is a real plus here. Also, they are loud and fast, especially with a V10.

2. Aston Martin Vantage Coupe | 2006 – 2022 | $60k - $99 USD
Aston Martin V12 Vantage S - Large 1
copyright Romans International
Now you may think it’s the inner James Bond or how much we like Fish and Chips, but in either case you would be right.  But that is not why we love this Aston Martin. Aston Martin’s boast classic and timeless designs with loads of motorsport history. The iconic grill carries from generation to generation making them unmistakable and the interiors are extremely luxurious. We love a silver with saddle interior. You can have your racing green. As like the Viper, there are not as many Aston Martin’s around as you may think. So again, exclusivity is a plus here.

3. Mercedes-Benz AMG GT Coupe | 2016 – 2020 | $60k - $99k USD
2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT C Coupe Exterior. European Edition 50 Model Shown.
photo copyright Edmunds
If you haven’t taken a look at one of these lately, we highly suggest you give Google a quick search. The long bonnet and slanted boot on these gives on an extremely sporty and aggressive stance. And the sound they make is surprisingly deep and throating coming from the V8. There are various models in the line up so the price seen here is certainly not for the Black Series, but nonetheless the styling and performance has remained very consistent from year to year making this a great buy. The interior is very luxurious as you would expect from a Benz. It is a bit of a snug cockpit, but the racer in us appreciates that, and welcomes a bit of a cramped space.

4. Audi R8 Coupe and Spider | 2008 – 2015 | $60k - $99k USD
The Audi R8: Origins, Generations, Specifications
photo copyright Motortrend
Maybe not the rarest of the bunch, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when it comes to maintenance. There are a lot more Audi dealerships around than Ferrari. Although this is a plus, it is not why we like this car in our Top 10. We like it because it has mid-engine, all-wheel drive, and an option for a Lamborghini V10. Now don’t get too excited, the V10s are more sought after and thus may be harder to find. Either way, the R8 is another great option for the entry level buyer.

5. Ferrari 360 Spider | 1999 – 2005 | $70k - $99k USD
Used 2004 Ferrari 360 Modena Spyder For Sale (Sold) | West Coast Exotic  Cars Stock #C1917
photo copyright West Coast Exotic Cars
The first Spider (convertible) on the list, the Ferrari 360 is one of the most popular models within the Italian automakers line up. To some the convertible is the least desirable of the models and we would have to agree. However, there is still something to be said about having a prancing horse in your garage. Yes you lose some of the cars stiffness and rigidity in the convertible, but I bet less than 1% of Ferrari owners actually track their car. And to those we applaud you. After all these cars are meant to be driven. But for the other 99%, the Spider is not a bad option. Still beautiful, still fast, still a Ferrari. The sound of the 360s 3.6L V8 has a very distinct, very Italian sound that is sure to peak the ears of any car enthusiast. Additionally, it is much less to maintain than its predecessor the F355.

6. Honda (Acura) NSX | 1991 – 2001 | $80k - $90k USD
Acura NSX, Nissan Skyline NISMO, Honda Civic - Sports Car Market
photo copyright Keith Martin's Sports Car Market
 Note the year for our #6 car…we are not talking about the new generation of NSX. Stylistically we are not fans, however the first generation of NSX we love. L – O – V – E. The styling is iconic and is just as beautiful today as it was then. The roof line is just over 46 inches (1170mm), it offers a manual five speed gearbox, rear wheel drive, and 3.2L VTEC V6 enginge. Throw on some TE37s and some Spoon bits and you are sitting pretty. Take our advice and seriously consider this as your entry into the exotic sports car world. You won’t be disappointed.

7. McLaren MP4-12C | 2012 | $90k USD
Review: McLaren 2012 MP4-12C | WIRED
copyright Wired
You might be saying…yeah right, a McLaren for under $100,000. Well, we also thought that, but to our surprise we actually found a number of MP4-12C’s for under the $100k mark. Now we know the name sounds like a copy machine, but the MP4-12C is a great and very impressive machine. The gullwing doors are always a crowd favorite and the mid-engine 3.8L twin-turbo V8 and exhaust placement don’t exactly scream modesty either. But we like it. And everyone deserves to have all eyes on them from time to time. We aren’t in love with some of the stock wheels options however the ones pictured here are solid.  Besides, any set of rims can be made to look good with a lowered stance.

8. Lamborghini Gallardo Coupe and Spyder | 2004 – 2007 | $90k - $99k USD
2007 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder | Precision Exotics 2007 La… | Flickr
copyright flickr G. Verver

If the McLaren wasn’t gaudy enough for you, how about a Lamborghini Gallardo? Although the Gallardo does not come with the iconic scissor doors, it is still very much a Lambo. Wild edgy body lines, same style of interior as the rest of the fleet, and a screaming V10 with a six speed gear box. These are growing on us, and again, with the right color, stance, and after market wheel these can be very attractive cars.

9. Ferrari F355 Spider | 1995 – 1999 | Mid to High $90k USD
1995 Ferrari F355 Spider | F90 | Monterey 2019
copyright Mecum Auctions
Similar deal as the 360 Spider we referenced earlier. Not the more coveted coupe, but still a Ferrari, and still damn good looking. We are particularly fond of Navy with saddle interior for the Spider version. Makes the black soft top less obvious and for some reason not understood by us, Navy looks good on convertibles. Where the F355 differs from the 360 is in the maintenance department. The F355 is notoriously know for being much more costly to maintain. The engine out for belt service thing is real and makes up keep a real concern any potential owner must acknowledge prior to purchase. However, if you can get by all of that (and we can) then the F355 may be one of the best options on the list. The F355 has arguably one of the best sounding exhaust of any generation of exotics. The 3.8L V8 just screams and paired with a gated six speed gearbox. Additionally, the F355 still features flip up headlights which has since been outlawed. The Ferrari F355 is a rear contender.

10. Porsche 911 Carrera S | 2016 – 2019 | High $90k USD

copyright PCAR Market
The most expensive car on the list is also one of the newest options we uncovered. The 2016 – 2019 model year Porsche 911 Carrera S would put you in the latest of our list but possibly the least unique. The Carrera S is still a great car, but it is not a GT3 or Cup version so it just isn’t as rare or dare we say special as some of the other exotics on here that are much more loud. More of a country club car or grocery getter, its probably the most practical of the bunch. No one will ask for your autograph in this car but there is something to be said for understated beauty. On the other hand, slap some BBS E88’s on this and throw a little camber and all of a sudden you’re an instant crowd favorite a the local car meet.  Nevertheless, we really like the Carrera S as a great entry level exotic sports car.  
Well there you have it.  What we believe to be the best entry level exotic cars you can buy for under $100k.  We hope that although you may not agree with our list, you may now have a better understanding of what cars are worth.  And that owning an exotic car may not be as out of reach as you once thought.

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