Who didn't want to drive sports car at some point in their life?
Whether it's a slick, low-slung coupe or a hyperfast top-down, we all want to experience these kinds of cars, even just once. Of course, there are the lucky ones who have enough cash to shell out for these dream machines. But what sports cars are available through local (and official) dealerships?
But first, what exactly counts as a sports car? For this purpose, we're only including coupes, convertibles, and supercars. We won't count hot hatchbacks as sports cars since it's a genre by itself. We also won't include hot sedans and wagons since they're still (somewhat) practical.
What about grand tourers? Those focus on high-speed, long-distance cars and still offer some luxuries, but we'll make a few exceptions. For this list, we're only after cars that offer little to no compromise for maximum enjoyment. So without further delay, let's get to it.
Your “affordable” options
What is the most affordable way into a sports car? Can you still buy one brand new for under PHP 2,000,000? Yes, you can, and you'll have to go to the Mazda dealership for that. The most affordable sports car in the market today is the MX-5 at PHP 1,980,000. The best part is, it comes with an honest-to-goodness six-speed manual transmission.
If you have worries about the soft top, you can opt for the MX-5 RF. This version allows you to enjoy the sun with unlimited headroom, but with the security of a metal folding roof should the weather prove unpredictable. Like the soft top, this one is also available with a six-speed manual. It's a fair bit more expensive than the soft-top though, as it starts at PHP 2,250,000.
But what if you prefer something with a fixed roof but still with a manual? Enter the entry-level Toyota 86. This sports coupe is a hair over PHP 2 million at PHP 2,086,000. For that, you still get a pure driving experience, but you don't have to worry about the weather every time you head out. If you want to be a little different, the Subaru BRZ is still around. The BRZ is essentially the twin of the 86.
Of course, there will be those asking if there are still automatic versions of these available. The answer is yes, and most of them are still below PHP 2,500,000.
Let's say you want something bigger with loads of more presence and attitude. For that, you have three choices, the Ford Mustang, the Chevrolet Camaro, and the Dodge Challenger. While the idea of a turbo-four isn't very muscle car-like, the base Mustang and lone Camaro turbo model still pack a decent punch. Besides, we won't complain about having over 300 PS under the hood for less than PHP 3,500,000.
But for those who prefer the classic formula of V8 power, you'll have to go for the Mustang GT and Challenger Scat Pack. The Mustang GT starts at PHP 3,518,000, while the Challenger Scat Pack retails for PHP 3,990,000.
If you want the daddy of all muscle cars, the Challenger Hellcat is still available for around PHP 8,000,000. For that, you get well over 700 PS under the hood from its supercharged HEMI engine. It can even give a few supercars a scare on a straight line.
Best of Japan
Muscle cars are cool and all, but for those who want something with a little more finesse, there's the Japanese sports car. For that, you have two options, namely the Toyota GR Supra and Nissan 370Z. It can be said that these two are the archetypal Japanese sports cars with their low-slung, coupe bodies, and rear-wheel drive.
The GR Supra starts at PHP 4,990,000 and for that, you get a 3.0-liter, twin-scroll turbo inline-six engine with 335 PS and 500 Nm of torque. Meanwhile, the Nissan will set you back a more reasonable 2,779,000 for the 370Z with a six-speed manual, something you can't get in the Toyota. There is even a NISMO version with a more buttoned-down chassis and more power. That one retails for PHP 3,888,000, undercutting the Supra by over PHP 1,000,000. The NISMO version packs 344 PS and 371 Nm from its naturally-aspirated 3.7-liter V6. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with a six-speed manual.
There is another Japanese sports car available here that is worth a mention. It's the Lexus RC F and you'll have to shell out PHP 5,968,000. For that much money, you get a naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8 under the hood that's good for 477 PS and 530 Nm of torque.
But if you're looking for the ultimate Japanese sports car experience, the Nissan GT-R and GT-R NISMO are also available. The price? It's PHP 8,900,000 for the standard model, and you'll have to ask Nissan for the NISMO's prices.
Meanwhile from Germany
There is no shortage of sports cars coming from the Old Continent. At the forefront are the Germans with Audi, and BMW with tuned versions of their sports coupes. Plus you have Porsche's quintessential models.
From Audi, you have the RS5 for a whopping PHP 8,500,000. For about PHP 1,000,000 more, the recently revealed M4 Competition can be yours for PHP 9,690,000. However, they also have the more “affordable” M2 Competition for PHP 5,890,000. As for Porsche, you can get most variants of the Boxster, Cayman, and 911 in the Philippines. You'll have to ask Porsche Philippines (nicely) for the prices, but they are available here.
We arrive at the pinnacle of performance, GTs, and supercars. So which ones are officially sold here? The Maserati GranTurismo is still around, and so are most Aston Martin coupes (Vantage) and convertibles (Volante). Lotus is still hanging around in the Philippines with the Elise, Exige, and Evora. Then you have Ferrari and Lamborghini. These two Italian legends will gladly sell you one of their cars, for the right price, of course.
Spoiled for choice
As you can see, the Philippines isn't short on sports car offerings. If anything, there are more of these than station wagons in the country. Some of them don't have to be too expensive, either. After all, you can experience the thrill of driving for under PHP 2,000,000. All of them might have varying power outputs, weight, or styles, but they all have one common goal: to make driving fun and exciting. It doesn't matter how much it is or how much power it's making, if it delivers joy behind the wheel, it's well worth it.
With that in mind, always follow the rules of the road when you're in public. If you want to make the most out of them, take them to the proper venues and not race them along public streets. As Ramon Ang said, “If you want to race, take it to the track in Clark”.
That is advice we'll gladly take from a fellow car enthusiast.