Mid-engine cars are often thought about only in their most exotic forms: new Ferraris, Lamborghinis, McLarens, and other supercars. While it is true that some of the highest performance cars on the market today have their engines behind the cockpit, you don’t necessarily have to spend six-figures to get that exotic look and feel in a sports car.
Here are some of the best mid-engine sports cars you can buy for a (relatively) low cost.
What was once a small city car – called a Kei car – meant for the streets of Japan, the convertible Honda Beat is now old enough for import into the US, and is quickly becoming popular among enthusiasts. Affordable price, convertible top, mid-engine configuration, and a 9000-rpm redline from the tiny three-cylinder engine make this a recipe for a fun time. You can find them for under $6000 right now.
Much like the Honda Beat, the Autozam AZ-1 recently became legal for importation under the 25-year law, and is quickly becoming desirable among collectors and enthusiasts. The car features gull-wing style doors like the Mercedes SLS and other exotic supercars and a mid-engine layout that make it a blast to drive. Prices are higher than the Honda Beat, and those numbers are expected to climb significantly over time. If you want in, now is the time.
The MR2 has to be on this list. You can find any one of the three generations of this car for sale in your local classifieds for next to nothing. Combine that with legendary Toyota reliability and you have a recipe for a fun, worry-free little sports car. Clean examples can be found for under $6000.
Porsche Boxster – 986
Many people never quite warmed up to the late ‘90s and early ‘00s Porsche Boxster because of its unique styling and ‘fried-egg’ headlights. Beyond that though, the 986-generation Boxster is a fantastic handling mid-engine car with a ton of potential. For under $10,000 you can get yourself a convertible Porsche that is track-ready right away.
Porsche Cayman – 987
For those who want the value Porsche experience but would rather not have a convertible, the first-generation Cayman is beginning to fall under the $20,000 mark for higher-mileage examples. For that money though, you get a driving experience worth three-times the price.