There are few things better than driving a sports car on a warm, sunny summer's day, but just because it's winter doesn’t mean that you have to store your sports car in the garage for six months. Thanks to today’s advanced traction control systems and winter tires (as well as the availability of all-wheel drive on many models), many modern sports cars are perfectly usable in the winter, as long as you use common sense and don’t get carried away with the throttle. Read on to discover the 10 best winter sports cars as chosen by the expert editors at Autobytel, presented in alphabetical order.
10 Best Winter Sports Cars
10 Best Winter Sports Cars
Photo Credit: Audi
Audi R8 V10
The Audi R8 V10 is a high-performance sports car that is easy to drive and comfortable enough to use every day, even in the winter. While the R8 does have Audi’s legendary Quattro all-wheel drive system, its low ride height means that significant amounts of snow can turn it into a snow plow and stop it in its tracks; on days when there’s a bit less snow on the roads, however, the R8 comes alive. Standard features that you’ll appreciate in the winter include automatic climate control, heated seats, heated side mirrors and rear fog lights (to help drivers behind you know you’re there in even the worst storms).
Photo Credit: BMW
It might be a hybrid, and it might be powered by a 3-cylinder engine, but despite that (or perhaps because of it) the BMW i8 is nimble, quick and entertaining. Though the i8’s low ride height may be a problem in deeper snow, the hybrid system is capable of sending power to all four wheels when necessary, making the i8 secure and predictable when the going gets slippery. Standard features include heated side mirrors, three-stage heated front seats, and an automatic dual-zone climate control system that makes use of an electric flow heater and auxiliary water heater to keep you warm whether you’re using the electric or gas motors.
Photo Credit: General Motors
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
It might be a rear-wheel drive sports coupe with a powerful American V8 under the hood, but the Chevrolet Corvette’s excellent drivability makes it relatively easy to control when there’s snow on the ground (especially when in the Weather drive mode), earning it a spot on our list of the 10 best winter sports cars. The base 1LT models come standard with dual-zone climate control and heated mirrors, while the 2LT and 3LT trims add heated and ventilated seats. All Stingray models come standard with summer-only performance tires, so we’d recommend adding a set of winter tires if you plan on driving when the temperature drops below 45 degrees.
Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Dodge Challenger GT All-Wheel Drive
The Dodge Challenger GT is the first Challenger to be equipped with all-wheel drive, and while it isn’t available with the more desirable HEMI V8 motors, you still get a reasonable amount of power from the V6. Unfortunately, the Challenger GT’s high curb weight means that it isn’t particularly quick, but that said, the all-wheel drive system lets you make the most of the available power no matter what the weather conditions. Standard features include a dual-zone automatic climate control system, heated side mirrors, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel, while the optional Driver Convenience Group includes a remote start system, perfect for those frigid winter days.
Photo Credit: Ferrari
Few people realize that Ferrari makes an all-wheel drive car, but the GTC4Lusso sends the power from its engine to all four wheels and seems as though it was designed with winter ski trips to the mountains in mind. The GTC4Lusso is no lightweight, but as you might expect, the powerful V12 engine has no problem motivating the car, and the all-wheel drive system does a good job of putting the power to the ground. As this is a Ferrari, you can equip it with just about any option you want, assuming you have enough money, and despite its cost, the GTC4Lusso makes our list of the 10 best winter sports cars.
Photo Credit: Jaguar Land Rover
Jaguar F-Type AWD
Many of Jaguar’s cars are available in all-wheel drive configurations, but in the winter, the F-Type AWD might be the most fun of the bunch, and earns itself a place on our list of the 10 best winter sports cars. The F-Type S comes standard with a supercharged V6 that makes sufficient (but not too much) power, and a mechanical limited slip differential, that when combined with the all-wheel drive system, does a good job of keeping the F-Type on the straight and narrow. Stepping up to the F-Type R gets you a dual-zone climate control, heated seats, a heated steering wheel, and an electronic active differential with torque vectoring (by braking).
Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
The Mazda MX-5 Miata RF is a Miata with a folding hardtop, making it perfect for use both in the summer and the winter. The extra metal for the folding top means that the RF weighs a bit more than a standard Miata, but you still get the same excellent handling and enjoyable driving experience, and the relatively low power makes it easy to stay in control despite the limitations of the rear-wheel drive layout. While the base Club version has little in the way of winter niceties, stepping up to the Grand Touring models gets you heated side mirrors, automatic climate control, and heated seats with three heat settings.
Photo Credit: Nissan
The Nissan GT-R features an engine, transmission and all-wheel drive system that were designed from the ground up to give the car the most traction possible in any situation, whether the road is dry or covered in snow and ice. Heated front seats, a dual-zone automatic climate control system, and heated side mirrors are standard. A no-charge Cold Weather package is available that includes a special coolant mix and all-season tires, but we’d skip it and instead invest in a set of rims and quality winter tires for their extra grip over all-seasons when the weather gets cold (as well as a coolant flush with the appropriate coolant mix for your climate).
Photo Credit: Porsche
Porsche 911 Carrera 4
While older generations of the Porsche 911 had a reputation for being hard to drive (as the weight of the engine behind the rear axle made the cars hard to catch once the tail started to slide), newer versions are easier to handle, especially the Carrera 4 models that are equipped with all-wheel drive. A dual-zone automatic climate control system, heated windshield washer nozzles, and heated side mirrors are standard, while heated seats and a heated multifunction steering wheel are optional extras that make winter driving much more enjoyable, especially on those extremely cold days. All that adds up to one of the 10 best winter sports cars on the market today.
Photo Credit: Subaru
The BRZ might have to make do without Subaru’s signature all-wheel drive system, but its handling is just as predictable in the snow as it is on dry pavement, and the flat-4 engine delivers just enough power to have some fun (if you so choose). The base model (called the Premium) includes heated side mirrors, while stepping up to the Limited model adds heated front seats and a dual-zone automatic climate control (none of which is available the related Toyota 86). All models come with summer high performance tires, but otherwise, the Subaru BRZ is a natural choices for our list of the top 10 best winter sports cars.
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10 Best Winter Sports Cars
- Audi R8 V10
- BMW i8
- Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
- Dodge Challenger GT All-Wheel Drive
- Ferrari GTC4Lusso
- Jaguar F-Type AWD
- Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
- Nissan GT-R
- Porsche 911 Carrera 4
- Subaru BRZ