The hottest sports cars of the year are ready to burn up both racetracks and ordinary roads alike, backed by some of the most powerful production engines to ever see the light of day. Yet these modern-day high performers have a lot more going for them than just outrageous output ratings. They also boast sophisticated suspensions and multi-mode driving systems so owners can wring every last bit of excitement out of their rides. There’s more than one convertible here as well, for the thrill of open-air driving. When it comes time to relax, well, that’s no problem either: Leather-surfaced, climate-controlled seats; leading-edge infotainment systems; and even some notable safety technologies are all on display in today’s gallery — as are some of the segment’s newest cars.
10 Hottest Sports Cars
Photo Credit: Dodge
2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon leads off our list of the hottest sports cars with a powerplant that fires up 840 horsepower and 770 lb-ft of torque. It’s enough to make the Demon the most powerful production muscle car ever, complete with the industry’s fastest ever quarter-mile time for a production car of any kind: 9.65 seconds. Its 0-60 time? That’s a mere 2.3 seconds.
To be sure, the Demon does remain a street-legal car, and it also offers daily-driver benefits like an infotainment system with an 8.4-inch touchscreen; heated and ventilated leather front seats; a multi-function steering wheel with a heated rim; and a Harman Kardon audio system with 19 speakers and 900 watts of power.
Photo Credit: General Motors
2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
The 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 doesn’t only target its muscle-car rivals. Instead, it was engineered to compete against the hottest sports cars in the world, thanks to its “unprecedented levels of technology, refinement, track capability, and straight-line acceleration.” Well, more specifically, drivers can thank features like a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine that delivers 650 horsepower, 650 lb-ft of torque and the ability to sprint from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds.
But because the Camaro ZL1 is about more than straight-ahead speed, it also relies on Brembo brakes to go from 60-0 in a mere 107 feet. The Bowtie brand partners with Recaro, too, for standard sport seats, and Chevy tapped Goodyear to develop exclusive tires for the ZL1.
Photo Credit: Ford
2018 Ford Mustang
Yes, the 2018 Ford Mustang herd has its own track-friendly entry, in the shape of the 536-horsepower Shelby GT350. The big news for the Blue Oval, however, is the refreshed shape for all models: Backed by significant updates for the 2018 model year, the Mustang wears sleek new sheetmetal and shows off standard LED headlights, LED signature lighting and redesigned sequential LED taillights.
In the cabin is the latest SYNC 3 infotainment system with a standard 8-inch touchscreen, while a high-tech 12-inch digital instrument cluster is a new option. And there’s also more power under the hood for the non-Shelby models. For example, the 5.0-liter V8 engine in the Mustang GT can now unleash 460 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque.
Photo Credit: Porsche
2018 Porsche 718 Boxster GTS/Cayman GTS
The hottest sports cars from Porsche include the 911, of course, but our preference is a pair of mid-engined models that were heavily updated last year. The 2018 Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman share nearly everything but a name and roof style, as the Boxster brings a power-retractable soft-cloth top and the Cayman comes with a fixed metal roof.
For 2018, they also come in new GTS trims that squeeze yet more power from their turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The tale of the tape here includes 365 horsepower, up to 317 lb-ft of torque, 0-60 times down at 3.9 seconds and top speeds of 180 mph. Porsche then complements that acceleration with standard performance-enhancers like Active Suspension Management technology.
Photo Credit: Mazda
2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata
The 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata is proof positive that the hottest sports cars aren’t necessarily the most expensive. In fact, the just-mentioned Porsche Boxster is more than twice as expensive as the entry-level Miata. Yet despite the Boxster’s undeniable advantage in power, the Miata definitely gives the pricier Porsche a run for its money in terms of being fun to drive.
Nor is the Miata any less attractive, since Mazda’s popular roadster has exactly the kind of dramatic design that’s a hallmark of premium sports cars. The Miata even delivers a clear advantage in the style department by offering something that Porsche can’t: a power-retractable hardtop that combines the best of both convertible and coupe body styles.
Photo Credit: Lexus
2018 Lexus LC
The hottest sports cars from Lexus have tended to be lukewarm in the past, but that changes with the 2018 Lexus LC. This striking new coupe takes the brand’s design language to the next level and offers a choice between two high-performance powertrains. The base setup features a 5.0-liter V8 that provides 471 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque. With that output sent to the rear wheels through a standard 10-speed automatic transmission, the LC can accelerate from 0-60 mph in under 4.5 seconds.
The optional powertrain is a hybrid propulsion system that benefits from the brand’s leadership role in developing fuel-efficient premium cars. To be clear, though, it’s also the first Lexus hybrid that’s powerful enough for premium burnouts.
Photo Credit: Acura
2017 Acura NSX
The 2017 Acura NSX is among the hottest hybrid sports cars. A reincarnation of the brand’s iconic supercar, the NSX features a twin-turbo V6 engine, two electric motors for the front wheels, one electric motor for the rear and a unique evolution of Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive technology. It all adds up to a combined 573 horsepower and 476 lb-ft, which is managed by a nine-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and multi-mode drive system with a dedicated “track” setting.
The soft-touch cabin setting is equally impressive, as Acura designers provide leather and Alcantara surfaces for not just the standard sport seats but also for the instrument panel. Soft, upscale Alcantara further details the center console and glovebox, and the steering wheel is wrapped in leather.
Photo Credit: Infiniti
2018 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400
Among the hottest sports cars with V6 motivation is the 2018 Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400. But it doesn't have any old V6 engine: The 3.0-liter twin-turbo used for the Red Sport is the most powerful — yet the most fuel-efficient — turbocharged V6 ever furnished for an Infiniti production vehicle. As a result, drivers enjoy 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque, along with a standard seven-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is optional.
The Q60 Red Sport also gets wrapped in a sleek, highly aerodynamic exterior with new-for-2018 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, and its high-tech cabin is set-off by a dual-touchscreen infotainment system with stacked 8- and 7-inch displays.
Photo Credit: Audi
2018 Audi TT RS
As you may have noticed, many of today's hottest sports cars are setting new benchmarks for performance, and that’s certainly the case with the 2018 Audi TT RS. It’s the fastest, most powerful production version of the TT, with enough output — 400 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque — to run from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds. Its top speed is nearly three times that mark: Drivers can push the car to 177 mph when it’s equipped with the optional “Dynamic plus” package.
That said, those new performance milestones come courtesy of a throwback engine configuration; the 2018 TT RS leverages the same sort of turbocharged inline five-cylinder powerplant as the original TT.
Photo Credit: Lamborghini
2018 Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster
The 2018 Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster is one of the hottest sports cars from the exotic brands, extending the appeal of the Aventador coupe by serving up an open-air driving experience. Rather than sacrificing the chiseled good looks of the fixed-roof model by installing a cloth soft top, Lamborghini opts for a system with lightweight removable roof panels.
The Aventador S Roadster also maintains the Lamborghini-like levels of performance that drivers expect from the brand: By mounting a 6.5-liter V12 in a mid-engined layout, Lambo supplies 740 horsepower, 509 lb-ft of torque, 0-60 times of less than three seconds and a top speed of more than 215 mph.