Fast cars 2024

Life’s too short to drive a boring car, so here’s our pick of the 10 best fast cars you can buy right now

By Gavin Braithwaite-Smith March 19, 2024

Many of us dream of owning a fast car. There are several reasons to buy one, such as taking the long way home after a hard day at work, getting up early on Sunday morning to take advantage of the empty roads or for enjoying a track day with your mates.

Or maybe it’s the simple appeal of winning the ‘traffic light grand prix’. Hey, we’ve all done it...


Fast cars are guaranteed to put a smile on your face, making them a welcome tonic to the frustrations of driving in 2024, such as traffic jams, speed cameras, low-emission zones and potholes. And you don’t need a six-figure supercar to go fast; some of the cars on our list are available for less than £15,000.

So, if you’re after a two-seater sports car, hot hatchback or performance coupe, here’s our pick of the best fast cars available right now.


Mazda MX-5

Best fast car for affordability
Our pick: Mazda MX-5 1.5 Sport Nav
Read our full Mazda MX-5 review

Not only is the Mazda MX-5 the world’s best-selling two-seater convertible of all-time, it’s also one of the last remaining affordable roadsters you can buy new. It’s just as well it’s a brilliant car, then, because the Mazda MX-5 is arguably all the sports car you’ll ever need in modern Britain.

The fourth-generation Mazda MX-5, introduced in 2015, offers head-turning good looks and about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on. It’s also affordable to run, especially if you choose the entry-level 132PS 1.5-litre engine, which offers an official 44.8mpg.

Alternatively, the 184PS 2.0-litre version feels significantly quicker and brings out the best in the Mazda MX-5’s excellent ride and handling.


Toyota GR Yaris

Best fast car for hunting down supercars
Our pick: Toyota GR Yaris Convenience Pack
Read our full Toyota Yaris review

The Toyota GR Yaris is a bona fide homologation special. In other words, it was built to go racing, making it a proper fast car. A 1.6-litre engine producing 261PS might not seem like a lot in an era of 400PS hot hatches and electric cars with the off-the-line pace of Usain Bolt, but it’s what it does with the power that matters.

It’s all-wheel-drive, which means the power can be transferred to the road in all weathers, making the Toyota GR Yaris one of the fastest cross-country cars you can buy. Its rally pedigree means you don’t even have to stick to the smooth stuff, although you wouldn’t want to risk damaging that purposeful bodykit.

Officially, the Toyota GR Yaris will sprint from zero to 60mph in just 5.5 seconds before hitting a top speed of 143mph, but those figures don’t even tell half the story. The Toyota GR Yaris has got everything: an intoxicating soundtrack, scintillating pace and lots of grip.


Jaguar F-Type

Best fast car for a modern take on the Jaguar E-Type
Our pick: Jaguar F-Type 3.0 V6 R-Dynamic
Read our full Jaguar F-Type review

It’s amazing to think that the Jaguar F-Type has been on sale for over a decade, because the styling still looks fresh today. It helps that the sports car – available as a coupe and roadster – was given a facelift in 2020, which followed a substantial update in 2017.

Deciding whether to choose the coupe or roadster might be harder than you think, although it’s worth mentioning that the coupe is the more practical of the two, with enough luggage space to rival a Ford Fiesta. That could mean the difference between a long weekend away or a fortnight in the sun.

As for engines, you essentially have a choice of three: a 2.0-litre with one eye on fuel economy, a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 or a thunderous 5.0-litre supercharged V8 with a soundtrack capable of waking the dead. We’d recommend the one in the middle, although we’d take the 380PS engine over the 340PS version.


Alpine A110

Best fast car for the balance of a ballerina
Our pick: Alpine A110 252PS
Read our full Alpine A110 review

The Alpine A110 is proof that you don’t need a big engine to go fast. It’s powered by a 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder Renault engine, which might be enough for you to go scurrying off to look at the Porsche or Lotus website. But don’t be too hasty, because the Alpine A110 is a fabulous sports car.

It’s all about the weight, with the lightest Alpine A110 tipping the scales at just 1,102kg, giving the car an excellent power-to-weight ratio. It means that even the standard Alpine A110 with ‘just’ 252PS can sprint to 62mph in 4.5 seconds, while the more powerful versions can go even quicker. Not that you need to; simply revel in the Alpine A110’s balletic poise and agility.

Because it’s so light, the Alpine A110 manages to return 42mpg and emit just 152g/km of CO2 emissions, so it appeals to the head as well as the heart.


Ford Mustang

Best fast car for muscle car charm
Our pick: Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT Fastbac
Read our full Ford Mustang review

The Ford Mustang made a grand entrance when it arrived on these shores in 2015, not least because it was the first Mustang in Britain with the steering wheel on the right-hand side. Prior to that, fans were forced to either import a left-hooker or buy something less American.

Few, if any, cars with a price tag this side of £100,000 offer as much theatre and head-turning appeal as the Ford Mustang. Everyone from small children to grown-ups who remember the model in the 1960s will tip their New York Yankees cap as you drive by. 

We weren’t surprised when the 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine was dropped, because a Ford Mustang needs a 5.0-litre V8. Not only does it make the right noise, but it also gives the car the performance to rival a supercar. Your only decision is whether to choose the coupe (Fastback) or convertible.


Porsche 718 Boxster

Best fast car for owning a Porsche
Our pick: Porsche 718 Boxster 300PS
Read our Porsche reviews

Forget what you may have read about the Porsche 718 Boxster being a ‘poor man’s Porsche 911’, because the people who say that have never driven the German firm’s entry-level sports car. Even calling it ‘entry-level’ feels wrong, because this mid-engined roadster totally deserves to wear the famous badge.

Even the most affordable Porsche 718 Boxster can sprint from zero to 62mph in just 5.1 seconds and hit a top speed of 170mph – and that’s from a four-cylinder engine producing 300PS.

The six-cylinder versions are even faster and make a more distinctive noise, but they cost more to buy and the running costs will be more expensive. Everything points to the four-cylinder car being a performance bargain.


Skoda Octavia vRS

Best fast car for taking the family with you
Our pick: Skoda Octavia vRS 245PS
Read our full Skoda Octavia review

The Skoda Octavia vRS has always been the default choice for buyers who fancied a Volkswagen Golf GTI with a little more practicality. Actually, a lot more practicality, because the Skoda Octavia vRS has a massive boot, especially if you choose the estate version.

In its current guise, the Skoda Octavia vRS is available with three engines: a 245PS 2.0-litre petrol, 200PS 2.0-litre diesel and a 245PS plug-in hybrid, although the latter has been discontinued. That doesn’t matter, because the diesel offers low running costs without having a large battery pack for company.

The fastest Skoda Octavia vRS is the 245PS petrol version, which is capable of hitting 62mph in just 6.6 seconds in hatchback form (the estate is fractionally slower). It’s also worth noting that the diesel is available with four-wheel-drive for all-weather fun.

Honda Civic Type R

Best fast car for standing out from the crowd
Our pick: Honda Civic Type R GT
Read our full Honda Civic review

If the Skoda Octavia vRS is too sensible for you, maybe the Honda Civic Type R will float your boat. It has never been a hot hatch for shrinking violets, especially since 2015 when Honda decided to really up the ante.

In its latest guise, the Honda Civic Type R features a 329PS 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine mated to a slick six-speed manual gearbox. It’s the fastest front-wheel-drive car to have lapped the Suzuka circuit in Japan, if that sort of thing appeals to you.

Back in the real world, the Honda Civic Type R can hit 62mph in 5.4 seconds and go on to max out at 170mph. Not bad for a hatchback wearing a Honda badge. Don’t rule out the earlier Honda Civic Type R (2017-2021) which is now more affordable on the used car market.


Kia Stinger

Best fast car for a long warranty
Our pick: Kia Stinger GT-S 3.3 T-GDi
Read our full Kia Stinger review

Sales of the Kia Stinger were discontinued in 2022, but it remains a terrific choice on the used car market. It’s essentially Kia’s rival to cars such as the Audi A5 Sportback, and its German counterpart the BMW 4 Series, with the backing of a seven-year warranty. That means even a Kia Stinger registered in 2022 will be covered until 2029.

You could buy a Kia Stinger with a 2.0-litre petrol or 2.2-litre diesel engine, but the one you really want is powered by a 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine. It’s called the Kia Stinger GT-S and it can hit 62mph in just 4.7 seconds.

Upgrades (assuming the engine isn’t enough) include 19-inch alloy wheels, an uprated braking system, electronically adjustable suspension and Nappa leather seats.



Best fast car for sports car pace with added practicality
Our pick: BMW M2 Competition
Read our full BMW M2 review

The BMW M2 is a welcome tonic to bloated performance cars and overweight SUVs. In many ways, it harks back to the glory days of BMW’s M division, feeling more like an E30 or E36 M3.

We’re focusing on two versions: the previous model on sale from 2015 until 2021 and the current BMW M2 that’s been on sale since 2022. In standard guise, the old BMW M2 produced 370PS, but BMW M2 Competition and BMW M2 CS models had 410PS and 450PS respectively. It’s a proper rear-wheel-drive performance car with a glorious six-cylinder soundtrack.

The current BMW M2 uses the 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged straight-six engine from the BMW M3 and the BMW M4, detuned to deliver ‘just’ 460PS. An eight-speed automatic transmission is fitted as standard, but a six-speed manual is a £545 option.