Early car builders Henry Ford and Alexander Winton raced their respective horseless carriages in what generally is regarded as the first car race in the United States. Ford famously won the October 1901 event held in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, while driving what is generally considered one of the first sports cars ever built and raced. Ford established the general design for a sports car, which is low and relatively light with a powerful engine, excellent handling, and sparse seating.
Nearly 120 years later, the Ford brand leads the list of the most popular sports cars in the United States. The sports car is a popular vehicle niche with strong global competition among many well-known manufacturers. The following are the 10 top best-selling sports cars in the United States based on their 2019 national sales figures.
Several decades after its initial introduction, the Ford Mustang has firmly established itself as the world’s best-selling sports car. With 72,489 models sold in the United States, the Mustang outpaced sales of all other makes and models of sports cars in 2019. Now, in its sixth decade and sixth generation, the venerable Mustang continues winning on racetracks as well as dominating in dealership showrooms.
The Mustang comes in many trim levels with the Shelby GT350 generally regarded as the best sports car example of the bunch. The two-door coupe comes with a 5.2-liter V-8 that delivers 526 horsepower with a six-speed manual transmission transferring all of that power to both rear wheels. The Mustang Shelby GT350 has been clocked at 0 to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds.
Dodge sold 60,997 models of its popular Challenger muscle car in 2019. Four trim levels plus the awesome Hellcat make the Dodge Challenger a very popular sports car that fully embraces its muscle car heritage. Current editions offer your choice of Mopar V-6 or a pair of potent V-8 motors that deliver lots of horsepower and torque to the rear-drive wheels. The 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 churns up 375 horsepower while the beefier 6.4-liter Hemi delivers up to 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. Your choice of a manual or an automatic transmission sends power to the drive wheels.
Chevrolet sold 48,265 Camaros in 2019, and the SS trim level delivers top-level performance. The 6.2-liter V-8 gives the Camaro up to 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque that a 10-speed automatic transmission sends to a pair of 20-inch drive wheels in the back. Drivers also have the option for manual shifting, and the top-line ZL1 supercharges the beefy V-8 to deliver up to 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. Car and Driver clocked the 455-horsepower V-8 at 12.2 seconds and 118 mph in the quarter-mile and 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds.
With 17,988 models sold in 2019, the Corvette remains one of America’s most popular sports car lines. The 2019 Corvette Stingray’s 6.2-liter V-8 delivers up to 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic or a seven-speed manual transmission sends power to a pair of rear drive wheels. The power rises fast with the 650 horsepower Z06 and the top-line ZR1, which is good for up to 755 horsepower. An all-new mid-engine version, the Corvette C8, debuted in late 2019.
Car and Driver states the ZR1 can do 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds while the Z51 posted a quarter-mile time of 11.2 seconds and 122 mph.
With 12,894 sold in the U.S. in 2019, the Veloster ranks Hyundai among the nation’s most popular sports car manufacturers. A 2.0-liter inline-four with a turbocharger gives the Veloster up to 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. All that power goes to a pair of either 18-inch or 19-inch drive wheels up front via a six-speed manual transmission. Five driving modes, including a track mode, plus launch-control capability, variable exhaust, and adaptive dampers, help deliver truly exciting performance.
Porsche 911 Carrera
First introduced in the 1960s, the Porsche 911 Carrera remains a very popular German sports car with 9,265 sold in the United States in 2019. A twin-turbo flat-six engine sends up to 450 horsepower to a pair of rear-drive wheels via a seven-speed manual transmission. An optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic also is available. The 911 can do 0 to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds with an optional all-wheel-drive package making it even quicker, according to Car and Driver.
The top-of-the-line 911 GT2 RS gives you up to 700 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. Car and Driver says it takes 2.6 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph and can complete a quarter-mile in 10.3 seconds at 140 mph.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
The Mazda MX-5 Miata roadster with 7,753 models sold continues to prove very popular among sports car enthusiasts in the United States. The 2019 edition received a redesigned 2.0-liter Skyactiv inline-four motor that increases horsepower to 181 and torque to 151 pound-feet under the hood. Those are significant improvements over the prior engine and help the MX-5 do 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. It can finish the quarter-mile in 14.5 seconds at 95 mph. Car and Driver says the MX-5 is quicker and handles better than its predecessors.
The BMW 8-series sold 4,410 units in the United States to affirm its place among the most popular sports cars for 2019. The BMW 8-series reappeared after a long hiatus and put wide grins on owners’ faces with a 4.4-liter V-8 with twin turbochargers. The engine is good for up to 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque that an eight-speed transmission sends to all four drive wheels. A manual mode gives you even more control over shifting and RPMs.
Porsche 718 Cayman
Porsche maintains its high status among global sports car builders with 3,880 Porsche 718 Caymans sold in America in 2019. The Cayman S and top-line GTS each are powered by a horizontally opposed turbocharged 2.5-liter flat-four engine that can generate up to 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Porsche says the 718 has a top speed of 170 mph and can go from 0 to 60 in as little as 4.5 seconds.
The Toyota 86 sold 3,398 models in the United States in 2019 to round out the 10 most popular sports cars. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine provides up to 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque delivered to two rear-drive wheels via either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. Per Motor Trend, the Toyota 86 is more about handling than speed and offers a lot of value.
Price points range from very affordable to very expensive for the top 10 sports cars sold in the United States in 2019. No matter your budget, you are bound to find one that satisfies your desire for sporty handling and fun driving.