The 720S is amazing, but it isn't cheap.
The McLaren 720S is easily the most impressive supercar on the market today. The car's performance is unmatched by its competitors and even the hybrid hypercar holy trinity struggle to keep up with it. If we had $284,475 to spend on a car, we'd immediately go for a 720S. Unfortunately, like most people we do not have close to $300,000 to spend on a car. We know that almost no car at any price point will be able to match the 720S experience, but we still wanted to pitch some cheaper, mid-engined alternatives that can get somewhat close.
We'll start off with the most obvious choice, the McLaren 650S. This is the closest thing available to the 720S without approaching its nearly $300,000 price. It seems like yesterday we were just having this same discussion about the 12C, but the 650S has been on the market long enough for some serious depreciation to kick in. We found used 650S examples for as low as around $170,000. This is not an affordable car by any stretch of the imagination, but it is around $95,000 less expensive than it was when new. It won't be as quick as a 720S, but the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 still kicks out 641 hp, which is not bad for a car costing $100,000 less than a 720S.
The second generation Acura NSX has only been on the market since 2017, so we'd give it a bit more time to depreciate before pulling the trigger on one. A new NSX starts at $156,000, but used ones start at about $140,000. Like the 720S, the NSX is a mid-engined supercar that is perfectly comfortable to use as a daily driver. The twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 is paired with three electric motors for a total of 573 hp. The NSX is the closest thing that exists to a relatively affordable Porsche 918 Spyder, which is very high praise.
We kept this list contained to mid-engine sports cars and supercars, but our choices become understandably slower and more analogue as we start to lower the price bracket. Our next choice, the Porsche Cayman GT4, can't match either of the first two cars in terms of speed. The GT4 makes do with "only" 385 hp from a 3.8-liter flat-six. What the GT4 lacks in turbochargers and horsepower, it makes up for in driving pleasure. The Cayman GT4 is one of the best handling mid-engined cars ever produced and it would be our first choice to take on a track day. Porsche only built the GT4 for one year in 2016, but used models are available for less than $90,000.
If power is your number one priority, you may want to ignore the next car on our list. The Alfa Romeo 4C has half the number of cylinders and half the number of turbochargers as the 720S. It even has less than half the power: just 237 hp from a 1.75-liter turbo four-cylinder. Still, the 4C has become somewhat of a bargain in the world of mid-engine exotic cars. Used examples can be found for just over $40,000, putting it within the realm of possibility for "real" people. It may be less than half the car as the McLaren, but it is around one-seventh of the price.
Our final cheap alternative doesn't have the same Italian exoticism as the 4C, but it is a spectacularly well-balanced mid-engined sports car. Everyone seems to forget about the Lotus Evora because it is simply a "mid-engined Camry." Perhaps this is a good thing, because the often overlooked Evora has plummeted in price and is now as affordable as a Camry. We've found several used Evora examples for less than $40,000, making it the most affordable car on this list. The 3.5-liter V6 may have started out in life in a Camry, but 276 hp is more than adequate. The supercharged Evora S can still be found for under $45,000 and produces 345 hp with a supercharger.