We say everyone should embrace the freedom of their middle years.
We had a bit of trouble with this article because buying a sports car when you hit middle-age doesn't necessarily mean a mid-life crisis. It can be one of many indicators that someone has reached the point of transition or re-affirmation of identity as they stare down the barrel of the second half of their life. However, it can also mean they can finally afford the damn car they actually want and not have to worry about carting the kids around anymore.
Either way, mid-life is that time when, if everything is going to plan, the bank account is healthy, there’s a lack of dependents in the house, and you realize its time to get something special in the driveway. And there’s a lot of choices, so let’s start the ball rolling with the quintessential mid-life crisis car.
A stereotype is often a stereotype for a reason, and there’s no bigger automotive stereotype than someone around the 50-year-old mark buying a Corvette. The reason for that is that its powerful car even in lower spec trims and comes with a reasonable price tag.
We say it doesn’t matter what the neighbors think, and if you want a Corvette and you can comfortably afford it then just buy the thing and have the time of your life. Let other people worry about what they drive, you don’t have to. Of course, if you can stave off the hunger for the mid-life crisis Corvette until 2021, then the mid-engined C8 is on its way.
For the silver fox or vixen that wants something exotic and Italian with a badge that declares its performance pedigree, the 4C turns head while having the performance to back those looks up. Its mid-engined, has a carbon-tub chassis, eyeball popping brakes, a snarly little engine, and steers like it’s a video game car. Just be prepared for the number of people asking how many times it has broken down. If you don't want to break the bank, then used 4Cs are cheap right now.
The Audi TT is sexy, distinctive, fast, agile, and has an iconic shape everybody that matters knows. It’s the perfect wind in the hair car for the middle-aged woman or wind over the bald patch car for the man that won’t just accept his fate and break out the razor. The TTS is the real mid-life crisis model with its extra horsepower and lashing of torque to go with Audi’s almost faultless Quattro system. Just make sure the mid-life crisis goes into full effect before the TT is gone to be replaced with something all-electric.
Another quintessential mid-life crisis car is the purpose-built roadster. The power deficit of a Miata and the more than reasonable price point puts the Miata in a different bracket though, and the sexiness of the Z4’s looks mixed with the smooth and torquey 382-horsepower turbocharged inline-6 engine means you don’t have to work on mastering momentum to have fun on a weekend blast. The new one is a soft-top only, so if you’re somewhere where the sun isn’t shining most of the year-round, you might want to check out the next on the list.
While the new Toyota Supra is geared towards the serious enthusiast, that doesn’t mean the more casual driver need not apply. Developed with BMW, the Supra is a powerful corner carver straight out of the box and comes with pure sports car looks to match. No convertible version has been announced at the time of writing, so for those living where the sun doesn’t always shine, it could be the better option to a Z4.
The big truck with a lift and a set of large wheels and tires is for the young show off or the hardcore off-roader. For people that like their adrenaline hit at higher speeds and want some on-road performance as well, there’s the Raptor. The Raptor is dumb fun at its purest but built on a sophisticated platform and unlike any truck currently on the market. With its sophisticated suspension and beast-level 450 horsepower twin-turbo engine, it’s a mighty desert runner and still super comfortable on the road. And, its useful for trips to Home Depot when the bathroom needs renovating or when the kids call asking for help moving from their college dorms to a shared house.
While hardcore enthusiasts turn their nose up at a convertible version of most pumped of Camaro models, it’s not their car. Most drivers will never hone their skills to the point they would be able to extort the advantages of a slightly stiffer chassis, and dropping the hammer at 40 mph to get to 100 mph before most cars have dropped the necessary amount of gears for a pull is even more fun with the top down.
If a Camaro ZL1 is too bold and brutal, then a Mustang GT Convertible is the perfect antidote. There’s power and performance, but a more civil approach to taking to the road for a long weekend. Also, it doesn’t matter who you are - you’re going to look good as you take in the sights and sounds no longer cluttered by a roof and windows.
Now the kids are out of the house, there’s plenty of time for camping, hiking, fishing, or finding the harshest trails in the wilderness to get stuck on. For all of that, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is the perfect leisure vehicle. Sure, you could make the smart choice and save a ton of money and get a Sport S, but this isn’t about being smart. It’s about getting what you want and enjoying the hell out of it.
For the more svelte and sophisticated mid-life crisis, it’s hard to find a better way to ooze class as you drive down the street and enjoy roof-down performance once you get out of town than with a Mercedes-Benz SL. In fact, we’re hard pushed to think of a better way to spend around $100,000 on a car to help you enjoy the journey into the countryside with a partner for a dirty weekend in the country.
If your mid-life crisis is about finding the thrill of driving again and the bank account can take the thrashing, a Porsche 911 Carrera or Carrera T with a couple of options will do the trick. Uncompromising handling and pinpoint steering in one of the worlds most highly engineered sports cars available guarantees thrills on even the blandest of roads. It also guarantees random conversations at gas stations with car nerds that know way more about your car than you do, but you take the rough with the smooth.
The LC is highly stylized and still looks exotic when parked next to a supercar, it’s also a grand tourer with the choice of a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 making more than enough power to satisfy the heaviest of right feet. Plus, for the middle-aged that want some real comfort in their ride it’s a seriously comfortable cruiser. If a Mercedes SL-Class looks too pedestrian and something like a Porsche 911 just sounds exhausting, the LC has a lot to offer.