Performance, style, and emotion; these are the best of the best for under $200,000.
The idea of an entry-level supercar is mainly relative to price. For example, the cheapest new Ferrari you can get into right now is the Portofino for $215,000. However, it's debatable if you can call a 2+2 sports car a supercar or simply a GT, and it's not hardcore compared to the more performance-oriented cars on this list. Defining a supercar is not easy, but entry-level to us means something that brings the noise in terms of its performance, isn't seen every day, and has a wow factor when you look at it. When you consider that a full-blooded supercar like the Lamborghini Aventador starts at $417,826, and the Ferrari SF90 Stradale starts at $625,000, we're going to call an entry-level at around $200,000 or less. Ideally, a lot less.
If there is a quintessential entry-level supercar, it has to be the Audi R8. A mid-mounted 5.2-liter V10 Lamborghini-derived engine powers it, with the 'base model' developing 562 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque and sending it to all four corners. The R8 is easy to drive day to day, but it also offers plenty of grip for days on the track, and that engine will howl all the way up to 8,700 rpm and crack 200 mph on a long enough straight. For the traffic light racer, it'll also hit 0-60 mph in just 3.4 seconds. Topping the R8 off is a minimalist yet luxurious interior, while the exterior styling can be summed up in a single word: iconic.
The latest Acura NSX has had a bit of a raw deal after a very delayed incubation process on the road to reviving the iconic nameplate. But, it lives up to its forward-thinking experimental nature and is one hell of a performance car. Under the metal is a twin-turbocharged, 3.5-liter V6 engine and three electric motors to deliver a total system output of 573 horsepower and 476 lb-ft of torque. It'll get off the line quicker than the R8, and, while it's less dramatic than competitors, will rip off a quick lap time in even the most inexperienced of hands. Like the R8 above, it's also all-wheel-drive, but the Active Vectoring System can control the power or braking sent to individual wheels. The only place the NSX falls down compared to other supercars on this list is in build quality, but in every other metric, it fits the bill perfectly.
This one is up for debate, as the Nissan GT-R is a four-seater that's technically a GT car more than a supercar, but its performance credentials are still super in every sense of the word. It may be getting on in years, but the GT-R should never be written off. The twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 engine pumps up to 600 hp to all four wheels and will lay down a 0-60 mph time of 2.7 seconds. Even in base guise, 565 horsepower and 467 lb-ft of torque are not to be sniffed at, and while it's not the smoothest supercar on this list, it'll go round for round with most on the track. With a starting price of $113,540, the GT-R is not just an entry-level supercar; it's a supercar bargain that gives much more expensive cars a hard time.
The McLaren 570S is a rounded road and track weapon, and it's as fierce as it looks. On top of that, the starting price for the 570S makes it one of the best entry-level supercars around. Power comes from a 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine that produces 562 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, and, unlike the cars above, drives just the rear wheels. The downside is that it's not as plush of a daily driver as the R8 or NSX. While the 570S is McLaren's most junior machine, forming the basis of the Sports Series and technically rivaling the Porsche 911, the performance on offer is definitely in supercar territory.
Lotus has been largely pushed out of the US market, but the Evora GT is still here, and it comes in at under $100,000. Part of the reason the cost is kept down is in the power plant. Under the hood is a Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter V6, which has been supercharged to produce a total of 416 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque through the six-speed manual. Although the Evora GT has an entry-level price tag, it's a car built for experienced drivers and will reward those skilled enough to handle the power mixed with a lightweight and responsive chassis. Features are limited, as is comfort, but for those who frequent America's numerous race tracks, the Evora GT is a serious weapon.
There have been long discussions around the office about whether the Corvette is a supercar for years. However, now that it has gone mid-engined, we can at least put the Corvette firmly in the entry-level supercar category. In the middle is a naturally aspirated V8 generating 490 horsepower (495 with the Z51 package) and 470 lb-ft of torque. According to Chevy, it'll hit 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds, although real-world tests have shown 2.8 seconds. On the road and track, the Corvette is already a serious contender; and that before we've even seen the forthcoming high-performance variants that will turn the Corvette into a supercar killer.
The AMG GT is built from the ground up by AMG, and as a successor to the infamous SLS AMG, it's Mercedes-AMG's finest moment so far. Under the hood is a handcrafted 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8 engine making 469 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque, or 550 hp and 502 lb-ft in the GT C. The GT C still comes in at under $200,000, and so does the fire breathing GT R at $162,900 despite boasting track credentials and outputs of 577 hp at 6,250 rpm and 516 lb-ft of torque at 1,900 rpm. It's not all engine, though, and the AMG GT R has been seen hurtling around the Nurburgring in a stunning 7 minutes and 4.63 seconds in Pro guise. While it might be aimed as a Porsche 911 rival, the AMG GT is a more brutal machine that evokes emotion and brings a smile to even the most cynical faces.
There will undoubtedly be some debate in the comments, but whether you file the 911 Turbo under supercar or super sports car, there's no denying it should be on this list. The rear-mounted 3.8-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder boxer engine in the latest 992-generation model pounds out 640 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. The chassis has been refined over five decades for a level of grip and handling that satisfies every driver's soul. Inside, it's at luxury level with Porsche's meticulous engineering shown in full. It might be an entry-level supercar, but it's also the super sports car you would never grow out of. We know we've broken our own $200,000 limit here, but at $3,500 over, we'll call the breach a negligible one.
An air of haughty exclusivity, stomach-churning performance, and head-snapping looks are common ingredients of a supercar. All of which the Vantage has in abundance. The muscular styling is backed up by an AMG-sourced 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 503 horsepower and 505 lb-ft of torque. On the road and track, the near-perfect weight balance of 50:50 in the chassis and the inclusion of an electronic limited-slip differential means it can lay down fast lap times or more spectacular sideways action with a cloud of tire smoke trying behind. In the city and when not covered with bright lime green paint, it's well behaved and a statement of style and taste.