NEWS

Best Cars for Driving Fun 2016

By Aaron Bragman

December 29, 2015

We try not to dwell in this list on ultra-expensive exotic cars, but rather on everyday drivers that provide a sense of fun and control.

16BMW_M235i_OEM.jpg 2016 BMW M235i; | Manufacturer image

Best Car for Driving Fun

Many enthusiasts lament that the latest BMWs are not as sharp as ones from 10 or 20 years ago, but the M235i bucks that trend. It's perhaps as close to the "old" style of BMW as you can get in a modern offering. The base 228i coupe is fun, but with its 320-horsepower, turbocharged inline-six-cylinder engine and sport suspension, the M235i is even more fun. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, but you can specify a six-speed manual. With a perfect 50/50 weight distribution, handling is sharp and the electrically adjustable steering actually sharpens that knife even more.

Shop the 2016 BMW M235 near you

Used
2016 BMW M235 i xDrive
28,438 mi.
$34,590
Good Deal | $331 under
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Used
2016 BMW M235 i
48,900 mi.
$31,990
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16Mini_Hardtop_OEM.jpg 2016 Mini Hardtop Coope | Manufacturer image

Best Deal for Driving Fun

The Hardtop is a fun little car, and few people realize that you can get one for a relative bargain. The least expensive nominee in our Fun to Drive category starts at just $21,550 (including a destination fee) for a two-door Hardtop model, and while that car's 134-horsepower, 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine isn't the most powerful in the lineup, the tight dimensions and razor-sharp handling make even the base model a blast to drive. If you want to go faster, simply spend some more money, but you should know that it's not entirely necessary.

Shop the 2016 MINI Hardtop near you

Used
2016 MINI Hardtop Cooper S
103,877 mi.
$15,495
Good Deal
Used
2016 MINI Hardtop Cooper
80,264 mi.
$15,500 $500 price drop
Good Deal | $265 under
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16AlfaRomeo_4C_OEM.jpg 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Driving Fun

If you see a 4C, consider yourself fortunate: They're going to be rare because Alfa's not building that many. If you get to drive one, you'll be even more fortunate, as long as you're on a track. Much like a Jeep Wrangler, the Alfa is good at doing just one thing (driving on a track), but as an everyday car its lack of amenities, refinement, space and comfort can be unpleasant. Put it in its natural environment and there are few cars that are as much fun to drive.

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16Audi_RS7_OEM.jpg 2016 Audi RS 7; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Driving Fun

Audi makes lots of fast cars, but the RS 7 brilliantly combines outstanding chassis dynamics with a monster engine: a 560-horsepower, twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. Combine it with Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive, a slick hatchback body that we're sure is going to be a classic in coming years, and an interior that can be tricked out in some beautiful hides and unique tuxedo-striped wood trim, and it's a hard contender to beat. You can even bring three friends along to enjoy it with you.

Shop the 2016 Audi RS 7 near you

Used
2016 Audi RS 7 PRESTIGE
81,087 mi.
$52,444
Great Deal | $5,532 under
Used
2016 Audi RS 7 PRESTIGE
49,126 mi.
$68,000
Great Deal
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16Chevrolet_SS_OEM.jpg 2016 Chevrolet SS; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Driving Fun

Nobody bought the old Pontiac G8, which was a shame, as it truly was an amazing performance car. Fast-forward to 2015 and we have this: the updated, rebadged Chevrolet SS, or an old Pontiac G8 in disguise. Featuring a tire-smoking 415-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 engine shared with the last-generation Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro SS, it may be the ultimate under-the-radar cruise missile. It's unbelievably fast, and it features fantastic moves with its sport suspension, but it's civilized enough to use every day and looks ordinary enough to go largely unnoticed by the local constabulary.

Shop the 2016 Chevrolet SS near you

Used
2016 Chevrolet SS Base
40,760 mi.
$45,895 $100 price drop
Fair Deal
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Used
2016 Chevrolet SS Base
72,799 mi.
$43,999
Fair Deal

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16Jag_F-TYPE_Convertible_OEM.jpg 2016 Jaguar F-Type; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Driving Fun

Few coupes look as good as the F-Type, and its looks only get better when you drop the top on the convertible model. But lowering the roof serves another important purpose: It allows the sound of that glorious V-8 engine to meet your ears unfiltered by canvas and glass. Sure, you can have a standard supercharged 340-horsepower or 380-hp V-6, but the engine you want is the 495-hp or 550-hp V-8. That amazing noise is accompanied by outstanding handling, a beautifully crafted interior and heritage that few other luxury brands can match.

Shop the 2016 Jaguar F-TYPE near you

Used
2016 Jaguar F-TYPE R
48,034 mi.
$57,995
Fair Deal
Home Delivery
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Used
2016 Jaguar F-TYPE R
48,764 mi.
$57,700
Fair Deal
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16Mazda_Mazda6_ES.jpg 2016 Mazda6; | Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

Recommended for Driving Fun

A car doesn't have to be a high-horsepower sports car to be fun to drive. We think the Mazda6 is a great-handling, fun-to-drive machine despite its place in the humdrum midsize sedan category. Its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine puts out only 184 horsepower, but you're not going to be drag racing it; the Mazda6's appeal comes from the way it goes about everyday tasks. It's tight, it's nimble, and it has plenty of torque on demand along with an excellent ride and handling balance. If you have to drive a midsize family sedan, the Mazda6 is the enthusiast's choice.

Shop the 2016 Mazda Mazda6 near you

Used
2016 Mazda Mazda6 i Touring
86,863 mi.
$18,990
Fair Deal
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Used
2016 Mazda Mazda6 i Grand Touring
93,030 mi.
$18,677 $200 price drop
Good Deal
Hot Car
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16Mercedes-Benz_AMG-GT_OEM.jpg 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Driving Fun

How good do you have to be in the high-dollar sports car category to edge out the Porsche 911? You have to be this good, and boy, is the Mercedes-AMG GT good. Mercedes set out to make a grand tourer that could take on the 911 and win. With the GT's gorgeous curves, twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 making 503 horsepower, adjustable suspension and lightning quick dual-clutch seven-speed transmission, Mercedes has done so with a dramatic style that the Porsche just can't match. The price tag may be steep, but the GT's combination of head-turning style, luxurious interior and eye-popping acceleration is worth every penny.

Shop the 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT near you

Used
2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT AMG GT S
29,856 mi.
$92,995 $2,000 price drop
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Used
2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT AMG GT S
42,453 mi.
$89,390 $2,290 price drop
Fair Deal
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16Subaru_BRZ_OEM.jpg 2016 Subaru BRZ; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Driving Fun

The BRZ, and the nearly identical Scion FR-S, won our Best of 2014 award and for good reason: They're enormously fun to drive. The BRZ has the goods that make classic sports cars fun: light in weight, rear-wheel drive and go-kart-quick steering. Our only wishes would be for more than 200 horses from its 2.0-liter flat-four engine and a higher quality interior, but the ability to fling one around a track or twisty canyon road and embarrass cars costing tens of thousands more helps to make up for any power deficiency.
 

Shop the 2016 Subaru BRZ near you

Used
2016 Subaru BRZ Premium
59,630 mi.
$23,499
Good Deal
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Used
2016 Subaru BRZ Limited
41,386 mi.
$22,977
Good Deal
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16Volkswagen_Golf GTI_OEM.jpg 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Driving Fun

If you're a driving enthusiast and could only own one car to fulfill all your needs until the end of time, the Golf GTI might be the one car that could do just that. The 210-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine is wonderfully responsive. The German-tuned sport suspension makes the hatchback two- or four-door compact ready for the track, the street or anything in between. The high-quality interior and surprisingly spacious seating for five with plentiful headroom makes you feel like the GTI is a truly sensible choice for an all-around does-it-all performance car.

Shop the 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI near you

Used
2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn
38,951 mi.
$24,999 $1,000 price drop
Great Deal | $1,295 under
Home Delivery
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Used
2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI 2.0T S 4-Door
87,169 mi.
$19,990
Home Delivery
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