Five Midlife Crisis Sports Cars That Are Affordable

Not everyone becomes as successful into their 40s as they had imagined growing up. That said, the midlife crisis does some strange things to a man's brain, especially if he already has a wife, kids, and a stressful job by the time he hits 45.
Midlife crisis sports cars 6 photos
Photo: Image edited by autoevolution
BMW 2 Series CoupeChevrolet Camaro SSDodge Challenger R/T ShakerFord Focus RSFord Mustang GT
Some quit their job and go sailing the world while others begin indulging in hobbies that were never part of their daily life before, such as tattoos, growing small trees in a pot or making furniture. That said, when you mention “midlife crisis” to most people, the resulting conversation usually revolves around divorce and red convertible sports cars.

It doesn't always have to be like that, though, especially since not every man falls out of love with his significant other and has money for a yellow Porsche Boxster or a red Chevrolet Corvette. Not to mention that sailing around the world in your own private boat or yacht can cost an arm and a leg.

Performance and looks are usually the two most important characteristics of a midlife crisis car, but this doesn't mean that the costs involved should be prohibitive to anyone that isn't a CEO or at least part of middle management.

Defining “affordable” when it comes to sports cars is usually as subjective as it gets. In the end, no matter how much money you save up for a car to enjoy during this critical phase in your life, it would probably be better not to go all-in. It's usually just a transition anyway, so why should it leave you broke? As the British say, look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves!

With this being said, we compiled a list of some of the most affordable sports cars that will make you relive the youth you always wished you had. For this reason, we decided that a price revolving around $35,000 should be more than adequate for this mission, since everything over 40 grand is considered luxury and doesn't offer a good bang/buck ratio, while cars under $30,000 are usually cutting corners in all the wrong places to achieve those MSRPs.

2016 BMW 228i Coupe - $32,850

Heralded by most media outlets and by BMW's marketing machine as a modern successor to the BMW 2002, the 2 Series Coupe is the smallest modern Bimmer with rear-wheel-drive. Don't be fooled by those who call its handling and overall feel as being reminiscent of the 2002 or any other old-school BMW, though, because that is a downright lie.

In fact, the model feels like a slightly more cramped 4 Series Coupe that is somewhat easier to squeeze in a crowded car park. Don't take this as criticism, though, because along with the smaller size also comes a much lower price, making the base version perfect as a midlife crisis car.

The 228i Coupe is actually the second-cheapest car here, despite coming from the most premium brand on the list. For an MSRP of $32,850 you get a well-sorted RWD chassis, a turbocharged four-cylinder that pushes 240 hp and 258 lb-ft (350 Nm) and a six-speed manual, just like God intended.

2016 Chevrolet Camaro 1SS - $36,300

All-new for the 2016 model year, the sixth generation of the Camaro is one of the three pony cars on this list and is also the newest. However, some say that it's no longer a pony but a full-blown muscle car when equipped with a V8, and we can't really argue with that.

With a starting price of $36,300, the Camaro 1SS comes with a 6.2-liter V8 that does a pretty good job in the Corvette as well. With 455 hp, 455 lb-ft (617 Nm) of torque and a slightly lower weight than the previous model, Chevy's entry-level RWD coupe packs a pretty heavy punch. Not to mention that the displacement for dollars ratio is the best one here, and everyone knows that there's no replacement for it.

2016 Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker - $35,995

The second pony/muscle car on this list is a bit long in the tooth, but that doesn't make it any less exciting or cool. Especially when for five bucks under 36 grand you can get the Dodge Challenger in R/T guise and with a Shaker engine hood. It looks and sounds the business, even though its temper is a bit restrained because of its massive size and weight.

The 5.7-liter V8 is no Hellcat, but for that price you can't really complain about the 375 horsepower, can you now? Not to mention that you can proudly say to anyone who asks that there's a Hemi shaking that hood intake when you floor it. Just like in the Camaro and, to an extent, the Mustang case, you won't be able to see much out those slim windows, but at least you'll look cool as hell when you're parking it badly.

2016 Ford Mustang GT - $32,395

A lot of folks praised the 2.3-liter EcoBoost model when the latest Mustang was launched, but you can't really have the original pony car and feel good about yourself if you don't have a V8 under that sexy hood. A bit less horsepower and a lot less displacement than both the Challenger and especially the Camaro, the 2016 Mustang GT is still one of the most desirable Fords in the lineup, no matter the price.

Still, its bang for buck ratio is probably almost twice as good as the BMW 2 Series mentioned above for several simple reasons: it has twice its number of cylinders, two and half times more displacement, and more horsepower than the 2016 BMW M2.

Obviously, despite the re-introduction of independent suspension at all four corners, it's not exactly as canyon-carving as the Bimmer. Still, with 435 hp and 400 lb-ft (542 Nm) of torque, the Mustang GT is no slouch and sounds at least as good as any other V8 sports car. You can't really go wrong with one.

2016 Ford Focus RS - $35,730

Technically, you will probably gun for the Focus RS mainly if you're a rally fan, but you will also do it because you're smart. Forget the fact that it's based on a compact econobox, it only has four cylinders and it's more expensive than the Mustang, this is the Euro hot hatch that you've always wanted.

Sure, what's under the hood counts as well, and the 2.3-liter EcoBoost borrowed from its RWD big brother and mounted transversely makes 350 hp and 350 lb-ft (475 Nm) of torque. That's no longer as impressive as it would have been 10 years ago for a compact, but it more than gets the job done.

What is really impressive is the fact that it's only available with a six-speed manual, so you'll have to work while you're driving fast. Even more impressive is probably the model's all-wheel-drive system, which can route up to 70 percent of the available torque to the rear axle when you put the car in “drift mode.” Yes, the 2016 Focus RS has a “drift mode.” Maybe that is its most important asset, come to think of it.
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About the author: Alex Oagana
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Alex handled his first real steering wheel at the age of five (on a field) and started practicing "Scandinavian Flicks" at 14 (on non-public gravel roads). Following his time at the University of Journalism, he landed his first real job at the local franchise of Top Gear magazine a few years before Mircea (Panait). Not long after, Alex entered the New Media realm with the project.
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