Sports Cars vs Luxury Cars: Pros, Cons, & Differences

In the market for a new vehicle and wondering what the effective difference is between a sports car and a luxury car?

While nearly all car brands offer at least one sports car model in their lineup, luxury cars are typically produced by luxury brands. With that said, it is important to know what makes a car a “sports” car and what makes a car a “luxury” car, before deciding which vehicle is best for you.

In this guide, we will give you all the information you should need to decide if a sports car or luxury car best fits your individual needs. For each type, we will discuss the best options for 2020, performance, comfort, reliability, and affordability.


Both sports cars and luxury cars offer high-performance vehicles, but their definitions for “performance” are very different from one another.

Sports vehicles are usually designed to improve handling abilities in most road and weather conditions. They also are built to allow for significant acceleration and speed. These vehicles are designed around their engines, with most features added to increase speed and acceleration. Sports cars are capable of reaching high speeds, accelerating quickly, and maintaining better control, as compared to other types of cars.

Ford Mustang Sports Car

Whether you opt for an American classic, like a Ford Mustang, or an import champ, like a Nissan 350z, there are numerous affordable entries into the sports car world.

While there are also sports luxury cars available on the market that provide these typical “sports car” features, a majority of luxury cars produced today focus on providing drivers and occupants with a “smoother” ride. While speed and handling are not exactly lacking in luxury cars, the primary focus is to improve comfort and offer a more high-end experience to those in the vehicle.

If you are a thrill-seeker looking for a vehicle that can handle high speeds and quick maneuvers, a sports car would be your best bet. However, if your ideal car performance is a smooth, comfortable ride, a luxury car would better fit your needs.


Both sports cars and luxury cars offer features that offer drivers and occupants desired levels of comfort, but luxury cars are usually designed to target comfort in general.

Aside from providing passengers with a smoother ride through features like active suspension, which reduces the feeling of bumps in the road, in-car features are also available to improve comfort even further. The basic features include more legroom, heated seats, and massaging seats. They also may include automatic climate control, computer systems, and surround sound. 

While sports cars also may include some of these features, sports cars often lack added comfort for rear-seat passengers. These passengers are usually provided limited space in the rear-seat and oftentimes must maneuver their way into the rear of the car (for two-door vehicles). However, comfort is rarely an issue to the actual driver of a sports car. It is also important to remember that comfort is not as important when it comes to sports cars, as performance is gained with the compromise.

Most families will find that it’s hard to beat the comfort of a modern luxury SUV.

If comfort and high-end features are important to you, most luxury vehicles would likely meet your expectations. Though luxury vehicles come at a higher price tag, they usually provide occupants with a more comfortable experience.


Reliability and vehicle longevity can make the difference between a “good” car and a “great” car.

Consumer Reports reveals that, of the top 10 reliable vehicle brands in 2018, four are considered luxury car brands. These brands included Lexus, Audi, Infiniti, and BMW, and the whole list of 29 includes even more luxury brands. 

Love them or hate them, BMW has impressive offerings that strike a nice balance between sporty, luxurious, and reliable.

Within the last three decades, the design and reliability of sports cars have also greatly improved, and sports cars are now considered one of the top cars to hold their value and performance long-term. 

When it comes to reliability, there is no major difference between sports cars and luxury cars. Both types of cars should hold up rather well long-term and reliability will likely not be a deal-breaker when choosing between a luxury car and a sports car.


For both sports cars and luxury cars, pricing varies widely, from having more affordable vehicles available to having vehicles worth millions of dollars. Though the range in price varies greatly in both sports and luxury vehicles, you are more likely to find an affordable sports car, as compared to luxury cars. 

In 2019, the average sports car price was about $36,0000, with basic sports car packages sometimes starting around $25,000. In 2019, the average luxury sports car price was about $59,000, with basic luxury car packages sometimes starting around $30,000.

The Mazda Miata’s high affordability keeps it a perennial contender as one of the most-sold sports cars in the market.

When considering affordability, there are practical options for both sports and luxury cars. When considering pricing, it is important to understand that the pricing is connected to performance as well as the brand name. While the vehicle may be technically considered a luxury or sports car, the value varies based on how well the vehicle meets the standards for that type of vehicle. 

For example, while you might be able to buy a brand-new sports car for $30,000, it most likely does not have the speed, acceleration, stability, and appearance of a sports car worth $40,000. Likewise, while a vehicle may be considered “luxury” at a $40,000 price tag, it most likely does not have the same features, design, or appearance of a luxury vehicle listed at $50,000.

The cost of owning the vehicle is also important to think about. The cost to own includes repairs, maintenance, insurance, depreciation, and even fuel costs. 

In general, luxury cars are more expensive to maintain and depreciate more quickly. If you are looking for a vehicle with a lower price tag that will maintain its value for a longer period, a sports car is the best choice.

Best Choice: Overall

Though the best choice for a vehicle depends on your personal needs and preferences, a large amount of data states that sports cars, in general, are the best choice when given the options of sports cars and luxury cars.

Sports cars perform much better in terms of actual vehicle and engine performance and are typically just as reliable as luxury vehicles. While luxury vehicles offer better comfort features that most sports cars do not, luxury vehicles are usually not worth the money invested. Sports cars typically keep their value for longer, have lower costs of repair, and generally cost less to own long-term.

Given this data and information, the average person would likely be more satisfied with the purchase of a sports car, as compared to a luxury car. However, this will ultimately vary from person to person.

It is important to keep in mind that each car model varies greatly, and while sports cars generally seem to be the best choice for the average person, some luxury car models may be better than some sports car models (and vice versa).

P.S. – If you’re going the sports car route, check out our guide to imports vs muscles.

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