The upper echelon of affordable sports cars include the venerable Ford Mustang, the MX-5 Miata, and the Camaro. If you can't catch a deep discount on the 2011 versions, here are some lesser alternatives.
2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse
Bottom dweller Mitsubishi's sports car comes in GS, GS Sport, or GT versions in Coupe or Spyder trims. Its 10 year/100,000 mile power train warranty and powerful 265HP V6 engine takes a backseat to a lackluster cabin filled with cheap plastics and cramped back seating. Its fuel economy is below average at 20/28 mpg. Look to the Eclipse for value ($19,120) and strictly as a commuter car.
2011 Mazda RX-8
The RX-8 is a mixed bag. At the expense of 16/23 mpg (ranks below average in its class), slow start and stops with poor torque, and its maintenance heavy two-rotor rotary engine for 212HP (232HP with a six-speed manual), you receive an agile handler with tons of standard safety features including electronic brake force distribution and anti-lock brakes. For more information on the RX-8, visit Mazda's official page:
2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
According to Car and Driver, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe is a “less refined Nissan 370Z.” A poor man's version of the Miata, the Genesis-coupe is dogged by a stiff suspension and loud engines to create an average ride. Little rear headroom and cheap cabin plastics are also included. Its strong suits include a long warranty, value ($22,000), and a sleek exterior.