Sedans are reliable and sturdy, pickups are hardworking and adventurous, and SUVs are spacious and productive. But while some of these vehicles can certainly be fun to drive, they’re not necessarily designed with that idea in the forefront. Sports cars, on the other hand, have a single purpose: to offer an exhilarating driving experience with plenty of power and incredible handling. They’re not particularly practical, not what you’d pick for towing a trailer, and their interiors are not generally described as “roomy.”
But when you want a vehicle that is absolutely fun to drive and reminds you of the thrill of your first time behind the wheel, then a sports car is hard to beat. It’s a bit of a niche market, however, so not every manufacturer really dips its toes into the proverbial pool – it’s for companies that understand that thrill of the road. We’ve had some great sports cars this year – the 2020 Corvette is something truly new and exciting – but there’s always room for even more innovation. Let’s take a look at some of the sports cars coming in 2021 that you should be excited about.
#1 – 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1
First up is the newest iteration of an American classic: the Ford Mustang. While there’s nothing going on as extreme as the all-new mid-engine Corvette, the Mach 1 version of the Mustang is making a return for 2021 after nearly two decades away from the spotlight. The Mustang is already an exceptional sports car, but the Mach 1 takes everything it has to offer a step further with incredible power and performance.
The Mach 1 will be powered by a 5.0L V8 engine that delivers up to 480 hp and up to 420 lb-ft of torque. While a 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is available, a 6-speed manual transmission is standard and much appreciated by those drivers that want the ultimate level of control. A lot of people are excited about the new Mach 1 because it provides a fantastic blend of features from the Bullitt edition and the Shelby versions of the Ford Mustang. You get the Bullitt’s engine and 6-speed manual, along with the intake manifold, engine-oil cooler, and front and rear subframe from the Shelby. It all comes together to make for a bold and exciting new option for Mustang fans.
#2 – 2021 Lamborghini Huracan Evo RWD
Although the Lamborghini Huracan itself has been around for a while, and the Evo update is not particularly brand-new, there are a couple of options coming for 2021 that are definitely worth talking about. Sure, a Lamborghini might not be within everyone’s budget, but the Huracan is the “entry-level” sports car from the legendary Italian manufacturer, so that’s something. And if you’ve been interested in finally going for it and getting a Lamborghini, then 2021 is a great year to do so.
The big news is the addition of a RWD option for the Huracan. So far, this 10-cylinder beast has only been available with AWD; while there’s nothing wrong with that, there are plenty of sports car fans out there that really prefer the feel of RWD. With the updated 2021 Lamborghini Huracan Evo, there will now be an option for a RWD if that’s what you prefer. The Spyder trim will also bring a drop-top option, and you can even get both if that’s what you’re looking for.
#3 – 2021 Nissan 400Z
The Nissan Z coupe has been a very popular option for quite some time now, but it’s also showing its age at this point. That’s about to change, however, with the upcoming model that is likely to be named the 400Z. While details on the Nissan 400Z are still a bit scarce, and mostly consist of rumors and spy reports that are as-of-yet unconfirmed, it’s expected that the 400Z will feature the powertrain found in the Infiniti Q60: a twin-turbo V6 with RWD that offers a truly fantastic driving experience. A hardtop model is expected at launch, with rumors that a convertible may follow.
#4 – 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Mazda is celebrating 100 years of business and offering a 100th Anniversary Edition of the MX-5 Miata with special badging and a Snowflake White Pearl Mica exterior with a red leather interior. Other than this special edition of the Miata, the 2021 MX-5 is a fantastic option for anyone looking for a sports car experience on a budget. Its 4-cylinder engine and responsive transmission let it go from 0 to 60 in less than 6.0 seconds, with both the hardtop and soft-top models posting such impressive performance. The MX-5 Miata also offers surprisingly great fuel efficiency while delivering a fast and incredibly fun driving experience.
#5 – 2021 Fiat 124 Spider
Although some people thought the Fiat 124 was coming to an end with its 2020 model, it turns out that Fiat isn’t done yet. Although the 2021 Fiat 124 Spider has some things in common with the Mazda Miata MX-5, it has its own engine, suspension tuning, and transmission to keep it fresh and different. Its 1.4L turbocharged engine and 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, with RWD, is incredibly responsive and fun to drive. It has a bit less horsepower than the MX-5 Miata, but more torque, and since this beauty is lightweight, you’ll still feel all of that power when you want it.
#6 – 2021 Toyota 86
Although details are still pretty minimal on the all-new 2021 Toyota 86, what I’ve seen so far definitely looks good. Toyota has confirmed that production on the previous generation has come to an end and that 2021 will mark a new generation for the 86. Rumors are that it will get a turbocharged 2.4L flat-four engine – likely with 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque based on its use in the Subaru Ascent, Legacy, and Outback. It’s expected that the Toyota 86 will continue to have RWD and a manual transmission, though an automatic transmission will almost certainly remain available as well. For now, that’s about all that’s been said about the all-new 86, but I expect a pretty hefty dose of updated features throughout, including impressive options for entertainment and safety.
#7 – 2022 Subaru BRZ
Word is that an updated Subaru BRZ is also in development alongside the all-new Toyota 86, which is hardly surprising as these vehicles have been developed so far as part of a partnership between the two companies. Although most reports indicated that both vehicles would be 2021 models, more recently, Subaru has officially stated that a new BRZ will not be hitting the road for 2021, which makes a 2022 model more likely. Is it cheating to include both the BRZ and 86 here? Perhaps, but I’m doing it anyway.
For the most part, the all-new Subaru BRZ is expected to share its mechanical features with the Toyota 86, but for the last generation, the Subaru version of this car had some interior and exterior stylistic differences. Beyond that, very little is known about the future of the BRZ, but based on what Subaru gave us with the first generation of this sports car, I expect great things.
The Road Ahead
No matter what you’re looking for in a sports car, one thing is clear: the future is bright. There’s a resurgence going on with renewed interest and passion in performance vehicles. It will be interesting to see how this eventually collides with the increasing shift to EV models by the major manufacturers. One day, powerful EV sports cars may rule the road, and when they do, you’ll read about it here.