Australia’s Best Sports Cars in 2016

Moving Well | RACV | Posted on 21 February 2017

Australia’s best cars 2016: Best Sports Car under $50,000

Winner: Ford Focus ST

With the demise of Aussie muscle cars going the way of the local industry generally, the four-cylinder turbo models that dominate this class will be a lot more popular.

Ford Focus ST offers the best bang for your buck. It’s a clear winner in design and function, helped, in part, by the best seats in the class which are well bolstered for good comfort and support. Ford’s clever Sync2 system, combined with the eight-inch touch-screen that incorporates sat-nav, makes it class leader for ergonomics.

It was equal class-leading for performance and braking – not surprising given it pumps out 184kW and up to 360Nm of torque. Performance enthusiasts rejoice as the ST comes with a six-speed manual transmission.

Ford has upgraded the ST’s dynamics which improves front suspension, steering and handling but it can’t match the other finalists for point-to-point precision.

The ST gets lots of other go-fast bits such as sports-tuned suspension, Recaro sports seats, body kit, HID headlights, LED daytime running lights and dual centre exhaust. Overall, it’s a standard features list that leaves daylight between it and most others in this class.

Best Sports Car Under $50,000

Best Sports Car Under $50,000

WEIGHTING

Angled grey Ford Focus ST sports car

Ford Focus ST

Value meets performance in this class, and Ford Focus ST gets the balance just right.
Dark blue Ford Fiesta ST car

Ford Fiesta ST

Fiesta ST has a character that is often lacking at this end of the market.
Renault Clio RS 200 CUP

Renault Clio RS 200 CUP

The performance, handling and ride comfort in Clio RS are spot on.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Pricing

Medium

4

8

6

Cost of depreciation ($)

Low

4

7

6

Running and repair costs

Medium

4

5

3

Fuel consumption

Low

4

7

6

Warranty and dealer access

Medium

4

4

6

Insurance

Low

6

8

6

Standard features

Medium

6

2

1

DESIGN AND FUNCTION
Safety

Critical

7

7

7

Environment

Critical

6

7

7

Seating comfort/support

High

8

7

6

Ergonomics

High

7

5

5

Build and finish quality

High

6

4

6

ON THE ROAD
Performance

Critical

9

7

7

Ride

Medium

6

6

6

Handling

Critical

6

7

7

Braking

Critical

8

6

7

Smoothness and quietness

Low

5

6

5

OVERALL AVERAGE

662

624

620

Australia’s best cars 2016: Best Sports Car $50,000 - $100,000

Winner: BMS M240i

Buyers in this segment expect something special, and BMW M240i delivers. Replacing the M235i, it comes to market $3500 cheaper, plus it sports extra standard equipment and features. That gives it a better start for price and depreciation.

However, the extra coin for the Merc will get you a lengthier list of standard features than the BMW, even with its recent upgrades. New features include adaptive headlights, 360-watt 12-speaker Harmon Kardon audio and driver assistance technologies such as approach control warning, lane departure warning, pedestrian warning, autonomous emergency braking function and attentiveness assistant.

The M240i has the latest M Performance engine that uses a little less fuel than its predecessor and, importantly, delivers an extra 10kW and 50Nm. All judges enthused over the twin-turbo engine’s muscular performance through the rev range and its eager throttle response backed up by the greased-lightning-fast gearbox. The powertrain’s smoothness and power delivery are sublime.

The BMW is well finished, and the cabin features the latest BMW iDrive infotainment system. Very comfortable front seats with good adjustability rated well.

Best Sports Car $50,000 - $100,000

Best Sports Car $50,000 - $100,000

WEIGHTING

BMW M240i

BMW M240i

A cracking engine powers this sports coupe, which also makes everyday driving a delight.
Mercedes AMG A 45

Mercedes AMG A 45

Its power, slingshot cornering and styling make this high-performance Mercedes unique.
Ford Focus RS

Ford Focus RS

This relatively budget-priced hatch promises ear-to-ear grins for demanding drivers.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Pricing

Medium

3

3

8

Cost of depreciation ($)

Low

5

2

8

Running and repair costs

Low

3

1

3

Fuel consumption

Low

5

3

3

Warranty and dealer access

Medium

2

2

4

Insurance

Low

4

5

7

Standard features

Medium

7

10

5

DESIGN AND FUNCTION
Safety

Critical

9

9

7

Environment

Critical

6

6

6

Seating comfort/support

High

7

8

7

Ergonomics

High

8

7

5

Build and finish quality

Critical

8

7

5

ON THE ROAD
Performance

Critical

10

10

9

Ride

Medium

7

6

5

Handling

Critical

9

9

8

Braking

Critical

8

9

7

Smoothness and quietness

Low

8

6

6

OVERALL AVERAGE

746

738

658