No quest for your next sports car should be complete without considering the oft-overlooked Porsche Cayman. At around $30,000 less to start than the iconic Porsche 911, the Cayman rewards its owner with 90% of the performance and may just be the best true sports car you’ll find for anywhere close to $50k.
With the Cayman, its recipe for success hinges on one important attribute: balance. The two-seat coupe’s mid-engined configuration makes it inherently easier to drive hard than the rear-engined 911. Available in 265-horsepower base and 320-horsepower S variants, as well as the exclusive 330-horsepower Cayman R and Black Edition, even the base model is truly exhilarating thanks to the car’s low center of gravity and sub-3,000-lb. curb weight.
Among $50,000-ish performance cars, think of Cayman as the finely honed, razor-sharp scalpel to the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500‘s 20-lb. sledgehammer. This is a car that can do everything you can do as a driver without protest, while surrounding you and your passenger in true German luxury.