If you are lucky enough to be a millionaire then there are a whole host of supercars to tempt you. But for this top ten we are concentrating on the cars which those of us with more modest budgets might be able to afford, and will give us our fill of thrills.
1. Mazda MX-5
The world’s best-selling roadster, the MX-5 has been around since 1989, and every version has become an instant classic. The engineers set out to make a recreation of all that was good about the famous British sportscars, but adding in Japanese reliability to the mix. Now in its fourth generation, it offers the drop-top fun you’d expect but is also capable of remarkable economy.
Hyundai has been making mainstream hatchbacks and SUVs which are a match for anything from Europe or Japan for more than a decade, but the N models are a sign that it can create truly exciting performance cars too. The i30N was the first of the line and really surprised enthusiasts, but it’s the 204PS i20 N which gets our vote here as it’s more affordable while offering the same sort of thrills.
3. Toyota GR Yaris
Who’d have thought that a humble Toyota Yaris could become one of the most desirable and sought after cars in Britain? But the GR is no normal Yaris. In order to meet rules for entering international rally competitions, Toyota had to build a number of road cars. So the company’s experts have massively re-engineered the entire car, taking away two doors and a lot of weight, but adding a characterful turbocharged engine and sophisticated four-wheel-drive. The result is a very exciting car.
4. Alpine A110
If you are lucky enough to be in the market for a sporty coupé, the obvious choice is to buy a BMW or Audi. But the sign of a true enthusiast is to go off piste a little and choose something extraordinary. In this case it is the A110,which uses the best bits of performance Renaults but is sold under the little-known Alpine brand. The combination of a mid-mounted 252PS engine and its light weight means it is exciting the drive and great to look at too.
5. Caterham 7
If you are just looking for a weekend toy which brings back the bare-bones thrill of driving, the Caterham 7 has been the answer since the car first appeared (as a Lotus) in 1957. The car you can buy now still looks the same and has very similar engineering, although the engines have evolved with the times. You can even build one yourself from a kit if you like wielding a spanner.
6. Morgan 3-Wheeler
Morgan’s cars are a little like having an antique sideboard fitted with an LCD TV screen - underneath the vintage-looking bodywork is sophisticated engineering. Perhaps the company’s craziest and yet exciting creation is the 3-Wheeler. It looks like a WW1 biplane which has had its wings removed, but offers one of the most exciting driving experiences imaginable. Just don’t buy one if you are shy, as you’ll be the centre of attention.
7. Porsche 718 Boxster
Porsches are predictable choices for anyone who wants a sportscar, but there is good reason behind their popularity. They are well engineered and thrilling to drive, even when you are buying the cheapest model in the company’s range. The Boxster can be used everyday but is capable of making every top-down journey feel special.
8. Abarth F595
Fiat’s 500 might be the cutest city car around, but when it has the Abarth badges applied it gets a serious attitude too. The F595 gets a bodykit to make it look more purposeful, but it’s not all for show. The 1.4-litre turbo engine produces 163bhp and is actually the same unit used in some Formula 4 racing cars. Add in sport-tuned suspension and 17-inch alloys and it means a lot of fun for not much money.
9. MINI Cooper S
The MINI might be as common on our streets as lamp posts, but there’s a reason for that – they are cute and fun to drive. The Cooper S is the top of the performance tree, which means it is capable of bringing a smile to your face every time you get behind the wheel. Even the electric version is hilarious fun to drive.
It might not be the fastest performance car on the road, but the Swift Sport is a bit of an unsung hero for those who enjoy their driving but need to keep running costs low. The turbo 1.4 litre engine produces a mild-sounding 130PS, but it feels much faster than the figures suggest and is huge fun to blast down a country lane thanks to precise steering and tight suspension.