A Note on Pricing: The going prices for these cars are accurate at the time of publishing but may change the longer the classified ads are live.
Sport sedans have a unique place in automotive history. They’re either complete flops or absolute legends. The legends end up resigned to “instant classic” status because they’re sleepers (they’re incredibly subtle yet command unabashedly high performance) or their level of class is so legendary, performance takes a notably comfortable back seat.
The problem with used performance sedans is they’re either beat to shit or cost as much as a new “okay” car in good condition. Since $10,000 is a realistic budget for a used car, we set out to find the best, used sport sedans we’d buy, right now. Don’t judge us.
1999 Jaguar XJR
It has 370 horsepower. Three. Seven. Zero. That should be “’nuff said,” but it also has a mere 50,000 miles, copious wood trim and, unlimited Jaguar-level class. For $9,990 it’s hard to beat the value of this 1999 Jaguar XJR. It’s so cheap that us commoners can finally afford it. Any other used sports sedan in this price segment is going to be tired and totally clapped out. Not only are you getting a bargain here but this timeless Jag will technically never go out of style — since they were never in style, to begin with. Just be sure to get friendly with your local Jaguar mechanic. — Hunter D. Kelley, Associate Designer
Mileage: 50,023 miles
Original MSRP: $70,000+
2003 Mercedes-Benz S 600
Is there anything more beautiful than a rear-wheel-drive twin-turbocharged V12 for under $10,000? Maybe, but probably not. From the factory, this beast has just under 500 horses, and a tune could easily put this boat closer to 600hp. Sure, there’s a solid chance that owning this car will bankrupt you through maintenance alone. Plus, if you have some extra money to spend (and want to be the bane of your entire community), you can easily upgrade the exhaust to make it sound like an F1 car, all courtesy of that legendary AMG V12. So throw all rationality and logic to the wind, buy this car, and to quote my hometown used car salesman: “drive it like you stole it!”. — Chandler Bondurant, Associate Staff Photographer
Mileage: 83,637 miles
Original MSRP: $123,805
2007 Subaru Impreza WRX TR
Knowing the previous picks before choosing my own, I almost feel weird, picking a WRX. It might be my adult side bubbling to the surface, but as much as I wanted to go for a luxurious German V12 (it does sound heavenly with that F1-style exhaust), for the price, performance, and practicality, the Subaru is easily the best bang-for-your-buck deal, here. Not only is it in immaculate condition for the mileage, and is bone stock, it’s the “TR” model or “Tuner Ready,” meaning it’s a blank slate, ripe for your own add-ons if you desire. But, keep it just as the factory left it and you’ve got one hell of a year-round daily driver. Not bad for the same going rate as a Mercedes-Benz V12. — Bryan Campbell, Staff Writer