What are high-performance cars?

High-performance cars are fun to drive, visually appealing, and have more powerful engines than the average car. Performance vehicles come in a range of sizes and can be sports cars, muscle cars, or luxury cars. These cars tend to drive great on open roads but may not be as fun to drive in stop-and-go traffic. If you already have a practical car, a high-performance vehicle could be an option if you're looking for a second car.

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What to know about high-performance cars

As you'd expect from the name, high-performance vehicles perform very well, hitting high speeds while ensuring the driver stays in control of the vehicle. There are a few traits that make a car high performance:

Powerful engine

The engines in high-performance cars have more horsepower and torque than standard cars. This allows the car to accelerate quickly and reach high speeds.

Visually appealing

You're bound to turn a few heads while driving a high-performance vehicle. Many performance cars have aerodynamic designs with beautiful curves and a lower suspension. Some sports cars are even designed to look like professional racecars. Inside, you can usually expect a sporty interior with seats designed to keep you in place.

High-quality brakes

Since high-performance cars are designed for speed, they're also equipped with some of the highest quality brakes that allow you to slow down or stop quickly and safely.


It comes as no surprise that high-performance cars tend to cost more than a standard car of the same size. The higher price reflects the more powerful engine and high-quality materials needed for production. However, high-performance cars can come in a range of price points, depending on the manufacturer. Buying used is always an option too.

What are the different types of high-performance cars?

High-performance cars are typically divided into a few categories:

  • Sports car: Small and sleek with superior control while driving.
  • Muscle car: Bulkier design. Equipped with the most powerful engines.
  • Luxury cars: Usually have the latest tech and provide a smooth ride. Luxury cars come in all different sizes, ranging from sedans to SUVs to pickup trucks.

Are sports cars worth it?

There are both pros and cons to consider when deciding whether a performance car is right for you.

Pros of sports cars

  • Fun and stylish: You're practically guaranteed to enjoy your time behind the wheel of a high-performance vehicle and get lots of attention from other drivers.
  • Great control behind the wheel: High-performance sports cars offer great acceleration, have strong brakes, and are often good at making sharp turns. The quality tires on performance cars means you'll have good grip on the road, ensuring you feel in control.
  • Hold their value: Performance vehicles may retain their value better than standard cars. If you eventually resell, you'll likely get a great price.

Cons of sports cars

  • Low fuel efficiency: You can find some hybrid and electric models, but for the most part, performance cars aren't known for their fuel efficiency. They typically need more gas than standard cars and often require premium fuel. Learn more about the difference between hybrid cars and electric cars.
  • Higher costs: Car insurance and maintenance generally cost more for high-performance vehicles. Learn more about what impacts car insurance prices and insurance for sports cars and exotic cars.
  • Not always practical: Super sporty cars are fun but may not be practical depending on where you live. High-performance cars are designed to go fast, so you won't be able to fully enjoy your ride if you live somewhere with heavy traffic or hit red lights and stop signs often.
  • Don't handle snow and ice well: Many performance cars don't drive well in winter weather conditions. Living in a cold climate may mean storing your car for several months of the year.

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