Top 10

Ian Robertson’s top 10 mid-engined sports cars

Armed with a budget of £40,000 per car, publisher Ian Robertson selects his favourite affordable mid-engined sports cars.
MGFMGF

MGF

Designed under the leadership of Gerry McGovern OBE of Land Rover fame, who would have thought that a two-seater could be so popular? Tweaks made to the car in late 1999 saw a smaller 1.6-litre engine added alongside the 1.8 units, together with the Trophy 160.
RenaultSport SpiderRenaultSport Spider

Renault Sport Spider

Around 1800 examples of the Spider were made, with just 100 arriving in the UK, all with a proper windscreen. Abroad it was offered with an aeroscreen, like you would see on race cars. This car served as a great precursor to the RenaultSport name being used on the company’s hot hatches.
Toyota MR2 mk1Toyota MR2 mk1

Toyota MR2

Arguably the first of three generations of MR2 is the best, with the two-seat Toyota arriving in UK showrooms in 1985, followed by the sexy T-Bar a year later. It was sold in France as the MR Coupé, as MR2 sounded like something rude when rolling off the tongue of a Frenchman.
DeLorean DMC-12DeLorean DMC-12

DeLorean DMC-12

As someone who adores the Back to the Future series of films, no list of top 10 affordable mid-engined sports cars would be complete without the DeLorean DMC-12. It’s a head-turner that's celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
Fiat X19_Fiat X19_

Fiat X1/9

The pretty Bertone design has really stood the test of time, and of the beauties of the X1/9 is that it had mundane underpinnings, from the 128. Who other than Fiat could get away with naming one of the special editions – the Lido – after a Parisian burlesque show?
MG TFMG TF

MG TF

The pretty TF two-seat sports car was enormously popular for MG, right up to the company’s demise in 2005, with more than 10,000 examples shifted in the last full year. My brother owned a TF 115 Spark and it was faultless for the five years that he and his girlfriend owned it.
Vauxhall VX220Vauxhall VX220

Vauxhall VX220

Having much in common with the Lotus Elise, and badged as the Opel Speedster on the continent, the VX220 made its debut at the 1999 Geneva motor show. Built and developed in the UK at the Lotus factory in Hethel, it is claimed that few parts are interchangeable between the Elise and VX220.
Toyota MR2 Mk3Toyota MR2 Mk3

Toyota MR2 Mk3

I make no apologies for having a couple of MR2s in my top 10, as this one is different to the first couple of generations in that it was a soft-top. All versions came powered by the 138bhp 1ZZ-FED 1.8-litre VVT-i engine, and I particularly liked the special edition Red and TF300 editions.
Clio V6Clio V6

Renaultsport Clio

The bonkers idea of installing a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine from a Laguna in the shopping trolley-like Clio resulted in one of the most sensational French hot hatches since the Renault 5 Turbo 2. Just don’t attempt a three-point turn unless you’ve got plenty of space as the turning circle is atrocious.
Lotus_Elise_S1Lotus_Elise_S1

Lotus Elise S1

Sharing an engine with the MGF, the Lotus Elise had phenomenal acceleration to 60mph of 5.8 seconds on account of its low kerb weight of just 725kg. Folklore suggests the car was named after Elisa Artioli, granddaughter of the chairman of Lotus at the time, Romano Artioli.
Armed with a budget of £40,000 per car, publisher Ian Robertson selects his favourite affordable mid-engined sports cars.
MGFMGF

MGF

Designed under the leadership of Gerry McGovern OBE of Land Rover fame, who would have thought that a two-seater could be so popular? Tweaks made to the car in late 1999 saw a smaller 1.6-litre engine added alongside the 1.8 units, together with the Trophy 160.
RenaultSport SpiderRenaultSport Spider

Renault Sport Spider

Around 1800 examples of the Spider were made, with just 100 arriving in the UK, all with a proper windscreen. Abroad it was offered with an aeroscreen, like you would see on race cars. This car served as a great precursor to the RenaultSport name being used on the company’s hot hatches.
Toyota MR2 mk1Toyota MR2 mk1

Toyota MR2

Arguably the first of three generations of MR2 is the best, with the two-seat Toyota arriving in UK showrooms in 1985, followed by the sexy T-Bar a year later. It was sold in France as the MR Coupé, as MR2 sounded like something rude when rolling off the tongue of a Frenchman.
DeLorean DMC-12DeLorean DMC-12

DeLorean DMC-12

As someone who adores the Back to the Future series of films, no list of top 10 affordable mid-engined sports cars would be complete without the DeLorean DMC-12. It’s a head-turner that's celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
Fiat X19_Fiat X19_

Fiat X1/9

The pretty Bertone design has really stood the test of time, and of the beauties of the X1/9 is that it had mundane underpinnings, from the 128. Who other than Fiat could get away with naming one of the special editions – the Lido – after a Parisian burlesque show?
MG TFMG TF

MG TF

The pretty TF two-seat sports car was enormously popular for MG, right up to the company’s demise in 2005, with more than 10,000 examples shifted in the last full year. My brother owned a TF 115 Spark and it was faultless for the five years that he and his girlfriend owned it.
Vauxhall VX220Vauxhall VX220

Vauxhall VX220

Having much in common with the Lotus Elise, and badged as the Opel Speedster on the continent, the VX220 made its debut at the 1999 Geneva motor show. Built and developed in the UK at the Lotus factory in Hethel, it is claimed that few parts are interchangeable between the Elise and VX220.
Toyota MR2 Mk3Toyota MR2 Mk3

Toyota MR2 Mk3

I make no apologies for having a couple of MR2s in my top 10, as this one is different to the first couple of generations in that it was a soft-top. All versions came powered by the 138bhp 1ZZ-FED 1.8-litre VVT-i engine, and I particularly liked the special edition Red and TF300 editions.
Clio V6Clio V6

Renaultsport Clio

The bonkers idea of installing a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine from a Laguna in the shopping trolley-like Clio resulted in one of the most sensational French hot hatches since the Renault 5 Turbo 2. Just don’t attempt a three-point turn unless you’ve got plenty of space as the turning circle is atrocious.
Lotus_Elise_S1Lotus_Elise_S1

Lotus Elise S1

Sharing an engine with the MGF, the Lotus Elise had phenomenal acceleration to 60mph of 5.8 seconds on account of its low kerb weight of just 725kg. Folklore suggests the car was named after Elisa Artioli, granddaughter of the chairman of Lotus at the time, Romano Artioli.

SIGN UP TO NEWSLETTER

Your sign up could not be saved. Please try again.
Your sign up has been successful.

Related

Looks like you're leaving

Why not subscribe to Classic.Retro.Modern now

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.