The idea of eventually owning a nice sports car is what has driven many car enthusiasts for years; working tirelessly to achieve their goal. Unfortunately, it’s not always a blessing to meet your heroes, as they may very well let you down.
This isn’t the case for all sports cars, of course, but it’s still a pervasive problem in the industry. There’s nothing worse than working for years to get your dream car, only to find out it’s an awful design. To help you avoid some of these problematic vehicles and learn a little more about what makes them so bad, check out these 10 sports cars that have way too much trouble to deal with.
ten Pontiac Solstice
First of all, it’s kind of a relic. Due to Pontiac’s dissolution during the recession, their vehicles have become rare on the roads. One, however, that always seems to captivate buyers (for whatever reason) is the sporty Pontiac Solstice.
To concede a little, the Solstice is an elegant car. The curvy lines, large hood and convertible top make for a decent looking sports car. Out of the box, these cars are great, but buying a used one is another story. Overall, the engines were completely unreliable and prone to failure after some mileage.
9 Ferrari F355
When you buy a Ferrari, you probably don’t think about reliability at first. The only thing that matters at this time is appearance and speed. However, upon realizing later, you will find that an expensive trip to the mechanic can ruin your experience with the car. This is exactly what has happened to many who have purchased/drive the Ferrari F355.
When the F355 worked, it did so spectacularly; tearing up race tracks and public roads. When the F355 had (common) problems, a simple mechanical visit could cost upwards of $10,000. That’s as much as a BMW E46 M3 just for repairs. Needless to say, no one likes it, and tough Ferrari traditions make repairs a nightmare.
8 Jaguar E-Type
As fans of the popular BBC TV show Top of the line already know, Britain doesn’t have the best track record for making the most reliable cars. Perhaps the best evidence to support this theory can be seen in the classic Jaguar E-Type.
In terms of looks, the E-Type is easily one of the most beautiful cars ever created. This, unfortunately, is often overshadowed by the constant mechanical issues and breakdowns that E-Type owners would experience. In fact, it’s become something of a meme in the automotive community about the E-Type’s build quality. Even the AMC TV show Mad Men took a swipe at the E-Type in their final season by showing off an all-new one that failed to start multiple times!
seven Mazda RX-8
After Mazda’s profound success and history with the RX-7, it was clear that they would eventually succeed the beloved rotary-engined sports car. When they did, it was named the RX-8. Two words accurately describe the RX-8’s big problem: Apex Seals.
In rotary, the engine does not use the normal pistons, but the triangular shaped ones which rotate in a circle to create a spark instead and sometimes break the edges. When tuned properly they are very powerful and sound like F1 cars. Although, when not treated with care, the RX-8 becomes a nightmare; requiring daily oil replacements/changes, engine rebuilds and much more.
6 Porsche Carrera (996)
Of all the vehicles in this article, few have received as much hate from die-hard fans as the 996-body Porsche Carrera. This was due to two problems: the introduction of water cooling and a poorly designed engine. When it comes to reliability, the 996 was supposed to be the next step up in efficiency and build quality for their cars.
What ended up happening, however, was Porsche’s inexperience with water cooling that bit them. After about 70,000 miles or so the 996 has issues that constantly appear out of nowhere. As someone who’s lived, driven and studied the 996 extensively, it’s certainly a pain in the neck – especially at over 150,000 miles.
5 Audi S5 (B8.5)
As with many poorly built and poorly designed sports cars, they don’t hold their value for very long. This, however, works for both good and bad. The upside is that it’s cheaper, but the downside is that it attracts unsuspecting gearheads. A good example of this is with Audi’s S5 B8.5.
The B8.5 models were built by Audi from 2013 to 2017. Over the past few years, some of these issues have been resolved. Before that, motors had a lot of little issues, which resulted in a lot of time looking for tiny parts to just make the thing work. Obviously, Audi parts don’t come cheap, especially in the United States or at an Audi dealership. Due to the endless amount of little problems and the hefty price tag it takes to fix them, previous generation Audi S5s just aren’t worth it – even if they only cost $20,000 or less).
4 Mercedes-Benz SL600
In recent times, Mercedes-Benz has been revered for the classic level of high-quality German engineering in its road cars and Formula 1 racing team. However, this has not always been the case, as evidenced by one of Mercedes’ biggest failures: their classic V12s.
As with the Mercedes S600 (a luxury car with the same engine), the SL 600 (the sportier convertible alternative) had the same problems: oil consumption, leaks all the time, expensive repairs and a pitfall without end. The real lesson here is not just to avoid the old SL 600, but all classic Mercedes-Benz V12s together!
3 2013 thru ’14 Dodge Challenger R/T
Similar to Mercedes-Benz, Dodge now wears a badge of reliability and excellence that it once did not hold. The best example of this trend can be seen with the Dodge Challenger. The new ones are fantastic, but the 2013 to 2014 versions were atrocious.
Since the Dodge Challenger is still a GM/Chrysler vehicle, it likes to fall apart over the years. Few 2013 to 2014 Challengers are available today in very good condition, except for those that cost as much as a newer one. To add to that, the Challenger R/T emissions tests failed completely, but were still (somehow) allowed.
The real nail in the coffin, however, is how hard the owners of these cars drive them. V8 enthusiasts will burnout when new and sell them before/after problems start. So do yourself a favor and buy a new Challenger instead.
2 Mazda RX-7
As mentioned earlier with the RX-8, its predecessor known as the RX-7 is not a sports car for the faint of heart. Not only because of its abilities, but also because of the maintenance required to keep such a beast going.
Just like with the RX-8, the old RX-7 has the same issues: broken apex seals, leaking hoses/fuel lines, constant thirst for oil and frequent oil changes. However, if you are one of the few determined to want to deal with the ensuing problems, you will have a sports car that almost every JDM fan will drool over.
1 DeLorean DMC-12
If you talk to a lifelong car enthusiast and ask “what’s the worst/least reliable sports car you’ve heard of?”, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t have at least least mentioned the spectacular failure of DeLorean.
The DeLorean DMC-12 is the epitome of an unreliable sports car. As with the Audi S5 and Jaguar E-Type, the futuristic and cool look of the DMC-12 attracted unsuspecting buyers. When it was already too late, they learned the hard way that 88 MPH was probably as fast as it could get.
Due to rushed design, a continually failing engine, and an unorthodox method of creation, the DMC-12 became a nice car, but not a good car. Unfortunately, they are still expensive today thanks to none other than Back to the future and are even harder to find parts for.
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