The advent of the 21st century brought with it many changes to how things were done in the car industry, especially when it comes to sports cars. Pop-up headlights became a dying breed, and sports cars became simpler and more refined from the inside out. Interiors were now basic but comfortable and all the signs of false mufflers and air scoops began to disappear.
Many cars eschewed turbocharging and superchargers for naturally aspirated engines, and the driving stick was back in a big way. The 2000s were all about the pleasure of driving, and safety was not as big a concern as it is now, so driver aids were also yet to be added to cars in the plethora they are now. This is what made many of them so exciting and memorable.
On that note, here go the coolest sports cars of the 2000s, ranked in the order of the good to the very best. Do you have one of these in your garage?
10 2004-2006 Pontiac GTO: The Second Coming
So yes, the second generation of the Pontiac GTO was nothing like the first but that wasn’t a bad thing. While the design was not as snazzy as the classic, this two-door coupé first came with a 5.7-liter V8 and jet 350 horsepower, with 365 lb-ft of torque.
The very next year, the engine became a 6.0-liter V8 with 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft torque making this car a sleeper, punch-drunk with power. It was the perfect muscle-sports car blend, but its simple looks kept sales low.
9 Porsche Boxster: No More Bull’s Eye
When the Boxster was launched, the “fried-egg” headlights did not win it any rave reviews, so by 2005, the next generation of the Boxster dropped them. It came with two engine options in its first year, a 237-horsepower 2.7-liter flat-six and 276-horsepower 3.2-liter flat-six. The top speeds were a respectable 160 mph and 167 mph for both.
You could also opt between a manual or an automatic transmission, which made driving the Porsche Boxster a wonderful thing, indeed. The early manuals are also fairly affordable on the classic car market today.
8th Dodge Viper: Third Gen Demonic
The Dodge Viper was a car unlike any other in America or the world. With a V10 engine under the hood and a very sleek, chew-up-the-road kind of a determined design, the Viper set benchmarks in its first and second generations.
Then came the 2003-introduced third-generation with the edgiest Viper yet. Sleek but sharp, with an 8.0-liter V10 that now made 500 horsepower and 525 lb-ft of torque, it was lighter than its predecessors but also a bit larger. The Viper SRT10 of 2005 added to the power and appeal of this stunning sports car.
7 Honda S2000: The Sunniest Roadster
The Honda S2000 was an amazing roadster, so much so that Honda has never been able to live up to its perfection with any sports car ever since its eventual demise. The slightly more than 2.0-liter, inline-four engine made 240 horses in 2004 in the AP2 model, with 162 lb-ft of torque.
Driving this car just about made your day, and its value on the used car bazaar just keeps on rising, as the inflation rate. It was beautifully styled with tasteful interiors and basically made any bad day turn just a bit sunnier.
6 Mazda Miata NB: Tried, Tested, Trusted
Much like the MR2, the Mazda also dropped the pop-up headlights, or is it vice versa? Pop-up headlights not only proved to be hazardous for pedestrians, but they also did nothing for aerodynamics, especially in the Miata.
The car was small and light, and so was the engine, the four-pots not making more than 143 horsepower on this side of the Pacific. The looks became sportier in 2001 to make the Miata a little more upmarket, and the interiors became nicer as well.
5 Ferrari 360: Edges Out, Curves In
Till the time the 1999-introduced 360 brought all the curves back in, Ferrari was doing a lot of edges and pop-up headlights with the 355/ Now. it also slashed the costs a bit to make it relatively more affordable. Manual transmissions made it a fun car to drive, and ultimately, a Ferrari is a Ferrari, no?
Power went up to 394 horses and torque also climbed a little to 268 lb-ft. With more torque in the lower revs, the Ferrari became a sports car with a near muscular feel and for that, it has our respect and undying love.
4 Lamborghini Murcielago: The Quintessential 2000s Supercar
Whether it’s wallpapers, music videos, or teenage boys’ bedroom walls, there was no getting away from the Lamborghini Murcielago in the early 2000s. Along with his little brother Gallardo, it was the quintessential yellow supercar you’d see everywhere you go.
It’s hard to say what made the Murcielago so cool, but the 6.2-liter (later upgraded to 6.5 liters) V12 producing 571 horsepower definitely didn’t hurt. Then there was also its unique design that followed one single unbroken line from the tip of the nose all the way to the rear wing. It was nothing short of spectacular.
3 Saleen S7: European-Looking American Muscle
The Saleen S7 looks very exotic and you could imagine it being made in Modena instead of in the heartland of America. A track-focused sports car and frankly almost a hypercar, the Saleen S7 tapped into Detroit’s Ford for its engine.
The all-aluminum 5.7-liter V8 made 550 horses in the Saleen, and when a TT S7 model was launched, it made 750 horses with a twin-turbocharged 7.0-liter V8, claiming a top speed of 248 mph. Now, who says Americans cannot make a good sports car?
2 Chevrolet Corvette Z06/ZR1: Decimating Foreign Imports
The European cars were left biting the dust, red-faced with the effort, as they tried to catch up to the sheer brutal prowess of the Corvette ZR1 that came in 2009. They failed. The Corvette ZR1, with a 6.2-liter supercharged V8, made 638 horsepower and 604 lb-ft of torque and bore testament to Chevy’s dedication to the ‘Vette.
Even the 2001-introduced Z06 dented the ego of most existing sports cars, with a 385-horsepower 4.7-liter V8 that made 405 horses the very next year. The ‘Vette is nearly the undisputed king of the 2000s.
1 Ford GT: Retro Done Right
We said the ‘Vette Z06/ZR1 was almost the king of the 2000s because the crown ultimately goes to the Ford GT. It captured the essence of the GT40, the one that decimated Le Mans and churned out a Matt Damon, Christian Bale hit. And added in supercharged V8 performance ahead of its time.
The Ford GT’s 5.4-liter supercharged V8 made 550 horses and 500 lb-ft of torque, just enough power to thrill the hair off your head, but not more than what you could handle. It was a racetrack terror, one that made the competition leak oil and bow out. Still very much a stunner.
Sources: Motor1, CarBuzz