The main attraction of sports cars lies in their ability to outrun other vehicles on the road while providing tons of driving pleasure in the process. While most sports cars offer phenomenal speeds and excellent driving dynamics, some are complete failures on the performance front. Although top speeds of over 150 mph can be found in the crossover SUV class, some sports cars like the Mazda MX-5 Miata fail to travel as fast.
Released in 1989, the Miata is a 2-seater roadster sports car that is currently in its fourth generation of production. As indicated global sales figures, the Miata is the best-selling 2-seat convertible sports car of all time, a tribute to the exceptional qualities it possesses. Powered by a 181bhp 2.0-liter engine, the Miata has a top speed of 136mph, so read on for a list of European sports cars that look fast but can’t compete with the Miata in terms of speed.
9 MG Midget
Produced between 1961 and 1979, the MG Midget is a 2-door roadster that was introduced to fill a gap in the modern low-cost sports car market. Power for the 1961 Midgets came from a 1-liter engine powered by twin SU carburetors to produce 46 hp and 53 lb-ft of torque.
A 1961 Midget, tested in 1962 by The Motor, had a top speed of 88 mph and waltzed to 60 mph in 18.3 seconds. Despite using a 1.5-liter engine in 1974, the 65 hp it produced could only get the Midget to 100 mph in just 12 seconds.
8 AC As
Produced from 1953 to 1963, the AC Ace is a British sports car with an interesting but ironic history. Produced as a replacement for the 2-liter, the Ace began life with an aging 2-liter, 100-hp I-6 overhead cam engine.
Not at all surprising, this engine could only get the AC Ace from 0 to 60 mph in 11.4 languid seconds and had a top speed of 103 mph. While performance improved slightly in 1956 when a 120 hp engine was used, it was the 2.6 liter used in 1961 that produced a top speed of 130 mph.
seven Ferrari Mondial 8
For true Ferrari enthusiasts whose dream is to own at least one Ferrari, the Mondial is an affordable, spacious and comfortable option. Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 1980, it sports modern styling with retractable headlights and a 2 + 2 seating configuration.
Mounted transversely behind the driver is a Bosch K-Jetronic 3.0-liter fuel-injected V8, the same block fitted to the 1973 Dino 308 GT4. Coupled with a 5-speed manual transmission, it developed 214 horsepower to carry the Mondial de 8 to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds and a top speed of 143 mph.
6 Porsche 914/4
Everyone knows Porsche builds fast sports cars, but if you think all Porsches are fast, think again. The 2-seater Porsche 914 with Targa roof is the result of a collaboration between Porsche and Volkswagen between 1969 and 1976.
Mounted behind the driver’s compartment is a 1.7-liter flat-4 boxer engine with an output of 79 hp and 100 lb-ft of torque. This uninspiring engine produced an equally uninspiring top speed of 115.9 mph and a 0-62 time of 13.3 seconds.
5 Ferrari 208 GTB
Produced from 1980 to 1982, the Ferrari 208 GTB was Ferrari’s response to the government tax on cars larger than 2 liters. Interior features included a 3-spoke steering wheel with leather-wrapped rims, an open shifter attached to the driver’s side of the center console and leather-trimmed bucket seats.
Similar in design to the unit used in the 308 GTB, the engine powering the 208 was a transversely mounted 2-liter developing 153 hp at 6800 rpm. That could only bring the 2716-pound 208 GTB to a top speed of 134 mph.
4 Saab sonett
Made by Saab of Sweden, the Saab Sonett is a cute little car that has managed to fool the buying public with its sports car features. Originally introduced in 1955, 6 units were built before being abandoned in 1957 to resume 9 years later.
Released in 1966 and powered by a 0.8-liter 3-cylinder engine developing 60 hp, the Sonett II had a top speed of 93 mph. Despite upgrading to a sports car type V4 in 1971, all it could handle was a 0-60 time of 13 seconds and a top speed of 103 mph.
3 Alpine A110
Released in 1963 to replace the A108, the Alpine A110 is a 2-door coupe that was built from components from the Renault 8. Boasting a fiberglass body built on a steel frame, it pulled the power of a Renault ClÃ©on-Fonte four-cylinder in-line. engine displacing 0.9 liters to produce 55 hp.
During its production it underwent several styling and engine changes and became a commercial and racing success. A 1.1-liter Renault 4-cylinder was able to give it a top speed of 136 mph, while a 1.6-liter I-4 used from 1973 to 1975 gave a top speed of 130 mph.
2 Porsche 912
Produced from 1965 to 1969, the Porsche 912 was developed as a more affordable alternative to the iconic Porsche 911. Identical to the 911 in styling and technology, the 912 was offered in two body styles, a 2+ coupe. 2 and a Targa.
However, the 912 is very different from the 911 in terms of the propulsion unit, a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder with an output of 90 hp at 5,800 rpm. Coupled with a 4-speed manual transmission, the 912 could hit 60 mph in 11.6 seconds and a top speed of 119 mph.
1 Matra Bagheera
The result of cooperation between Matra and Simca, the Matra Bagheera was produced from 1973 to 1980 to replace the atypical Matra 530. With body panels made of fiberglass and polyester, the Bagheera was built on a stamped steel frame and featured a unique 2 + 1 seating arrangement.
Behind the driver was a 1.3-liter engine that produced 84 hp at 6,000 rpm. Available from 1976, a naturally aspirated 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine developed 82 hp at 5,600 and gave the Bagheera a top speed of 115 mph.
As interesting as they are, these sports cars all suffer from design and horsepower issues that gearboxes can sense within a mile and a half.
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