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Please call Member Services at Welcome to Consumer Reports. You now have access to benefits that can help you choose right, be safe and stay informed. As much as any current production car the Porsche represents to the smallest detail the very definite ideas of its designers as to what constitutes agreeable fast motoring. Future historians must see them as among the most important of mid-century production cars.
The s saw launched of a new generation of sports cars, as the market sector continued to grow. A second generation Mercedes-Benz SL was launched in , which saw the iconic "gullwing" doors discontinued. The Sunbeam Tiger was discontinued in , with the Rootes Group later Chrysler UK deciding instead to guide buyers of sportier models to its Sunbeam Rapier four-seater coupe.
Ford declined to develop an out-and-out sports car and instead decided to launch a four-seater "sports saloon", the Capri , which was designed and priced to compete with ordinary family saloon cars from its launch in , and remained in production until , with two facelifts during the s. Lotus , the British carmaker which specialised in mostly two-seater sports cars, enjoyed strong sales and cult status during the s and s with cars like the Elan , Eclat and Esprit.
Porsche expanded its range of sports cars during the s with the entry-level a four-cylinder hatchback coupe in and the a year later. The was intended to eventually replace the , but such was the popularity of the that Porsche decided to keep it in production and update it, although the continued into the s.
The lasted until , by which time it had been joined by the more powerful - which featured the same basic design. This in turn became the with a restyle in The company had joined forces in with Volkswagen to develop a two-seater sports model available as a coupe or soft top which was known as the VW-Porsche ; however, the venture was not successful and the car was discontinued in Despite the demise of sports cars from the likes of MG and Triumph at the beginning of the s, a number of carmakers decided to continue producing cars for this sector of the market.
Audi launched the front-wheel drive four-seater Coupe and the four-wheel drive version - the Audi Quattro - in The Coupe was replaced by a refreshed model in , while the Quattro was replaced two years later. BMW made a comeback into the sports car sector in when it was launched the Z1 roadster, but this car was not a strong seller and was discontinued after five years. Its successor, the BMW Z3 , unveiled in , was far more successful.
In , Honda moved into the supercar market with the NSX , a two-seater mid engined coupe to rival the supercars from the likes of Ferrari. Jaguar had replaced the E-Type with the Jaguar XJS in ; this model lasted for 21 years in coupe and later soft top form before being replaced by the XK8 in Ford withdrew from the sports car market at the end of when the Capri was discontinued after a production run of nearly two decades.
There was no direct successor, as Ford Europe was concentrating on higher performance versions of its hatchback and saloon models at the time, but in Ford made a comeback to this market sector with the American-built Probe.
However, the Probe was not a strong seller, and was withdrawn from Europe after just three years, having fallen well short of sales targets.
Despite selling well, it was withdrawn from production five years later without a replacement. The Probe's replacement, the Cougar also American-built , was launched in but withdrawn from Europe after just two years on sale. Lotus built on its successes of the s and s by replacing the Eclat with the Excel in , while the Esprit was drastically restyled in In , it revived the Elan nameplate after an year hiatus on a new two-seater front-wheel drive roadster.
However, sales slumped shortly after its much-anticipated launch as a result of the recession and a lack of interest from American buyers, and it was withdrawn from production after just three years; although production was briefly revived soon afterwards under Bugatti ownership. The Elan's successor, the Elise , was launched in and was more successful. Mazda patented the rotary engine on a succession of cars during the s and s, and most notably succeeded in this format with the Mazda RX-7 , a high performance sports car available as a coupe or convertible.
The first generation model debuted in , but it was the third generation model - launched in - which was the most successful and highly acclaimed. However, declining popularity meant that it was only sold in its native Japan in the years leading up to its demise in The marque enjoyed a more significant rebirth in when the MG F - a two-seater mid-engined roadster - was launched, and proved extremely popular. It was updated in to become the MG TF, and despite the collapse of MG Rover in , it enjoyed a brief revival from under Chinese ownership.
Other Mitsubishi sports models, including the Eclipse , were mainly sold only in Japan and the States. Nissan persisted with its range of high performance "Z Cars" during the s, with the original ZX in , replacing it in with a second generation model featuring four-wheel steering. This model lasted until , mainly being sold only in Japan after , and with its demise the Nissan Z-Car line was temporarily put on hold.
A smaller, less powerful and less expensive coupe, the Silvia , debuted in and was replaced at the end of the decade by two different models - the new Silvia and the SX, with different markets getting one model and others getting the other. The two designs were replaced by a single model in Porsche continued to develop the iconic during the s, while the which could be traced back to the of and were both discontinued halfway through the decade.
Porsche then filled in the gap at the bottom of its range with the Boxster - a two-seater roadster which featured similar styling to the but was less powerful and less expensive. The range expanded in with the launch of the more powerful Boxster S. The Celica had been developed into a higher performance model - the Celica Supra - which became a separate range in its own right when a new model was launched in , and the company moved into the market for two-seater sports cars in with its MR2 , a mid-engined targa-top coupe which proved hugely successful.
It was replaced by an all-new model in , which was in production for 11 years until it made way for a new two-seater roadster of the same name at the turn of the year The Celica continued until , and the MR2 was discontinued a year later; neither model was directly replaced. The Supra lasted until , also without a direct successor, having largely been sold only in its native Japan during its final years.
TVR , the British maker of sports cars since , reached its apex during the s with models including the Griffith and Cerbera. The Alfa Romeo GTV coupe had been discontinued in , with the iconic Spider finally being axed in after 27 years and a string of updates to keep it looking as fresh as possible. The Audi TT was a huge success in the sports car market after its launch, and was replaced by an all-new model in BMW's Z3, launched in , was also a strong seller, with a coupe model joining the range in Its successor, the Z4 , was produced for 14 years from until , and also sold well.
Honda discontinued the Prelude in after more than 20 years and five generations, without a direct successor, although European buyers received the first officially imported examples of the Integra Type R around this time. The NSX remained in production for 15 years until its demise in Lotus launched a new version of the Elise in , and kept it in production for a whole decade before an all-new model was launched in The Esprit was widely expected to make way for a new two-seater mid-engined coupe - codenamed M - around , but the planned new car never reached production and the Esprit continued until It was effectively replaced the following year by the Europa S - but the new car lasted just four years before being discontinued.
However, just 82 examples of the car were reportedly produced, and its demise was brought about after two years when MG Rover went into liquidation. It was well received by the motoring press but was discontinued five years later without a direct successor. As well as the brief demise of the MG brand, the world of sports car lost another major player in with the demise of TVR, whose Blackpool factory closed down two years after coming under Russian ownership.
Anticipated production of Russian-built sports cars wearing the TVR badge never happened, but in hopes of the marque making a comeback were raised when a syndicate of British businessmen bought the rights to the TVR name with a view to developing new sports cars.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about roadgoing cars. For racing cars, see Sports car racing. Two-seat open cabin Mazda MX Archived from the original on 20 September Retrieved 10 March Today Mazda announced a new milestone for the popular MX-5 roadster, with the ,th unit rolling off the production line.
In doing so, it is also recognized by Guinness World Records as the best selling sports car. Archived from the original on 3 March Development of the Sporting Car.