10 Old-School Performance Cars, You Can Buy In 2022 - story fullscreen Fullscreen

10 Old-School Performance Cars, You Can Buy In 2022

These new cars can still provide a proper, old-school driving experience

LISTEN 11:25

The car industry hides many truths that are tough to swallow and one of them is that carmakers don’t care much about car enthusiasts. As such, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a new car that offers a pure driving experience, associated with cars from 10 and even 20 years ago. The normally aspirated engine, manual gearbox, and simplicity are elements we see less and less in modern vehicles. Luckily, there are still a few options for those of us, craving an uncompromising driving experience.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

2016 Mazda MX-5 High Resolution Exterior
- image 614586

It’s understandable if you are tired of seeing Mazda’s compact roadster on such lists, but the truth is, it’s one of the very few options, for those looking for a back to basics driving experience. The recipe is a simple, lightweight, normally-aspirated engine with adequate power and a close-ratio manual gearbox. In the latest iteration of the MX-5, the 2.0-liter inline-four engine makes 184 horsepower and 151 pound0feet (205 Nm), which is enough to propel the 2,271-pound (1,030 kg) roadster to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. While other models are moving towards electrification, the 2023 MX-5 promises more of the same.

Mazda MX-5 Miata specifications
Engine 2.0-liter inline-four engine
Power 184 HP
Torque 151 LB-FT
Weight 2,271 lbs
0 to 60 mph 5.7 seconds

Read our full review on the Mazda MX-5 Miata

Dodge Challenger

2019 Dodge Challenger Exterior
- image 819420

If you are into classic American muscle cars, the Dodge Challenger is as close as you can get. While it can go around corners, it’s not what you would call eager or athletic. The Challenger is more about straight-line performance, which is more than adequate thanks to a couple of pushrod V-8 engines, ranging from 5.7 to 6.4 liters, with the latter able to hit 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.3 seconds. Sadly, you can no longer get a Challenger Hellcat with a manual, as they all come with the ZF, eight-speed auto. Nevertheless, the Challenger still offers that old-school muscle car feel.

Read our full review on the Dodge Challenger

Porsche Cayman GT4

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4
- image 846674

Porsche has not forgotten those looking for a pure driving experience, which is why the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 is being offered with a six-speed manual gearbox. The hottest road-going 718 (after the GT4 RS/Clubsport) also comes equipped with a 4.0-liter normally-aspirated flat-six that packs 420 horsepower and 310 pound-feet (420 Nm). The mid-engine Porsche weighs 3,126 pounds (1,418 kg), which contributes to a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time of around 3.6 seconds.

Porsche Cayman GT4 specifications
Engine 4.0-liter normally-aspirated flat-six
Power 420 HP
Torque 310 LB-FT
Weight 3,126 lbs
0 to 60 mph 3.6 seconds

Read our full review on the Porsche Cayman GT4

Ford Mustang GT

2019 Ford Mustang GT Exterior
- image 861567

When the S550-generation Ford Mustang came out, many frowned upon it, saying it’s a bit too European. However, despite being the most sophisticated Mustang so far, the car still manages to keep a lot of what made it a great pony car, in the first place. While there is a turbocharged inline-four unit on offer, there’s still the iconic 5.0-liter normally-aspirated V-8. It currently makes 460 horsepower (450 for North America) and 420 pound-feet (569 Nm).

Even with the six-speed manual, the 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) can take as little as 4.2 seconds. Sadly, 2022 is the last model year for this generation Mustang, and we already know that the S650 Mustang is going to be a hybrid.

Ford Mustang GT specifications
Engine 5.0-liter normally-aspirated V-8
Power 460 HP
Torque 420 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 4.2 seconds

Read our full review on the Ford Mustang GT

Toyota GR86

10 Old-School Performance Cars, You Can Buy In 2022 Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 992449

When talking about driver’s cars, we cannot forgo Toyota’s compact, rear-wheel-drive sports car. Like the Mazda MX-5, it’s lightweight, normally aspirated, and can be had with a manual. The 2.4-liter flat-four develops 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet (250 Nm) in 5.8 seconds. At 2,815 pounds (1,277 kg), the Toyota GR86 is very light for a modern-day car. More importantly, it comes with one of the most playful and predictable chassis, currently on sale.

Toyota GR86 specifications
Engine 2.4-liter flat-four
Power 228 HP
Torque 184 LB-FT
Weight 2,815 lbs
0 to 60 mph 5.8 seconds

Read our full review on the Toyota GR86

TVR Griffith

10 Old-School Performance Cars, You Can Buy In 2022
- image 730206

In recent times, TVR does not have it easy. The British car company has been on the brink of extinction a couple of times and to this day, it still isn’t out of the woods. Their latest model – the Griffith – is supposed to be the brand’s saving grace, but while orders for the Griffith are being accepted since its debut, in 2018, the car might be delayed until 2023.

Nevertheless, the TVR Griffith perfectly embodies the British lightweight sports car. At 2,756 pounds (1,250 kg), it’s lighter than Toyota’s GR86. It also has a Cosworth-tuned 5.0-liter V-8, based on the Coyote engine, used in the Mustang. In the TVR, it’s good for 500 horsepower. To top it all off, power is sent to the rear through a Tremec Magnum, six-speed manual. The sprint to 60 mph (97 km/h) takes 3.7 seconds.

TVR Griffith specifications
Engine Cosworth-tuned 5.0-liter V-8
Power 500 HP
Transmission Tremec Magnum, six-speed manual
0 to 60 mph 3.7 seconds
Top speed 200 mph

Read our full review on the TVR Griffith

Chevrolet Camaro SS

10 Old-School Performance Cars, You Can Buy In 2022 Exterior
- image 837872

Like the current Mustang, the sixth-generation Chevy Camaro lives on borrowed time. In 2024, the Camaro name will be slapped on an electric sedan, marking the end of the iconic model, as we know it. That said, you can still buy a Camaro that has two doors, a normally-aspirated pushrod V-8, and a six-speed manual gearbox.

The current LT1 engine displaces 6.2 liters and is good for 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet (617 Nm). It allows for a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) sprint in 4.3 seconds. It’s worth noting that out of the big American trio (Mustang, Camaro, Challenger), the Chevy is the closest to a proper sports car. It’s also the least practical.

Chevrolet Camaro SS specifications
Engine 6.2-liter normally-aspirated V-8
Power 455 HP
Torque 455 LB-FT
Transmission six-speed manual
0 to 60 mph 4.3 seconds

Read our full review on the Chevrolet Camaro SS

Nissan Z

2023 Nissan Z Breaks Cover With 400 Horses And A Manual Gearbox Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 1009641
It includes stuff like yellow brake calipers, bronze-colored wheels, special leather-appointed seats, etc.

One of the most anticipated cars in 2022 is, without a doubt, the Nissan Z, which finally replaces the great, but aging 370Z. Based on the same proven chassis and even using the same six-speed manual as its predecessor, the Nissan Z embodies the old-school Japanese sports car, enthusiasts crave. The only difference is the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6, which we first saw on the Infiniti Q50 and Q60 RedSport models.

With 400 horsepower and 350 pound-feet (475 Nm), the new Z is expected to reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in around 4.4 seconds. What’s even better is that the car uses proven technology from other performance models of Nissan and Infiniti, which means plenty of aftermarket support.

Nissan Z specifications
Engine 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6
Power 400 HP
Torque 350 LB-FT
Transmission six-speed manual
0 to 60 mph 4.4 seconds

Read our full review on the Nissan Z

Porsche 911 GT3

2022 Porsche 911 GT3
- image 1030789

The rear-engine sports car from Germany does not need an introduction. That said, even the 911 has gotten “fatter” and more complicated over the years. Despite that, the 911 still brings uncompromising performance, which is especially stressed with the GT3 model. Like the 718 Cayman GT4 from earlier, the 911 GT3 packs a 4.0-liter normally-aspirated flat-six, only here, it makes 503 horsepower and 347 pound-feet (470 Nm).

Moreover, the 911 GT3 can also be had with a six-speed manual, in which case the 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) sprint happens in 3.7 seconds – roughly 0.5 seconds slower than a PDK-equipped GT3. Nevertheless, Porsche still gives you options with the 911 GT3, which is commendable.

Porsche 911 GT3 specifications
Engine 4.0-liter normally-aspirated flat-six
Power 503 HP
Torque 347 LB-FT
Transmission six-speed manual
0 to 60 mph 3.7 seconds

Read our full review on the Porsche 911 GT3

Lotus Emira

The Lotus Emira Represents Significant Change with Familiarity Exterior
- image 999804
These specs, however, are well in line with the cars the Emira will compete against

Like the Nissan Z from earlier, this one is yet to go out on sale – Emira’s debut it scheduled for the end of 2022. The Lotus Emira is quite different than what the brand has been giving us until now. It’s more upscale, sophisticated, and high-tech. It’s technically a mini-Lotus Evija with a combustion engine. Emira comes in two flavors: an AMG-derived 2.0-liter turbo-four paired with a DCT gearbox and a 3.5-liter supercharged Toyota V-6 mated to a six-speed manual.

It is because of the latter, that Emira makes it on the list. The Toyota- derived V-6 is not new, but it’s a tried and tested unit. In the Emira, it has a power output of 400 horsepower and 317 pound-feet (430 Nm). This lightest version of the Lotus Emira weighs in at 3,097 pounds (1,405 kg).

Lotus Emira specifications
Engine 3.5-liter supercharged Toyota V-6
Power 400 HP
Torque 317 LB-FT
Transmission six-speed manual
Weight 3,097 lbs

Read our full review on the Lotus Emira

Honorable mention: Gordon Murray T50

10 Old-School Performance Cars, You Can Buy In 2022 Exterior High Resolution Wallpaper quality
- image 926594
Gordon Murray T50
The McLaren F1 is still one of the most iconic hypercars ever made. Its creator decided to come up with a spiritual successor that’s even better, in every aspect

From the creator of the legendary McLaren F1 comes a modern-day spiritual successor. The Gordon Murray T50 is a modern interpretation of an old-school hypercar. Despite production starting sometime in the first quarter of 2022, all 100 units have already been sold. Even if they weren’t, the $3.0 million price is too much for most.

Like the McLaren F1, the GM T50 is a technological marvel. The engineers have managed to make it even lighter – 2,173 pounds (986 kg) versus F1’s 2,509 pounds (1,136 kg). Gordon Murray T50 is powered by a 4.0-liter normally-aspirated Cosworth V-12, which revs to 12,000 RPM and makes 654 horsepower and 344 pound-feet (467 Nm). It’s also mated to a six-speed manual, just like the original McLaren F1.

Gordon Murray T50 specifications
Engine 4.0-liter normally-aspirated Cosworth V-12
Power 654 HP
Torque 344 LB-FT
Transmission six-speed manual
Weight 2,173 lbs

Read our full review on the Gordon Murray T50

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
About the author
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: