5 Best AWD Sports Cars Selling For $30,000 (And 5 RWDs We'd Rather Drive) ​​​​​​​ – HotCars

AWD versus RWD is one of the biggest debates in the sports car world, but is there a clear winner in the $30,000 price range.
One of the most quarrelsome topics in the car community, which is superior: all-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive?
AWD vehicles are deemed to be the more practical choice since they are capable in various weather conditions like snow, heavy rain, or ice due to their improved traction. Aside from that, sending power to all four wheels also has plenty of performance benefits. AWD Sports cars have superior 0-60 times to rear-wheel-drive ones and sport some extra sticky handling if you know how to handle potential understeer.
RWD vehicles might not be as versatile or launch as hard as their AWD counterparts, but they do have one thing up their sleeve – a slippery rear end. Car enthusiasts often prefer cars that only receive power to the rear wheels in order to paint black rubbery stripes on roads, or in layman's terms, drifting and burnouts. Sure, you can drift AWD rides as well, but there is a lot of extra skill required and more strain placed on your ride.
So, for $30,000 you can pick your poison between an affordable AWD or RWD sportscar.
There are countless different Subies to choose from, which most cost under $20,000, and they all have one set of characteristic features: a turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-banger alongside a mandatory manual gearbox. Dashing in the snow, or dominating B-roads, the rally Subie will conquer.
A fair warning beforehand, if you were to buy an STI you have to be fully aware it's much more of a lunatic than any other car on this list, especially if you find one specced-out in its iconic blue exterior color with complementary gold wheels.
The 3000GT was way ahead of its time featuring some revolutionary quirks like active aero and tunable mufflers for a customizable exhaust sound. Another unbelievable marvel which Mitsubishi managed to reach was doing 0-60 in under 5 seconds, regardless of weighing an astronomical 1.7 tons.
Underneath the VR-4's hood is a phenomenal 320 hp twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6. Racing down the road in one of these rare JDM sports cars, others' necks will snap trying to stare at your Japanese gem without them knowing you didn't spend a dime over $26,000.
Related: These Are The Things That Made The Mitsubishi 3000 GT So Awesome
Yes, you can drive a Porsche for under $30,00 (or $15,000 for this cabriolet), and no it's not a poor man's Boxster, but rather a proper 911. What once was an AWD Porsche worth $80,000 can now be picked up for just a smidge of its MSRP back in 2003.
Whether you love or hate the 996-generation, it's still a 911 at heart which means it had a water-cooled 3.4-liter flat-6 engine tucked back in the rear powering all 4 wheels. The Carrera 4 could produce up to 315 hp, and accompany that with an AWD system and you're left with a sub-5-second 0-60 time.
Remember how we said AWD cars are more difficult to drift than their RWD counterparts, well the Focus RS is a different type of 4-wheel-powered breed… it has a dedicated drift button after all. Ford's super hatch is powered by a turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder that squashes out an unsafe 350 hp.
The manual hot hatch is like a piece of playdough you can toy around with, whether that's chucking it around corners like a madman, launching it to 60 mph from a standstill in 4.5 seconds, or just revving it non-stop waking up every single person in a 10-mile radius with its pops and bangs. Better fetch one of these before their prices rocket in value.
Related: Here's What Everyone Forgot About The Ford Focus RS
The tribute to the original Pontiac GT is actually a reskinned Corvette-powered Holden Monaro, and it's much more exhilarating than it looks. Beneath the GM-produced coupe's hood is an American small-block V8 that makes a net total of 350 hp while the chassis and everything attached to it is built in Australia, making it Australian-American.
The internationally built 6-speed manual Pontiac which only costs around $15,000 today, is able to reach 60 mph from a standstill in 5 seconds and do the quarter-mile in 14-seconds dead – keep in mind this is incredible performance figures for a 2004-year model.
Related: The True Story Of Why The Pontiac GTO Was Discontinued
Imagine sticking a straight-six twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-liter motor into a teeny BMW 1 series, well that perfectly sums up the 135i. It might not have been as crazy as the 1M Coupe, but the 135i packed one hell of a 306 hp-sized punch.
And accompanied by a manual gearbox as well as perfect weight distribution, this little handsome racer could go from 0-60 mph in almost 5 seconds, and even go balls to the wall around corners gripping like a piece of melted rubber (or sliding if that's what you're into). Big power in a small package for just a bit over $20,000.
Regardless if you aspire to be a licensed drifter, crave to modify your own project car, or maybe even just enjoy the excitement of a small rear-wheel-drive sports car, the Subaru BRZ can fill that void.
The perfect-entry level sports car might have sounded underpowered with a sub-200 hp power output, but when you reckon that it had a preppy 2.0-liter engine that could be controlled with a notchy 6-speed manual, behind the wheel you could harness its power wisely. If your pockets were a tad deeper than $15,000 you could always go for the new 2022 version which features a 228 hp 2.4-liter boxer engine while costing below $30,000.
Related: This Is The Best Feature Of The 2022 Subaru BRZ
Nissan has quite a historic reputation behind their Z-cars, and the 370Z is no anomaly. Powered by a 3.7-liter V6 at the front, and conducted via a six-speed manual gearbox, the rear-wheel-drive Z-car perfectly encapsulates the nimble handling and absolute joy from all the previous generations.
The 370Z's cockpit might be a bit outdated by today's standards, but that's irrelevant after hearing the glorious 332 hp V6's song or feeling the rear slip just enough when plowing through corners. Nissan's 370Z is the newest car on the list since you can pick up a 2020 model for under $30,000.
When Audi released the first A5, they eventually spruced things up with a few RS badges, huge dual exhaust tips, and a preposterous 4.2-liter V8 motor that jolts all four wheels with 444 hp, dubbing the RS5 a true German muscle car.
The combination of its naturally aspirated engine and unmatched Quattro AWD system led to a 0-60 time as little as 4.6 seconds, it even had a secret weapon… being versatile. At any given time the RS5 can morph between a gentlemen's cruiser, muscular raucous V8 powerhouse, or a performance-oriented sports car. Despite the new RS5's improved performance figures, there will never again be something quite as thrilling as the first-generation RS5's driving experience.
Surely, you'd never think a track-focused burnout machine would be a good idea, but Chevrolet thought otherwise and therefore revamped the C6 Corvette into its Z06 version, and it was utter brilliance. This means the racing 'Vette is powered by a 7.0-liter pushrod V8 that pumps out an astronomical 505 hp and ludicrous 470 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels, all while weighing 1.4-ton.
Throw in a stick shift into the mix, and you're left with a Corvette that can actually take corners without spinning up its wheels (unless you want it to of course). If that's not enough reason to buy this $29,000 +200 mph American muscle racecar, we don't know what is.
Even after they’ve lost a ton of value, buying a supercar can be a risky move. However, here are 10 depreciated ones that are worth every buck.