Select Page

10 Of The Best Performance Cars Sold Between 2005 and 2015 – HotCars

by Oct 21, 2022Blog0 comments

Close this window
Get Hotcars Premium. Start your free trial today
Big-engined supercars hit their peak in the late 2000s and early 2010s – before stricter emissions regulations ruined all the fun.
The performance car is the absolute pinnacle of the motor industry. Each segment within the performance class has its compromises – the sports car with outright speed, the supercar in practicality, and the hypercar in being affordable.
Performance cars come in all shapes and sizes. Some take the traditional design first employed by the Lamborghini Miura, while others use the original formula – a massively powerful engine in the front with drive going to the rear. Some can even be used as GT cars, or super GTs as there are more accurately called. These super GTs – such as the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, and Bentley Continental Speed can easily keep up with the mid-engine, focused models like the Ferrari 458 and Audi R8 V10. Even though their designs are completely different, they still complete the same goal – to go fast and sound amazing. Some are more desired than others, specifically supercars with V10 or V12 engines and manual gearboxes.
These types of cars hit their peak in the late 2000s and early 2010s, just before stricter emissions regulations were imposed, and Greta Thunberg decided to give a speech. They were among the last of the proper driver’s cars to have automotive ‘soul’. Here are ten of the best performance cars sold between the years 2005 and 2015.
The Ford GT took a while to eventually become a fully-fledged production supercar since the original GT40 racecar in the 1960s. The GT arrived in 2004 and had the 5.4-liter supercharged V8 engine out of the F-150 SVT Lightning. Like all proper supercars, the GT was only available with a manual transmission.
The GT produced 550 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque, sending power to the rear wheels via a 6-speed transmission. The GT’s demand far outpaced the supply, with many cars selling for $100,000 over the original MSRP of $140,000. Most owners opted for a supercharger pulley upgrade, boosting power to over 700 hp.
Related: This Is What Makes The 2005-2006 Ford GT So Special
The Porsche Carrera GT was the first car designed and built by the German brand’s elite GT-Division. Unlike most of its sports cars, the Carrera GT was a mid-engined supercar with a great big V10 – possibly the best-sounding V10 just behind the Lexus V10.
The Carrera GT was a manual-only car, fitted with a 5.7-liter naturally aspirated V10 producing 603 hp – nearly 50 hp more than the concept version. Power was sent to the rear wheels only via a 6-speed. The Carrera GT is one of the best supercars ever made, mostly due to its visceral driving experience. It is also a car which needs to be taken care of as it is extremely dangerous otherwise.
The Lamborghini Murcielago was the last Raging Bull flagship to feature the exquisite Lamborghini V12 – an engine that first appeared in the 350GT in 1964. The engine grew to its final iteration of 6.5 liters in the updated Murcielago, before being completely replaced in the Aventador.
The pre-update Murcielago was the best version as it was quite unique. The engine was only 6.2 liters in displacement, but it could be optioned with a manual transmission, meaning a screaming Italian V12 with a gated manual. What could possibly be better than that?
The Porsche 911 GT range of cars is usually the pinnacle of the German marque’s racing-car-for-the-road range. The GT3 version features a naturally aspirated flat-6 instead of the more powerful turbocharged GT2’s engine but is more focused on fun track days than chasing the Nürburgring records.
The 2007 GT3 RS was among the best of the lot, featuring a 3.8-liter engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The model only had 400 hp, but due to the lightweight and meticulous engineering and tuning, it could keep up with supercars much more powerful.
The C6 Corvette ZR1 was one of the most ridiculous American sports cars ever produced. Where the Z06 trim featured a naturally aspirated 505 hp 7.0-liter V8, the ZR1 took things a bit further with a supercharged 6.2-liter producing an astonishing 640 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque.
The ZR1 even had a top speed greater than 190 mph, with Chevrolet claiming a 205-mph top speed on their test runs. The ZR1 got a 6-speed manual and the largest wheels ever fitted to a Corvette at the time. The most distinctive styling feature of the C6 ZR1 is definitely the vanity hood showcasing the engine intercooler on top of the supercharger.
The Audi R8 first appeared in 2008 with a 4.2-liter V8 and a manual transmission. It took the world by storm and showed that Audi could indeed produce a supercar. A year later, they did it again by fitting the R8 with the V10 out of the Lamborghini Gallardo – turning this pretty good lower-end supercar into a screaming one.
There was a short window when not only could the R8 be specced with a V10 engine, but also a 6-speed manual – like its Italian sibling. This resulted in a proper driver’s car which could easily be thrashed around a track and cruised along a coastal road – every day if necessary. The Audi R8 is often referred to as ‘the everyday supercar’.
The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG was the first car to be solely designed and built by AMG. Whereas other AMG models were simply upgraded Mercedes-Benz models, the SLS was only available in AMG trim. And boy, was it good.
Designed as a super GT, it could keep up with most supercars of the time thanks to its naturally aspirated 563 hp and 479 lb.ft 6.2-liter V8. The SLS was, and still is, an elegant and comfortable cruiser with its signature Gullwing doors and ridiculously long hood. The SLS AMG will go down in history as one of the greatest German cars ever produced – maybe even one of the greatest cars overall.
The Ferrari 458 was launched just a bit after the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG but quickly became its main rival – with a little help from Top Gear. The SLS featured the most powerful naturally aspirated production V8 ever until Ferrari sold the 562 hp and 398 lb-ft 4.5-liter in the 458. The SLS still made more power and torque, but the Ferrari made more per liter, taking the prize.
The 458 was and still is one of the best Ferraris ever made, with some used models selling for more than the succeeding 488 GTB. The best version of the 458 is definitely the Spider, allowing the occupants to listen to the fantastic sound of the flat-plane V8. James May liked the 458 so much that he bought the last unit of the 458 Speciale – a car he has stated he would probably never sell.
If an automotive art museum ever opens somewhere in the world, it would feature the Jaguar E-Type, Ferrari 250 GT California, and the Lexus LFA. The LFA is the definition of meticulous over-engineering and automotive perfection. As everyone knows by now, the model took many years to design and develop, only for the body to be scrapped and redone in carbon fiber halfway through.
Apart from the slightly clunky automated-manual transmission, the LFA is one of the best cars ever made. Everything on the car was specifically designed for the LFA and very few things carried over to other Lexus models. The centerpiece is, of course, the 4.8-liter V10 under the hood. Producing 552 hp and 358 lb-ft of torque, the engine screams all the way to its 9,000 rpm redline. The sound is absolutely intoxicating.
Related: Reasons Why The Lexus LFA Is The Single Most Underrated Supercar Ever Made
The McLaren MP4-12C – later shortened to just 12C – was the first production car sold by McLaren since the discontinuation of the legendary F1 in 1998. The 12C was completely new, featuring a carbon-fiber composite chassis, a new 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8, and Formula One-inspired technologies to make it an absolute monster around a track.
The 12C started out producing 592 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque but was upgraded to 616 hp with a major update to the car. The 12C was a brilliant car, expertly engineered and good to drive around a track, but many journalists noted that it felt cold and clinical – lacking ‘soul’. Still, it reinvigorated the McLaren brand which is now producing more models and units than ever.
Michael De Kock is passionate about cars and everything from avocados to particle accelerators. He has studied psychology and knows a little bit about fixing cars (old Land Rovers mostly). He also blogs and has a book, 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads, available on Amazon. His philosophy in life: Stop the hate – Adopt a V8.