The Best AWD Sports Cars to Buy Used in 2021

The Best AWD Sports Cars to Buy Used in 2021

Sports cars are all about fun. It's why they come with disproportionately massive engines, and quite often, manual transmissions.

There’s another hallmark I forgot to mention: a rear-wheel-drive drivetrain. 

Sports car manufacturers tend to prefer rear-wheel configurations because they make it easier to achieve high acceleration speeds, while also improving handling when travelling at rapid velocities. You will quite often see these drivetrains paired with a mid-or rear-mounted engine, which helps evenly distribute the vehicle’s weight.  

Historically, sports car manufacturers shied away from all-wheel-drive drivetrains, due to the perception that they couldn't quite match a traditional rear wheel configuration when it comes to that essential quality — fun. 

Over time, that has changed, with more and more brands offering an AWD option. There are certain advantages to going down this path. With each wheel contributing to the vehicle’s momentum, driving starts to feel more accurate. You’ll notice improved handling during challenging weather conditions, like rain.

Some sports cars, like the Subaru Impreza WRX, come within an AWD configuration by default. Other manufacturers offer it as an optional extra during the purchase process. And, of course, there are plenty of AWD sports cars available on the used market. Here are some of the best.

2013 BMW 335i xDrive

2013 BMW 335i xDrive

Available in AWD configurations, the BMW 335i xDrive is a nimble four seater sports car, capable of breakneck acceleration and solid handling.

At its heart is a powerful 3L six-cylinder inline engine, which delivers 300 HP and 300 lbs of torque. And it's quite the looker too, boasting a sleek aerodynamic design that is defined by elegant curves and an imposing front profile. With a low suspension, the BMW rides close to the ground, further adding to the fun of driving it.

It's also weirdly practical, insofar as you can actually use the rear row for seating. Whereas pony cars are notorious for their cramped back row, the BMW offers a tolerable 33.7 inches of legroom and 36.8 inches of headroom.

And then there are the luxury touches you would expect from a BMW, ranging from the extravagant leather seats, to a powerful sound system and built-in navigation. Priced around $15,000, this is one of the most affordable AWD sports cars on our list.

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2013 BMW 335i xDrive

Available in AWD configurations, the BMW 335i xDrive is a nimble four seater sports car, capable of breakneck acceleration and solid handling.

At its heart is a powerful 3L six-cylinder inline engine, which delivers 300 HP and 300 lbs of torque. And it's quite the looker too, boasting a sleek aerodynamic design that is defined by elegant curves and an imposing front profile. With a low suspension, the BMW rides close to the ground, further adding to the fun of driving it.

It's also weirdly practical, insofar as you can actually use the rear row for seating. Whereas pony cars are notorious for their cramped back row, the BMW offers a tolerable 33.7 inches of legroom and 36.8 inches of headroom.

And then there are the luxury touches you would expect from a BMW, ranging from the extravagant leather seats, to a powerful sound system and built-in navigation. Priced around $15,000, this is one of the most affordable AWD sports cars on our list.

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2018 Audi A5 Premium

2018 Audi A5 Premium

I would be remiss if I didn't mention rival German automaker Audi, which offers the A5 with an all-wheel-drive drivetrain. Like the aforementioned BMW, this comes with a relatively small interior, with room for just four occupants. Personal space on the back row is slightly lower here, but still reasonably tolerable. 

The A5 premium is powered by a formidable yet sufficient 2L four-cylinder engine, with 252 HP and 200 lbs of torque. This allows it to provide a thrilling ride, while also achieving some exceptional fuel efficiency figures. You can expect to get 24 mpg in the city, and 34 mpg when driving down highway roads.

Priced around $27,000, this is comparatively way more expensive, although it's worth remembering that the A5 premium comes with all the benefits of a modern high-end car. Solid fuel efficiency is one example, but you also get things like a reverse parking camera, multi zone air-conditioning, and a well equipped media system.

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2018 Audi A5 Premium

I would be remiss if I didn't mention rival German automaker Audi, which offers the A5 with an all-wheel-drive drivetrain. Like the aforementioned BMW, this comes with a relatively small interior, with room for just four occupants. Personal space on the back row is slightly lower here, but still reasonably tolerable. 

The A5 premium is powered by a formidable yet sufficient 2L four-cylinder engine, with 252 HP and 200 lbs of torque. This allows it to provide a thrilling ride, while also achieving some exceptional fuel efficiency figures. You can expect to get 24 mpg in the city, and 34 mpg when driving down highway roads.

Priced around $27,000, this is comparatively way more expensive, although it's worth remembering that the A5 premium comes with all the benefits of a modern high-end car. Solid fuel efficiency is one example, but you also get things like a reverse parking camera, multi zone air-conditioning, and a well equipped media system.

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2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG C 43

2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG C 43

Moving further into premium territory, we stumble across the fearsome Mercedes-Benz AMG C 43. Again, this is another four-seater coupe. But it's still worth noting, not least because it's a verifiable AWD sports car powerhouse.

Mercedes-Benz opted to fit this with a 3L turbocharged V6 engine, which can produce up to 362 hp and 348 lbs of torque. When driving this car, you will feel as though you are near inches from the ground. It boasts a low suspension, adding to the exhilaration that usually follows when you press the accelerator pedal down.

Fuel efficiency isn't quite as impressive as the Audi, but it's still quite good, with the AMG C 43 achieving 20 MPG on city roads and 27 MPG when tackling long stretches of highway. We also like the flurry of high-end fittings, from the hands-free liftgate, to the built-in media storage and Wi-Fi hotspot. For all this, you can expect to pay around $45,000.

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2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG C 43

Moving further into premium territory, we stumble across the fearsome Mercedes-Benz AMG C 43. Again, this is another four-seater coupe. But it's still worth noting, not least because it's a verifiable AWD sports car powerhouse.

Mercedes-Benz opted to fit this with a 3L turbocharged V6 engine, which can produce up to 362 hp and 348 lbs of torque. When driving this car, you will feel as though you are near inches from the ground. It boasts a low suspension, adding to the exhilaration that usually follows when you press the accelerator pedal down.

Fuel efficiency isn't quite as impressive as the Audi, but it's still quite good, with the AMG C 43 achieving 20 MPG on city roads and 27 MPG when tackling long stretches of highway. We also like the flurry of high-end fittings, from the hands-free liftgate, to the built-in media storage and Wi-Fi hotspot. For all this, you can expect to pay around $45,000.

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2012 Subaru Impreza WRX

2012 Subaru Impreza WRX

The conventional looking Impreza sticks out like a sore thumb when sat alongside the previous coupes listed. And yet, looks can be deceiving. The Impreza has a proud tradition as a racing vehicle, and has been driven to victory in rally competitions by the likes of Colin McRae and Mark Higgins. 

The first clue that suggests this is a racing car can be found underneath the rear fender, where you will spot four exhaust pipes protruding. Powering this beast is a 2.5L four-cylinder turbocharged engine, paired to a five-speed manual gearbox. 

Expect brisk acceleration speeds, paired with the top-notch handling expected from an all-wheel-drive. Depending on the number of miles on the odometer, you should expect to pay around $18,000.

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2012 Subaru Impreza WRX

The conventional looking Impreza sticks out like a sore thumb when sat alongside the previous coupes listed. And yet, looks can be deceiving. The Impreza has a proud tradition as a racing vehicle, and has been driven to victory in rally competitions by the likes of Colin McRae and Mark Higgins. 

The first clue that suggests this is a racing car can be found underneath the rear fender, where you will spot four exhaust pipes protruding. Powering this beast is a 2.5L four-cylinder turbocharged engine, paired to a five-speed manual gearbox. 

Expect brisk acceleration speeds, paired with the top-notch handling expected from an all-wheel-drive. Depending on the number of miles on the odometer, you should expect to pay around $18,000.

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2017 Dodge Charger SXT

2017 Dodge Charger SXT

The Dodge Charger is a bit like the Challenger’s bigger brother, providing plenty of interior room, but without skimping on performance. 

Complementing the all-wheel-drive configuration is a potent 3.6L V6 turbocharged engine, which offers 292 HP and 260 lbs of torque. With a well-balanced weight distribution and a low-profile suspension, the Charger achieves quick acceleration speeds, paired with precise and responsive levels of handling. 

Fuel efficiency is average, but hardly terrible. Per its EPA rating, you should get 18 MPG on city roads and 27 MPG in the Dodge Charger’s natural habitat – the highway. And with a price tag around the $21,000 mark, it’s reasonably affordable.

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2017 Dodge Charger SXT

The Dodge Charger is a bit like the Challenger’s bigger brother, providing plenty of interior room, but without skimping on performance. 

Complementing the all-wheel-drive configuration is a potent 3.6L V6 turbocharged engine, which offers 292 HP and 260 lbs of torque. With a well-balanced weight distribution and a low-profile suspension, the Charger achieves quick acceleration speeds, paired with precise and responsive levels of handling. 

Fuel efficiency is average, but hardly terrible. Per its EPA rating, you should get 18 MPG on city roads and 27 MPG in the Dodge Charger’s natural habitat – the highway. And with a price tag around the $21,000 mark, it’s reasonably affordable.

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Conclusion

When it comes to sports cars, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. For those looking for a more precise driving experience without compromising on performance. And from nimble coupes to larger sedans, there’s a form-factor for everyone. 

Looking for your next ride? Shift makes finding it easy. You can browse through our inventory from the comfort of your home, and pay or apply for finance without having to visit a dealership. 

All our vehicles are inspected by one of our qualified mechanics and come with a seven day returns policy. And when shopping from our certified inventory, you’ll get a free 30-day warranty. To start your search, click here. 

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Author
Shift Editorial Team