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Best cars for some midlife fun

You’ve worked hard all your life - now it's time for some fun! For all of you looking for a dream car with thrills as standard, read on.

The default: Mazda MX-5

The Mazda MX-5 is one of the best sports cars you can buy. It doesn’t matter if you pick up a more affordable, older used version, or a brand-new one, this is a car that is a joy to drive, every time you get behind the wheel. The low driving position places you right on the tarmac. The car hugs the road. The steering is sharp. Even changing gears is fun.

The MX-5 isn't a fast sports car – but that’s not really the point of it. This is car that is all about how much fun driving can be, so it really makes most sense on a country road, with lots of bends and corners, where you can brake and accelerate regularly. Actual driving.

The MX-5 has traditionally never been brilliantly equipped, but it has always been reliable, so the overall ownership experience is pretty much second to none. 

The slightly sensible one: Audi TT

The Audi TT has become a modern classic, in the 20 or so years since it was launched, thanks in part to the design. It’s now in its third generation, so, like the MX-5, you can buy an older, used car, or a new model, and get admiring looks in both. 

Audi TT

Because it's an Audi, the interior is very classy. If you buy a new car, it will also have all the latest technology, with a really easy-to-use, intuitive infotainment system. 

The really good thing about the TT, though, is the variety of different versions. Some are very sensible diesels or have fairly economical petrol engines: the range-topping TT RS is super quick (0-62mph in just 3.7 seconds) and powerful. And you can also choose between a hard-top coupé or soft-top convertible, depending on whether or not you like open-air driving. 

The contender: Alpine A110

The Alpine A110 comes from the special Renault factory that has built its much-loved RenaultSport cars for the last couple of decades, so it has a proper pedigree. It also revives the Alpine brand behind great sports cars in the 60s and 70s, which adds an extra level of cool.

Alpine A110

It backs up that coolness with a slightly quirky design that somehow works – inside and out. The interior has the slightly stripped-out feel of a race car too. The thin sports seats give you a good indication that saving weight has been important to boffins who built this: lower weight equals more speed. And the A110 is quick: 0-62mph takes just 4.5 seconds. It also has some serious ability on the road: it’s fantastic to drive, involving and properly sporty.

The cool cruiser: Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is another car with a history that makes it hugely desirable.

It's less of a pure sports car than most of the cars on this list, as it's more of a grand tourer, or GT. It's a car for cruising in.

Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

That’s not to say that the SL-Class can’t hold its own among sportier two-seaters. There are six-, eight- and 12-cylinder engines to choose from, which can send you from a standing start to 62mph in between 4.0 and 4.9 seconds. It's no slouch.

There’s a surprising amount of practicality, too. The hard-top roof folds up and can be stowed away in 20 seconds. The boot has an impressive capacity, but falls to a size comparable with a small family hatchback when the roof is stowed away.

The classic choice: Porsche 911

If you want a car that is guaranteed to make you smile every time you drive it, the Porsche 911 should be your choice. 

The 911 is a classic, not just because it's been around since the 1960s. And not because the classic design has barely changed in all that time.  

Porsche 911

It's a classic because the standard of sports car engineering at Porsche hasn’t changed over all those years. The 911 has based its reputation on being brilliant to drive and, generation after generation, it continues to be that. It is a car that it is all about the driving. Newer versions have increasing amounts of comfort and technology, but it’s still primarily about the driving.

The latest cars are superb and modern, but older, classic 911s are worthwhile investments, too. They’re not cheap to run, but if you want to own what is arguably one of the best, most consistent sports cars in history, that’s the price of entry. And it's worth every penny.

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