1. Determine what you want to spend. Sports cars start at about $15,000, and prices can go into the stratosphere.
2. Decide how much room you need. Enough for two people and a spare toothbrush? Or do you need small back seats?
3. Consider a convertible. Modern convertibles often have safety features that the old ones didn't, like three-point seat belts and roll bars. Also, the tops have improved; they have fewer leaks and less interior noise.
4. Consider the various transmission options. Do you need five speeds? Six? If you drive in traffic a lot, you may prefer an automatic that gives you the option of switching to manual.
5. Think about engine performance. Do you want lots of horsepower and gobs of torque? Or do you prefer a high-revving engine? In general, muscle cars will be more fun around town, whereas the small displacement sports cars will excel out in the twisties.
6. Consider layout. Do you like the horse in front of the carriage? Or would you rather have a rear or mid-engine? Mid-engine cars tend to sacrifice space and comfort for handling.
7. Don't forget resale value. You may be surprised to find quite a bit of variation here. Check the Kelley Blue Book values of the various models over time.
8. Compare insurance premiums on different cars you're considering. Realize that sports cars can be quite expensive to insure.
9. Test-drive some cars. This is the fun part. Realize that car salespeople tend to expect to make a lot of money on sports car sales. Try to keep a cool head. Don't commit to any car or salesperson yet. Go home and think about it.
10. Rank the cars according to your priorities. Then rank them in price. You should be able to narrow the choice down to one or two cars. If the choice still isn't clear, test-drive the cars again.
11. Collect pricing information on the car you want, decide on colors and option packages, and then get your loan together. See "How to Get a Car Loan," under Related eHows.
12. Return to the dealer and tell the salesperson what you want. For tips on how to negotiate the sale, see the Related eHow "Shop for a New Car."
With so many SUVs on the road these days, driving a low sports car can be frustrating, especially on the freeway. Be sure you're comfortable with this before you buy a sports car.
Consider a sports sedan. There are plenty of sedans these days that will give sports cars a run for their money.
Consider color carefully if you expect to sell the car in a few years - red will be much easier to sell than brown or beige.