For years American sports car manufacturers were only concerned with straight-line speed. All that mattered was how fast a car could reach 60 mph and how fast it could get down the ¼ mile. Eventually, more vehicles from Europe and Japan began to be imported, and Americans learned there were other things cars could do that would make them fun to drive. Unfortunately, cars made in the States couldn’t get around tracks as quickly as the imports could, and they didn’t have cars to fit that niche. One of the main obstacles to this was that with their big heavy engines up front, American cars didn’t have the handling to keep up with imports. Rumors existed for a long time that Ford or Chevy would finally make a mid-engine car, but the dream didn’t become a reality until the C8 Corvette finally came out in 2020.
By moving the engine, the Corvette finally began to get the respect it deserved from the rest of the world, and with good reason. Chevrolet’s next move was to deliver the high-performance variation, the Z06, which will debut as a 2023 model. The high-spec version will be powered by a naturally aspirated 5.5L V8 engine that will produce 670 hp, surpassing the previous record-holder for a non-turbo V8, the Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series. Performance numbers haven’t been confirmed yet, but Chevy claims its new LT6 engine will get the Corvette from 0-60 mph in 2.6 seconds and down the straightway in 11.5 seconds at 129.4 mph. However, as fun as the new Z06 might be, plenty of other 2022 sports cars prove that mid-engine American cars still have a way to go.
Here are eight of those cars we’d choose over the Z06.
8 2022 Aston Martin Vantage
The Aston Martin Vantage is both a beauty and a beast. When you look at it, you may assume that it’s all style without substance, but you’d be wrong. While the Vantage is at the bottom of the least expensive Aston Martin model available, that’s a good thing because it makes it more accessible to more people.
Whether you choose the V8, the V12, or the F1 edition, you are guaranteed a great experience. The V8 has 503 hp and can get to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. The Vantage F1 gives you the same performance numbers but with an extra 24 hp. If you’re willing to go the whole way, the V12 has 705 hp and can get you up to 200, nearly as much as the top-level DBS but for $ 130,000 less. You’ll also find that the driving experience lives up to the DBS. Whether on the track or the road, the Vantage has precise handling and a gorilla grip. When you leave the track, you’ll be just as happy. Between the feature-filled interior and smooth ride, driving to work will be just as fun. If the Vantage is good enough for F1 driver Sebastian Vettel, it’s probably good enough for you as well.
7 2022 Audi R8 Performance
Without a doubt, Audi’s halo car is heaven on Earth. If you want to enter the world of supercars, and it’s your first time, there may not be a better introduction. The R8 is an excellent combination of power, handling, and practicality. The engine and gearbox are incredibly exceptional. Enjoy them now as Audi says the next R8 will be electric.
It starts with the same V10 engine you’ll find in a Lamborghini Gallardo or Huracan, which means you get more than enough power for a great time. Being paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission also makes it easy to drive on a day-to-day basis. For the first time, the R8 gives the choice of Audi’s famous Quattro AWD or a RWD option. Italian supercars are not known for their reliability. However, you can feel more confident with a German car that still looks like a supercar. This also isn’t a car that trades performance for comfort, as the interior is built to the specifications of a German luxury car.
6 2022 McLaren 765LT
When it comes to exhilarating speed and functional design, McLaren’s cars are hard to top. After hibernating for several years after the F1, they reemerged with the 12C in 2011 and astonishing P1 in 2013, followed up with the 12C, 650S, and the 720S, considered to be one of the best supercars of all time. But they weren’t done. They took the 720S, removed 176 pounds, and added 45 hp to an already screaming fast car.
The result is the 765LT. Like the Z06, it’s modified significantly for track use, and boy, did they get it right. The LT, or Longtail, shifts faster and has a more aerodynamic body. It doesn’t have air conditioning, but you may not notice when you’re going from 0-60 mph in 2.7 seconds, the 1/4 mile in 9.3 seconds, and whirring around the track at up to 205 mph. You may not want to take it on road trips, but when it comes to having fun, almost nothing short of a hypercar can compare.
5 2022 Maserati MC20
This year Maserati is rejoining the supercar game after 18 years. Lately, they have been building coupes, sedans, and SUVs, but they haven’t made a truly special car since the MC12 in 2004. The MC20 has been designed to compete with the NSX, the R8, and the Porsche 911. Unlike the MC12, the MC20 is built in-house instead of being a Ferrari with different skin.
It’s been reported that eventually, there will be an electric version, but for now, the MC20 has what Maserati has dubbed the Nettuno engine. It’s a twin-turbo 3.0L V6, which makes 620 hp with the help of F1 technology. It has fewer horsepower than the Z06, but it weighs less, goes from 0-60 mph in the same time, and enjoys a higher top speed. Many consider its dazzling good looks better than the C8, and that’s not considering that the MC20 Cielo, a spyder version, will be available soon.
4 2022 Nissan GT-R NISMO
While the GT-R has been around for 15 years, it remains at the top of the Japanese sports car food chain. It’s had three facelifts to keep its style modern and has been tuned for additional power more times than that. 2022 will be the last lap for the gas-powered GT-R, and as such, Nissan has ensured its final combustion Godzilla lives up to that name.
The 2022 NISMO has been given its most potent engine making 600 hp out of a 3.8L twin-turbo V6. With AWD and dual-clutch, it’s good for 0-60 mph in 2.4 seconds and a top speed of 200 mph. Many other cars on this list are preoccupied with floaty and numb suspensions, but the GT-R is focused on fun, keeping the driver connected to the road. Admittedly, some of its tech is outdated, but if you’re focused on driving and not gadgets, the GT-R NISMO is precisely what you’re looking for.
3 2022 Porsche 911 Turbo S
For many years, the Porsche 911 Turbos have been at the peak of sports car engineering, and the benchmark every other supercar aims for. Porsche has continuously refined the 911 improving its engine, driving dynamics, and comfort while maximizing its engagement level. It’s not incredibly hard to drive but is also not for beginners. When a car goes this fast, the threshold for mistakes is very slim.
To achieve this type of performance, the Porsche has a twin-turbo flat 6, which makes 640 hp and is good for an incredible 0-60 time of 2.1 seconds with a top speed of 205 mph, limited only by drag. These numbers top the Z06 in acceleration, and the Turbo S brakes more quickly. Despite being a rear-engine car, it takes corners better thanks to being AWD and weighing nearly 100-pounds less than the Z06.
2 2022 Porsche 718 GT4 RS
The perfect way to describe the GT4 RS would be frisky. While the 911 Turbo S is all about speed, the 718 GT4 RS promises even better performance at the wheel but is also no slouch. Think of it as an everyday sports car combined with the skills of a race car. It costs less than the other cars on this list, but it’s their equal when it comes to fun, as it gives the driver more confidence to push it closer to the edge.
The GT4 RS borrows its engine from the 911 GT3 but removes the turbo to give it 414 hp and a top speed of 189 mph. Porsche engineers performed their usual magic to ensure the steering is sharp and provides the driver with excellent feedback from the road thanks to its stiff suspension and lower ride height. It looks special due to its unique aero kit and sounds special with a sports exhaust that can be turned on for highway and track us and off for streets and in the neighborhood.
1 2022 Ferrari 296 GTB
The LaFerrari was the first Ferrari to adopt hybrid drive trains, but the 296 GTB foreshadows the next generation of cars, with smaller engines working in tandem with electric motors. The 296 GTB may be a hybrid with fewer valves, but it’s still a Ferrari, and a polished example at that.
The GTB’s combustion engine alone makes 663 hp, but when combined with the additional power from the electric motor, that number rockets to 818 hp. The hybrid system takes the GTB from 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds and blows away the Z06 in the ¼ mile in just 9.7 seconds. Communication with the road could be better, but it takes nothing away from its handling with excellent traction and weighting going around turns. There is no way to ignore the modern Italian styling that makes it look fast as it is even sitting still.