In pictures: 10 best-selling sporty cars in America so far in 2017

  by Byron Hurd

In pictures: 10 best-selling sporty cars in America so far in 2017

Feel like there's a distinct lack of sporty car offerings in America? Lamenting the demise of the manual transmission? Curious as to just how viable enthusiast cars are in this market? Don't worry; the same thoughts frequently haunt our idle minds.

And while you have better things to do with your time (OK, well, most of you), we clutter up our work computers with sales statistics on a monthly basis. Why not put that data to good use? So, we sorted through the fun stuff to see exactly how well it's selling. 

First, some notes. For starters, you'll notice that Ford's sport compacts don't grace this list. Getting sales breakdowns for the Fiesta ST, Focus ST and Focus RS out of the Blue Oval's accounting offices is an experience not unlike performing dental work on a hyena. 

Also, we opted to exclude the entry-premium coupes (A5, 2-Series, Q60, etc.) from our tallies. One can argue their enthusiast merits until blue in the face, but they just don't fit the bigger picture we're trying to paint here. 

With that out of the way, let's begin!

#10 - Fiat 124 Spider

Fiat's new roadster just sneaked into the top 10. Fiat has sold 2,500 of them so far this year (yes, year), making them just slightly more prolific than the twice-over-more-expensive Jaguar F-Type. 

Despite the low volume, the Fiat is still the most common new Italian sports car on the road. What that says about it, well, we'll leave that up to you. 

#9 - Toyota 86

Toyota's 86 outsells its Subaru twin by a decent amount. If we'd been feeling generous and had opted to combine them, together they'd represent roughly as many sales as Mazda's MX-5. Alas, we were not. 

As for the aforementioned Subaru, the BRZ is sitting at 2,297 units sold for the year. That would put it in "honorable mention" territory--down around 15th or 16th place on an expanded version of this list. 

#8 - Porsche 911

Surprised? We were too, to be honest, but it makes sense if you think about it. The Porsche 911 is as much a status symbol as it is an enthusiast automobile. It's a luxury car with a more youthful, go-fast image than some of its German counterparts. 

What could arguably be considered its closest competitor, the Mercedes-AMG GT, sells in significantly smaller quantities. That's fair, though; it also has significantly less heritage attached to it. 

#7 - Mazda MX-5 Miata

The MX-5's claim to fame has long been that it's the best-selling roadster in history. That may well be, but it's far from one of the best-selling sporty cars, especially in 2017. 

That it's this far up the list is actually encouraging, as the last-generation model was not performing nearly as well in its waning years. If you're curious, its 6,973-unit total for the year combines cloth-top and RF models; Mazda is not differentiating them in its reports. 

#6 - Volkswagen GTI

At last, the land of the sport compacts. As we mentioned previously, Ford does not break out its hot hatches from its normal Focus and Fiesta sales, so we're left to wonder just how successful their offerings are in comparison. 

At nearly 11,000 units sold so far in 2017, the GTI is unquestionably healthy. For context, that's about the same as total combined sales of the (less practical, but price-competitive) Subaru BRZ, Toyota 86, and Mazda MX-5. 

#5 - Chevrolet Corvette

The Chevrolet Corvette, AKA America's sports car. Knock it all you want, but the AARP-approved (couldn't resist) land rocket is as impressive in the spreadsheets as it is on a race track. 

Any way you slice it, selling nearly 14,000 expensive sports cars is no mean feat. The Corvette is a perennial success, and a well-deserved one, if you ask us. 


#4 - Subaru WRX/STI

It may be a but unfair of Subaru to combine its WRX and STI sales, but in its defense, there aren't any other companies who are selling two "hot" versions of an all-wheel-drive sport compact. Everybody's guilty of combining numbers from time to time; go look for Volkswagen Alltrack sales figures if you don't believe us.

And, speaking of Volkswagen, if GTI/Golf R sales numbers are any indication, the WRX is likely outselling the GTI by itself, so there's not much to really get upset over in that regard.

Subaru's general sales onslaught has obviously not left its sport compacts behind. WRX and STI are up a combined 1.1% in 2017. The only other models on this list enjoying an improvement over 2016 are the Mazda MX-5 Miata (which has an entirely new model in its lineup) and the Dodge Challenger. 


#3 - Dodge Challenger

Dodge's big coupe may have been the top-selling sporty car in June (seriously; we were surprised, too), but it's not the best-selling of the Big 3's V8 machines. That honor lies elsewhere, but given that the Challenger is enjoying a sales increase while its pony car competitors are flat (Camaro) or sliding (Mustang), it's not out of the question that it could take second place away from GM's outstanding new entry by year's end. Only 600 units separate them at the moment. 

For perspective, this slowest-selling of the American coupes has a total volume of just under 36,000 units so far in 2017. That's more than double the sales of the next-most-popular model on the list. Think about that. 

#2 - Chevrolet Camaro

The Ford Mustang may be in an unprecedented sales backslide, but that's still not enough of a deficit for the Camaro to overcome. 8,000 units separate GM's fantastic new pony car from Ford's, and the latter has an updated model coming out in the fall. 

At 36,567 units sold, the Camaro is still no slouch. Detroit dominates the fun-car segment in America by a not-insignificant margin. 

#1 - Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang hasn't always been America's best-selling sporty car, but such has been the case more often than not. Camaro's long absence did quite a bit to help that, but its post-resurrection resurgence seems to have come to an end. Since 2015, the Blue Oval has yet again been at the top of the pony car sales charts, and by no insignificant margin. With 44,608 sold so far this year, Mustang is well on its way to another number-one finish.

Since 2015, the Mustang's sales numbers have steadily declined, but not so much so that it has jeopardized its position at the top of the running. With an updated model due in the fall, there could be some oddities in month-to-month sales as old models are discounted and inventories drop.

What else can we take away from this exercise? Well, here's some sobering perspective for you. The total volume of the ten cars we listed here is 175,314. Honda's CR-V has outsold all of these cars combined in 2017 by 12,000 units already. If you were wondering why the automakers don't build more enthusiast cars, well, there's your answer.