In the world of sports cars, speed, power, and design are everything. These machines are built to push the limits and turn heads. Yet, not all sports cars are created equal. For every monster that sets our pulses racing, there’s a dud that leaves us wondering, “What were they thinking?” These are 25 of those duds.

BMW i8

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The i8 was ahead of its time, but managed to lose half its value within the first year. With a hybrid setup that sounds impressive on paper but disappoints in reality, it’s more show than go. It has a turbocharged V-6 along with 3 electric motors, and it just isn’t that fast. For something that costs so much money, we expect a bit more speed.

Chevrolet Corvette C1 (1953)

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The first Corvette might be iconic now, but its debut was anything but stellar. Rushed production led to leaks, doors that might pop open mid-drive, and a host of other issues. It’s a miracle it survived past its nightmare of a launch year.

Fisker Karma

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The Karma was supposed to revolutionize the hybrid market. Instead, it became an expensive cautionary tale. With quirky numbers and design choices that lead to exhaust fumes in your face, it’s a marvel of form over function — and not in a good way.

Ford Thunderbird (2002)

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Ford’s attempt to revive the Thunderbird in 2002 ended in disaster. With only one underperforming V8 option and a design that failed to capture the original’s charm, it was a flop. Ford managed to sell fewer than 70,000 units before putting this bird back in its cage for good.

Ferrari Mondial

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The Mondial is the black sheep of the Ferrari family, infamous for its lackluster performance and reliability. It’s the car Ferrari wishes everyone would forget, proving that even the most prestigious brands can make a dud. It’s one of the cheapest Ferraris for a reason, and it’s not because it’s a hidden gem.

Hyundai Genesis Coupe (2010)

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Hyundai’s Genesis Coupe was ambitious but flawed, especially the 2010. Stiff suspension, a tricky manual transmission, and issues like leaking sunroofs turn this potential Mustang-killer into a self-sabotage mission. It’s attractive to younger buyers but serves as a reminder that cheap can come with a high cost.

Chevrolet Camaro (Third-gen)

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The third-gen Camaro is a low point in the model’s storied history. The base model’s paltry 107 horsepower engine made it painfully slow, turning the iconic muscle car into a snail. It’s a blemish on the Camaro’s legacy, proving not all classics age well.

Ford Mustang (Fourth-gen)

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The fourth-gen Mustang is a testament to how low the mighty can fall. With a forgettable design and lackluster performance, it’s a shadow of its former glory. It’s the Mustang Ford would rather you forget, and frankly, you’d be better off doing just that.

Porsche 914

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The 914 was Porsche’s attempt at an affordable mid-engine sports car, created in collaboration with Volkswagen. However, it ended up being a disappointment. The car’s quirky design couldn’t compensate for its lackluster performance, with its boxer engine barely squeezing out 100 horsepower. Agile in tight turns it may have been, but its sluggish acceleration made it anything but sporty. Discontinued after just seven years, the 914 is often remembered as one of Porsche’s less illustrious moments.

DeLorean DMC-12

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The DeLorean DMC-12, famous for its movie cameo, turned out to be a huge flop in real life. Sporting a V6 that coughs up a measly 130 horsepower, it’s as underwhelming as it gets. Despite its futuristic look, the car couldn’t outrun its own shadow, leading to its demise less than two years post-launch. DeLorean’s dream crashed faster than its only car did off the production line, shutting down in 1982.

Maserati GranTurismo

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Maserati’s GranTurismo might catch your eye, but don’t let its looks deceive you. Owners report endless nightmares with its engine and electrical system. Not to mention, when it breaks down, you better have deep pockets. Styled for the showroom but not built for the long haul, this car will disappoint you faster than its depreciation rate.

Saturn Sky

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The Sky was supposed to be Saturn’s savior; instead, it helped nail the coffin shut. With a laughable 180 horsepower base model and a turbo version that barely scratches 300, it was a dud on arrival. Its design? Forgettable. Its interior? Cheap. GM’s production cut in 2010 was the mercy kill, with Saturn following suit shortly after.

Jaguar F-Type (2015)

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The Jaguar F-Type, a car that promises much but delivers little beyond frequent repair bills. Even with its sleek design and strong engine options, the car is plagued by reliability issues. There have been several cases of people having issues with the powertrains and electronincs. To make it worse, Jaguar has had to recall over 14,000 2015 F-Type Units. For a starting price of $78,000, the constant visits to the mechanic are a luxury you didn’t sign up for. Rivals offer more bang for your buck without the breakdowns.

Fifth-Gen Chevy Camaro (2010 – 2015)

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This iteration of the Camaro is a masterclass in disappointment. From airbag sensors failing at the worst moments to timing chains giving up before the 100k mark, it’s a gamble on wheels. Squealing brakes and stuck keys are just the cherries on top. It’s a roll of the dice — and not the fun kind.

Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG

Image Credit: Alexander MiglCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dressing up a budget car and slapping a hefty price tag on it? Classic Mercedes. The CLA 45 AMG is all show and no substance. It’s got the AMG badge but none of the expected Mercedes quality, making it a hard pass in its price range. Looks can be deceiving, and this car is proof.

Alfa Romeo Giulia (2017 – 2021)

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Alfa Romeo’s Giulia: a beauty that turns beast once it hits the 20,000-mile mark. From electrical gremlins to cracking brake discs and overheating, it’s a ticking time bomb. The 2018 Quadrofiglo model locks up its mode selector before you can say “maintenance nightmare.” A lease may spare you the heartbreak, but owning one? Brace yourself.

Maserati Quattroporte V

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The Quattroporte is a lesson in how not to build a luxury car. With an interior that might melt under the sun (not kidding) and a ride so uncomfortable it feels like punishment, this car is a disaster on wheels. Add to that a noisy drive and tires that wear out too fast, and you’ve got yourself a car that’s as impractical as it is expensive.

Mazda Miata

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The Miata, while a fan favorite for its looks and handling, falls short where it matters: power. With only 113 horsepower, this car takes its sweet time hitting 60 mph. And if you thought that was bad, wait until you see the rust. It’s the perfect car if you love spending more time in the shop than on the road.

Mercedes SLK200 (2012 – 2016)

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The SLK200 might look good at first glance, but don’t let its looks fool you. With steering that’s as vague as its appeal and a 201 horsepower engine that leaves much to be desired, it’s a hard pass. There are better options out there — unless you enjoy paying for a brand name without the performance to back it up.

Dodge Challenger (2013-2014)

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The Challenger might look like a bargain until you realize why. Engine ticking, water leaks ruining the engine, and alternator failures are just the start. It’s like playing reliability roulette. Consumer Reports couldn’t even finish testing it. It’s cheap for a reason, and that reason is it’s a mess.

MG Midget

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The MG Midget is another car that, despite its cult following, is a letdown by performance standards. Its charming looks can’t mask the fact that it’s painfully slow, taking over 15 seconds to hit 60 mph. This British roadster is a testament to the idea that not all classics are worth the hype, especially when you’re left watching most cars zip by as you slowly accelerate.

Lamborghini Urraco

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The Urraco was Lamborghini’s attempt to break into the budget supercar market, but it ended up being nothing more than a budget blunder. With a V8 engine producing a disappointing 180 horsepower, this car lacked the performance expected from a brand synonymous with speed and luxury. It lived in the shadow of the more flamboyant Countach and was quickly forgotten after a brief six-year production run, selling only around 800 units. The Urraco is a clear reminder that not all Lamborghinis are created equal.

Pontiac Fiero

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The Fiero was meant to be a game-changer for Pontiac, with its innovative features and mid-engine layout. Instead, it became infamous for all the wrong reasons: reliability issues, lackluster performance, and a tendency to catch fire. Yes, you read that right. The Fiero had a knack for spontaneously combusting, making it more of a fire hazard than a sports car. Discontinued after just five years, the Fiero is a stark warning against over-promising and under-delivering.

Porsche 924

Image Credit: Alexander MiglCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Following the underwhelming 914, Porsche introduced the 924 in hopes of redemption. Unfortunately, it was another swing and a miss. The base model’s 125 horsepower was uninspiring, and even the more potent Carrera GTS variant couldn’t save the 924 from being labeled one of Porsche’s most forgettable creations. It was a reliability nightmare, ensuring its place in the annals of sports car infamy.

Ford Mustang II

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Introduced in the aftermath of the oil crisis, the Mustang II was Ford’s answer to fuel economy concerns. However, it sacrificed everything that made the Mustang iconic in the process. With a base engine producing a measly 90 horsepower and a V8 variant that wasn’t much better, the Mustang II turned the American muscle car into a shadow of its former self. Despite surprisingly strong sales, it’s remembered as a low point in the Mustang’s storied history.

Author: Abbie Clark

Title: Co-Founder

Expertise: Automotive Industry, Electric Vehicles, DIY Car Repairs

Bio:

Abbie Clark is a writer, blog, and founder of RideRambler, Hey She Thrives, and The Bearded Bunch.

From clever car cleaning tricks to the freshest car features and reviews, Abbie loves sharing her knowledge on everything automotive. Outside of her time writing for her websites, you’ll find her fishing with her husband, deciphering her toddler’s babbling, or baking up something sweet.

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