Canadians still love fun cars, and these are the 25 most popular sports cars in 2017’s first 11 months
#25: BMW Z4
– November 2017 YTD Sales: -41% to 59 – Set to be replaced next year by an all-new BMW Z4 jointly developed with Toyota, the current BMW Z4 is fading fast from an already low-slung perch. BMW Canada has not sold more than 500 Z4s since 2004 and not more than 400 since 2009. But only 100 Z4s were sold in Canada in 2016; almost certainly fewer than 70 will be sold in 2017.
#24: Alfa Romeo 4C
– November 2017 YTD Sales: -27% to 61 – Sold in only a few showrooms across Canada, the carbon-tubbed Alfa Romeo 4C and 4C Spider are chronically uncommon. In its best month to date, only 27 4Cs were sold. And over the first 11 months of 2017, Fiat Chrysler’s Alfa Romeo brand is averaging fewer than six 4C sales per month.
#23: Nissan GT-R
– November 2017 YTD Sales: -13% to 129 – It’s been a decade since Nissan Canada began selling the Nissan GT-R, but age has not had a negative impact on the GT-R’s popularity in Canada. 2016 was the GT-R’s best year, and 2017’s track toward 140 sales will result in the second-best year on record.
#22: Lexus LC
– November 2017 YTD Sales: 162 – Newly launched in May of this year, 162 copies of the $100K+ Lexus LC have been sold so far. Dramatically designed, the LC500 and LC500h sit at the top of Lexus’ car range, but at a far more reasonable price point than the $375K+ Lexus LFA, only 10 of which found Canadian homes.
#21: Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class
– November 2017 YTD Sales: -24% to 207 – Formerly known as the Mercedes-Benz SLK, the Mercedes-Benz SLC is the successor to a car that brought retractable hardtops back into the convertible mainstream. But the SLC doesn’t have the sway it once possessed. Nearly 800 were sold in 2005. 2017 will be the SLC/SLK’s lowest-volume year yet.
#20: Mercedes-AMG GT
– November 2017 YTD Sales: +30% to 221 – The Mercedes-AMG GT’s immediate, albeit indirect, predecessor was the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Never were more than 111 sold in a single calendar year. The AMG GT pushed past that total in 2015, crushed it in 2016, and will more than double the total of that more costly SLS AMG in 2017.
#19: Audi R8
– November 2017 YTD Sales: +46% to 225 – With the loftiest base price on this list of Canada’s best-selling sports cars (the Audi R8 starts at $185,000), the Audi R8 shines as a stunningly popular car given its premium price point. Prior to 2017, the Audi R8’s best-ever year of Canadian sales was 2016, when 158 were sold. 2017 isn’t even over yet, but 225 have been sold already.
#18: Porsche 718 Cayman
– November 2017 YTD Sales: -22% to 252 – In a sense, the Porsche Boxster and this Porsche Cayman form just one car: one with a fixed roof, the other with a soft top. Combined, the duo collected 568 sales in the first 11 months of 2017, enough to rank 14th on this list of Canada’s most popular sports cars.
#17: Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
– November 2017 YTD Sales: +46% to 297 – Want a Mercedes-Benz droptop? There’s no shortage of options, with convertible versions of the C, E, S, SLK, and AMG GT competing with this Mercedes-Benz SL-Class. Nevertheless, SL sales are rising quickly in 2017, up by nearly 100 units through the first 11 months of 2017.
#16: Porsche 718 Boxster
– November 2017 YTD Sales: -3% to 316 – Before the Cayenne made Porsche a viable modern luxury brand, the Porsche Boxster made Porsche a viable modern sports car brand. Now known as the 718 Boxster, Porsche’s two-seat convertible is increasingly an afterthought in Porsche’s lineup, forming just 4 percent of the brand’s Canadian volume.
#15: Jaguar F-Type
– November 2017 YTD Sales: -21% to 401 – Although the arrival of the Jaguar F-Type in 2013 buoyed Jaguar’s hopes, it’s the more recent debut of the Jaguar F-Pace — an SUV, not a sports car — that’s produced meaningful sales improvements. Jaguar relies on the F-Type for only 9 percent of the brand’s sales now. Jaguar will sell more than 4,500 total vehicles in 2017, however, up from 3,034 in 2016.
#14: Lexus RC
– November 2017 YTD Sales: -3% to 486 – As Lexus car sales continue to shrink, nearly every model in the brand’s passenger car division is in decline. Only the IS sedan, related to this Lexus RC, is selling more often this year than last. Lexus is nevertheless going to report a banner year for total Canadian volume thanks to the success of the brand’s four-pronged SUV lineup.
#13: Audi TT
– November 2017 YTD Sales: -1% to 573 – After Audi TT sales rose to an eight-year high in 2016, coinciding with the launch of a third-gen model, the growth predictably stalled in 2017. And yet with one month remaining on the calendar, the all-wheel-drive TT still stands a chance at ending this year on the upswing, as well.
#12: Fiat 124 Spider
– November 2017 YTD Sales: +148% to 590 – Though you might not notice at first glance, the Fiat 124 Spider is a twin of the Mazda MX-5 Miata. But there’s no surprise in the results, with the Mazda generating twice as many sales as the Fiat. For Mazda, it’s a win-win. The small Japanese brand is selling increasingly large numbers of Miatas while selling more Miatas to Fiat, as well.
#11: Subaru BRZ
– November 2017 YTD Sales: +4% to 750 – A twin of the ninth-ranked car, the Subaru BRZ exists as the lone rear-wheel-drive Subaru in the company’s North American model lineup. Subaru markets a remarkably balanced family of vehicles, with an array of similarly popular models. But the BRZ accounts for just 1 percent of Subaru’s Canadian sales.
#10: Nissan 370Z
– November 2017 YTD Sales: -2% to 893 – Thanks to a new base model that cut the advertised base price below $30,000, Canadian sales of the Nissan 370Z rose to a 12-year high in 2016. It’s still possible that Nissan, with 40 December sales, could drive Canadian Z sales to a 13-year high.
#9: Toyota 86
– November 2017 YTD Sales: -12% to 933 – Previously sold as the Scion FR-S, the Toyota 86 took on the parent marque’s branding with the Scion brand’s departure from the scene. Not surprisingly, sales have not increased as a result. There were over 1,800 copies of the FR-S sold in its first full year of 2013. It’s entirely possible that Toyota won’t sell 1,000 86s in 2017 as consumers tire of aged sports cars with subtle styling and limited torque.
#8: Infiniti Q60
– November 2017 YTD Sales: +189% to 1,066 – A major part of Infiniti’s drive toward a record sales year, the Infiniti Q60 coupe has nearly tripled its volume, year-over-year, in 2017. Known in the past as the G35 or G37 coupe, the Q60 is now more eye-catchingly obvious. It’s also produced a 6-percent improvement in Infiniti’s overall passenger car volume.
#7: Porsche 911
– November 2017 YTD Sales: +26% to 1,113 – Is the sports car dead? Not according to Porsche Canada. The iconic Porsche 911, perhaps the world’s best known sports car, has already made 2017 its best year ever. In the previous record year of 2016, 945 copies of the 911 were sold. 1,113 were sold in the first 11 months of 2017.
#6: Mazda MX-5 Miata
– November 2017 YTD Sales: +27% to 1,131 – The best-selling roadster of all time, the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata now offers more buyers more options. Thanks to the retractable hardtop MX-5 RF, the Miata’s appeal is broadened. As a result, Canadian sales are on track to rise above 1,200 units in 2017 for the first time since 2008.
#5: BMW 2 Series
– November 2017 YTD Sales: -15% to 1,722 – Known as the remaining BMW that validates the Ultimate Driving Machine tagline, the BMW 2 Series operates exclusively as a tidily dimensioned coupe and convertible in Canada. While the 2 Series is more popular than nearly every other two-door in Canada, it’s not as popular as it was last year, nor as popular as its 1 Series predecessor was in 2009, when over 2,500 were sold.
#4: Chevrolet Corvette
– November 2017 YTD Sales: +16% to 1,965 – Over the last decade, GM Canada has averaged 763 annual sales of the Chevrolet Corvette sales. Already this year, in only 11 months, nearly 2,000 Corvettes have been sold. A broad lineup that creates a distinct Corvette for every buyer certainly helps. But the Corvette is still benefiting from its status as a relatively affordable car with supercar levels of pace and athleticism.
#3: Chevrolet Camaro
– November 2017 YTD Sales: +10% to 2,840 – Boosted in part by broad availability throughout the year of the sixth-generation model, the Chevrolet Camaro is on track to end 2017 with more buyers than the Camaro produced in 2016. And yet compared with the relaunch of the Camaro nameplate, when 4,113 Camaros were sold in 2010, the Chevrolet muscle car is nowhere near as common now as it was when the fifth-gen model debuted.
#2: Dodge Challenger
– November 2017 YTD Sales: +10% to 3,321 – Set to outsell the higher-profile and much more recently redesigned Chevrolet Camaro for a third consecutive year, the Dodge Challenger is now closing out its first decade on sale. Yet it’s more popular in Canada now than ever before.
#1: Ford Mustang
– November 2017 YTD Sales: +10% to 8,130 – More deserving than ever of the genuine “sports car” tag, the sixth-generation Ford Mustang is on track in Canada for nearly 9,000 sales in calendar year 2017. That’s not just enough to make the Ford Mustang Canada’s favourite sports car by a wide margin, it’s also set to be the best result for the Mustang since 2006.
Midst the rumour that says, “The car is dead,” the sports car most definitely isn’t. Of course, it does depend on how you define “sports car.” Is it, as strict definitions would say, a topless two-seater that can be raced in a pinch? Or is it, as a broader definition would indicate, merely a two-door car, or a fast version of a mainstream sedan?
We’ve taken a position midway between, limiting “sports car” to performance-oriented two-doors. That means no Subaru WRX, no Volkswagen Beetle, no Fiat 500.
The end result is 25 cars that have sold some 28,000 copies in Canada through the first 11 months of 2017, a group of cars that offer more performance than ever, a group of five quintets that prove this is the golden era of automotive enthusiasm.
Granted, slightly more than half of the sports car market’s volume stems from the trio of leaders: American muscle cars all.