We, as a society, have a fascination with celebrities. Of course, when we talk of the rich and famous, most people automatically think of movie and music stars. We can’t forget sports stars, however. In a lot of ways, we are just as fascinated with the lifestyles of celebrities like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tom Brady and Cristiano Ronaldo as we are with J-Lo, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Sports stars make the big money, grab some of the biggest headlines and have some of the most devoted and fanatical followers. Sure they may not dominate the magazine covers that you come across at the supermarket checkout but, then again, when was the last time you saw someone wearing a jersey or shirt with Justin Bieber or Paris Hilton’s name on the back.
Yes, the professional athlete’s lifestyle appeals to many of us in a lot of ways. They get paid to play sports. More often than not these are sports we are much better at watching than actually playing but that usually matters little. They get to travel a lot, have people asking for autographs, pictures and interviews. Professional athletes live in nice homes with all the luxuries. Sure most of us don’t need to live in a house with more than 10 bedrooms, but we’re pretty sure most wouldn’t mind having a nice flat-screen in every room. Finally there are the cars. We all love cars – the designs, the power, the features. Athletes have some of the nicest and more than one professional athlete has collected a fleet of high-priced high performance machines that leave us drooling.
The following looks at 15 of the most popular cars purchased by athletes around the world. You’ll find athletes from baseball, football (both kinds), basketball and even tennis here. Tastes vary among these sports stars and as you’ll see, cars go from domestic muscle costing tens of thousands to high priced imports which will run you over a million dollars. From the practical to the near ridiculous, there is no one type or style of car that athletes flock to. For the vast majority of us, however, any one of the following rides would make a welcome addition in our driveways.
All car specs were taken from LeftLaneNews.com.
15 Chevrolet Camaro SS - $33,355 (base)
Starting off this list is an American muscle car icon. The Chevy Camaro was introduced in the 1960s and was the adversary of the Ford Mustang – the reason why it received the unofficial nickname ‘the Pony Killer.’ In the late 1970s and 1980s, power and emissions restrictions and generally bad designs meant muscle cars like the Camaro suffered. The fifth, and latest, generation of the Camaro has done away with a lot of that forgettable past. Today, with a bold new design linking it to its ancestors of the 1960s, the Camaro comes with a variety of engine options depending on model. The popular SS model features a 6.2L V8 which produces 426hp. Athletes who are proud to own one of these muscle cars include NBAer LeBron James, NFLers Aaron Rodgers, Chris Johnson and Earl Thomas and baseball players Victor Martinez and Hanley Ramirez.
14 Chevrolet Corvette - $54,000 (Stingray)
Over the years, the Corvette got the reputation as the car older men drove. With the development of the C7- seventh generation model, Chevrolet looked to throw off that label and attract a newer and younger buyer. The newest versions available are the Stingray and the Z06. Each uses a 6.2L engine, although the Z06’s aluminium engine also utilizes a supercharger to bump up the power. The result is that the Corvette Stingray puts out upwards of 460hp while the Z06 claims an impressive 650hp. The new design and power outputs hooked MLB players like Mariano Rivera and Ian Kennedy. Technically we could include the players of Manchester United as Chevrolet dropped over a dozen off for the players to have – likely hoping paparazzi would snap pics of players getting in and out of their car and help the car’s image. Unfortunately, there were no permanent takers, as footballers prefer Land Rovers and Aston Martins.
13 Land Rover Range Rover Sport - $62,600 (base)
The Range Rover Sport has been built since 2005 and developed a strong following ever since. From well-off soccer moms to celebrities, this vehicle can be seen all over the place. It may be a far cry from the old Defender in terms of practicality and purpose, yet this more civilized Rover still sees off-road use – if you count parking lots as ‘off-road.’ In all seriousness, the Range Rover Sport comes with an array of options, especially in the engine department. In addition to a 3.0L diesel option, you can get a gasoline-powered 340hp 3.0L or 5.0L V8 which, with a supercharger, can put out over 540hp. This reportedly gives the SUV a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds. That’s good enough for baseball’s Barry Zito and David DeJesus, LA Laker Kobe Bryant, Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, NFLer Larry Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Penguin Sidney Crosby.
12 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG - $63,000 (base)
This car is the favorite of many because it combines the relative ‘sleeper’ look of a Mercedes C class with AMG power – it’s practical but fun to drive. Up until March 2015, all versions of this car were powered by a 6.2L V8 powerplant which, depending upon specific trim, had an output of between 451hp to 510hp. The popular AMG Performance Package boosts power to 480hp and gives a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds. The highest end version available is the AMG Black series which provides the most power and shaves 0.2 seconds off the time of the Performance Package car. This spring, the C63 will drop the long-serving 6.2L for a smaller 4.0L V8 boosted by twin turbochargers. This model will deliver over 500hp and get the car from 0-60 in under four seconds. The C63’s blend of power and practicality attracts a lot of attention from current and retired professional athletes. Owners include the likes of F1’s Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher, Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini and the NFL’s Patrick Willis, Delanie Walker and Ray Rice.
11 Porsche Panamera - $78,100
A big favorite of professional athletes around the world is the Porsche Panamera. From footballers Neymar, Mesut Ozil and Carlos Tevez to American footballers Vernon Davis and Calvin Johnson to baseball’s Robinson Cano, Andres Torres and Alexei Ramirez, the Porsche Panamera is one popular performance sedan. This car generally splits the opinion of car enthusiasts. Some love its design and practicality while other ‘purists’ don’t think it belongs beside the long line of traditional 911 designs. In any event, there are a lot of options for potential buyers and this includes the engine. Owners can choose from a range of 3.6L V6 to 4.8L twin-turbo-charged V8 gasoline powerplants, a 3.0L diesel and even a hybrid option. For those who want power, the largest engine option provides 550hp and top speeds of over 300km/h.
10 Nissan GTR – $101,770 (base)
When Nissan ended its famous Skyline GTR line in the early 2000s, it left a bit of a hole in the Japanese company’s performance lineup. In 2007, that void was filled by the new GTR. While this car has nothing to do with the Skyline family, the GTR does continue Nissan’s tradition of packing its performance cars with high-tech features. The GTR is powered by a 3.8L twin-turbo-charged V6 which produces 545hp, putting it all to the road through an AWD system. A variety of advanced aerodynamic features, as well as traction and power controls make this a real contender which can match (if not surpass) the likes of the BMW M3, Chevrolet Corvette, Audi R8 and Porsche 911 turbo around the track. It’s an impressive car which has found its way into the garages of NBAer Andrew Bynum, the Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Marc-Andre Fleury and F1’s Jenson Button.
9 Maserati Quattroporte - $102,500
In production since 1963, Maserati’s flagship car is currently in its sixth generation of production. The Quattroporte, which literally means ‘four doors,’ is a full-sized sedan which provides all the luxury you’d expect from the Italian manufacturer along with the power from a line of Ferrari inspired engines. Either a 3.0L 404hp V6 or a 3.8L 523hp V8 power this car, both engines being twin-turbocharged. If you want the AWD version, it comes with the 3.0L V6 powerplant. Not into engines and power specifications? No problem as the Quattroporte had enough leather, brushed aluminium and wood trim inside to make anyone feel at home. The UFC’s Antonio Silva, F1’s Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso and the Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez are all proud owners of one of these Italian imports.
8 Audi R8 - $115,900 (base)
Production of this sleek performance car began in 2007 and people have been lining up to get one ever since. The R8 is one of the best handling cars on the road today and it doesn’t hurt that it has the looks and power to match. Based on the Lamborghini Gallardo platform, the R8 is a mid-engine AWD car. So far, it has been produced with two available engines. The smallest engine is the 4.2L V8 which, depending on year and model, puts out 414-430hp. The larger 5.2L V10 sees similar variation and produces anywhere from 525hp to 560hp. Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, world football’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel Di Maria, Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez and American football’s Tom Brady and Jay Cutler are just a few athletes who own one of these German-made cars.
7 Bentley Continental GT - $187,900 (base)
Definitely near the top of world luxury car makers, Bentley has been making the Continental since 1952. Like most cars, the Continental comes in a variety of trims with corresponding luxury performance and price levels. The Continental GT is probably the best-known of the line and is built on the Volkswagen Phaeton platform. At two and a half tons, the GT is a beast and you’d expect such a big car to have an equally big engine. Owners have a choice of two powerplants. A 4.0L twin turbocharged V8 produces 500hp. If you want more, there is a 6.0L twin turbocharged W12 engine which makes 626hp. It may not look it, but thanks to this engine the GT can get from 0-60 in just over four seconds. All this luxury and power was enough to attract the attention of tennis star Serena Williams, NFLers Robert Griffin III and Darren McFadden, the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant and world football’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Samuel Eto’o.
6 Ferrari F430 - $196,000
The successor to the 360 Modena, the Ferrari F430 was built from 2004 to 2009. The Scuderia was designed with considerable Ferrari “heritage.” This included Enzo taillights, Testarossa-style mirrors, and aerodynamic incorporations reminiscent of Ferrari F1 and LeMans cars from the 1960s. Powering this vehicle is a 4.3L V8 which puts out 491bhp and enables the car to reach a top speed of over 300kph and a 0-60 time of 4.0 seconds. This particular mid-engine RWD car is a favorite among celebrities. In the sports world, the NBA’s Carlos Boozer, Andrew Bynum and LeBron James, as well as the NFL’s Reggie Bush are just a few famous names who proudly own this Italian car.
5 Lamborghini Gallardo - $211,500
Available between 2004 and 2014, the Lamborghini Gallardo was the company’s best-selling car ever. The Gallardo’s powerful engine, AWD system and exotic design attracted a lot of attention which is why it is was purchased by the likes of NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, NHL legend Teemu Selanne and footballers like Wayne Rooney, Tim Cahill and Ashley Cole. Depending on the year of the car, the Gallardo came with either a 5.0L V10 producing up to 523hp or a 5.2L V10 which put out up to 562hp. All of this means you can get from 0-60 in around 3.4 to 4.3 seconds. The Gallardo has been replaced with the Huracan, a car which uses the same engine and similar drivetrain all contained within a newly designed body.
4 Ferrari 458 - $239,340
It’s fitting that the Ferrari 458 comes after the F430 on this list because it is the car which it replaced in the company’s lineup in 2009. The 458 is a true performer and incorporated lessons and technologies from the F1 world. The company went so far as to get input from F1 legend Michael Schumacher when designing the interior. The result was a much more ‘efficient’ set-up for the driver where many functions were relocated to the steering wheel, similar to a F1 car. A top speed of 325km/h and 0-60 time of 2.9 seconds is made possible thanks to the 4.5L V8 which puts out 562hp in a car which weighs a little over a ton and a half. Unsurprisingly this car has found its way onto the driveway of many professional athletes including footballers John Terry and Edinson Cavani, boxer Manny Pacquiao and LA Laker Kobe Bryant.
3 McLaren MP4-12C - $269,000 (base)
At first glance you might be excused for thinking this car was some sort of creation from Ferrari or Maserati. Interestingly enough, this British made car was actually built to battle against the exotic Italian performance cars. In production since 2011, the 12C is powered by a 3.8L twin-turbocharged V8. This powerplant provides the car with 616bhp and can get it from 0-60 in 3.1 seconds, although some drivers have claimed times of under three seconds. Of course, it’s not all about the power and this stylish supercar is rather lightweight, at under a ton and a half, thanks to it being built with generous amounts of carbon fiber and aluminium. It all combines to make the 12C a favorite of car collectors. In the world of sports, this particular vehicle has found its way into the garages of soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Costa and F1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.
2 Lamborghini Aventador - $397,500
Even a quick glance (if you can look away) tells you this is a Lamborghini. A closer look reveals the sharp creases and exaggerated ducts and intakes which were reportedly inspired by stealth fighter designs. In fact, in black, this beast looks like something Darth Vader would prefer to drive. The replacement for the Murcielago, the Aventador utilizes a mid-mounted 6.5L V12 engine mated to an AWD system. With 690hp and a seven speed transmission, this particular bull can get from 0 to 60 in just 2.9 seconds. For $50,000 more, there is a roadster version available. Overall, production is planned to be limited to 4000 cars which means this rare beauty is being snapped up quickly. Some of the famous athletes who already own an Aventador include LA Laker Kobe Bryant, footballers Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery and NFLers Trent Cole, Joe Haden and Reggie Bush.
1 1. Bugatti Veyron - $1.7 million (starting)
Everything about this car puts it at #1 on this list. In terms of price, the Veyron is miles ahead of anything else. Its 8.0L engine is equally massive with 16 cylinders and four turbochargers. This puts out a whopping 1001hp which requires the car to have an insane 10 radiators to keep everything cool. Keeping everything firmly planted to the road, the 4WD Veyron lowers itself to just 9cm above the ground and deploys a spoiler automatically once speeds reach 220kph. If you plan on reaching the 400kph top speed, just know that you’ll need at least 500m to come to a complete stop. The power and price are enough to scare most away from the French-built car. Most, but not all. Some of the very famous Veyron owners include footballers Cristiano Ronaldo and Samuel Eto’o, New England Patriot Tom Brady and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.