Top ten budget supercars
Monday 19 September 2011
When supercars are new they command super prices. But leave them for a few years, and you can pick up a lottery winner’s dream machine for real-world money. This isn’t a reflection of their quality, as cars like this tend are cherished, living a life of exotic destinations, great roads and constant admiration, and now you can get in the action.
Here we’ve got a list of ten of our favourite supercar bargains, a few of which may surprise. From Maserati to Jaguar, there’s something for everyone here, and if you’re lucky enough to already own one of these cars you could always sell it with Auto Trader and buy something else from the supercar stable.
With the late great Formula One driver, Ayrton Senna, directly involved in the development of this car, it comes as little surprise that it remains one of the benchmarks of supercar performance and handling to this day. Launched in 1990, the Honda NSX began life with the simple plan to beat Ferrari at its own game while still being a practical, everyday sports car for the road.
With a 270 brake horsepower 3.0-litre mid-mounted V6 (290bhp on the 3.2-litre), rear-wheel drive and an aluminium body weighing under 1,300kgs the NSX remains a proper supercar with a 0-60mph sprint time of just five seconds. A lighter NSX-R model was also an option but at the sacrifice of some driver comfort. Early examples can be achieved for well under £20,000.
Jaguar XKR (pre-2006)
An Aston Martin DB7 with the ‘Big Cat’ badge, the Jaguar XK – and the hottest XKR – remained true to Jaguar’s roots of providing top performance with value for money between 1996 and 2006. Still seen by many as the prettiest Jag since the E-Type, the sleek XKR boasted market leading aerodynamics.
A supercharged 4-litre V8 was later stretched to 4.2-litres giving 400 and 420bhp respectively, offering acceleration to 60mph comfortably within five seconds. As the chassis is remarkably stiff convertibles offer the better drive – thanks to a little flex – and hold their values better. Expect to pay around £10,000 for an early model and £13,000 for a later 4.2-litre.
Maserati 4200 Coupe
The Maserati 4200 is proper four-seat sports car that offers the owner a sense of occasion on every trip and a guaranteed head-turning arrival every time. Boasting a lusty Ferrari-derived naturally aspirated V8 4.2-litre engine, the 4200 makes all the right sounds on its charge to 60mph in 4.9 seconds.
Built between 2001 and 2007, the 4200 also shared factory space at Ferrari’s Modena plant and build quality and internal fit feel tight and classy. Handling is lively with plenty of rear feel for fun through the bends. Yet, probably more through public perception than genuine flaws, the Italian lost much of its original value quickly so expect some bargains with an early-plate example costing less than £17,000.
Aston Martin Vantage
While in the upper limit of the ‘budget’ range you can still pick up a six-year-old Aston Martin V8 Vantage for around £35,000. There’s plenty of performance from the 380bhp 4.3-litre V8 and a 0-62mph acceleration time of just 4.7 seconds. All with the classic handling traits of a front engine/rear-wheel drive format.
Build quality is top-draw and that iconic badge will help keep your investment safe and sound for many years to come. Spend another £3.5k on the Prodrive performance kit and you’ll have 425bhp to see off most modern Porsche 911s.
Bentley Turbo R
Anything weighing over two-tons and able to crack the 60mph sprint in just 5.9 seconds from an old 6.75-litre V8 is worthy of supercar status and the venerable old Bentley does not disappoint.
The Turbo R car boasted showroom price tags in the 1990s of more than £100,000 and yet you can now pick up a good example for no more than £18,000. Bags of presence and class, legendary build quality and acres of scar-free leather upholstery help the R makes a powerful statement to own.
Auto Trader owner, David B of South Shields, said: “More reliable than you think. Running costs are reasonable for the performance available. Practical touring car for long distance travel. Good car for track days. Pity they are still not produced because I would certainly have another.”
Auto Trader owner, Alison from Sheffield, said: “Your chance to buy a piece of English sports car heritage. A real head-turner – looks and sounds the part. A car for grown up fun – you really wouldn’t want to lend this one to your teenager!”
Caterham Super Seven
Auto Trader owner, Fred G of London, said: “The best driving car in the world? It goes like the stink! Handles perfectly and it is surprisingly comfortable to go touring in. Add a soft bag on top of the luggage compartment and two weeks with wife is no problem. I have even transported a full-size maypole in it!”
Porsche 911 (993)
Auto Trader owner, Philip B from Amersham, said: “Great to drive, great to own. A high performance sports car that can transport the family, luggage and be used every day of the week in all weathers. What other high performance sports car can do this? Second-hand prices now make the car accessible, as do the specialist independent garages, who make servicing affordable and sensible.”
Nissan Skyline GT-R
Auto Trader owner, David C of Nottingham, said: “Great car, very spacious, more practical than you would think. Truly a great car, great to drive and great to be seen in. Downsides are fuel economy (10-20mpg average), servicing costs and finding a quality garage. Tax is pricey and insurance can be heavy if you don’t have full no-claims. Find a good one though and you will have a blast, just be prepared to have deep pockets if needed.”
By Paul Myles, Contributor