10 Sept 2012

Buy a supercar for £10,000

Not all of us have the budget for a super car.  For example the Mercedes SLS AMG we recently tested had an on the road price of £192,000.  Even the Jaguar XKR-S, with a soundtrack to die for, costs £92,000.

But it is possible to buy a super car to a budget.  The second-hand market provides plenty of horsepower bargains.  For one thing, with the price of fuel, less people are inclined to run a gas guzzler and, unless it is an absolute classic, most supercars suffer depreciation like no other.  And because of this you'll find some surprises in our list of affordable supercars.

We've set ourselves a budget of £10,000 and restricted our list to affordable exocita, i.e. no hot hatches here.  We set out to find super coupes and convertibles - plus one extremely fast estate car.

Maserati 3200GT

Our budget will buy a year 2000 3200GT - and what an awesome slice of Italian exotica for the money.  With a fantastic sounding 3.2 litre twin turbo V8 pushing out 370bhp, 0-60 in 5.1 seconds and 'that' styling the 3200GT is a bargain.  Be very careful you select one with a full service history as they are immensely expensive to fix if anything goes wrong.  The manual transmission gives the best feedback and is more reliable than the auto.  The car cost £60,575 when new and with several examples just under the £10,000 budget represents outstanding supercar value for money.

Jaguar XKR

£10,000 will buy a 2004 XK8 but the real supercar is the XKR and you'll get a 2000 model for the money.  With 370bhp from it's supercharged 4 litre V8 this is a classic slice of British muscle.  Available only with an automatic box (made by Mercedes) the XKR does 0-60 in 5.2 seconds.  It is quite heavy, at 1640kg, and thirsty but with that styling, so similar to the DB7, all that matters is that it is fast and beautiful.  The Jaguar XKR cost £58,000 when new and, given Jaguar coupe's reputations for achieving iconic status in later years, buying a well preserved XKR may prove to be a decent investment.

Mercedes-Benz SL 500

In it's current evolution the Mercedes SL is a £100,000 super car.  In 2002 the SL500 cost £67,000 and now you can buy one at today's prices for £10,000.  The SL competes with Porsches and Bentleys for status and performance.  No-one will know you paid so little for it.  It looks fabulous and under the bonnet is Mercedes five litre V8 which, mated to the smooth 5 speed auto box, does 0-60 in 6.3 seconds.  It also comes loaded with gadgets, from its S-type cousin, such as Distronic Cruise Control which maintains the distance to the car in front.  Being German doesn't necessarily mean bullet proof reliability so make sure it has a full service history.  The SL 500 is possibly the best bargain, with the most desirability, in our supercar list.

Porsche 911

The very fact you can buy a 2001 Porsche 911 (996) Carrera Coupe for under £10,000 guarantees its automatic inclusion in our supercar super list.  The most iconic drivers car that is also useable on a day to day basis with few mechanical woes or worries - as long as it has been regularly serviced by a Porsche dealer or, at the very least, an independent Porsche specialist.  The 3.4 litre flat 6 has 300bhp and scoots from 0-60 in 6 seconds but it is that legendary Porsche handling that makes this car distinct.  That and the fact you can have a Porsche 911 sitting on your drive makes this a hugely desirable motor for the same price as a three year old Ford Mondeo.

TVR Chimaera

Our list would not be complete without the Chimaera.  Now sadly gone but not forgotten, TVR produced some of Britain's fastest and most loved hand-built sportscars from a shed in Blackpool.  The Chimaera has a 4 litre V8 pushing out 235bhp and goes from 0-60 in 4.8 seconds whilst making the most stonking noise in the process.  The Chimaera is light and handles well due to it's steel chassis and fibreglass bodywork.  For this budget you can get a well loved, low mileage 1995 model.  As with any TVR the Chimaera's downside is it's horrendous reliability.  The engine itself lasts well but component failure and electrical gremlins are common.  The upside is that they are simply put together (and therefore to fix) and parts are easy to find and cheap to buy.

Audi RS4

It may be an estate but the 2000 Audi B5 RS4 is certainly a supercar.  The 2.7 litre twin turbo V6 produces 380bhp and does 0-60 in 4.9 seconds.  Engineered for performance and handling the RS4 has only just dipped into sub-£10,000 territory.  With four wheel drive, seating for five and room for plenty of luggage in the back the RS4 presents the supercar as practical proposition.  The lower spec S4 looks pretty much the same as the rest of the B5 range but the RS4 stands out, not only for it's incredible performance, but also for the unsubtle bodykit.  It's spoilers, skirts, grilles and top drawer interior give the RS4 an air of superiority over the rest of the family estate brigade.  Only the RS6 comes close in terms of performance and stance.  A worthy inclusion in our super car line-up.