NOV 08th 2021
£100,000 is obviously a lot of money to be throwing into a car of any type but, it’s fair to say, if you blew it on a new one you would be very lucky to get anything like all of it back at the end. So why not have a little more fun with it? Such are the temptations for a ‘discretionary purchase’ car you can save for special occasions, enjoy when the mood is right and then sell on with a reasonable expectation of getting your money back, or even making a little to cover your ownership costs. No guarantees with the ones we’ve highlighted here. But bought carefully, kept properly and used sparingly you stand a good chance of breaking even, and having some fun along the way.
Yours for: £75,000 and up
A decade on from launching its first car McLaren Automotive is poised to unleash the first of a new generation of electrified models to take it into the post-ICE age. The first decisive break from the original Monocell structure and 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 that has been at the heart of all its cars to date, the Artura goes downsized V6 and electrified. But the 12C’s influence still looms large, and in some ways this car remains the purest expression of modern McLaren’s ambitions, given everything that followed was effectively a chip off the same block. There were glitches in the early ones but a programme of upgrades should hopefully have dealt with those and, for the price of that new, ‘fully digital’ 911 (Porsche’s own words), you could have a British-built, carbon-tubbed piece of exotica still capable of turning heads. There are probably too many around for it to count as a true investment. But in a suitably desirable spec, with low miles and looked after properly there will always be takers.
Porsche Boxster Spyder (987)
Yours for: £50K if you’re lucky, more if you’re fussy
The under-appreciated Porsche special edition is a rare thing indeed and, it’s true, there is enough awareness of the original Boxster Spyder to ensure prices have settled a ways over their regular 987-era equivalents. But they haven’t quite gone crazy yet, as they have for anything 911 shaped with a GT3 badge. In driving terms they’re not far off as enjoyable, and cut from very much the same cloth. This is a car less about the quantity of the performance than the quality, the svelte kerb weight, the precision and feedback through steering, pedals and free-revving flat-six and subtly special looks all combining into a seriously desirable package. A manual would be the smart choice, the fact the ‘shower cap’ roof is a faff less of an issue given you’ll likely save it for sunny days anyway. Blink and you’ll miss ‘em…
Yours for: £100,000
The words ‘diesel’ and ‘Volkswagen’ haven’t aged well together, but here’s an exception to prove the rule. And if you’re looking for a suitably woke expression of your love of cars the XL1 could be just the ticket, given what it lacks in power and supercar performance it more than makes up for in obsessional attention to engineering detail and a single-minded focus on getting down the road using the minimum of effort. Sure, plug-in hybrids are everywhere. But the XL1 is a demonstration of how the technology can actually be turned to something more than a Benefit In Kind dodge, the direction of travel in eco awareness meaning even with that diesel association appreciation can only grow. Finding one of the 200 VWs released for public sale will be tricky and likely involve widening your search to Europe, where your £100,000 may just score you one.
Aston Martin Vanquish
Yours for: £70,000 and up
Prices seem to vary wildly on the Vanquish, from the temptingly affordable within our £100,000 budget to those (typically with the factory manual conversion) stretching to multiples of that. Whether that will drag values of cheaper ones up or not remains to be seen but indicates a level of desirability, the sense the Vanquish is more exotic and rare than the DB9s and Vantages it inspired perhaps helping its case. Left cold by the ease with which modern sportscars deliver their performance and the fact you have to apply yourself to the Vanquish – as well as its finely judged looks and lure of its V12 – could well win over a new generation of fans.
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Yours for: £50,000 and up
As the rest of the performance car world arguably jumped the shark many years ago and drift-moded into mega horsepower irrelevance the BMW i8 looks more and more like it was on the right side of history. And a much more forward-thinking alternative to that 911 you may have been promising yourself. OK, perhaps not quite as sharp to drive. Or as fast. But in both styling and engineering the carbon-bodied, hybrid-powered i8 looks no less relevant than it did when it launched in 2014, the seemingly premature decision to axe it only adding to the sense of desirability. They’re lost in the No Man’s Land between new car and desirable exotica right now, but as enthusiasts seek more responsible ways to express their love of cars an i8 looks like a winning bet. So get in there now.
Yours for: £50,000 and up
Seen the prices of Audi Ur-Quattros recently? If so you’re probably thinking you missed the boat on that one, given good examples are already closing on six-figure asking prices. The foundations were always there of course, given the iconic motorsport connection, indelible whiff of ‘80s chic and – of course – the charismatic warble of that turbocharged five-cylinder engine. Quattros are now bona-fide classics, with all that’s good and bad associated with that description, including occasionally over-optimistic pricing and bodged restorations ready to snare the unwary. There are known issues, parts can also be scarce and ownership is something you’ll need to be engaged in, not casual about. But do your homework, take your time to find a good one and the direction in travel for values suggests you could be onto a good thing.
Yours for: £75K and up
There are plenty of reasons to want a Ferrari 355, along with some well-documented and very expensive ones not to. Even so, it’s perhaps surprising that prices have risen gently rather than followed the trajectory of contemporary Porsches and you’ll have change from your £100,000 having got one on your driveway. Which you will likely need to keep aside as servicing budget and general upkeep before you budget for any restoration or repairs. But look after an F355 properly and it will reward you with a driving experience that delivers on the timeless looks. Sure, most modern hot hatches will leave it for dead these days. But the experience of driving it is about more than numbers. And, given the maintenance schedules are dictated more by time elapsed than miles covered, you may as well get your money’s worth and use it between those expensive services.
Yours for: £75K and up
Still waiting on that reborn TVR to arrive? We’d love to be proven wrong but if you’re investing in this particular brand it might be a safer bet to have your money in a car that actually exists in the here and now. And as one of the most modern TVRs you can actually go out and buy the Sagaris makes a compelling case, not to mention the perfect antidote to all those sanitised modern supercars you might also be considering. In truth the Sagaris is, by TVR standards, relatively accommodating to drive but still wild enough to deliver the thrills promised by the outrageous looks. Inherently simple by virtue of the brand’s back to basics approach, any issues with the snarling 4.0-litre Speed Six are now known quantities and can be dealt with so you can enjoy with a degree of confidence, the fact your best hope of owning a ‘new’ TVR may be acquiring one from the back catalogue likely to increase desirability further.
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Exposure to a Performance Car review of the Lamborghini Countach 5000QV at an impressionable age set Dan Trent on course for a life-long obsession with cars. Immersion in the world of used car temptation with a spell as editor of PistonHeads.com only sealed the deal, compulsive online tyre-kicking now a daily ritual. He’s still some way off that Countach though.
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I am an automotive enthusiast with a deep understanding of the performance car market. My experience spans various models and brands, allowing me to provide insights into the intricacies of each vehicle. I have a keen eye for the factors that contribute to a car's desirability and value, and I stay updated on the latest trends in the automotive industry.
Now, let's delve into the concepts mentioned in the article about discretionary purchase cars:
- Price: £75,000 and up
- Description: A decade after McLaren's first car launch, the MP4-12C remains a pure expression of the brand's ambitions. It features a downsized V6 and electrification, representing a shift from the original Monocell structure and 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8. Despite early glitches, careful buying and proper maintenance can make it a reasonable investment.
Porsche Boxster Spyder (987):
- Price: £50,000 (if lucky)
- Description: The under-appreciated Porsche Boxster Spyder (987) offers a driving experience comparable to 911s with a GT3 badge. Its focus is on quality performance, lightweight design, and special looks. Desirable in a manual, it remains an affordable option within the £100,000 budget.
- Price: £100,000
- Description: The VW XL1, despite the diesel association, showcases engineering detail and a focus on minimal effort for maximum efficiency. As a plug-in hybrid, it stands out in eco awareness. Limited availability (200 units released) makes it a unique choice for those seeking a distinct expression of their love for cars.
Aston Martin Vanquish:
- Price: £70,000 and up
- Description: The Vanquish varies widely in price, indicating desirability. Its V12, combined with engaging driving, sets it apart from modern sportscars. The sense of rarity compared to DB9s and Vantages adds to its appeal, potentially making it an exotic investment.
- Price: £50,000 and up
- Description: Positioned as a forward-thinking alternative, the BMW i8, with its carbon-bodied, hybrid-powered design, stands out. Despite not matching the sharpness or speed of some competitors, its styling and engineering remain relevant. It sits in a unique space between new cars and desirable exotica.
- Price: £50,000 and up
- Description: The Audi Quattro, with its iconic motorsport connection and turbocharged five-cylinder engine, has become a bona-fide classic. Recent price trends suggest potential for appreciation, but careful consideration and engagement in ownership are essential.
- Price: £75,000 and up
- Description: The Ferrari F355 offers a timeless driving experience with its V8 engine and classic looks. While prices have risen gently, proper maintenance is crucial. Despite being outperformed by modern hot hatches, its appeal lies in the overall driving experience.
- Price: £75,000 and up
- Description: The TVR Sagaris, a modern TVR with wild looks, presents a compelling option for enthusiasts seeking something different. Known issues with its 4.0-liter Speed Six engine are manageable, and its back-to-basics approach adds to its charm.
These cars offer unique propositions for enthusiasts, and careful consideration of factors like rarity, maintenance, and driving experience can make them enjoyable investments.