Archive for the ‘BMW’ Category

It is easy to get carried away with numbers. Life seems to be measured in millions or billions these days and when Barclays Bank announced a recent drop in quarterly profits from £1.15 billion to £793 million the media led us to believe that bankers were were about to throw themselves off the top of the company’s HQ in Canary Wharf. Time to get a grip we think.

Numbers have got a little out of hand in the car world too now and we have seen deals closed at 1 million pounds plus at a rate never seen before in our time as ‘supercar’ brokers. That is fine and dandy of course but in reality the vast majority of petrolheads have now found themselves following the pursuits of car-spotters and dream-chasers on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram in search of car-pornography to satisfy their lust for automotive nirvana.

We thought, therefore it was time to challenge ourselves to find out which cars can provide the necessary ‘supercar’ fix for car-lovers who don’t happen to have access to the cash reserves of a Russian oligarch but also want a car they can drive without being ‘papped’ on the way to the supermarket.

The initial criteria for creating the ‘affordable’ short-list was as follows:

  • A purchase budget of no more than £50,000
  • Ideally at least 300 bhp power output (or power to weight ratio)
  • a zero to 60 mph time of less than around 5 seconds
  • Modern-ish without being called a ‘modern classic’
  • The car should be a crowd-puller (that was the hardest part)
  • A car that people will give way to at junctions with pleasure (actually that was the hardest part and unlikely to be the case with a few of these cars)

Of course £50k is still an awful lot of money for the vast majority of British citizens but we are assuming that a car-fanatic will be prepared to sell his grandmother in order to acquire the car of his dreams (sorry Nan!). That figure is also roughly a third of what you might expect to pay to become a junior member of the ‘supercar club’ if you were buying a brand new car.

So not in order of preference but in order of the alphabet here we go, including a link to one we have found for sale in order to prove the point:

alfa-romeo-4c-1-75-tbi-2dr-tct-158137613-1Alfa Romeo 4c – the company appears to have found its mojo again with the 4c and hopefully Alfa will start producing great cars again. The 4c has the looks, the noise and the pulling power to compete with its Ferrari cousins without the need for the driver to wear his shirt open to the navel. Drives like a dream and looks cool in any colour. For sale: http://bit.ly/21fCM7e

ariel-atom-all-models-S2188351-1

Ariel Atom 3 300 – a left-field choice but certainly one that would get you noticed parked next to an alien spaceship from Mars. For those drivers who have a masochistic tendency and enjoy being exposed to the elements of nature. This car will try to tear the skin off your face and an Aventador would do well to keep up with an Atom in any drag race. Dare to be different! For sale: http://bit.ly/1UhRZE1

aston-martin-vantage-v8-2dr-n400-limited-edition-33-240-141948863-1Aston Martin Vantage V8 N400 – actually for £50k we could have opted for a DB9 (Coupe or Volante) or a Vanquish. Anything with an ‘Aston Martin’ badge is super-cool anyway so our choice is academic. The V8 Vantage N400 is fast, has a manual gearbox, just enough toys, made in limited numbers and ticks all of the right boxes for us. For sale: http://bit.ly/1rAohPA

audi-r8-4-2-fsi-quattro-2dr-157881774-1Audi R8 – really didn’t think it would be possible but in fact there is a surprising number of R8’s available on the market for less than our target buy-price. It is nearly ten years since the R8 was first launched and yet it still looks fresh today. There probably isn’t another car in our top twenty that can emulate the R8 and look like it is worth twice the price. The family-man choice, however, would be the RS6. For sale: http://bit.ly/1VVSbKd

bmw-m6-S2324909-1 (1)BMW M6 – More of a Grand Tourer than a street-racer but none the worse for that. A stonking 560 bhp on tap means that progress will be rapid and a trip to Monaco can be done in the blink of an eye. The roomy cabin means you can take three mates on the trip with you too! If, on the other hand, you really do need four doors then an understated F10 M5 can be bought for similar money. For sale: http://bit.ly/1VWgCY7

bentley-continental-gt-gt-speed-08my-S2326448-1Bentley Continental GT Speed – Formerly the chariot of choice for Premier League footballers the Conti GT has matured very nicely and fitted with the 600 bhp W12 engine you won’t find another car in this list with a badge that can rub shoulders with the best company out there. The shape still looks current too because thankfully Bentley has kept the cosmetic updates to a mild make-over level over the years. For Sale: http://bit.ly/1XWP0jt

ferrari-360-S2315344-1Ferrari 360 Modena – Trying to buy a fairly modern Ferrari for less than £50k was always going to be tricky but we were determined to get one on our list of favourites. However we did cheat slightly because that budget will get you a left hand drive 360 and nothing else right hand drive will come close. Get one in Rosso Corsa with Crema interior and your mates will think you have just won the lottery. For sale: http://bit.ly/1YVhomc

ford-mustang-S2221654-1Ford Mustang GT500 Shelby – In the 60’s Steve McQueen made us all fall in love with his Highland Green GT 390 Fastback in the film Bullitt and the name Mustang still conjures up the stirring car-chase footage from the film. The car you can buy today will definitely be quicker with anything from 600 upwards available depending on which version you buy. The American V8 soundtrack is worth every penny! For sale: http://bit.ly/1XWSdPU

honda-nsx-honda-nsx-3-0-v6-non-pas-earliest-in-uk-149072729-1Honda NSX – Massively under-rated initially but the NSX turned out to be a giant-killer with Ferrari very much in its sights. The fabulous engine, superb handling and sensible list price meant that in spite of its mass-market origins Honda had managed to produce a proper supercar of its own. Technically because of its age now it is technically a ‘modern classic’ and shouldn’t be in this list – but it is, so there. For sale: http://bit.ly/1UiXL8u

jaguar-f-type-5-0-v8-s-quickshift-2dr-meridian--sport-exhaust-154073136-3Jaguar F-Type V8 Supercharged – We could have equally gone for the Supercharged V6 but the V8 F-Type just tips the balance on the mental scale. Over-the-top explosive exhaust note will have pedestrians running for cover and a rear-wheel-drive set-up that makes for some of the easiest rubber-burning wheel-spins on the planet. Smile factor is huge and with the roof down the search for tunnels will be high on the agenda. For sale: http://bit.ly/1qXh4s1

lamborghini-gallardo-5-0-v10-coupe-2d-494-bhp-148500251-1Lamborghini Gallardo – Disappointingly we couldn’t find anything to fit below our budget in the classifieds but there are some that come close. Lambo’s are holding their values well these days and a Gallardo can still pull a few glances when it is out and about. We think that if you were determined enough to haggle with a dealer and not too fussy about the mileage of the car then there is a Gallardo out there for you. For sale: http://bit.ly/21gPmDg

lotus-exige-s3-s-race-and-premium-S2319035-1Lotus Exige S 3.5 V6 – Lotus has come a long way since the Elise of the late 90’s and in spite of the turbulent history of the company over recent years there have been some interesting developments in product development and big improvements in build quality. Lotus has produced some of the best chassis designs ever since the beginning of time and the Exige will embarrass almost anything on the track. For sale: http://bit.ly/1qXkj2L

mercedes-benz-c-class-saloon-mercedes-amg-c63-156232639-1Mercedes Benz C63 AMG – Like many of the other cars in this list the 6.3 litre V8 C63 AMG makes a delicious sound. Start one up from cold and and the ferocious bark sounds like an angry demon stirring from its sleep. At first sight the C63 looks a little like a C250 with an AMG kit but that is half the attraction really because you can poodle around and blend in with the traffic knowing you have 500 bhp on hand. For sale: http://bit.ly/1XX9NDr

morgan-aero-8-aero-8-S2330125-1Morgan Aero 8 – It doesn’t get any more old-school than Morgan but the company knows how to produce a fast car when it wants to and they are a familiar sight on many race tracks around the world. The BMW V8-powered Aero 8 packs a punch in standard form for the road and is another soft-top in our selection that produces a glorious sound. Its quirky shape means you will get lots of friendly waves too. For sale: http://bit.ly/1rlgdBU

nissan-gt-r-black-edition-159531207-1Nissan GT-R – Another Jap that has spoilt the party for many of the premium brands amongst the high-performance pack. The GT-R has been developed to within an inch of its life and the result is that it shows you don’t need to spend a six-figure sum to buy a car to scare the life out of you whilst losing your driving licence. The GT-R takes on all-comers – just check out the YouTube drag-race videos! For sale: http://bit.ly/1TyR7IY

noble-m400-S2322831-1Noble M400 – If speed is high on your list of priorities then a rare, low-volume production Noble could be right up your street. Zero to 60 mph will be in the 3 second category and if you are brave enough you could push the car to 200 mph. The car is built by the same people who build the Superperformance GT40 and they know a thing or two about fast race cars. Your individuality will be applauded with a Noble. For sale: http://bit.ly/24n03WY

porsche-cayman-24v-s-pdk-148377119-1Porsche Cayman 3.4S – We couldn’t have an Exige in our list without including it’s nemesis the Porsche Cayman. Everything the Lotus can do , the Cayman will try to better it. Not always successfully but in a way that appeals to the more conservative buyer who has build-quality and longevity as their main priorities. The Cayman also threatens its big brother, the 911, in terms of value for money these days. For sale: http://bit.ly/1UjM4hO

porsche-911-turbo-997-turbo-tiptronic-s-S2240456-1Porsche 911 (997) Turbo – Porsche has produced so many variants of the 911 that the choice at £50k is mind-blowing. However, putting aside the GT3 and RS offerings, a 911 Turbo is a wet-dream for any car enthusiast. The performance figures are academic because most people will never have the chance to test the car to its limits and too many will not want to even use it to protect its residual value which is a shame. For sale: http://bit.ly/1WtnP0L

tesla-roadster-S2265010-1Tesla Roadster – Yes there is an electric car in our list and because we wanted a Tesla our choice was limited to the Roadster. You simply can’t buy a Model S (our preferred choice) for anywhere near £50k, at the moment at least. The Roadster is, however, related to the Lotus Elise, has set several world records for electric-powered cars and can get to 60 mph in less than four seconds. That’s why we chose it. For sale: http://bit.ly/1NXEEKx

ultima-all-models-S2050340-1Ultima GTR – it is a coincidence that the ultimate car on our list should be an Ultima. However, it might also be literally the ultimate of our car choices for £50k because it is the fastest car here. Designed originally by Lee Noble (yes, the very same of Noble Cars) the Ultima GTR can blow most ‘hypercars’ into the weeds for acceleration, including the Veyron. Need we say more? For sale: http://bit.ly/1UjTiSU

So there you have it, these are our, albeit subjective, choices for an alternative supercar for around £50k or less. You might disagree and if so, feel free to tell us which cars either shouldn’t be in our top twenty or point out some we may well have over-looked.

The links to the cars for sale have all been taken from the Pistonheads classified listings and you may indeed find better buys from other sources. Some of the cars we have found may also have been sold by the time you have read this article.

Let us know if you need any help looking for your ideal supercar for £50k by giving The Car Spy a call on 01892 506970 – we will be happy to assist you.

BMW Z3M Roadster

1995 was an important year for BMW. It was the year that they launched their first mass-produced sports car and because of a convenient product-placement deal with the production team of Goldeneye they even managed to get James Bond to poodle around in one.

And poodle he did too because the Z3 was underwhelming. The new BMW ‘sports car’ was powered by a very humble 1.8 litre, four cylinder engine that produced a lowly 114 horsepower. You could buy a lawn mower with more pulling power. The car got slated by the press and Joe Public stifled a yawn. BMW die-hards didn’t think it was a BMW and to cap it all the Z3 was made in the US of A and not the Father Land.

The Z3’s design was also a tad contentious at the time. It seemed that the market wasn’t quite ready for such an avant garde styling exercise from conservative BMW but today the quirky shape seems to have been its main virtue and saving grace. It has aged well and might still encourage a second glance in a car park today.

The phallic length of the bonnet and the stubby rear-end was complimented by swoopy wheel arches, side-vents that imitated the gills of a shark and a comfy, tight cockpit that felt a nice place to be. The car still needed a decent engine though and quite frankly it wasn’t until the company installed a straight-six engine in 1999 that the car became an interesting driver’s car with a proper sporty exhaust note too. Especially when BMW decided to lift the 3.2 litre, 320 hp straight-six from the E36 M3 into the sporty-looking Z3 which could now sprint to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and on to a maximum speed of 155 mph. Enter the Z3M Roadster. That’s more like it.

Apart from the engine transplant a few cosmetic tweaks added a wider rear track, extra vents, exclusive alloy wheels and a delicious quad exhaust system. The interior had a mild-makeover too and bits of chrome were stuck on the dials plus a host of ‘M’ upgrades to differentiate the Z3M from the standard car.

The car was offered in some pretty wild colours too such as Laguna Seca Blue, Phoenix Yellow and our favourite, Estoril Blue.

So where does the car fit in with the ‘Modern Classic’ movement of 2016? Well E36 and E46 M3’s appear to have turned the corner and low-mileage examples are fetching up to £20k in decent condition. The ‘bread-van’ ZM Coupe is heading towards £40k which is remarkable because the odd hunchback-design is not easy on the eye.

The Z3M Roadster has been cheap for far too long but finding a low-mileage example right now is a tough task. These cars are pretty much bullet-proof and therefore owners tended to use them, a lot. The downside of having a great driver’s car is that you want to drive it as much as possible and therefore rack up the miles.

A budget of £10k was entirely feasible a couple of years ago but these days a low-mileage car will be just south of £20k. The Z3M Roadster has come of age and is now recognised as a truly great sports car from BMW. Its collectable status in the future is guaranteed and prices will only go one way from now on.

So how about a 1999 example with only 62,000 miles on the clock finished in Estoril Blue with two-tone blue leather interior? We have been asked to find a new owner for a particularly well cared-for example with excellent service history (BMW and specialist) and unusually the car has had only four owners from new.

This ‘T’ plate Z3M has all-electric heated seats, electric mirrors, power hood, 5-speed manual gearbox and a Kenwood single CD system.

The car has received a major service in October 2015, an air conditioning re-gas, all four original alloy wheels have been refurbished and the MOT expires in October 2016.

For further details or to arrange a viewing of this original Z3M Roadster give The Car Spy a call on 01892 506970 or email sales@thecarspy.net

Sorry this car is now SOLD!

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Here in my (electric?) car….

Posted: January 15, 2016 by The Car Spy in Audi, BMW, General, New Cars, Tesla, Volkswagen
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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The company hack recently got t-boned by a Defender and whilst the latter shuffled off with a slightly bent front bumper the poor Audi S3 looked like it had been side-swiped by a demolition ball. Even before making the tentative call to the insurance company the phrase ‘write-off’ was the only polite way we could think of describing the state of our car. And so began the search for a replacement.

The prospect of choosing a new car, depending on your budget of course, can be a daunting prospect not least of which there is simply too much to choose from these days.

However, the criteria were simple. The new car had to be everything the S3 was in terms of practicality, sportiness, fun factor and reliability for a company runabout.

Too many cars are good right now at that level and you have to allow for a bit of subjectiveness when it comes to the badge on the bonnet. Well, you don’t really have to but you end up being picky about that sort of thing in the final stages of choosing the car.

Very long story short, the choice was whittled down to one of the following:-

Another S3, the BMW 135i or the Golf R?

Another S3 was quickly discounted because, well, we had owned one already and we might get bored very quickly with a similar replacement.

The 135i was a tempting proposition. Not the best-looking of sporty hatches but extremely practical and a complete hoot to drive. Not a car for the winter though. Where we are based in the bowels of Kent the roads can suffer from black ice and appearances by council gritting lorries are a bit hit and miss so anything with 300-plus bhp on tap at the rear end is a potential drift machine. Having got used to the S3’s quattro system the fun factor could quickly disappear with the 135i. Strike that one out then.

The Golf R at least has four-wheel drive and based on the press reviews of the latest car it has to be one of the favourites. Great handling, terrific build-quality, very useful performance and you can turn it into a small van if you need to. It very much ticks all of the boxes on paper and yet on a visit to the local VW dealership there was one thing that made us think twice. The Golf Gti.

The Gti is essentially the same car but with a little less power and just the front wheels being driven. It is also less adorned with some of the cosmetic frippery of the R which is a good thing and of course it is cheaper to buy. Given the way this car will be used the Gti just makes the most sense and the deals on the table from VW dealers right now suggest that it is the right time to take the plunge for this hot hatch.

But hold on tiger, there was a left-field player waiting to be considered. A visit to the BMW dealership just down the road from VW threw a surprise candidate into the mix. The i3. Yep, an electric car.

Now don’t get us wrong here but we have a growing respect for (certain) battery-powered automobiles. If you have any doubts about the forthcoming world domination of this form of transport then go and test drive a Tesla Model S. Break yourself in gently with the 70D and then work your way up to the P90D. Even the slowest version will reach 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and the fastest will get there in 2.8 seconds. Speed freaks will love the way the car gathers momentum and in the fastest version you will be hunting down 911 Turbo’s and the odd Aventador to embarrass at traffic light drag races. For the moment though, the Model S is outside of our budget and is a bit too executive-saloon for what we need right now.

Enter the i3. To some it is a freakish design but to us it is a spacious funky-looking little machine that has some interesting and endearing features, like the eco-friendly materials used for the interior. Bits of the door card look like compressed paper but so what? We have suffered decades of naff black plastic interiors in our cars so it’s about time for a change. It is cute and very clever too, like a pet dog. Lots of goodies for the iPad generation will make you feel as though the car knows exactly where it is going all of the time and it will give you lots of notice about running out of juice. Range is about 100 miles but the Range Extender version adds another 80-plus to that.

BMW claim the i3 is their fastest accelerating car to 30 mph and in the real world that actually matters since that is about as fast as you can get most of the time on the South East of England’s horribly congested, pot-holed roads.

A decent drive on a dual-carriageway and stop-start town driving allowed us to test the mettle of the car and impressed us it certainly did. BMW had just released some very attractive financial incentives for buying an i3 so suddenly this little car was heading to the top of our list. And apparently we could bring an end to the melting ice-caps to boot!

But we didn’t buy it. In fact we didn’t buy any of the above. We put a deposit on a BMW M2.

Yep, in spite of it hardly ticking any of the boxes and contradicting our thought process completely the M2 was the car that won our hearts and not our minds.

So not electric this time, but pretty soon battery ranges will be 400 miles plus according to Tesla and that will be a game-changer in the car world. According to a recently published government report for ULEV’s (Ultra Low Emission Vehicles – our bureaucrats love an acronym) registrations of electric vehicles doubled last year from 2014.

Our M2 might be the last of our combustion-engined indulgences, forever. Still time to change our minds though.

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It’s hard to believe that the BMW M5 has been around for nigh on 30 years. Some of those earlier models have become very sought-after classics now especially the E28 which was largely hand-built and just over 2000 were produced between 1985 and 1988.

Even by today’s standards the 282 hp generated by the 3.5 litre straight-six engine is pretty impressive so back then it must have blown everyone’ socks off – most family saloons would have struggled to get anywhere near 100 hp in those days.

In 1988 the E28 was replaced by the E34 M5 which stuck with the 6-cylinder format but by the time it went out of production power output was up to 335 hp. The car was also built by hand and although it took two weeks to build each car over 12,000 were eventually produced.

When the E39 M5 arrived in 1998 it marked the end of the hand-building process of the car and full-on mass-production meant that over 20,000 units were sold by 2003. The E39 also marked the move away from the legendary 6-cylinder engine to a V8 that could produce around 400 hp and sprint to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds. The M5 was now in supercar territory.

In 2005 the E60 M5 was acclaimed as the fastest four-door production saloon in the world. With a V10 engine producing 500 hp mated to a 7-speed sequential gearbox it was almost unbeatable. 60 mph came up in close to 4 seconds and any attempt to drive the car any quicker was a certain licence-killer. The car was a real fire-cracker and loved by every car reviewer including Jeremy Clarkson.

And so in 2011 the F10 version arrived which is still in production today. BMW decided to go back to a V8 formula but this time assisted by a twin-turbo. The net result was an increased power output of 560 hp with 680 Nm of torque to make sure that the car could still lead the pack from the front. The F10 lapped the Nurburgring in 7.55 seconds which is the fastest time recorded for an M5. Enough said.

Every car enthusiast should take time out to drive an M5 if they haven’t done so already. Any version will do because each model was built as a proper driver’s car with capabilities way beyond what might be required for everyday road use.

It is quite simply the best high-performance saloon ever made over the last 30 years.

And so we come to the F10 M5 that we are advertising on behalf of the current (BMW enthusiast) owner.

This one owner 2011 M5 was supplied new and serviced by Cooper Tunbridge Wells and has so far recorded 12,000 miles. The specification is as follows:-

Silverstone II Metallic
Black Extended Merino Leather
20″ M Double-spoke 343M Alloy wheels
Powered Boot-lid operation
Comfort Access
Soft-close Doors
Reversing Assist Camera
Through-loading ski bag
Split-folding rear seats
Lumbar support for driver and front passenger
Front M Multi-function seats
12V power sockets
High Beam assist
Surround-View
Internet
Loudspeaker system – BMW Professional
Telephone USB audio Interface
Mobile application preparation
Sun Protection Glass
Speed Limit Display

This car also comes with a BMW 5-year servicing plan and has the BMW Manufacturer’s warranty and MOT until November 2015.

Sorry this car is now SOLD!

For further details or to arrange a viewing of this M5 please contact The Car Spy on 01892 506970 or email sales@thecarspy.net

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And so the conversation started with: “I need some advice. I have a yearning for a soft-top that is not limp-wristed, must be fast and capable of putting a smile on my face. I have a budget of £10k and I want to buy the car and fuel for the summer with the money”. The challenge was on.

Our friend is a car enthusiast, drives an expensive Range Rover but luckily he is not too hung-up on badge snobbery. A mid-life crisis was unfolding however and the interest in a drop-top was likely to be short-lived especially when the balmy days of summer had turned into the dark, cold days of November. Residuals had better be half-decent then for whatever was chosen for the summer ride.

A quick search in the usual on-line showrooms revealed a surprising number of candidates that could potentially do the job for the man. So the plan was to produce a Top Ten list of candidates but it almost became a struggle to keep the list down to twenty such is the variety of choice out there.

However, performance and value for money became the cutting tools for slimming down the list and a magic Top Ten was finally accomplished based on the criteria we had set for the car.

Each car in our list will give you a pleasant shove in the back with at least 200bhp on tap (ahem, with the exception of one) and you will get to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds in most of them. Some will make a glorious sound in the process. Out of the £10k budget we have allowed for a grand’s worth of fuel and insurance to get through the summer.

If you are bothered about the name on the boot-lid then some of you might dismiss half of our suggestions with ease. For those of you with an open mind and a financial awareness that precludes any prejudices against driving a car more than two years old you will hopefully concur with our findings.

For added measure the cars we have listed are cars you can buy today (as long as they haven’t been sold before you read this article) so we have tried to make the choice as real as possible.

And so, in no particular order:

Honda S2000

Honda S2000 – we sold quite a few of these back in the day and even today we can marvel at the sheer flexibility of Honda’s VTEC engine and its ability to rev up to 8000 rpm with ease. Depending on the year model of choice up to 247 hp will be available from the 2.0 litre and the later cars have nicer alloys. Graphite grey or black with a red or black/red interior are popular colours. This particular example would fit the bill very nicely at £9000.

audi-tt-3-2-v6-quattro-2dr-dsg-118574228-7

Audi TT 3.2 V6 Quattro – The shape of the Mk 1 TT has stood the test of time well and Audi has struggled to improve on a design that was somehow just right at the very start of production. The silky-smooth V6 version offers 247 hp and married with the superb DSG gearbox this TT will eat up the miles with ease. Black and silver are preferred colours for the TT and this one looks spot on for £8246.

nissan-350z-v6-roadster-124545272-3Nissan 350Z V6 Roadster – Shamelessly copying from the TT’s curvy shape but still managing to retain its own identity the 350Z dishes up a wholesome 287 hp. The 3.5 litre V6 powerplant also produces a nice snorty note which means driving with the roof down at every opportunity. Some colours can make the car look a little dumpy but this lovely burnt orange example for £8295 looks a peach.

bmw-z4-roadster-z4-si-sport-roadster-e4-S1870789-1BMW Z4 3.0 – Sadly the M Roadster was out of reach of our budget but the lusty 262 hp straight-six 3 litre is a capable substitute. Manuals are okay-ish but the splendid 6-speed auto box with flappy paddles makes for entertaining driving. Black or dark grey are good choices for colours and this low-mileage Z4 for £8395 ticks all the boxes for us.

 

mercedes-slk32-amg-slk32-amg-125280955-1Mercedes Benz SLK32 AMG – If there is one winner in the horsepower stakes amongst our choices then the SLK32 AMG romps home with first prize. The supercharged six-cylinder produces no less than 349 hp and (on paper at least) is likely to be the quickest car on our short-list. The engine noise is beguiling and this version of the SLK distances itself comfortably from the limp-wristed image of the lesser-powered SLK’s. Choose colours wisely and avoid the strange reds, blues and yellows – stick with safe silver or black like this one being advertised for £8950.

Chim4TVR Chimaera 4.0 – Such is the popularity of older TVR’s these days that is was surprising that we could find even one suitable car to include in our list. A 5.o Chimaera was our first target but finding anything less than a basket-case for under £10k was impossible. The 4.0 V8 however will rustle up 240 hp and will undoubtedly make the best noise of any of the cars on our list. The V8 soundtrack is intoxicating and you will be looking for excuses to find a tunnel on every trip. Any colour will do and our choice is this lovely-looking blue example on offer at £8999.

boxster32Porsche Boxster 3.2 – On the other hand there is a large choice (by comparison) of Boxsters out there so the key is to go for the 258 hp 3.2 and not the 2.7. Also look for the latest version you can find for the money. These cars are (almost) bullet-proof and wear the miles well whilst offering brilliant handling and eager performance that will put a large grin on your visage. Most will be found in tasteful, blues, blacks or silver and we found this splendid Seal Grey low-mileage 3.2 on offer at £8995

alfa-romeo-spider-jts-v6-S1850277-1Alfa Romeo Spider V6 – Before you start mumbling about the unreliability etc of Italian cars take a deep breath and consider the virtues of the Alfa Spider. It is arguably the prettiest car on our list. An Alfa that has been cared for has been owned by somebody who loves their cars. For that reason they would have made sure that maintenance and any failed bits would have been taken care of under their stewardship. Our budget allows for the purchase of a 260 hp V6 version which is probably the best V6 engine ever made. Oh yes it is. Let your heart rule your head and be different with this classic Alfa Red example for a lowly £8250.

bmw-e46-m3-00-06-m3-smg-S1862065-10BMW M3 – The second BMW to appear on our list (not a surprise really) and it’s the E46 M3 with its energetic 330 hp straight six powerplant. The car is a joy to drive and once again this is a car that we have a great deal of experience with (including the earlier E36 M3). Service history is everything with these cars and avoid anything with missing BMW history in the early part of its life. The manual 6-speed gearbox is our preferred choice but the SMG sequential transmission is fun to live with. Most colours look good on the car and this Mystic Blue M3 looks very appealing at £9000.

mediaI3W5IUWOMG MGB – Come on, if you are going to live the dream of classic open-top motoring then the MBG is still top of the list. Original early car values have gone ballistic now and you would need £20k to buy a decent example. For our budget we are looking at the later rubber-bumper cars which have been converted back to chrome and all of the US-spec rubbish bits removed. Performance will be underwhelming from the 95 hp 1.8 litre engine but that doesn’t matter because it will keep up with modern traffic all day long and make a nice noise whilst doing so. How about this Tartan Red model with chrome wire wheels for £8200? Could be worth a bit more than that by the time you sell it too!

So there you have it, a chance to let the wind blow through your hair this summer without breaking the bank. Most of the cars listed would depreciate by very little if anything at all and one or two might actually be worth a little bit more by the end of the year.

Which one did our friend go for? He hasn’t made up his mind yet since we gave him too much choice!

Feel free to let us know which soft-top you would choose or if you think there are any other cars out there that deserve to be on our list and why.

 

Finished in Alpine White with Full Black Merino Leather Interior this one owner September 2012 registered BMW M6 has recorded only delivery miles and comes with the following options in addition to the standard specification:-

20” M Double Spoke Alloy Wheels, Tyre Pressure Monitor, Reversing Assist Camera, Soft Close Doors, M Multi-Function Seats, Bang & Olufsen Advanced Audio System, Telephone, USB Audio Interface, BMW Applications Interface, Internet, Sun Protection Glass. Original list price when new £110000 inc vat.

This BMW M6 is available to purchase today – please contact us for details

Please note this car is VAT qualifying.

For further details please give The Car Spy a call on ++44(0)1732 760699 or email sales@thecarspy.net.

BMW M6 Coupe in Alpine White

N.B. This image was created using the BMW Configurator. It is not an image of the actual car for sale.

Finished in Alpine White with Black Nevada Hide Interior this new model, unregistered X5 M Sport 3.0 Diesel comes with the following options in addition to the standard specification:-

20″ M Double-spoke style 333M alloy wheels, Model designation deletion, Seat heating – front, Lane departure warning system, Loudspeaker system – BMW Business, M Steering Wheel, Sun protection glass, Media package. List price £54551 inc VAT

This X5 is available to purchase today at £53996 inc VAT (excluding Shipping/Delivery costs)

Please note this car is VAT qualifying.

For further details please give The Car Spy a call on ++44(0)1732 760699 or email sales@thecarspy.net.

BMW X5 in Alpine White

N.B. This image was created using the BMW Configurator. It is not an image of the actual car for sale.