RE: PH Service History: Living the dream

RE: PH Service History: Living the dream

Sunday 4th February

PH Service History: Living the dream

Short of a lottery win, our dream car budgets are somewhat constrained. So, what're the best cars for £10k?



Given endless funds I'm sure most of us have a dream garage or, if constricted to just one notional bolide, a dream car, one that we consider to be perhaps the best in the world. Would it be a Chiron or a Pagani, a 250 GTO or a Type 35? Maybe it'd be a P1 or an F1, or a DB5 or an F40? Maybe it'd be a Humber Super Snipe.

But could we buy the best car in the world if limited to a more down-to-earth budget of just £10k? Nope, don't be daft, that won't buy you a supercar, not even half of one, or indeed anything rare or exotic, not even some half-baked replica. But if you look through our classifieds you might be able to pick up a used example of what are generally regarded to be the best sports cars in their particular class for that sort of money. You might, in short, be able to choose from some of the best cars in the real world.


If you're looking for a fast convertible, for example - and for this dosh you're obviously not going to get anything with a prancing horse or raging bull on it - then you can do no better than the Porsche Boxster. Sweeter than a 911 and nimbler than a gazelle being chased by a lion, the Boxster is the trump card in the Porsche pack, the sweet spot. Our money buys this 2005 model with a 280hp 3.2-litre flat six engine, mounted amidships. Performance is in the order of 5.5 seconds for 0-62mph, top speed is 166mph, and on the road it'll be sublime - the steering of a Boxster is precise and beautifully weighted, the grip strong and the handling wonderfully sweet. You'll savour, too, the delicious howl from that engine.

Next, you might want a similar drop-top, but smaller and easier on the pocket, something that's so highly regarded it's sold more than just about any other sports car worldwide. Gotta be the Mazda MX-5. It doesn't really matter which version of this diminutive drop-top you choose, you'll enjoy driving them all. A £10k budget will buy you this 2012 Mk3.5 car, and what you'll get is a quick-steering, sharp-handling roadster powered by a lively 158hp 2.0-litre engine, enabling 0-62mph in 7.6sec and a blowy top speed of 132mph.

But those figures tell only half the story. Even this largest of MX-5s feels lithe, and a quick roof-down punt along a sunny country lane will stir your senses, its unburstable quality matched only by its unbeatable charm. Reported problems are few, and there are plenty around. Another thought: shop carefully and you could probably have an example of each, Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3, for your £10k.


What if you need a luxury automatic coupe, then, something in which to waft around town and swank across Europe? If you're after limo-like comfort and innovative safety aids in a sporting carriage, the Merc CL is the only car for you - it's got all of that as well as real dynamic capability. You can waft along in the CL500, with its near-silent 302hp 5.0-litre V8 engine. Live a little, though, and you could bag the 500hp 5.5-litre twin-turbo V12 CL600 version, which will whoosh from 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds. Both go, stop and handle beautifully, are wonderfully made and leave nothing out of the equipment list. Our £10k buys this 2006 version of what is almost certainly the best luxury sporting car in the world. Probably.

Now, as far as hot hatches are concerned, there are so many good ones to choose from it could make your head spin. Think Megane RS, Clio RS, Fiesta ST and Civic Type R, but of them all it's surely the VW Golf GTI that must be the best all-rounder in the real world. In fact it could be all the car you need wrapped up in one elegant and understated bundle. The Mk6 version packs a smooth 208hp turbocharged 2.0-litre engine under its bonnet, which means 0-62mph in a swift 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 149mph. There's strong grip and accurate steering and the handling is a joy: eminently chuckable, instantly recoverable and immense fun. No other hot hatch can match its overall competence, possibly no other car. For £10k, you'll get this 2009 five-door with desirable 18-inch alloys.


Others? Sporty four-door saloon? Picking between Impreza and Evo requires the wisdom of a Solomon and the driving skills of a Cackett, as well as more room than we have here to discuss it. So I might not ignite that debate, except to say you'll probably be happy with either and you'll find plenty for £10k. With an RS4 or an M5 still outside our budget, what else remains? I quite like the idea of a refurbished Type R Accord, if you can find one, with plenty of change left over for maintenance...

What about an ordinary size coupe? The Audi TT seems to have that category all sown up, and likewise you'll easily bag a good 'un for our chosen budget. Alas the GT86 is still just a tad too expensive, but personally I'd be half-tempted by an old Renault Alpine GTA, which you should be able to pick up for this money - check out Lewis Kingston's buying guide from earlier this week here.

Finally, what if you need a car to transport the family around while your sporty number's being serviced? Maybe you need the best 4x4, the best all-round SUV for £10k? The Range Rover has been ploughing its own furrow since 1970, combining the qualities of a smart and refined upmarket town car and a hugely capable and capacious off-roader. It can pull like a train and glide like a swan, although it still comes as a shock to discover that the chic, stolid and innovative Rangie handles like a boat. It also comes as a shock to learn that something so tough can be so fragile - its unreliability will make you weep. But for £10k, you could put this V8 diesel Vogue SE from 2006 on your driveway, and for perhaps 50 per cent of the time you would want for no more.


So, no, you won't get your dream sports car for £10k, and you won't get the most collectable or the most sought-after supercar, but never fear - you can still get some extraordinarily good cars, almost certainly the best cars of their type, and the good news is you don't need to be rich.

 

 

 

 

Words: Mark Pearson

 

Author
Discussion

jakesmith

Original Poster:

2,116 posts

100 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
I’ve just got a 987 Boxster S as pictured for £10.5k. What a car! Feels every part the £50k it cost new. Not sure I’d describe its handling as sweeter than a 911 but that’s another topic.
Incredible value for money

adma23

67 posts

70 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
What a brilliant article. Real world and real budget fun. It would be great to apply a nerdy excel sheet sort of data sheet at the end with estimated yearly costs for each one (servicing, maintenance, insurance) as initial Capex only says half the story (sometimes less). Keep them coming!

Craikeybaby

8,300 posts

154 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
I enjoyed this article!

Can you still get an Elise for £10k?

STattam

78 posts

146 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
Craikeybaby said:
I enjoyed this article!

Can you still get an Elise for £10k?
You can get a vx220 for that budget.

Cambs_Stuart

219 posts

13 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
Good article.
Any of these would be far more fun than a new kitchen.
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dhutch

1,482 posts

126 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
jakesmith said:
I’ve just got a 987 Boxster S as pictured for £10.5k. What a car! Feels every part the £50k it cost new. Not sure I’d describe its handling as sweeter than a 911 but that’s another topic.
Incredible value for money
What's it like on running costs? Compared to (if you can) a Z4/330ci or similar? Or compared to a 911 itself?

Craikeybaby said:
Can you still get an Elise for £10k?
I would love an Elise.
Often wondered how close you could get the handling of a VX220 to match it's more attractive cousin.

I lost the article at 'luxary automatic' but it's still got a conversation going on the forum.

Daniel

Edited by dhutch on Sunday 4th February 08:42

dunnoreally

166 posts

37 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
If you've £10k knocking around to drop on a Porsche, you're rich by a lot of people's standards, PH!!

That aside, I'd have thought the 350z would be well worth a mention for this money. Also, yeah you can't have an M5 or an RS6, but you can absolutely have an S4 or an S-type R.

skidskid

106 posts

70 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
dhutch said:
I would love an Elise.
Often wondered how close you could get the handling of a VX220 to match it's more attractive cousin.
The same or better. The VX was set up differently so with a geometry set up it can be made the same. I wanted an Elise but bought a VX because it was half the price. With the left over money i've fitted Nitrons, light wheels, better brakes and had it supercharged so its now ~260bhp. All for the budget of a used 111R elise and its now faster than an Exige SC.

Whats not to like.

Iceicebsby1980

55 posts

27 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
I know some one who bought a decent hawkeye wrx sti. With over 10k of mods full service history ring binder of receipts. Running 360bhp 420 torque mapped by Andy Forrest give 10k for it .

kambites

54,106 posts

150 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
skidskid said:
dhutch said:
I would love an Elise.
Often wondered how close you could get the handling of a VX220 to match it's more attractive cousin.
The same or better. The VX was set up differently so with a geometry set up it can be made the same. I wanted an Elise but bought a VX because it was half the price. With the left over money i've fitted Nitrons, light wheels, better brakes and had it supercharged so its now ~260bhp. All for the budget of a used 111R elise and its now faster than an Exige SC.
You can certainly get one to drive very similarly to a Toyota powered Elise, but it takes a bit more than geometry - add in springs, dampers, wheels, tyres, and ABS system and you will get pretty much there. From my experience, the wheel size seems to be the real key, although I've no idea why; of course the VXR came with Lotus sized wheels so even Vauxhall recognised their mistake in the end. You're never going to get a VX220 down to the weight of a K-series Elise though, and nor could you legally mimic the early Elise's unassisted brake setup.

It's hard to argue against the value of the VX220 though, especially since early Elise prices seem to be heading upwards. Of course even out of the box they handle far more like an Elise than anything else.

Edited by kambites on Sunday 4th February 09:23

rivercar1981

58 posts

84 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
Perhaps a left field choice, but for that money you could get a Vauxhall Monaro CV8. Big lazy cheap to tune v8 and genuine practicality, if a bit thirsty. Rare too and if you can live with the badge it's a hell of a lot of car for the Money.

FELIX_5

788 posts

126 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
jakesmith said:
I’ve just got a 987 Boxster S as pictured for £10.5k. What a car! Feels every part the £50k it cost new. Not sure I’d describe its handling as sweeter than a 911 but that’s another topic.
Incredible value for money
I’ve recently picked up a 987 Boxster S and completely agree with these comments! Love mine!!

SidewaysSi

4,186 posts

163 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
kambites said:
skidskid said:
dhutch said:
I would love an Elise.
Often wondered how close you could get the handling of a VX220 to match it's more attractive cousin.
The same or better. The VX was set up differently so with a geometry set up it can be made the same. I wanted an Elise but bought a VX because it was half the price. With the left over money i've fitted Nitrons, light wheels, better brakes and had it supercharged so its now ~260bhp. All for the budget of a used 111R elise and its now faster than an Exige SC.
You can certainly get one to drive very similarly to a Toyota powered Elise, but it takes a bit more than geometry - add in springs, dampers, wheels, tyres, and ABS system and you will get pretty much there. From my experience, the wheel size seems to be the real key, although I've no idea why; of course the VXR came with Lotus sized wheels so even Vauxhall recognised their mistake in the end. You're never going to get a VX220 down to the weight of a K-series Elise though, and nor could you legally mimic the early Elise's unassisted brake setup.

It's hard to argue against the value of the VX220 though, especially since early Elise prices seem to be heading upwards. Of course even out of the box they handle far more like an Elise than anything else.

Edited by kambites on Sunday 4th February 09:23
Indeed, similar to an Elise but they will never be as light or sharp as a K Series Lotus. If you want the best that platform can give you, you need to get an Elise IMO.

A VX can be made to be quicker etc but depends what you ultimately look for.

Personally I didn't consider the Vauxhall when I bought by Elise. Much the same way I didn't consider a Westfield when I bought my Caterham.

jakesmith

Original Poster:

2,116 posts

100 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
dhutch said:
jakesmith said:
I’ve just got a 987 Boxster S as pictured for £10.5k. What a car! Feels every part the £50k it cost new. Not sure I’d describe its handling as sweeter than a 911 but that’s another topic.
Incredible value for money
What's it like on running costs? Compared to (if you can) a Z4/330ci or similar? Or compared to a 911 itself?
I haven’t owned any BMWs but the Porsche will definitely cost way more to run than a z4 there is no doubt. From my research the z4 is pretty solid and parts are cheap.
A 330ci is a different question as far as I am aware they are heavier, less reliable, potentially older

Compared to a 911 the costs are very similar, a lot of shared parts, access on the Boxster often slightly worse too

It’s my 4th Porsche and they seem to be about ££2000ish a year once they are 7-8 years old. The car so far has had £15k spent on it since new in 13 years, admittedly that was almost exclusively OPC and some ridiculous charges in there

But it’s once they age / have done a few miles the bills start coming in

This one has had air con rads, new tyres, discs and pads all round, pasm springs and dampers replaces, an all new stereo system, and the door membranes serviced all in the last few years mostly before I bought it so fingers crossed it won’t break me financially like the 997 before did that needed a new gearbox!!!

TR4man

2,699 posts

103 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
I love the idea of your CL500 suggestion. Such a lovely looking old barge, but whilst the mpg wouldn't scare me, the potential maintenance costs would.

Just looked in the classifieds and you can get one for as little as £5k, but that might be a risk too far.

Edited by TR4man on Sunday 4th February 10:32

samoht

718 posts

75 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
Some good picks there, like the Boxster and Merc.


Not sure a Golf or MX-5 is really a dream car though, their genius is in being reasonably attainable anyway I'd say.

Instead of the MX-5, I think the Honda S2000 is more of a £10k dream car, with its 9,000rpm engine and space-age instrument display.

The cheaper RX-7s are just rising above the £10k mark, definitely a dream car for some of us. Although you could well need another £10k to fix it!


sparta6

691 posts

29 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
That WRX has aged too well eek

PunterCam

677 posts

124 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
The thing is always running costs. I just spent 12 grand on a little hatch, knowing that if it goes wrong I'll probably be able to fix it without my entire life budget going up the chimney.

A Range Rover for 10 grand that was exempt from having to get MOTs would be a great car, but the reality is what? Budget for 2, 3, 4 grands of repairs every year?! You do have to be rich to afford these cars! Almost as rich as the person who initially bought the car! Would the yearly outgoings be much different?!

If I had 10 grand, and the car didn't have to be relied on for commuting, but it was going to be my only car... I'd get the best 944 I could. Simple, reliable, appreciating, and just fantastic. If I wanted to go newer... You'll still get a cracking Clio Williams for less than 10 I'd have thought.. Or very new, the GT86 will be there shortly and will be a great fun buy.

I don't see the interest in Subarus/Evos anymore - the tax and fuel economy for something so inherently ordinary when you're just pootling about makes them irrelevant. An Impreza wagon 20 years ago was a great thing - small, practical, cheap, fast, 4wd - but now they're essentially identical, without the charm. And without the wagon bit.

Fishy Dave

438 posts

174 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
I bought this a fortnight ago for the equivalent of £7500! Ok, It will cost me a fair bit more than that by the time it lands in England, but still, a lot of (high mileage) car for the money.


FN2TypeR

5,089 posts

22 months

Sunday 4th February
quotequote all
I love the number plate on that cool