Whatever your passion, be it art or property or fashion, everyone loves a bargain. Spending less than expected, getting money off a big purchase in one way or another, always feels good. Usually because the cash can then be put towards the next purchase...
Nowhere is a bargain more desirable than in the automotive world. Typically a car is an expensive, depreciating asset, so any money off the new RRP to mitigate against future value loss is jolly useful. That you, as the new owner, also get that warm glow of satisfaction from a negotiating job well done is almost just an added bonus.
Now, while December might not be the best time to be car shopping for obvious reasons, those same factors should mean a dealer will be more pleased than ever to hear from you. Thus, our criteria for this week's Six of the Best is pretty simple: we need nearly new performance cars from this year (so on a late '69', '20' or '70' registration), with an asking price that represents outstanding value for money.
That could be because of a big options spend that's been immediately wiped out on the used market, a car coming to the end of its life on the forecourt that a dealer needs gone, or perhaps an undesirable spec that has harmed its residual value. We're not fussy on car type or even price, merely the biggest bargains - relative to new price - out there. Because what could bring more festive cheer than saving thousands on a nearly new car? It'd be better than more socks, that's for sure.
The GT was always going to be tricky sell for McLaren. It made perfect sense, of course - the world buys many more grand tourers than it does supercars - but the manufacturer does not have the ideal platform for a GT car. Naturally it persevered, and for what is plainly still a mid-engined supercar, the result isn’t half bad. Apparently China is very much sold on the concept (which was likely the point in the first place).
In the UK, where buyers like their McLaren’s with Longtails and heavy-duty aero, things have been a little slower. Hence the opportunity for big savings if you’re prepared to buy a lightly used example. The accumulation of five thousand miles in under a year would suggest that this one has actually been used for its intended purpose (which is nice); either way, you can now have it from a franchise dealer with the best part of £40k knocked off the starting price. Not record-setting depreciation in McLaren terms, but enough to make the GT’s curious mix of talents that bit more compelling…
Well, isn’t this a find? Not only is it a 70-plated M4, surely making it one of the very last (only the Convertible of this era is now listed on BMW’s website), it’s a standard car. As in, not the Competition Pack that was so often optioned on. Which does have its benefits - most notably going without the naff wheels of a Comp - but it does also mean this M4 is lacking the chassis updates that really brought the best from the car. And the extra power. And the recalibrated M differential.
Still, bargain beggars cannot be choosers, and this M4 counters those disadvantages with one very big plus: it’s for sale at a BMW main dealer for £43,450. Which, for some context, is £360 more than the M135i xDrive long termer we had. It’s also about £20k off the new price, the M4 retailing at £62,300 (without options) before production wound up this year. For an M car that still looks this good, and which boasts a properly exciting turbo straight six and dual-clutch gearbox, it really doesn’t seem very much money at all. It may mean a visit to Scunthorpe, but this M4 looks more than worth the effort - as well as £40k of anyone’s money, I’d say.
One of the advantages of working on PistonHeads is that we have a lot of data on how car sale prices change over time. Handily, it meant I was armed with numbers to find the biggest saving for this week's Six of the Best. It might surprise you to learn that said saving was attributed to a Bentley Mulsanne.
You can pick one of these up new for just shy of quarter of a million quid. And that's in base spec. Being a Mulsanne, though, even entry cars get an ultra plush interior, cosseting ride and massage function chairs. Frankly, if you bought it new and saw the prices now, you would need that level of comfort to cope with the price drop… and the electric blinds to hide your embarrassment.
This one saves you nearly 100k on list, which is barely more than a whole 992 Carrera S, yet it only has 530 miles on the clock. With that saving, you could have been throwing £180 cheques every mile and still spent less than the RRP. A bargain, if you have that sort of money...
Believe it or not, I was a big fan of the Maserati Levante Trofeo at its launch last year, but no amount of sunshine, pasta and wine could soften my opinion of its price. Anyone able to justify spending £125k on a Trofeo is doing so exclusively for its powertrain. The SUV body wrapped around it is merely a metal box to experience the raucous vocals and hunger for revs of a 580hp Ferrari-built masterpiece. It handles pretty well and goes like the clappers, but the Levante’s cabin and tech feel a whole generation behind a Cayenne Turbo. You can only really justify the Maser for its V8 orchestra.
That becomes a heck of a lot easier when £25k – a full 20 per cent of the original price – has been slashed from the Trofeo’s RRP. In the case of the car you see here (the only Trofeo in the classifieds), that’s thanks to only 4,000 miles of use through 2020, a somewhat impressive feat given how regular visits to the petrol pump must have been. Claims for 21.4mpg are optimistic to say the least. But in the world of fast depreciating cars with Ferrari engines, that’s beside the point. A bigger cause for stress would be knowing that the custodian after you is going to enjoy an even larger saving, because something tells us the depreciation isn’t going to slow anytime soon. But neither is the moreishness of the V8.
As Shed has shown time and time again, few things drop value faster than a big barge. Hence the decision to kick off my search with the latest Audi A8. It proved to be shrewd choice, with 250 miles in three months equating to a loss of over £33k from list. To put it another way, that's £132 per mile.
A grey Audi saloon is clearly not the most exciting contender on this list, but it's proper Q car territory, with a 340hp 3.0-litre motor and a 5.6sec 0-60 time to counter those discreet, unimposing looks. Middle management execs need never be late to work again. Even at £46k, there is inevitably more depreciation to come, but this is a 70 plate machine. It's brand new, so as far as your neighbours know, you've splashed out on the full price. Cheapskate.
You might have thought that lower than anticipated demand for Aston’s Vantage would help to keep used values propped up. But that doesn’t seem to be the case, as illustrated by the V8 Coupe here, which is up for around £24k less than list. That’s for a car with just 918 miles on the odometer, too, so it’s damn near brand new – and so long as that V5 paperwork is out of sight, nobody would know you weren’t the one to accumulate the equivalent of driving from London to Dundee and back.
This car’s not short of kit, either, with the Technology pack bringing useful features to make this well balanced British sports car – and its retuned German V8 – feel like a tremendous buy. It’s barely a few quid more than a mildly specced-up Carrera S, yet you get all the allure of an Aston Martin badge. No doubt (much) more depreciation is inevitable, but it’ll take a while for the shine of a sub-£100k V8 Vantage to wear off.
1 / 7