It’s quite worrying the amount of times I see a high-end sports car or supercar drive past and think, "I’d have bought a 600LT". Even a year on from driving a Spider to Wales for our twin test with the AMG GT R Pro, the thought of McLaren's best model still fills me with excitement. When it comes to nailing my preferred traits in a car – steering feel, a middling balance and compact footprint – few things have come so close to perfection.
In truth, I enjoyed much the same sensations when driving an Exige at Goodwood Speedweek in September, and even the new Yaris GR is a strong contender for those basic requirements. But the 600LT’s explosive performance and modest wheelbase means it feels like you’re strapped to a twin-turbo jet pack, albeit with the fireworks pointed skywards. Its powertrain is so unique; nothing in my experience has shrieked like a 600LT. I vividly remember the deafening whipsnaps caused by every pull of the shift paddles.
The good news for anyone not in the first wave is that the model is hardly proving resistant to depreciation. Case and point, this 18-month-old, 2,280-mile coupe, which is up for £130k. With options, that's got to be about seventy or eighty grand less than it would have sold for in 2019. At this rate I might have one by the time I'm 50.
You’ll know by now that the facelift of this E63 is imminent. Truth is, precious little really needs to change. Mercedes nailed it at the first attempt; so maybe the updated version will ride a little less aggressively and maybe its interior will be a tad more lavish - either way I’ll live.
That the alterations are so minor confirms one thing: it really didn’t need changing much. A 612hp E-Class is always likely to possess an elemental sort of appeal, but it was the car’s breadth of ability that really stood out - the ‘213 generation demonstrably improved (whisper it) by the introduction of 4Matic+ all-wheel drive. It delivered more AMG, more of the time - who wouldn’t want that?
But just like the good old ‘bahnstormers, the E63 depreciates. Any lingering disappointment at not having the very latest and greatest AMG V8 would assuredly be offset by the saving. Need proof? This Hyacinth Red wagon is merely 18 months and 9,000 miles old, yet on offer as an approved used Mercedes purchase for two-thirds of its new price. Whatever form festive travel with the family may take in 2020, there remains no finer way to do it.
For most of us, even with all the positive energy some try to impart, 2020 is going to be a year of regret. Thinking of all the things you coulda, woulda, shoulda done and didn’t for whatever reason, only for this bizarre 12 months to get in the way. In some instances, they’re endeavours that now won’t be possible again. Me? I should have bought an MR2.
I had the car lined up in the summer - one final fling with a sports car before a significant birthday arrived and the realities of adulthood really hit home. I’d checked the MOT history, made the insurance work, spoken to people in the know… and then I was sick. Not with you-know-what, but there was no way I was buying a car that weekend. The moment passed, the meticulously planned travel couldn’t really be redone, summer turned to autumn and I didn’t have a two-seat Toyota. Now a four-legged friend is imminent, and I’m looking at Skoda Octavias - fool.
This one is far nicer than what I was looking it. It’s a late Mk3 Red, with the snazzy leather and matching roof that gave it the name, 15 years-old and with 68,000 miles. The MOT is imminent, which should mean a good bit of a wiggle room on the £5k price given it’s December as well. If you can make it work - remember there’s about enough luggage space for a pork pie - then I hear many good things. One day, perhaps, I’ll find out for myself…
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