Everyone loves a bargain, don’t they? Unfortunately, as many of you will be aware, a cheap purchase price doesn’t always mean cheap motoring. A prime case in point, would be any of the 4 sub £1000 Mercedes S Class that, at the time of writing this, are for sale on a leading car sales website. When new, these would have been very expensive and desirable cars, so in theory getting one for less than a grand is a bargain. However, at this price point they’re likely to have been neglected, which means that the chances of something breaking is very high, and because they were expensive when new, repair costs are unlikely to be cheap. The S Class isn’t alone at this end of the market, there are numerous examples of luxury or performance cars that have had a similar fall from grace.
Because of this, I set myself 2 criteria. I wanted to be able to go out and buy the car for less than £10,000. But more importantly, the car had to be under 10 years old. Setting the 10-year limit should, in theory, weed out examples like the S Class above. So, without further ado, I present to you: 5 ‘Modern’ performance car bargains.
Mk7 Ford Fiesta ST
Top Speed: 139mph
0-62mph: 6.9 seconds
I could have filled this list with Hot Hatches. However, I’m determined to only feature the two which were, to my eyes, class leaders at the time of their launch. First up, we have the Mk7 Fiesta ST. The ST first appeared on our roads in 2013, and from the get go it was obvious that Ford had hit the nail on the head. Both the motoring press and owners have praised its engaging drive and punchy 1.6L engine. As the newest car on the list and costing the least from new, it’s possible that the ST has still got some depreciating to do. But, with over 150 examples within budget, and with decent ones starting at only £7000, It seems to be a solid way into a proper little drivers’ car. Personally, I’d avoid the ST-1 specification and go for the ST-2. This comes with heated part leather seats, an upgraded multimedia system and keyless start.
Megane Renaultsport 250
Top Speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 6.1 seconds
Next up and possibly my favourite car to feature on the list, is the Megane Renaultsport 250. Released in 2009, the 250 faced the daunting task of following in the footsteps of the famously hardcore R26R Megane. Whilst not as focused as the R26R, I think the 250 is a seriously good looking and underrated hot hatch, and with prices starting from £7500 there are plenty to choose from. The RS could be used as the perfect daily, its extra size would come in handy when compared to the ST. Moreover, if lap times are your thing, then look for models fitted with the Cup pack. These came with a trick suspension set up and feature an all-important limited slip diff.
Mk2 Audi TTS
Top Speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 5.2 seconds (With S-Tronic gearbox) 5.4 Seconds (With manual gearbox)
After featuring two hot hatches, I feel the need to sprinkle some sophistication into the mix. To do this, I’ve found 2 offerings from our friends over in Germany. I’ll begin with the Mk2 Audi TTS. The TTS is easily the fastest accelerating on the list. Of course, this is aided by the famous Quattro four-wheel drive system, however, that doesn’t subtract from the fact that 0-62 in 5.2 seconds is still an impressive figure. The TT has always attracted its fair share of criticism, but there can be no denying that its solidly built interior, coupled with sleek coupe styling make it a desirable way to slip under the radar. Prices start from just £8000.
BMW Z4 Roadster 23i
Top Speed: 151mph
0-62mph: 6.6 seconds
If the Audi is still a bit too ‘boy racer’ for you, then maybe I can tempt you with the next car on the list. Considering the E89 Z4 has been around since 2009, it still looks remarkably fresh. This probably has something to do with its replacement only just being unveiled. Additionally, when compared with the new model, I think the E89 strikes a better balance of modern and traditional sports car styling. The 23i model is most the prevalent at this budget. It comes fitted with a 2.5L straight six, and whilst no fire breather, it makes for more than adequate progress. A bonus with this engine is refinement, whilst other cars featured will be sharper to drive, they will all struggle to match the Z4 when it comes to cruise-ability. Despite being a roadster, the fancy folding metal roof means you shouldn’t feel as though you’re roughing it, when inevitably the weather turns nasty. With prices starting from £7000, I think the Z4 provides some serious value for money.
Vauxhall Insignia VXR
Top Speed: 155mph
0-62mph time: 6.1 seconds
Practical isn’t necessarily a word you’d use to describe any of the cars featured up to this point. As such, I dived further into the classifieds to find an answer for those of you who need more space. I admit that the VXR is a left field choice. On paper, it seems that the VXR makes sense as a fast(ish) road car. Inside, the VXR is appointed with all the tech you’ll ever need. The four-wheel drive system offers all weather security, and the V6 provides plenty of grunt. Should the idea of understeer put you off, then walk away, but if not, examples start from £7500. I’m strangely attracted to the VXR, not because I have a need for something of this size, but because it’s so rare.
Thanks for Reading! Let me know which you'd pick (If any) in the comments below. Be sure to check out my profile and follow me as I try to make my way into the automotive world.