Top 3 used luxury sports cars for £60,000
“Dear Carbuyer, I’m retiring and want a sports car for £60k but the ride can’t be too firm. What would you recommend?”
Once the hallmark of high-end car manufacturers such as Aston Martin and Porsche, the luxury sports car market is now more diverse than ever. In the last 15 years, the number of models available has grown, with several car makers adding a luxury sports car to their range for the first time - we’re thinking of the BMW i8, Alfa Romeo 4C and the Audi R8, to name but three.
A luxury sports car usually strikes a decent balance between comfort and performance, unlike hardcore, stripped-out models that focus on recording the fastest lap times. A luxury sports car will boast a long list of standard kit and a plush interior that help make it easier to live with on a daily basis.
Although comfortable over long distances, luxury sports cars also have enough power and handling prowess to offer thrilling performance when you want it.
At the request of our buyer, we’ve picked our top three luxury sports cars priced at £60,000 or under. All three are capable sports cars that strike a balance between performance, luxury and comfort.
The stylish choice: Aston Martin Vantage
For: Rorty V8 soundtrack, gorgeous stylingAgainst: Jerky automatic box, steering lacks feedback
The V8 Vantage was the entry point into Aston Martin’s range when it was launched in 2006. On sale up until 2018, it was frequently revised to keep it competitive. Many would say the Vantage is the prettiest car of this trio and, because of its age, it’s relatively good value for money. Early, high-mileage cars can be had for £25,000, but your budget will get you a 2016 Vantage with less than 10,000 miles. The trade-offs are a slightly harsh ride and a heavy manual or jerky auto gearbox.
While the Vantage’s exterior styling has aged perfectly, time hasn’t been quite so kind to its cabin. Its hand-me-down parts-bin interior and Garmin sat-nav doesn’t match up tothe 911’s effort, and this harms the car’s premium appeal.
A thunderous 420bhp 4.7-litre V8 powers the Vantage. It’s a little less refined than the engines in the Audi and Porsche, but it still offers a sense of occasion, and loves to be worked. Peak power is at the top of the rev range, which means you have to wring the engine out to get the best from it.
The driver’s choice: Porsche 911
For: Fantastic to drive, well-designed controls, iconicAgainst: Considered too clinical by some
Few cars have the same heritage as the Porsche 911. Its rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive layout has remained unchanged since 1963, but the 911 has become increasingly civilised since then, with the wayward handling of early models now banished to the history books. Your £60,000 budget puts you in a 991-generation 911 (2012-2019), with manual and auto gearboxes, four and rear-wheel drive, plus coupé and cabriolet body styles all available. Opt for a Carrera S for its extra 50bhp.
The 911’s interior is thoughtfully organised and screwed together well. There’s a comfortable driving position and a nod to the past, courtesy of the trademark centrally mounted tachometer in the middle of the dials.
Porsche’s efforts with the 991 produced the driving experience 911 owners have come to expect. The Carrera’s 345bhp 3.4-litre flat-six offers a 0-62mph time of 4.8 seconds, while the chassis is capable without being harsh. Choosing the Carrera S gets you a 3.8-litre engine and 395bhp.
The Exotic choice: Audi R8
For: Great performance, everyday usabilityAgainst: Limited boot space, thirsty engines
Audi’s R8 is an easy car to live with and rides pretty well, despite its mid-engined configuration and supercar performance. As with the 911 your budget gets you a previous-generation R8, rather than the current car, but V8 (424bhp), V10 (518bhp) and V10 Plus (552bhp) variants should all be within reach, as are both coupés and Spyder convertibles. Unlike with the current R8, you can have a manual box as well as an auto; the dual-clutch S tronic auto is preferable to the automated-manual R tronic.
You get a good driving position and sound ergonomics; manuals get an open-gated gearshift, which is a lovely touch. However, while it can’t be faulted for build quality, the original R8’s interior is starting to feel a little dated.
Even when fitted with the ‘base-spec’ 424bhp V8, the R8 provides plenty of supercar thrills. The German brand’s quattro four-wheel-drive system comes as standard, giving the manual V8 R8 a 0-62mph time of 4.6 seconds. Choosing a V10 or a Plus gets a sub-four-second 0-62mph time.