Looking to invest in something fast and fun that (probably) won’t lose you thousands? Then look no further...
1. Porsche Cayman S (981)
Porsche doesn’t drop many clangers. But ditching the brand’s iconic flat-six in 2016 with the 718 Cayman and Boxster was one of them. There’s nothing objectively wrong with the grumpy-sounding, turbo four-cylinder 718s, and some people swear they steer more sweetly than the sixes. But just five minutes behind the wheel of the earlier, 981-gen Cayman S (2012-2015) tells you all you need to know about the intrinsic rightness of a Porsche sports car with a flat-six in the middle. A £50k car new, £35k buys a nice example now – and now is the time to buy. Choose from six-speed manual or seven-speed PDK semi-auto transmissions. Head says PDK (better in traffic, better on track), heart and future-classic status say manual.
2. Ferrari F12
There’s something painfully obvious about making the case that Ferrari’s naturally-aspirated V12 is an engine worth getting excited about. But make the case we will, because combustion engines simply don’t get any better than this. The F12, which launched in 2012 and cost some £240k new, is now in that used-car sweet spot: it’s depreciated over the last few years but hasn’t yet acquired classic status. £170k buys a nice example and, though Ferrari has since moved on to the 812 Superfast, the F12 still feels thoroughly modern – and awesomely quick. Key to that is the F12’s slick and fast-shifting twin-clutch gearbox; the 599 it replaced used a clunky semi-auto.
3. AMG GT S
Mercedes’ 911 rival was misunderstood – arguably, it still is. Calling it a GT didn’t help, because the AMG, while undoubtedly comfortable and usable, is a sports car through and through. The engine might sit ahead of you but it’s wedged right up against the bulkhead, effectively making the GT mid-engined and helping it drive more like a sportster than a cruiser. And what an engine it is. AMG’s V8s are infamous and rightly so. In the GT it’s fabulous, with masses of grunt (503bhp) and a soundtrack to give you goosebumps. Reliable, too. £65k buys an early car; £80k a low-mileage, one-owner minter in must-have Solar Yellow.
4. BMW M140i
Has a car ever confused the world more than the 1-series? A rear-drive hatch with a tiny boot and cramped back seats (there’s a good reason nobody else builds rear-wheel-drive hatchbacks…), the 1-series was BMW chasing big sales while pigheadedly refusing to compromise on all the stuff it considers important. The M140i, launched in 2016, was the ultimate incarnation of a template originally laid down by the 323ti, and it was sensationally good fun. 335bhp, 0-62mph in less than five seconds and on-demand power oversteer – in a little hatchback! They literally don’t make them like this anymore: the four-wheel-drive M135i that replaced the M140i is rapid but soulless. So, buy a proper M-badged 1-series, preferably with the manual gearbox, and hang onto it.