My next car: the top four

Every three years the same thing starts to take me over. What car shall I get next? It brews up at least 6 months before it’s due, and tends to consume a large part of my unoccupied brain time. This time though, I’m doing things a bit differently. I’m asking the twitterverse and my blog readers to tell me their opinions. I’ve already asked once and this combined with my own thoughts has yielded the list below. There’s a list underneath of discounted cars also with reasons why.

These cars are in no particular order and I don’t think I have strong feelings for one over any other. Their pros and cons are of course listed. The criteria for my next car is vaguely as below. Some things of course are not 100% needed.

  • More power than my S2000 (torque especially), bringing me into proper performance car territory
  • More practicality (a bit more space inside would be nice)
  • 4 seats? (low priority, baby will be with us while I have this car, i.e. within a year or so)
  • Not chavvy or too brutal looking – I’m a big fan of flowing cars like Aston’s and the like
  • Decent motorway refinement (I do a lot of miles – 25k/year and good chunks of motorway)

I should say I have not driven any of these yet. I don’t tend to test drive many cars before I buy (never known why) and I think you get to love car over many miles and I’m pretty sure I’ll love any of these in the end.

Porsche Cayman

Porsche Cayman S

Porsche Cayman S

Example spec:  2005 3.4S, 60,000 miles, satnav
Price: £18,000 – £19,000

The Porsche Cayman S is a very tempting proposition. Right at the very top of my price range (maybe a touch over) gets me into Cayman range, and the specs and mileage on these early cars seem good as the example spec above shows. In S form the 3.4 puts out good power and torque making it faster than my S2000 and generally will be more enjoyable to drive. Plus, it looks pretty good too, nice rear haunches.

The downsides are there it only has two seats. It also has Porsche servicing costs. It’s also a Porsche, and I’ve never really loved them, having said that I now have a 944 track car I love and I never would have said I loved Honda’s either but look at my S2000.

BMW E46 M3



Example spec: 2005 M3, 50,000 miles, satnav, well loaded
Price: £16,000 – £17,000

A little bit cheaper than a Cayman for a similar age and mileage is an E46 M3. I very well regarded drivers car and they do say you should own an M car at least once in your life. I want a standard M3 as opposed to a CS (even though they are better) because I like the comforts in the standard M3, multi function steering wheel and so on.

In theory this car ticks all the boxes from practicality to speed to equipment and so on. The only issue is that I’m not sure I love the way it looks, it’s, well, very ordinary.

 BMW E39 M5

E39 BMW M5

E39 BMW M5

Example spec: Mint 2002, 49,000 miles, fully loaded
Price: £15,000

Now, you could get a V10 M5 at the top of my price range (circa £19k) but that would be of unknown quality and also is significantly more complicated as a vehicle. Also, this M5 is known as the more well rounded car. With a 400bhp V8 under the bonnet it gives me the power I need with the practicality as well.

It’s looks could be seen as dated (or old man’s car as my fiancee puts it) but I’ve always loved the E39 shape. For that reason, it has to be on this list. The question is – is it really my style (Cayman suits better in theory you see).

Maserati 4200

Maserati 4200

Maserati 4200

Example spec: 2004, 50,000 miles, well equipped
Price: £16,000 – £17,000

With a soulful twin turbo V8 under the bonnet this does get me thinking. Yes, high running costs are a consideration for sure but it’s a Maserati V8. It’s not as pretty as a GranTurismo but it’s a Maser. It floats my boat. Not as focused a sports car as say the Cayman or M3 of course, but the upside being the gorgeousness that is.

Fuel economy would be awful, insurance bad as well but then again all the cars in this list are not exactly insurance dreams. It’s also a 2+2 so has a bit more practicality and big boot. Very tempting stuff.


What’s not in and why

There were a lot of tempting selections I knew of and that were suggested but they have been dismissed for a number of reasons – see below:

  • Chevy Corvette C5 – great car, american muscle, touch older than the above, amazing power. Left hand drive though and that was the clincher. I overtake a lot on country roads and so being on the left is not going to work for me.
  • Vauxhall Monaro / VXR8 – also great cars, tempting 6.2l V8s. Practical too. Interior not what I’m after (worse than the Honda’s probably) and I can’t get over the looks. It’s just not pretty enough (I know, I’m a poser, so what).
  • BMW Z4M, Lotus Elises – although Matt seems to thinks the Z4M is the one, I don’t want a car just like my S2000 with more power. I want something a bit bigger and a bit more comfortable. Also, I never liked the Z4’s looks!
  • Imprezas, Evos, Skylines, Renaults – even though they are all impressive and tick a lot of boxes, I can never get them to float my boat. Sorry!
  • Porsche 911 (early 1) or Boxster: if it were a Porsche, Cayman would be the choice above.
  • TVRs – not reliable enough for everyday and not comfortable enough for everyday. Tuscan is one of my dreams, but not for right now.


About Rob

I'm an average petrolhead - I love cars and get as much driving experiences as I can out in the world from test drives to track days.