Mercedes-AMG has very much been at the forefront of the horsepower war that has been raging since the early 2000s. If a performance saloon is sporting anything under 500bhp, it may as well be retired to the nearest private taxi rank.
As well as revealing the mad E63 S Estate, this month Mercedes-AMG has revealed UK prices for the new E63 S saloon, with the 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 weighing in at £88,285. The entry-level car meanwhile is £78,935.
When an expensive new performance car is revealed, we merry few at CT can’t help but dive into the classifieds to see if that money could be put to better use with a fleet of used cars that have already suffered the torrents of depreciation. So without further ado, here’s a look at what that disgustingly large, near £90k figure can get you on the secondhand market.
A mid-engined Porsche for five grand? Yes please.
Although a car at this price will be fairly high-mileage, the lure of the sublime chassis and beautifully calibrated suspension setup should be more than enough to see this cracking sports car enter your fleet. 3.2-litres of flat-six mated to a manual transmission sees this future classic reach 60mph in 5.7 seconds before topping out at 165mph. Perfectly filling the fun, convertible Sunday driver slot in the garage, the Boxster is a fantastic route into Porsche ownership and - with prices as they are - now would be the perfect time to buy.
Although most cars of this price are the lesser 2.7-litre variants, the odd 3.2 S can be seen flirting around the same price bracket. Just make sure to look-out for IMS (intermediate shaft bearing) failure or have this component seen to (along with the clutch) soon after purchase.
To fill a wagon-sized space in your life, this piece of JDM royalty should do the trick. The headliner is the powertrain - the 2.6-litre RB26DETT straight-six from the R33 Skyline GTR producing 280bhp. Built to take on the Subaru Legacy on Japanese soil, Stageas has been exported to keen buyers worldwide, making them rare and enticing secondhand options.
With many of the these wagons being modified using the under-stressed engine from the mighty R33, you’ll do well to find a clean example that hasn’t been fettled with. Less-powerful 2.5-litre cars also float around JDM auctions but your best bet is to find a reputable importer to source you a clean example from Japan with all the correct paperwork.
Take into account the catastrophic depreciation that would come soon after the purchase of a new E63 S and you could justify spending a serious amount on your own tuning project, turning the Stagea further into a JDM sleeper.
For general commuting but also backroad fun after work, this little hot hatch should do the trick. A 1.8-litre 2ZZ-GE engine lies beneath the bonnet, accompanied by a sneaky supercharger to combine for a 215bhp final output. Toyota created this limited-edition beasty as the VVT-Li T-Sport was about to be decommissioned due to emissions legislation. As a final swansong, 250 examples were fitted with a blower which could propel the hatch from 0-60mph in 6.9 seconds.
To compliment the 26bhp hike in power over the standard car, Toyota also lowered and stiffened the car. Manufactured as a rival to the Golf GTI and Civic Type R of the time, the Corolla Compressor is a quirky, overlooked hot hatch that may sneak under the radar as a future classic, especially if found in unmolested condition. It may not have the brutal power of the AMG, but there should always be room for some diverse front-wheel drive shenanigans in your life.
To add a much-needed sprinkling of supercar to the mix, an ‘07 Audi R8 should do plenty. 4.2-litres, eight cylinders, all-wheel drive and a gated manual shift can be had for even less than £40,000 nowadays. Audi’s first attempt at a road-going supercar was exceedingly popular when launched ten years ago (yes, the R8 is now a decade old) and saw it take on Porsche in a sector of the industry that Stuttgart had been dominating.
Although power (414bhp) was modest in supercar terms, the mid-engine placement and 30:70 torque split front-to-rear made the R8 the ideal inlet into the upper reaches of the performance car market. The E63 S may be autobahn-munchingly quick on a straight piece of tarmac, but down a tight, twisting B-road it would be doing well to keep up with the well-balanced chassis of the first generation R8.
For out-and-out performance on the track, the cumbersome dimensions of the AMG saloon could be swapped for a package that constantly nips at the heels of most track records in the land. Using design inspiration from LMP racers, Radical produced the SR1 for a one-make racing series for budding motorsport stars and now the company has its very own ‘approved used’ section where some tantalising prospects can be seen. The SR1 sits at the bottom of the heap, using a Suzuki four-cylinder engine producing 185bhp to power a staggeringly-lightweight 480kg non-road legal package.
That means 0-60mph in a supercar-worrying (but remarkably slower than the E63!) 3.6 seconds. Add in fully adjustable suspension and four-pot brake callipers behind all four wheels and the potential cornering speeds of these track-focused racers can be well past the reach of most drivers. The E63 S will be able to get around a track quicker than the majority of vehicles, but the purchase of a Radical would recalibrate your sense of outright speed.
Do you agree with my used picks? What would your fleet consist of with this monumental heap of cash at your disposal? Comment with your suggestions below!