George Waddel is planning ahead as he wants a new car in March 2012. He likes the Renault Megane and Renault Laguna; however, he likes the look of coupé models and wants something stylish. His budget is £23,000, plus an extra few thousand from the sale of his 2005 Peugeot 206 HDI GTI.
A car for the head
George is entitled to his opinion and clearly likes French cars, whereas I'm not that keen. Their reliability is only average and they depreciate heavily. It would be easy to go for a Laguna Coupé, which would cost £20,805 for the Dynamique dCi 150 model. There is also the Megane Renaultsport 250 which has won many plaudits for the way it handles, and would cost an equally affordable £25,020. But I recommend something that delivers style, sportiness and reliability – the Nissan 370Z. Spending just over £20,000 gets George into the driving seat of the latest Z sports car, which doesn't just look purposeful, it also delivers a full-on driving experience. The standard specification is good, but the GT pack adds heated leather seats and cruise control, making the 370Z an everyday, all-year, proposition – not just a weekend toy. For £22,979, George can get a 2009 GT model with 11,000 miles on the clock from a Nissan dealer, so there would be no warranty or history worries.
A car for the heart
For me, the Nissan nails the head and heart issue, with the bonus that the 370Z depreciates fairly gently and is destined to become a classic. Another modern classic would be the BMW M3 – especially in CSL specification. This car is destined to become sought after by collectors in the future. Made for a brief period in 2004, just 500 were imported into the UK. Today, though, it is something of a bargain. The roof, spoiler and sundry small parts are made from carbon fibre which means that it weighs in at 110kg lighter than the standard M3. It is also slightly more powerful, producing 360bhp rather than 343bhp. This is combined with lots of other upgrades, including modified suspension, brakes, steering and gearbox. Seven years ago, you had to pay over £58,000 for the CSL. Right now though, George need only pay £23,950 to get one with around 60,000 miles on the clock. Bargain.
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