Robert has an Audi RS7 which is a very fast car but better suited as a daily driver, he wants a weekend toy and maybe some track days. It needs to be quicker than his current ride. He has a pretty healthy budget and a lot of options to consider, what car should he buy?
(Welcome back to What Car Should You Buy? Where we give real people real advice about buying cars. )
Here is the scenario -
I’m looking for a fun weekend car (possibly a convertible) that I can also take to that track once in a while. I daily drive an Audi RS7 (with some work done) so looking for something a bit faster. I’m happier with a used car (less depreciation) and want to keep it under $200k. I work on computers so technology is important to me. I’m also not picky about having a manual or automatic, especially since the flappy paddle cars are faster on the track.
I also want it to be reasonably reliable and I have a thing against Maseratis.
Budget: up to $200,000
Daily Driver: No
Location: New York
Wants: Fast, Fun, Reliable-ish
Doesn’t want: A Maserati
Robert, so the readers keep telling me I need to “change it up” a bit and stop making recommendations that are always so “rational.” Well, this type of purchase doesn’t really fall into the rational category, but rather than suggest a used Mclaren or whatever I want to offer a perspective shift. Your RS7 offers supercar level acceleration in a four-door package, but what it doesn’t have is supercar style and charm. I think you should put another Audi in your garage, but forgo the turbos and flappy paddles.
You need an R8 with a 5.2-liter V10 and a manual transmission. Part of the fun of having the cash for multiple cars is being able to acquire vehicles that have a different “character.” There is something very satisfying about winding out the naturally aspirated motor and rowing your own gears with a gated shifter.
Manual-equipped R8s are available in both open top and coupe configurations and they are priced in the low to mid 100,000 range. Here is an orange convertible for around $106k. Will you be the fastest guy on the track? Probably not but that will take years of training and super serious hardware to accomplish the best lap times, but you might be the dude that is having the best time. R8s of this vintage are fairly reliable and because Audi won’t make them like this again any subsequent depreciation won’t be dramatic.
Robert, can I call you Bob? Bobert, I think any of us would be delighted to be in your dilemma. You’ve got the resources and the right spirit here, so what you need to avoid is just getting something any jackass with a bunch of cash could just order online. You’ll be happier with something that has some real character, history, and personality, not just some other fast rich-guy’s silver car with Bluetooth and shit.
You need a DeTomaso Pantera.
The Pantera is everything you want, and more—it’s a strikingly beautiful design, one that looks modern but still incorporates enough classic elements to let people know they’re in the presence of something with some history. It’s fast, it’s fun to drive in that engaging, mechanical, visceral way that only pre-drive-by-wire cars can be, and, unlike so many Italian supercars, it’s not a maintenance headache, since it’s powered by a robust and easy-to-get-parts-for 351 (5.7-liter) Ford Cleveland V8 engine.
Look at this stunning yellow one. It’s only about $70,000 and in perfect shape. If you’re going to spend that much on a car it should be something special, something interesting, something that matters, and this yellow Pantera absolutely does.
Drive it to get burgers or a 20 pound bag of frozen shrimp or take a friend to the airport or take it to the track—every trip in this thing, mundane or spectacular, will be an event.
You’re not going to get that in some modern Audi or Benz. Trust me. Get the Pantera.
Hey there, Robert. I see that you, with your modded Audi RS7, are someone with taste. Refined, European taste, it seems like. And you have some money to burn, which is a favorite trait of mine whenever we write up these recommendations. Let’s keep it in The Continent, then.
I’m pointing you in the direction of the Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale. As it has been noted on this very website, the Ferrari 360 is good again, though David Tracy is right—it’s always been good.
That’s because with the 360-generation, we also got the Challenge Stradale: A lightened and trackked-up version of an already very sporty car. Ceramic brakes from a Ferrari Enzo. A Formula One-style gearbox. A small (but furious) 3.6-liter V8 that puts out about 420 horsepower. I know that’s nothing on your RS7, but it’s still over 100 HP per liter. And also a redline of 8,500 rpm. This is the car from the naturally aspirated glory days of the 2000s. Plus, stripes!
It’s mid-engined and way lighter than your Audi, which means the feel will be more agile and snappier. This was, after all, a car that was designed for both road and track use. Just don’t snap-oversteer into a tree or something.
Personally, I think it’s aged beautifully. I’m not sure how many of these things Ferrari made, but you can be they’re not too common.
Challenge Stradales have kept their value pretty well, but here’s one with 25,125 miles for $179,900.
For $200,000 you can afford yourself the absolutely highest tech the automotive world could offer... in the mid-1980s. I mean peak, though. Tip top. Fastest point-to-point cars in the world sorta thing.
By this I mean the era of Group B, when money poured into the sport and manufacturers built the highest-power purpose-built cars the World Rally Championship has ever seen.
The Group B era was a homologation special era, so it means that while you will have a hard time finding yourself, say, a Brabham BT52 to drive (not to mention getting that thing through inspection may be a challenge), you do see minty Group B cars turn up for auction every once in a while.
And it just so happens that four Group B cars are going up at Pebble Beach this year, including a Metro 6R4, guided at between $175,000-$225,000, as Petrolicious notes. This wasn’t the winningest car of that time period, but it was the one that sounded the best, with six cylinders howling behind your head. Scoop it up!
Do you want us to help you find a car? Submit your story on our form.