Given the choice most of us would jump at the chance of owning a brand-new supercar. The internet is filled to the brim with videos of people swanning about in impossibly fast and expensive machines. The online world can warp reality though, the truth is that few people are likely to have the spare £200,000 (sometimes a whole lot more) to indulge their supercar fantasies.
Clearly supercar ownership is as much a dream for the man in the street as it ever was but there are other ways to scratch that supercar itch. From over-achieving family hatchbacks to comparatively affordable modern classics there are plenty of ways to get that buzz most people think only a pricey supercar can provide.
You just need to think out of the box a little bit. Our list spans a broad range of offerings, from cars that will appeal to the merely modestly wealthy to ones that don’t even require an inheritance to afford.
Ferrari 488 GTB
The 488 GTB is the latest mid-engined V8 offering from Ferrari. It now offers 661-bhp courtesy of a new 3.9-liter V8 and two turbochargers. It will set you back a not inconsiderable £200,000 before options and the 710-bhp race-honed Pista is another £50,000 on top of that.
If you happen to be involved with a Ferrari racing program then the even more exclusive Pista Piloti is also on offer.
Why not take a look at an exquisite modern classic like the F355 instead? It may only offer a ‘paltry’ 375-bhp, but that is still way more than you can every use outside of a racetrack.
Its amazing looks and soundtrack are still there to be enjoyed at much lower speeds and a good one can be yours for £100,000.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Alfa Romeos have often been called the poor man’s Ferrari and while this is a stretch in some cases, the new Giulia Quadrifoglio actually has a Ferrari-derived twin-turbo V6 under its bonnet.
With 503-bhp on tap it sure performs like a junior Ferrari and at around £60,000 it is a proper bargain too.
Lamborghini Aventador S
The Aventador has been around for a few years now but that guttural, vicious V12 and those sleek looks have ensured that it remains one of the most desirable supercars around. The Aventador S offers up 730-bhp from its 6.5-liters which helps it get to 60mph in under 3-seconds.
The jerky single-clutch semi-automatic gearbox is a bit of a pain in traffic but suits the savage nature of the Aventador well when the roads open up. You will be handing over close to £300,000 for a new one.
The Diablo was not quite as ground-breaking as the Countach that went before it but it offered major improvements in every area. A mere 2,884 found buyers over 11-years of production so exclusivity is guaranteed.
Now certain rare models can actually cost more than even an Aventador but decent early cars can also be found for under £100,000.
Aventadors and Diablos are great but for everyday useability the V10 Gallardo is where it’s at. Even the very first cars had just on 500-bhp and there are a few manuals about too if you look hard enough.
Prices start at £70,000 and even a special edition model like the LP550-2 Balboni version won’t set you back more than £150,000.
The 1479-bhp Chiron is all about big numbers and bigger performance. The biggest of them all however is its £2.5-million price tag. You can of course customize your car with all manner of personal touches and Bugatti offer some eye-wateringly expensive off-the shelf options too.
How about a clear paint job that exposes the carbon-fibre weave? That will be an estimated £500,000 sir. With that kind of budget surely we can find something that offers similar levels of luxury and at least some of the pace.
Referring to the Veyron as a budget option is clearly ludicrous. Yet barely used examples are not much more than £1-million. Now that’s a big saving over a Chiron and you still get 1,000-bhp and simply staggering performance.
The 0-60mph times are practically identical and even the latest hypercars will struggle to keep up with a Veyron in a straight line.
Ok, so £1-million is still a fair chunk of change and we get that so how about a way way more affordable option instead but still a VW Group product? Something that in all honesty will offer more power than you can use most of the time while still being a comfortable long-distance companion?
We are of course talking about the sublime all-wheel-drive 310-bhp Golf R. It may need around 2 seconds longer to hit 60mph but at £35,000 you do make a £2,465,000 saving. Seems like a good deal.
The i8 is a superb example of a hybrid supercar, it competes with traditionally powered sportscars that may outshine it in pure performance terms but none can match its amazing (claimed) economy figures.
It looks pretty great too, those gullwing doors and swoopy body panels haven’t aged a day since it was launched in 2014. All of this tech doesn’t come cheap though, a new roadster starts off at £116,000.
BMW 8 Series
The new 8 Series has just been revealed and it is a stunner, but then so was its forebear, the original ‘90s version. Originally released with a 5.0-litre V12, and rather good V8 soon joined the ranks and a limited-run 5.6-litre V12 was also offered.
Manual cars are ultra-rare and pricey but superb condition examples can be found for well under £25,000. Look for a facelifted 286-bhp 4.4-litre V8, they were the sweet spot in the range.
As an alternative to the i8, the 8 Series may be a bit too big and ungainly, perhaps something a bit sportier would be a better match.
We suggest an M3, no not the overpriced original but rather the up and coming E46 model. It is a far quicker car than the E30 and you can pick up a great one for under £15,000.
Porsche GT2 RS
The GT2 RS is currently the Nurburgring production car record holder (6:47.25) and at 700-bhp it is the most powerful 911 ever made. All this power and speed does come at a hefty price though, and that price is currently £207,506.
It is rear-wheel-drive too which means that you really have to know what you are doing to avoid parking it in a tree.
Porsche 718 GTS
Every Porsche (bar the GT3) is now turbocharged, this may anger the purists but it does mean that even the base models are now a whole lot more rapid than they have ever been. The updated Cayman is now called the 718 and along with the name change the top GTS model now also has a 365-bhp 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
It may lack some aural stimulation but the massive torque at just about any speed makes up for a lot. At £60,000 you can have three for the price of one GT2 RS and still have money left over for petrol.
Classic 911s have become all the rage in recent years, everyone is going on about air-cooled engines and modifying old cars with modern parts. But let’s not forget one of the most collectible 911s of them all, the 993.
It looks great, drives well and prices are still going up. You will need around £50,000 for a good one but that is still a big saving over any of the more anodyne modern 911s out there.
The Lexus LFA is a beautifully engineered machine with an exquisite 552-bhp 4.8-litre V10 that delivers an utterly captivating soundtrack. All of this hyperbole is to prepare you for the fact that while it cost £340,000 back in 2010, used examples are now trading for £500,000.
So, while you lost £30,000 on that 8-year-old 3 Series, an LFA buyer actually made money on his car. It also means you really can’t afford one now.
The Lexus LC displays some of the design language that can be seen in the LFA which is a good thing. It may not have the same manic V10 engine but the 477-bhp 5.0-litre V8 that it comes with is great.
Its futuristic looks continue to the inside and you can even get a hybrid variant if you want. At £76,000 the pricing is also a lot more palatable too.
Toyota GT 86
If all you are after is the thrill of driving but you really can’t stretch to an LC, let alone an LFA, then why not consider the distilled essence of both in the form of the GT86? It may offer only 200-bhp and not have the most inspiring interior but as a driving machine it is superb.
You get rear-wheel-drive and a fantastic chassis as standard all for £27,000. An LFA is obviously miles better but it sure isn’t 20-times as good, and that is the premium you would have to pay to get own one.