Some may call it a mid-life crisis but our buyer this month is looking for a rear-drive sports car to join their garage as a set of weekend wheels. Something that provides thrills rather than the run-of-the-mill wheels. Crisis or not, our buyer know’s what he wants. Here, rear-drive is an essential characteristic and a sonorous, powerful motor is preferable. Our driver still wants a reasonably comfortable ride without compromising on handling. The cachet of a prestigious badge is a must, too. Now that we’ve got the requirements nailed down let’s see what Gumtree has on offer.
The safe option: 2008 Porsche Cayman S (987)
A Porsche badge, what could top that pedigree for the money? Much like our buyer, first-generation Porsche Caymans are now getting on a bit, they’ve either been thrashed or well-loved and are worth much less than they used to be. Time to take advantage, pre-2009 models fall within our budget. The mid-mounted 3.4-litre flat-six engine of the Cayman S sparkles with personality and produces the unmistakable Porsche bark just behind your head. It’s the definitive sports car and if you don’t need rear seats it’s the one to have. The suspension, steering and engine make for an agile, engaging and enjoyable drive. The downside is that it will cost you money to keep on the road, and if it’s got expectedly high milage on it, engine and transmission repairs could ruin your wallet. Hedge your bets and in five years time, you might be able to get some of your money back though, as Porsches tend to hold their value. Stay away from the pre-PDK tiptronic and get yourself a manual. Go out and do it!
Price – R390 900
Power – 217 kW @ 6 250 rpm
Torque – 340 Nm @ 4 400- 6 000 rpm
Transmission – 6-speed manual
Performance – 5.4 sec 0-100 km/h, 275 km/h top speed
Fuel consumption – 10.6 l/100km
The good option: 2014 BMW M235i
For what is basically an E36 M3 with more power, a better chassis and better steering, the BMW M235i is not a full-on M car but it does offer the performance in a compact four-seater package. There are dozens of examples to choose from in the classifieds with the choice of either a knuckly 6-speed manual or the quick-shifting 8-speed ZF transmission, many of which we’ve seen have less than 100 000 km on the clock. Powered by the twin-scroll turbocharged N55 3.0-litre inline-six cylinder motor the M235i is a strong performer, promising a sub 5-sec 0-100 km/h time. Being a BMW, models on sale will differ greatly according to the options fitted by the previous owner. For enhanced thrills, look closely for ones fitted with the option M Performance exhaust to better enjoy the engine’s sound, a limited-slip differential was an option, too. Being one of the newer cars here, the BMW should be well looked after but still check the service books.
Price – R379 995
Power – 240 kW @ 5 800-6 000 rpm
Torque – 450 Nm @ 1 300-4 500 rpm
Transmission – 6-speed manual/ 8-speed automatic
Performance – 4.8 sec 0-100 km/h, 250 km/h top speed
Fuel consumption – 10.3 l/100km
The wild-card option: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 Coupè
With a cult-like following, the W204 Mercedes Benz C63 marks the end of an era as one of the last of the naturally aspirated V8s to be squeezed into a compact family coupè. It claims the wild-card position thanks to it brutish persona and massive M156 6.2-litre V8. The noise it makes alone is worth the money. It costs R100 000 less than a poverty-spec new Mercedes-Benz A200 and it wears and AMG badge. It may not be as sharp to drive as the Porsche or as livable as the M235i, but its the one with the greatest sense of occasion. Driven hard, fuel stops will be frequent, but as a weekend warrior, our buyer shouldn’t be disappointed. The examples that dip into our budget have typically higher milage, so ensure that the vehicle has not been modified and check for signs for abuse to ensure you bag yourself a good example.
Price – R399 995
Power – 336 kW @ 6 800 rpm
Torque – 600 Nm @ 5 000 rpm
Transmission – 7-speed automatic
Performance – 4.6 sec 0-100 km/h, 250 km/h top speed
Fuel consumption – 13.6 l/100km