So, you're an up-and-comer. Things are going reasonably well career-wise and you've managed to scrape together enough dirhams to buy a car. Now you have a choice to make: you could get something sensible and practical – albeit a touch beige – such as a Toyota Camry V6, or you could opt for something more exciting, something that has a bit more street-cred.
The good news is there are plenty of exotic vehicles that can be picked up for the same amount of money, if you shop on the pre-owned market, that is. In fact, you can snag an exotic model for the price of a Japanese saloon.
We've scoured the classifieds, so you don't have to, and found seven cars you can buy for the same price as a family four-door. Whether you should splash the cash on one of these is your own decision to make – we're just keeping you fully informed.
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
The 2009 Vantage is still one of the best-looking sports cars ever built and you can own one with more than 400 horsepower and 347-lb-ft of torque, courtesy of a 4.7-litre V8 mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox, from as little as Dh130,000. Naturally, this is a car from the previous generation, but its striking aesthetics are undeniable – that's pretty good value for a sports car that retailed for approximately Dh600,000 when it was new. We found several examples for sale on online classifieds – some with as little as 70,000 kilometres on the clock.
E93 BMW M3
One of the greatest sports saloons ever made, the fourth generation E93 BMW M3 is the last naturally aspirated M model in the range, since the arrival of the turbocharged F82/ F83 in 2014. Powered by a 4.0-litre V8 that revs up to an ear-splitting 8,000rpm, this is a proper M-car, in our opinion. You can get decent models with around 80,000km on the odometer, starting from just Dh90,000. Pro tip: this car is bound to be a future collectible, so if you're going to invest in one then grab it now while you can still pay less than you would for a Honda Accord. Need convincing? Nick Mason, the drummer for the legendary rock band Pink Floyd, paid about Dh170,000 for his Ferrari 250 GTO in 1977, and the car is now worth a cool Dh143 million. Just saying …
Mercedes-Benz CL 65 AMG
This car is quite possibly one of the worst afflicted when it comes to depreciation. When new, the luxurious super coupe – which boasts a massive 6.0-litre turbocharged V12, making in excess of 600 horsepower, a gargantuan 738 lb-ft of torque, and 0-100km/h sprint time of under four seconds – costs nearly Dh1 million. However, with its value plummeting at an alarming rate, you can expect to pay anything between Dh120,000 and Dh150,000 for the top-of-the-heap CL 65 AMG, and as little as Dh50,000 for a CL 500 version – that's a 10th of the original asking price. If that's not a bargain, we don't know what is.
The value of this exotic vehicle has suffered a dramatic downturn over the years. But the previous-generation Quattroporte remains one of the most charming and fun-to-drive sports saloons ever made. No, that's not an exaggeration – it really is that good. Its Ferrari-built, 4.7-litre, naturally aspirated V8 makes all the right noises and it drives like a much smaller car. You can get a used version with around 80,000km on the clock for as little as Dh50,000. Even the current-generation car from three years ago, with a mileage of about 70,000km, can be had for less than Dh130,000. Not bad for an exotic sports saloon that retailed at three times that when it was new.
First-gen Audi R8
Audi's everyday supercar turned the brand's fortunes around, and remains one of the most desirable and good-looking mid-engined models on the market. Powered by a naturally aspirated, 4.0-litre V8 engine making 420 horsepower, the original R8 was a bit of a sensation when it was launched in 2007. It is a supercar that you can use every day, and yet it doesn't forego the drama afforded by its exotic brethren. While a low-mileage example would set you back in excess of Dh200,000, we found early models with about 75,000km on the ODO for about Dh110,000. We suggest buying this for the weekend and getting a Kia Picanto for the rest of the week, using the money you saved on this bargain.
The XKR, another stunning British coupe, is quite possibly on par with the aforementioned Vantage when it comes to sheer good looks. However, with a 2+2 configuration, the XKR is a tad more practical when it comes to everyday usability. It is decidedly more comfortable as well. Its 5.0-litre, supercharged V8 makes 510 horsepower, giving this vehicle a 0-100km/h sprint time of just over four seconds. We found models with about 75,000km on the clock going for roughly Dh125,000. That said, being supercharged, it does not sound as exciting as the naturally aspirated Vantage. But, hey, that's hardly a reason to say no, especially when it looks this good and is a proper, mile-munching grand tourer to boot.
With a shrieking, 4.7-litre V8, the GranTurismo is a stunner when it comes to visceral driving thrills. Sure, its instrument panels look like they belong to a 1980s calculator, but the noise and drama it creates makes every drive an occasion. The best bit? You can buy a used 2011 example with just over 70,000km from approximately Dh90,000. Surprisingly, newer models, circa 2014/2015, cost in the vicinity of Dh140,000 – a rather good price for a three-year-old exotic car. So what's it going to be? This or a Nissan Maxima?
Bonus: Bentley Continental GT
This was a big surprise, even for us. A Continental GT exudes affluence, and, perhaps to some extent, even questionable taste. However, drive up to a hotel valet in one of these and you're pretty much guaranteed a prime spot, mostly for the benefit of camera-wielding tourists. This 6.0-litre W12 super coupe, making in excess of 600 horsepower, costs more than Dh1 million when new, depending on options. But you can score a 2006 model with about 60,000km on the clock for about Dh120,000. A well-specced Mazda 6 saloon costs more. And, if you're feeling flush with cash, you can snag the hardcore Super Sports version, driven for less than 100,000km, for about Dh190,000. It retailed for more than Dh1.2 million when new. You're welcome.