Updated: Aug 23
Dream Car Garage 2007-present
The last 15 years has been very fast paced for the automotive industry and has given us a whole host of garage-worthy cars for a small or large budget. Here are my favourites…
Cars from 2007 onwards played host to a magnitude of new technologies, many were not welcome such as the convoluted touchpad and touch sensitive steering controls; but dual clutch gearboxes and rear wheel steering seemingly had no compromises. This makes cars from the last 15 years far easier to live with than their ancestors, but nevertheless still garage-worthy cars destined to be future classics. What’s more, to bag yourself a car fit for your dream garage, you don’t have to spend the Earth either.
Alfa Romeo 159 (3.2 V6 JTS) (2006-2011) - £8,000
The Alfa Romeo 159 was not an ordinary choice of executive car, when most people thought the similarly priced BMW 3 series could offer more than enough. A few select people did stray from the path and buy the Alfa Romeo 159, and those who opted for the 3.2 V6, would have been more than chuffed. It was blessed with a deep chested roar at low revs and a higher pitch roar at 7200rpm. It may not be the quickest (with a respectable but not particularly brisk 6.8 seconds), but it does deliver on the drama, with a fighter cockpit style interior. The exterior, like most Alfa Romeos, is an art piece that wouldn’t look out of place in a gallery. Not to say you wouldn’t want to drive it, as the handling is excellent.
We found: 2007 3.2 V6 Q4 Lusso, 115,200 miles - £5,500
Mercedes-Benz R63 (2007) - £35,000
The R63 epitomises Mercedes-Benz’s experimentation. It was and still is the most desirable MPV out there, because of the addition of the hand built 6.2l V8 from the CLK63. It propels the ‘family-friendly’ car from 0-60 in 4.6 seconds, while retaining the luxury ethos Mercedes-Benz excels at. It’s safe to say you had to be outright bonkers to buy this car, which explains only 200 being built globally, 12 of which landed on UK shores. This rarity adds to this car’s surprisingly high retained value. I simply can’t imagine a car like this being produced again.
We found: 2007 R63, 134,000 miles - £39,995
Porsche 911 (997 Turbo S) (2010-2013) - £75,000
The Porsche 911 Turbo S arrived nearing the end of the 997 production. This generation of Porsche 911 Turbo S was one of the last old-school Porsche 911’s, as the next generation 991 would use an entirely different platform. The Turbo S variant was subject to minor tweaks in almost every area, but all this upgrading led to Porsche producing one of the most finely tuned cars out there with the exception of the ‘GT’ cars. Although it’s the ‘GT’ cars that would outperform the Turbo S in driving dynamics, the Turbo S benefitted from being easier live with and in my personal opinion, a more elegant design. The Porsche 911 Turbo S was also gifted the exceptional seven-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox. Not only was the Porsche 911 Turbo S 997 more user friendly than other variants in its lineup, but the same went for its rivals who tended to have 2 fewer seats.
We found: 2011 3.8 Turbo S, 32,000 miles - £72,990
BMW 5 Series (F10 535d M-Sport) (2010-2017) - £15,000
Diesel going out of favour is no new thing. Being seen in a car with a ‘d’ in the name is the industry equivalent of being caught burning coal to power your home. However, you’ll be the one laughing when you’ve snatched yourself a 535d because there simply isn’t a much better all-rounder. The 535d today, is efficient, practical and exceptionally good value. But for fellow enthusiasts, it’s stylish, has great handling and a has very punchy straight six engine. It’s for the parents who originally wanted a lightweight roadster but found out it was actually illegal to put people in the boot. There aren’t many good to drive cars out there with 309bhp and a claimed combined fuel economy figure of over 50mpg.
We found: 2011 535d M-Sport Touring, 43,000 miles, £17,995
Aston Martin Vanquish (2012-2018) -£80,000
Styling is subjective, but if you find the 2nd generation of Aston Martin Vanquish ugly, it’s quite possible you’re looking in the opposite direction. Since the 1990s, Aston Martin has progressively improved the styling, to what I believe was the summit of automotive design, with the Vanquish. The customary V12 landed its way into the front of the car, giving the car a not only aggressive character but one of sophistication too. The ride also features sophistication, as composure is enhanced down British back roads. For more thrills, the convertible Volante was also offered.
We found: 2014 6.0 V12 Volante, 28,000 miles, £89,995
Lexus IS (F) (2008-2012) - £20,000
Lexus made quite a bold move back in 2008 when it unloaded the 5.0l V8 engine co-developed with Yamaha into the small executive Lexus IS. The ‘Japanese Muscle Car’ as many called it, rivalled the BMW M3, Audi RS4 and Mercedes C63 which at the time all had V8’s. This left-field choice had exterior highlights such as a Tokyo Drift style body kit, more garish paint choices and stacked exhaust pipes. The engine is also a bit of a music piece, and a good one at that. Although the ride is firm, the addition of a proper limited slip differential in an facelift (to improve handling) made up for this shortcoming.
We found: 2010 5.0 V8, 85,467 miles - £20,990
Volkswagen Golf GTI (Mk7) (2013-2019) - £10,000
Like a stock market, the Volkswagen Golf GTI has had an up and down history. The highest return on investment has to be with the MK7 though. I believe it is the best all-rounded model to be launched, with a suitable blend of comfort, refinement, efficiency and technology as well as handling and pace. At launch, two engines were offered, the most powerful being called the ‘Performance’. Although some have criticised the VW Golf GTI for not being edgy enough, it has perfectly fulfilled the brands name – the ‘people’s car’ as I can’t think of many other cars that appeal the widest range of people. Besides, a more edgy Golf GTI TCR was also produced.
We found: 2015 GTI 2.0 TSI, 45,000 miles - £16,490
BMW M3 Touring (G81) (2022-present) - £100,000
Ever since BMW made a prototype E46 M3 touring, people have yearned for the M3 touring. The 2022 G81 retains the attributes of the exceptional G80 M3. That’s great all-weather performance, with sensational agility and good build quality. Additionally, you get the practicality of an estate tailgate. What also sets it above the M340i touring, is the intimidating presence with bulging wheelarches and an enlarged diffuser. If you couldn’t spot the regular M3 in a car park, you are with this touring variant.
We found: 2023 3.0 BiTurbo Competition, 1400 miles - £94,995 (with Ultimate Pack)
Mercedes S65 (W222 L) (2014-2020) - £85,000
Unlike the R63, the Mercedes S65L has the potential to be a relatively sensible luxury saloon for the wealthy. Although it definitely appeals to the wealthy, the 621bhp 6.0l V12 is anything but sensible. With 738 lb-ft of torque its engine pulls vigorously underneath the fairly subdued body. As much as performance is nice to have, at the end of the day, the car has to perform well as a luxury car. AMG has successfully granted a cossetting ride to the S65L, which also does a good job at staying flat in the corners. First and foremost, the interior is a 5 star hotel, but Mercedes hasn’t just left it standard; as they’ve added thoughtful touches such as unique displays and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.
We found: 2015 S65L 6.0, 13,000 miles - £79,989
Jaguar XK (R X150) (2006-2015)
The Jaguar XK has often been named a cut price Aston Martin Vantage, which is no bad thing. However, the Ian Callum designed car is so much more than an imitator. The beautiful exterior has details such as the grill that pay homage to the E-type, but blends this with an all-aluminium body. Although it may not be the most driver-focused vehicle out there, there’s a strong level of refinement and quality. One way the XK involves the driver is through the orchestral V8 sound, which when opted with an open top roof, creates a great sense of drama. This engine also unsurprisingly creates profound performance.
We found: 2010 5.0 V8 Convertible, 79,804 miles - £18,995