The first question out of most people’s mouths after they learn I’m an automotive journalist is “what’s your favorite car” and I typically answer by telling them it really depends on the situation and the budget. Of course I’ll take a $1M+ Bugatti if I can have any car and it’s free, and then I’d promptly sell it, buy a house and a couple of reasonable cars. So for the sake of this article, let’s try a couple of different scenarios and with each one, I must keep the car for 4 years and it’s the only car I can drive. Considering I currently get a new car about every 5 days, that would be a significant lifestyle change.
This may surprise you but my top choice would be a Range Rover Autobiography LWB at a starting price of $144,000 followed by a Cadillac Escalade because I’d want the biggest vehicle that could also tow my boat. If you think of car seats like airline seats, the expensive ones are up front and they’re big and comfortable. Both of these SUVs employ the ultimate in luxury. I would not get a Mercedes-Benz G63 like many people would think because it’s the most ridiculous SUV ever made, but I would put the GL63 third on my short list.
There are some amazing sedans out there, but the list is short for me when the budget is this high. (1) Mercedes-Benz S63 with a starting price of $142,000+. This vehicle conveys the best there is to offer with regards to luxury and technology. It even eliminates imperfections in the road. (2) Audi S8. Few sedans are as nimble and luxurious as the S8, while having limitless power under the hood. (3) BMW M5. Fully loaded it’s close to $130,000 and with carbon ceramic brakes, is the only true track car that is also a luxury sedan.
It’s a great time in automotive history to be in the market for a sports car because there are so many wonderful examples, but no list would be complete without a Porsche 911 and my top choice would be the 50th anniversay edition because it looks amazing and with a starting price of $125,000 will probably go up in value more than any other car (by percentage) in 2014. Second on the list is the Nissan GT-R Nismo edition. What a beast and a sports car that is track tuned from the showroom. Just look at the numbers and you’ll see why so many aspire to this rare Japanese sports car. Last but not least is the Corvette Z06. Even though we haven’t driven it yet, the numbers alone are mind blowing and the styling breathtaking.
So of the nine vehicles I selected, one is Japanese, two are American and six are European. All but one of the Euros are German. That’s not by design, it’s simply where the market is. There are some impressive cars that sell for under $50,000 like the VW GTI, Cadillac ATS and the new Lexus RC. But after doing this job for so many years and been given the keys to so many new cars, I don’t know if I could plop down that much cash for a new car when I know I can get so much more for a pre-owned one.