4. Audi TT
If the TT had been a little less popular, and you’d been able to get a good example of the second-generation car for our £5k target rather than the very last examples of the older first-gen one, it might have finished at the very top of our table. Instead, the original car, with its concept car looks and daringly fresh interior styling, still cuts the mustard, with some great engine options, pleasing handling and the usual Audi classy finish. Older, high mileage ones can actually be had from as little as £2k, so it caters for all budgets, too.
Okay, so to buy a Porsche, especially one with the all-round excellence of the Boxster, for this sort of price will require careful research and some very astute shopping, but the rewards if you find a good one will be high. Not only will you have an exceptional mid-engined car of great speed and ability you’ll have an appreciating asset you really can enjoy on the road every day, with its eager handling and flat-six burble. Our money buys a clean first-generation model, but it’ll still be vital to check the history, and indeed everything else, very carefully.
2. BMW Z4
The Z4 is a no-nonsense, front-engined, rear-wheel-drive roadster with plenty of grip and sharp handling that comes with a range of great engines and a good reputation for long-term reliability. You can choose one with a magnificently lusty 2.5 or 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine, but you’ll enjoy yourself nearly as much in the spirited 2.0-litre four-cylinder model. It’s a beautifully engineered car, though some may find the ride a little too firm. Big demand keeps prices high, but you can still pick up a good 2006 example for around our £5000 target.
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