Nissan’s Z-Car is the Coupe de grace
Nissan 350ZPrice: £16,000-£28,500 Years: 2003 to present
LOOKS and performance count for plenty in the coupÌ© category, which explains why the Nissan comes out on top. Few cars at any price handle as well as the 350Z, and the futuristic styling manages to tick all the right boxes, too.
Better still, it’s cheaper than ever. Last year, you needed £20,000 to get behind the wheel, but you can now find early models from £16,000 – imports can be picked up for even less.
These first examples have taken the brunt of their depreciation, which should begin to ease up due to the car’s strong image and limited supply.
What you get is a 276bhp V6 which powers the Nissan from 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds. The firm also sold 176 limited-edition, 296bhp Gran Turismo 4 variants, but they’re about £24,000.
Nissan has a reputation for excellent build quality, and reliability is first-rate. However, make sure any prospective buy has a full service history – attention is required every 9,000 miles – and that the optional RAYS alloys wheels are not damaged, because they are expensive to replace.
Even standard models feature six airbags, climate-control, a CD autochanger and xenon headlamps as standard, so entry-level cars aren’t exactly spartan. If you spend the extra £1,300 for a used GT model, however, you’ll get a leather interior, too.
Minus points are few, but include the uninspiring cabin, which lacks cubbies and is dominated by hard plastics, and the boot. At 235 litres, it’s big enough, but with no load cover, you can’t leave valuables locked inside.
AUDI TTPrice: £8,000-£28,000 Years: 1999 to 2006
THE original TT will become an all-time classic, so its recent replacement isn’t likely to have a huge impact on values – although left-hand-drive models, or those with poor service histories, will become harder to sell.
Prices for the classy Audi start at £8,000 for early 180bhp versions, and a good 225bhp quattro could be yours for £1,000 more. There’s even an entry-level 150bhp model.
JAGUAR XKPrice: £9,000-£50,000 Years: 1996 to 2006
AROUND £10,000 is enough for a half-decent XK8 and, while its cramped rear seats and high running costs merit careful consideration, that’s still a lot of metal for the money. It’s a gorgeous coupÌ© with Jaguar’s traditional wood and leather-lined cabin.
If you go for the XKR, there’s the promise of serious performance, too. Always get a professional mechanical inspection, though, as faults will be costly to fix.