Mitsubishi 3000GT

The best GT cars for under £10k

The best GT cars for under £10k

There’s something magical about slinging your luggage in the boot of your car, pointing its nose towards the horizon and going wherever the road takes you – no hauling luggage to the airport, no check-in, no delays, no elbow-bashing or knee-crushing and definitely no sweaty connection when you finally arrive in sunnier climes. It’s bliss!

And a Grand Tourer is perfect for the job. GTs come from a world where power and comfort are king in the pursuit of whisking you to your destination as effortlessly as possible. But a good GT should also be fun to drive and practical for a two-door. Keep reading for our rundown of the best GTs available on a budget of £10,000. 

Audi S5

When Audi revealed the S5 in 2007, it hadn’t released a GT-like coupe since the demise of the S2 in 1995. The two cars had similar approaches despite the age gap. Both had practical cabins that featured Audi’s legendary interior quality, Quattro four-wheel drive and engines that were heavy on charisma.

That was about where the similarities ended, though, because while the S2 had a warbling inline-five, the S5 got a throbbing 359PS (264kW) V8 that oozed power and character next to the straight-six BMW 335i of the era. Naturally, the Audi couldn’t match the handling balance of the BMW, but you’d be thankful for its four-wheel-drive grip (and tendency to understeer) when the going got slippy. Now, you can pick up a low-mileage S5 for less than £10,000, something you’ll struggle to resist when you hear the V8’s offbeat rumble. 

R129 Mercedes SL

The Mercedes SL is famed for giving us a glimpse into the future of motoring – ten years ahead of the rest of the pack – in a package that has been engineered to within an inch of its life. The R129 generation (sold from 1989 through to 2001) is perhaps the best example of this. Its USP was a fabric roof that folded away automatically – with all the magic of a Paul Daniels act – to reveal a gorgeous drop-top that looked as at home crawling through London as it was cruising the boulevards of Saint Tropez.

Along with the clever roof, the SL brought innovations like pop-up rollover bars and adjustable dampers. Sadly, the clever kit meant the SL – which stands for Super Light  – was anything but, tipping the scales at a chunky 1,800kg. As a result, it’s no sporty GT but on the plus side, it’s is very built and you’ll get an excellent low-miles example for less than £10,000. 

E63 BMW 6 Series

The BMW 6 Series coupe’s voluptuous lines represent the Chris Bangle years like nothing else. A controversial shape at the time, like many of Bangles’ creations, it has aged exceptionally well – the car’s shark-nosed snout and chunky bottom seem subtle next to the in-your-face looks of BMW’s current crop.

While it’s hard to resist the burble of the 645i petrol V8, it has known valve stem issues that would immediately put us off. Instead, stay strong and seek out the 635d 3.0-litre, six-cylinder diesel. It serves up an irresistible mix of huge torque – 580Nm (428lb ft) from just 1,750rpm – and fuel economy that can top 40mpg at a steady cruise.

Even modern alternatives will struggle to match this continental-crushing ability. Our £10,000 budget is enough to get you a clean example with change to spare for maintenance. 

Renault Avantime

Renault turned our idea of what constitutes a traditional GT on its head when it launched the Avantime in 2001. Out went the idea of sleek lines and sporty drive and in came an Espace-based coupe that offered up luxurious levels of space, which was accentuated by the car’s massive windows. Aside from the looks, curiosities included the huge double-hinged doors and a driving position that was more SUV than GT.

The Avantime was available with a turbocharged four-cylinder and with a manual gearbox, but the automatic coupled to a 210PS (154kW) V6 made for silky progress that suits a car that’s weighted heavily towards comfort.

Unsurprisingly, the Avantime didn’t lure many buyers away from the (admittedly more accomplished) German competition and, as result, it’s a rare sight on our roads. Just £5,000 buys you a nice one. 

Alfa Romeo GT

The Alfa Romeo GT might not have the power to drop jaws quite like its stunning Brera replacement, but the GT’s the Alfa we would choose on a £10,000 budget. It was the last Alfa to come fitted with the firm’s legendary 243PS (179kW) 3.2-litre Busso V6 – an engine that’s strong performance was overshadowed only by the glorious sound emitted from its twin-exit exhaust. It still has one of the best sounds in motoring.

By comparison, the Brera gets a GM lump with none of its compatriot’s spine-tingling qualities. The GT was also decent to drive (another area where the Brera disappointed). It’s got characteristically sharp steering and tight body control, but it also suffers from very little torque steer (the bane of powerful front-wheel-drives of this era) thanks to sophisticated front suspension shared with the 156 GTA.

Mitsubishi 3000GT 

Back in 1990, before anyone in the UK had heard of Nissan Skyline – let alone its ATTESA four-wheel drive system – if you wanted a sporty, Japanese technical tour de force, you bought a Mitsubishi 3000GT.

Its technical innovations included four-wheel drive (rare in a performance car of the time), four-wheel steering, adjustable dampers, an adjustable exhaust and active aero. Even the twin-blower engine (was supposed to) stamp out old-school turbo lag. That was the idea, anyway. The reality was that the 3000GT had turbo lag aplenty while fitting every technological innovation available at the time meant the GT was also very heavy: 1,700kg when the original Honda NSX weighed less than 1,400kg.

Still, nowadays, an NSX could easily cost you £100,000 while Mitsubishi’s little slice of GT history is yours for less than ten. 

Peugeot 406 Coupe

The Peugeot 406 Coupe comes from a time when there were sporty two-door coupes suit all tastes. You could choose from the Fiat Coupe with its Ferrari-like styling, the gorgeous Alfa Romeo GTV, the turbocharged and rear-wheel drive Nissan 200SX, the four-wheel-drive Toyota Celica, the high-revving Honda Prelude, supercharged Mercedes CLK and the straight-six BMW 3 Series.

Back then, choosing the Peugeot 406 Coupe could have been a hard decision, but it wasn’t. You see, the 406 combined beautiful looks penned by Pininfarina with an interior that could accommodate four people.

It was also brilliant to drive, had a silky smooth ride (a Peugeot speciality in the ‘90s) and was available with a lusty 210PS (154kW) 3.0-litre V6 engine that offered 150mph performance. Just £5,000 is all you need for a good one.

X100 Jaguar XKR

To say the Jaguar XKR was an Aston Martin rival when it went on sale in 1996 would be to undersell it – it was significantly better than the pricier DB7. For a kick-off, it was much quicker. Power came from a 4.2-litre V8 producing 370PS (272kW) and 552Nm (407lb ft) of torque. That translated into a surge of overtaking power accompanied by a purposeful supercharger whine that marked the XKR out from the regular XK. It got from 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds and was limited to 155mph.

But while the XKR was quick, it was also very comfortable with the oily-smooth ride that we have come to expect from Jaguar. Even the interior has bags of character. Quite how the cabin was so tight in such a large car is beyond us, but the cocooning effect made it feel very inviting, the tiny rear seats could just about accommodate kids and you got a large boot.

Well under £10,000 will buy you a car with around 50,000 miles on the clock and you’ll find there’s a wealth of specialist knowledge to call on.

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