The Audi R8 was launched in India in 2008 and it was, almost immediately, a runaway success. The R8 (early versions were V8s with manual gearboxes) was quick to establish itself as a clinical yet extremely powerful supercar that was as happy being driven to the limit on a racetrack as it was in a bumper-to-bumper commute. Audi’s expertise with engineering and technology made the R8 incredibly precise and, not long after, it was given a V10 engine from the Lamborghini Gallardo, which made the deal even sweeter. The R8 V10 Plus retailed at Rs 2.4 crore (ex-showroom, Mumbai) and Audi has sold them in a fair number. Word is, early V8 versions are going for as little as Rs 55 to 70 lakh, while the V10 and the 541 bhp V10 Plus can both be had for around the Rs 1.5 crore mark.
FERRARI 458 ITALIA
The 458 Italia is to Ferrari what the Gallardo is to Lamborghini – it’s the baby of the family, but is not in any way watered down. The replacement for the near-perfect F430, the 458 Italia is simply a gorgeous automobile that also happens to be very, very fast. Launched in 2009, the 458 is powered by a 4.5-litre V8 (that’s where the name comes from, see?) which produces 561 bhp. The mid-mounted engine is mated to a lightning-quick 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox that helps it accelerate in a way that no other car on this list can – it takes 2.9 seconds to get from 0 to 100 kph and its top speed is an incredible 325 kph. The 458 was quick to go off shelves in India and that means there are plenty around on sale. Ever since Ferrari announced its replacement, the 488 GTB (which went for a turbo instead of remaining naturally aspirated), the 458 has turned into a sort of collector’s item. However, its value in the used car market remains above the Rs 2.3 crore.
The Gallardo will go down in history as the car that made Lamborghini most accessible, appealing to purists as much as the newly money-ed. Early examples of the Gallardo made it to India nearly a decade ago, much before Lamborghini officially arrived in India, and it won’t take you much effort to find one in that jaw-dropping yellow. It has always only been equipped with a 5-litre V10 engine, the power output of which has gone up from 493 bhp to 562 bhp in the LP 570-4 Superleggera version, introduced in late 2012. The Gallardo’s popularity was boosted thanks to parent company Audi’s engineering and reliability traits, which meant it wasn’t as temperamental as previous Lamborghinis. Despite not having changed much since its original 2003 design, it’s still a stunner. It’s now been replaced by the Huracan, and this means you can buy a pre-2010 Gallardo for roughly Rs 90 lakh, while the more powerful versions can be had for a shade under Rs 2 crore.
The Porsche 911 is an all-time classic, a heavenly mix of heritage, performance, luxury and that inimitable cool factor. The 911’s rear-engine, rear-wheel drive format has had fans around the world for the last 50 years. The classic 911 silhouette has been retained, but the 911 still looks as contemporary as the best of its rivals. On sale in India since 2004, the 911 is offered in a total of 21 variants – yes, you read that right – from the 345 bhp Carrera to the 552 bhp Turbo S version. Porsche has a ridiculously long options list as well, which means no two 911s are really alike. Porsche is never one to skimp on quality under the excuse of performance, and this means 911s hold up against abuse and age much better than some of its rivals. A 10-year old car can be yours for around Rs 65 lakh and newer, more powerful versions demand around Rs 1.7 crore. If you want a supercar that’s timelessly cool, you can’t do much better than a Porsche 911.
MERCEDES-BENZ SL63 AMG
This one’s for fans of ‘Have it? Flaunt it’. The Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG is basically the spiciest version of its legendary SL convertible and that, for many, is the perfect car. Beastly performance with a folding hard top roof – it’s the ultimate pin-up sports car. Under that long snout lies a 6208cc bi-turbo V8 that produces 518 bhp, all of which is unleashed through the rear wheels. The SL63 AMG was later upped by the SL65 AMG, a 603 bhp V12 bi-turbo version, and although this version made it to India as well, it’s the V8 we love more for being a bit more well-suited to Indian roads. The SL63 did get a bit of bad press internationally, since every English Premier League player’s WAG was busy getting one, but no such thing affects the SL’s image in India. It’s crammed with a lot of tech, too, and while it may lack the lithe performance and handling of some other cars here, it’s still utterly desirable. If you look hard enough, you can buy one for as cheap as Rs 40 to 45 lakh – perhaps a bit more for well-maintained examples. Still want that regular luxury saloon?
The BMW M5 is a luxurious family saloon that, well, isn’t. From a distance, it appears only too similar to BMW’s regular 5 Series saloon, but inch closer and you’ll notice the differences. A hunkered down stance, massive wheels with ultra low-profile tyres, menacing body kit and those four exhaust tail pipes sticking out at the rear – the M5 is as good as ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ gets. The F10 M5 (post 2011) is a work of genius, offering 552 bhp in a four-door saloon format, the result of which is a 0 to 100 kph time of just 4.4 seconds and a top speed that is electronically restricted to 250 kph. The M5 is perhaps one of BMW’s most revered cars, for its perfect balance between performance and everyday usability and India, not surprisingly, is home to many an M5 fan. High mileage M5s are going for as little as Rs 45 to 50 lakh, and newer examples can still be bought for around Rs 85 to 90 lakh. If your family is as fond of speed as you are, this is the car you really need to buy
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