Don’t hurt your wallet just for some cheap thrills. The Audi RS3, Lotus Elise S, and Alfa Romeo 4C will tickle you in the right spots without breaking the bank.
Audi’s uber-hatch displaces last year’s winner, the Mercedes-AMG A45, in just one crucial scoring field – resale. According to Glass’s, the furious five-pot Audi will shed a third of its value in three years, while the Benz will drop 47 percent – a $10K difference. And the RS3’s relatively low purchase price with stout resale goes a long way against its sleeker rivals. So it seems financially smart to choose a weapon-quick, practical point-and-shoot machine over mid-engined coupe purity, at least for those who can use the turbo five-pot’s 270kW sparingly.
Colin Chapman’s ‘Simplify, then add lightness’ philosophy has positive effects beyond chassis dynamics; it helps the 870kg Elise S deliver real-world fuel, tyre and brake savings, too.
The 4C and Elise S are neck-and-neck across the scoring categories, but being $4K pricier hurt the Alfa given identical resales, despite the fact it costs a bit less to fuel and insure.
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