With the Holden Commodore SS effectively handing the rear-wheel drive reins to the new Kia Stinger GT in the coming months, where do enthusiast punters turn to if moving from an Australian sports sedan to a South Korean liftback simply isn’t the preferred option?
Near-new and circa-$60K is the criteria here, which all but rules out performance German machinery. A decade-old BMW M3 or Mercedes-AMG C63 can be had for around this coin, but 10 years is the automotive equivalent of a galaxy away from brand new.
The 6.2-litre V8-engined Commodore claims a zero to 100km/h sprint in 4.9 seconds, while the word is the 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6-powered Stinger can match it – and that just happens to be the performance the below left-of-centre trio from Japan, Sweden and the UK deliver.
2012 Jaguar XF R
Five years ago it cost $210K plus on-road costs new, but today a 2012-built Jaguar XF R asks around a quarter of that price. This large sedan from the Motherland scored a 375kW/625Nm 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine that claimed a 4.9sec 0-100km/h. In-gear however, the blown rear-drive sedan is much faster than that. Think FG X Falcon XR8-quick.
Of course the Jaguar provides lots of posh luxury – and, okay, things to go wrong – but it offered the delicious dynamics to match the stunning cabin. It’s certainly a better car than the two-years-newer Lexus below, but it will likely cost more to maintain.
We found a pre-facelifted version, built in 2011 and with 75,000km on the clock, asking a couple of hundred less than $60K. But the prettier post-facelift version, in 2012, can be found for just over that mark before the seller is haggled down to a figure starting with a ‘5’.
2014 Lexus IS F
The IS F launched in 2008 and it was not a match for the M3 or C63. That should have been that, but Lexus performed more engineering tweaks to this car than the average Hollywood actress has had Botox shots.
The 311kW/505Nm 5.0-litre V8 was a gem from the start – and a further development of the engine remains in use today in the RC F, GS F and LC500. It claimed a 4.9sec 0-100km/h and utilised rear-wheel drive, but later models received a limited-slip differential that worked more harmoniously with a newly added Sport stability control.
We spotted a three-year-old example with just 32,000km on the clock for circa- $60K – or half its ask brand new. A 2012 example with 100,000km can be had for $40K – and being a Lexus it will never, ever go wrong.
2014 Volvo S60 Polestar
Remove your hands from the typewriter, please – there is no need to pen a complaint. Yet. The S60 Polestar does not have rear-wheel drive, but it absolutely is a depreciation disaster for the first owner, which is great news for you.
As with the Lexus, this Volvo couldn’t touch the German competition when it was – and in its latest incarnation is – priced new from $100K. However, we discovered a three-year-old S60 Polestar, with 35,000km on the clock, for just $42K. Or $58K of its value wiped.
The facelifted version also scored great seats and paddleshifters for the revised six-speed auto. It was a huge improvement on the earlier versions, and with a delightful 257kW/500Nm 3.0-litre turbo six-cylinder it dutifully claims a 4.9sec 0-100km/h. Crank the manually adjustable suspension up firmly at the front, and softly at the rear, and the chassis becomes playful and engaging. Plus, the interior is lovely and Volvo build is top-notch.