18 May 2005

Eight cylinders, five seats and four doors make a compelling combination. Pick of the deals at the moment, predictably, are for the V8-powered MG ZT 260, which remains the V8 saloon bargain of the moment. The cheapest car we could find is at Priory Rover of Mansfield Road, Nottingham. An 04-registered graphite grey ZT 260 with delivery miles, it is up for just £16,993.

With MG Rover’s current situation, you should be able to haggle most dealers down to this level, possibly lower. And don’t forget the ZT’s sister car, the Rover V8, which is also likely to be available at a substantial discount.

Volkswagen’s W8-powered flagship Passat looks great value at the moment, too. Like the ZT, these started life as £30,000 cars, but low-mileage 51-platers are now turning up with prices of just £11k. With 271bhp, rarity and VW’s impressive build quality on their side, plus the worst of the depreciation out of the way, a Passat W8 is an attractive alternative choice.

As ever, the larger, older and higher-mileage saloons are the biggest bargains. You can now buy a seven-year-old Mercedes-Benz E430 for under £8k and a P-plated BMW 540i for £6k privately or £7k from a dealer. But Jaguar’s previous-generation XJ (right) is perhaps the most tempting of all: 3.2-litre V8 R-registered versions now cost just £4975.

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