Here’s a four-door saloon with one of the most emotive badges in motoring history attached to a gorgeous Pininfarina-designed body.
The fifth-generation Quattroporte packs a 394bhp 4.2-litre V8 punch that takes it to 171mph and dispatches 0-62mph in 5.2sec. It has a lavishly leathered interior, tolerable rear seats and even a decent boot, but most of all it has style. There are some drawbacks, though. Avoid the automated manual gearbox and check that you can tolerate its fidgety ride.
The car is potentially temperamental and expensive, so insist on a full service history. Early cars start at £15k, but it’s worth spending more to get a later one.
3 - Chrysler 300C V8 (2005-2010)
From some angles, this butch-looking beast is positively handsome. From others, it’s ugly enough to make you feel queasy. Either way, its thuggish lines bring a hint of hoodlum to suburbia.
Best to opt for the V8 versions; the 340bhp 5.7-litre car is good for 0-62mph in 6.4sec and a top speed of 155mph, while the 425bhp 6.1-litre SRT-8
will do 168mph and 0-62mph in 5.0sec.
So performance is good, but the ride is restless and the handling soggy. On top of that, the interior is a plasticky nightmare, the fuel economy is dreadful and it’s a very difficult car to see out of.
Buy one in black, though, and you might forgive it. Prices? From £6k for the 5.7 car or £15k and up for SRT-8s.
4 - Audi RS4 (2006-2008)
Sometimes, a car is even greater than the sum of its considerably great parts. And the RS4 has some great ingredients: a glorious 414bhp 4.2-litre V8 that revs to 8250rpm, a slick six-speed Getrag gearbox, a clever Torsen four-wheel drive system with a rear bias, and a low body, wide tracks and a stiff chassis.
It sticks like glue and goes like stink, with 0-62mph in just 4.8sec and a top speed of 155mph. It is eager, responsive and well balanced, it makes a great
noise and, most unlike a sporting Audi,
it even rides well.
As well as a saloon, there’s an RS4 Avant estate and a cabriolet. Prices start at a tempting £15k. Expect enjoyment and fuel bills to be high.
5 - Honda Legend (2006-2009)
It may look forgettable, but the Legend deserves a second glance, because it is a technical tour de force underneath.
The engine is a creamy 296bhp VTEC 3.5-litre V6, good enough to waft this large, luxurious executive saloon to 62mph in 7.0sec and on to 155mph. Power goes through a five-speed automatic gearbox to a Super Handling
All-Wheel Drive system that can push torque backwards or forwards or to either side. It can also speed up a rear wheel to keep understeer at bay.
It works, too. On the road, the Legend is agile, responsive and delightfully well mannered. It is beautifully made as well, with a luxurious interior and an impressive gadget list.
You can pick up one for just £6k now and, as it’s a Honda, it’ll never go wrong.
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