You can't go wrong with a V8 muscle car, and these bargains will cost you less than a sensible family crossover.
1 - Lexus IS-F (2008-2012)
You wouldn’t bet on a Lexus IS to get your heart racing, but the IS-F is certainly worth a flutter.
For starters, its 414bhp 5.0-litre V8 engine is a thing of refined brutishness. It takes the IS-F from 0-62mph in just 4.8sec and on to a top speed of 168mph. An eight-speed automatic gearbox makes it all seem easy, and accurate steering and an excellent chassis balance mean corners can be attacked with gusto. It is hugely enjoyable and highly exploitable.
It isn’t quite a BMW M3 killer — it isn’t as sharp and the ride is too fidgety — but it is a pretty good effort. It’s also excellent value now. The fun starts from £17k, and it’s a Lexus so it won’t let you down.
2 - BMW M3 (2007-2013)
Fast and surprisingly sophisticated, this fourth-generation M3 packs a mighty 414bhp 4.0-litre V8 under its bonnet.
Red-lined at a screaming 8300rpm, it sends its power through a six-speed manual or seven-speed M-DCT dual clutch automatic gearbox to the rear wheels via its clever M differential. Performance is colossal, with 0-62mph in just 4.7sec. On road and track, it is fast and forgiving, with a wonderful chassis and exceptional balance. You can potter to the shops with the family or drift it for hours round a circuit with its pants on fire.
There are plenty around to choose from, too. Good ones start at £18k. Check for accident damage and insist on a full service history.